This I Believe

by Brad on June 9, 2012

I’m in the process of creating a welcome video for my website, and doing so has led me to explore more deeply who I am and what I do. Embracing this primal energy fueling my life is a continuing source of both clarity and freedom for me – clarity, from a sense of knowing far deeper than any “everyday knowing,” and freedom, from having a powerful reference point for my life. Along with this perspective, however, comes a discovery.

As a coach, I know coaching is about the client’s agenda and not the coach’s, but I have to admit a bias here. My 65 years of life on this planet have afforded a lot of opportunity for me to notice things, and my observations indicate that, as a society, we’ve lost an essential part of what it means to be human … the courage and/or ability to think for ourselves, and the consequent right to live life on our own terms. Early American colonists started a revolution over this threat to their self-determination, and the theme of self-reliance has run through most of our history – Jefferson, Emerson, Thoreau, Muir, etc.

So in a way, I find that I’m an “American Dream” coach. I want to stamp out the American Nightmare that promises happiness in exchange for going along with other people’s thinking. I want to restore the original dream, the one that promised freedom of spirit.

Some coaches may have issues with my “taking a stand,” but to me, helping my clients reach a level of clarity and perspective – about themselves, others, their life, their work, and the world – is at the core of what it means to live a meaningful and sustainable life. If it means that I “push” them to reclaim the right to think for themselves, so be it. This I believe. (Note that I am not interested in telling them what to think, just making sure they do … think.)

I know. I was lost in the world of other people’s thinking for much of my adult life. I was taught that’s just “the way it is.” What I now know, however, was perhaps best expressed by Mark Twain: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” And a lot of what I “knew for sure” … just ain’t so. 

Somewhere along life’s path, I came to realize that if I were to be good at what I do, then my life had to be my brochure. And I love my life. I’m proud of the legacy I might offer my children, my friends, and my clients. And I’m grateful for those who have guided me along the way. Native American wisdom honored “paying the gift forward,” offering to others what you’d been offered yourself. This, too, I believe. Our lives are filled with potential.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Kat Baynes Melehan June 10, 2012 at 8:45 am

This is amazing Brad! There is such clarity when you truly speak from the heart!


christina June 11, 2012 at 10:34 am

I so agree with you Brad. And the really neat thing about everything you say and do so brilliantly is that when you’ve guided the client back to that deep level of clarity about who they are and about the way they see the world around them, they can zip right out back to the ‘agenda’ they started with, and voila’ – the solution/action they need is clear as day! No need to struggle, no need to agonize … you’ve put them back in touch with their deeper knowing, and life flows with ease from there. The crazy thing about the world is that it pooh-pooh’s this ‘detour’! The truth is, it’s not a detour at all … it’s a wormhole! Hah! 🙂 Thank goodness for you, Brad dear! love you xoxo


Brad June 11, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Your perspective is beautiful, Chris; thank you. It’s all so “deceptively simple” — simple in that a young person can “get it,” and deceptive in that everything we’ve been taught since youth tells us to make it difficult. I’m grateful for your connection and for the gift of your view. With love, Brad


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