- It took me some time—about two years after I first met him at a retreat to muster the courage to reach out to hire him. The delay didn’t have to do with anything negative about him—He was one of the most kind, focused, and present guys I had ever been around. He was brilliant, not with nerdy kind of stuff, but with wisdom that transcended pithy statements. This guy was an original work.
I knew he would call me out—the true me. In the end this is why I hired Mike Warden as my coach then and why I committed to a year of working with him. Check him out here: www.michaelwarden.com. He is worth every penny of every offering he has!
So, here I was, sitting in a rocking chair on his porch, giddy smile on my face taking in the breathtaking view of the mountains.
He took me through some value work to name who I was to help shape the “true north” of where I would come back to when things seemed amiss in our sessions. I appreciated Mike’s process, it complemented my own process with Design Discovery.
At one point I tried to clarify a particular value of mine in his process that I could feel, but struggled to name. Finally I put my finger on something tangible. I said, “I just know it comes out like a howl.”
Without hesitation he said, “How about if you go ahead and howl now.”
My giddy smile stopped and I got real serious. “On this porch?!”
His house was perched on a mountain and a handful of houses speckled the mountain view below me and immediately next to us—it was likely someone would hear me.
“Yep,” he said.
I thought to myself, “What the hell, you have nothing to lose Tim!”
I can’t tell you how liberating that felt!
Then, to top it off, some dogs nearby started howling. Haha!
We both laughed, but this was a qualitatively different kind of laugh. This wasn’t a laugh at me, it was a laugh of joy that joins into the symphony of the song I composed in that moment of full and utter release—I let my soul free right then and there. In that howl, on the edge of my rocking chair, I proclaimed to myself and the world, “I am holding nothing back!”
Now, if you ever catch a glimpse of me driving on the road after a major victory, you will probably see me howling! I couldn’t care less if someone sees me anymore, what does it matter?
And it all started with one howl, breaking through the discomfort of looking stupid. I find the more I howl, the less I fear people’s opinion—and the more I feel the muscle of joy readily accessible when I need it.
One of the brave men I coached told me that he resonates with a massive lion that is in the Cleveland zoo. For years he walked by the cage and would often think that the vast size and fierce heart of the lion was not lived out as it appeared lifeless, lying there in the cage, defeated by an environment that caused him to want to lay down and sleep himself to death.
This man ended up realizing that the lion represented part of who he is and that he wanted to be out of the cage, set free.
Can you guess what I encouraged him to do?
Well, he did it.
Now, many mornings he wakes up, before the neighborhood is up and he stands on his driveway and roars.
The amount of courage that takes baffled me, in his suburban neighborhood. Most people that know him would probably have no clue—the lion is roaring!
On another intensive I worked with a fierce man that resonated with an eagle. (Now he resonates even more with an owl).
I sensed the nudge in my heart to give him space and time to lean into this part of him. I walked out of the conference room and gave him space to stand erect, flapping the wings of his arms and feel every single ounce of the freedom of feeling that part of him come alive. I came back to the room and he was sitting there, his eyes wet from courage—his heart was glowing hot.
What animal do you resonate most with? Try not to critique what comes to your mind, just go with it. (By the way I don’t fully resonate with a wolf, but for some reason “the Howl” really connects with me.)
What noise, posture or action does your animal make?
Find a safe space and let it rip!