Divorce is a great university but the cost of tuition is too high.
– Harvey Yaffe
One of the most important things that I learned in the university of my divorce was that curiosity is a mighty nice idea but only impactful when made into a verb.
And: That there is something about the nature of long-term relationships (my first marriage lasted 13 years from first romantic tingling to moving into my first post-nuptial apartment) that easily knocks the legs right out from under curiosity, something about that warm, cozy sense of knowing a person with unthinking certainty – those unconscious and absolute beliefs about another and the shared dynamic that both build a sense of certainty and preclude the healthy doubt that is curiosity.
Coaching, on the other hand, is all about curiosity. The more I embrace my role as the archetype of The Fool – the jester who says all the things regardless of imbalances in status (that’s the king he’s saying that to!), without fear of consequence (off with whose head?!), willing and able to regroup after a misstep (a song and a dance to placate his majesty), and managing to introduce play and humor along the way – the more effective I am professionally…
… and the more I’m able to enact curiosity in my budding marriage.
The Fool appears foolish because he seems to never learn from the past or anticipate the future; often, he is depicted as smelling a flower while walking on the edge of a cliff. In a world where little bends us out of shape more than failing to anticipate a disappointment, The Fool offers a reminder that our lives are truly successions of utterly unique moments, inextricably tied to all the moments before and after but only actionable now and now and now and…
…and trusting our ability to be resilient as we bring curiosity to the possibilities of this unique moment and what it might hold if we ceased, even for the moment, to believe that the limitations of the previous moments still apply – if we ceased, even for the moment, to imagine that our imaginations are scrying mirrors showing what is to come.
It was a yummy experience for all those years, to feel wrapped in the cocoon of my first marriage with absolute certainty that I knew every crease and curve of the silky chrysalis we co-created. Without active curiosity, though, we lacked the necessary thread to suture the rips made by life’s wear and tear.
My sewing kit is far better outfitted these days, and each act of curiosity adds a spool.
Curiosity is the secret ingredient that allows me to approach each person I coach as a unique individual – which you are – even as I continue to build my coaching tool kit with an exploration of how we humans are all so very similar. To see how my curiosity might stimulate the development of yours, and spur your bigger life and badder self in the process, shoot me a line.