I had a coaching call with a client this week, and in our last fifteen minutes, she had a huge breakthrough. The kind of breakthrough that prompted a pause, a silence, a “I think we need to stop here” response.
It was magnificent.
I personally love having breakthroughs like that. The kind that change everything, that instantly shift your perspective, that blow doors wide open and break all the glass in the house. So many times, that’s exactly what we need. We box ourselves in, and we’re not sure how to get out until we remember there’s a world outside that box.
In my experience, both for myself, and with clients, breakthroughs like this come when we need them. But they don’t always, or even often, come without a little friction, and a good amount of effort.
As much as we might love it, life-changing revelations don’t tend to just drop out of the sky.
In this instance, we spent about 45 minutes of our call working our way through a present challenge, trying to piece out some roots, some approaches to processing feelings. We made progress, we set up a few checkpoints and actions to work on. But this huge thing didn’t come about until we essentially opened up a stream of consciousness around her last assignment.
I started with a prompt, but mostly, my client talked, and I listened. And after nearly ten minutes of verbal processing with just a few more questions from me, she got there. Then came the pause and the OMG moment.
All of the recent work we’ve been doing, a month’s worth of worksheets and calls and emails and conversation and exploration, paved the pathways for this to come up to the surface and out. It may have seemed like it came out of nowhere in that OMG moment, but it didn’t. There was an intent, a dedicated effort, a conscious and unconscious search for this very thing, laying the fertile ground for it to bloom.
Breakthroughs sometimes seem sudden, dramatic, and out of the blue, but I’m not so sure that’s the case. More often, they’re a natural progression, a spin, an extension of what you already know, what you’re already doing, already cultivating. Innovation, invention, big ideas, whatever – it often looks from the outside like a lightning bolt. But in reality, it’s years and years of focus and work.
The breakthrough is the beautiful reward for a beautiful struggle.
In those moments of struggle when you’re thinking to yourself, “Why can’t I just figure this out? What is my problem? What do I need to do? What is the answer?” or whatever other iteration of question you might be asking in search of a sudden breakthrough – the better questions might look a little more like, “What can I do today to take one step toward sorting this out? What are the pieces in play in my situation? What am I really looking for? Is there something I’m avoiding that can actually help me? Who might be able to help me and how? How can I entertain and cultivate more answers?”
The point is, this huge thing you see happening to your friend, or your favorite social media guru, or your whoever – it didn’t just happen. They didn’t sit around berating themselves and waiting for their answer, and they didn’t waste time searching for a magic pill. It’s highly likely they recognized a specific issue and a need to work on it to improve their life, and then they started taking steps to do that work, no matter how scary. They were patient and aware, and the breakthrough is a result of that work over time and the consciousness that goes along with it.
I hope you’re on your way to a breakthrough. In fact, if you’re putting in any effort toward it at all, you definitely are. Perhaps it’s cliché, but keep going. Don’t stop. And if you’re waiting, watching, and not yet working? Consider your effort. The subtle shifts and uncomfortable creaks and cracks that come from expansion along the way are exactly what will lead to the glass shattering. And that is magnificent stuff.
To your next huge breakthrough.
Hey, need some support on the focus and the work? Let’s talk about it and see if we can’t start cultivating your ground for that breakthrough.