I don’t have a driver’s license. Never had one.
I could list all the reasons, excuses, and justifications I use when challenged about this.
I could also share some of the hundreds of stories I have listened to while traveling on public transport here in Ireland. Stories of hope, despair, loneliness, pride, joy, depression, and love.
Today, I’ll share this one story. I travel from Dublin to Limerick and back on Irish Rail on a weekly basis. Upon arriving at Colbert Station in Limerick I go on a short 5-minute walk to the hotel I stay in for 2 nights every week.
On that short walking route, I regularly come across people sitting on cardboard begging for change. I must admit that this occurrence is so frequent (not just in Limerick by the way) that I often simply walk past them.
Every so often though my eye, soul, or intuition catches a glimpse of something different that makes me stop in my tracks. That one, rainy afternoon, the city was relatively empty. It seemed all the city folk were taking cover indoors.
This one young person sat on a soaked piece of cardboard that carried a logo of a well-known fizzy drinks company. There was an immediate spark of recognition in me. My gut told me I have met this person before.
I stopped. Asked if he was OK. ‘Do you have some change for a cup of tea?’. Like so many now I had no cash on me, only cards. I offered to go to a nearby shop and get him a cup and some food if he wanted to. I still felt I knew him but couldn’t place him.
I returned with a cup of tea and a sandwich and sat on my hunkers beside him. He started speaking as if he had to explain and justify his situation. What followed was a story of deep trauma, followed by a stop-start recovery, addiction issues, finding and losing jobs, and accommodation.
I let him speak uninterrupted. He stopped regularly to drink from the cup of hot tea and take a bite from the tuna and sweetcorn sandwich. When he was finished, I asked him if he wanted dessert. He declined. I didn’t insist. I asked was there anything else I could do for him. Once again, he declined. Then he thanked me about 10 times. Not just for the food and drink. But for listening. ‘You’re the first person who let me talk and didn’t tell me what to do.’
I still feel I met him before. I still don’t know where from. Nor do I know who he is. And I haven’t seen him since.
There are 2 reasons I share this story.
One is that I feel privileged that coaching has taught me listening skills. There was no need for me to talk or offer advice. Just being there, listening, and taking some small action was enough right at that moment.
Which people in your life can you think of right now that could benefit from you being present, listening, and taking some small actions.
Two is the realisation that the reason I think I recognised that person is that this could have so easily have been me sitting there, on a wet afternoon, on a piece of cardboard, begging for change.
I had traumas in my life I couldn’t cope with at the time. I had flirtations with addiction, escapism, and depression. I also had a few people that cared enough to listen and encourage me. And enough resilience to overcome with the help of those others.
This is yet another reason why I became a professional coach. I understand the powers of listening, reframing, and encouraging actions. Regardless of where you are in life or what you do.
It is the WHY behind everything I do. Helping people, regardless of their position, to R.A.I.S.E. their profile. That is to become Resilient, Adaptable, Imaginative, Sustainable, and Effective.
Let’s connect. I am good at listening and would love to hear your story.
WhatsApp 00 353 83 3008963