This week I’d like to introduce you to a special person in my life — my first coach, Judy Billman.
Remember, my Inherited Purpose is “I have to be smart and know all the answers (or pretend I do), work really hard to make it in life so I will not be poor and so people will not leave me.” For sure, my Inherited Purpose was doing a great job of shaping my life during my years as vet, paricularly the first 7-8 years I owned my own practice. I thought I knew everything about business. But finally, after beating my head against the proverbial wall for all those years, I began to wonder if perhaps someone might know more about running a business than I did, even though at that point the only business course I had had was a basic accounting course from the local community college.
I began to search for a business consultant, a search that eventually led me to Judy Billman. As it turned out, Judy was not really a business consultant, but was instead a business coach, a difference that was much to my advantage. I initially hired Judy to help me build my practice to a level I felt was successful, so that I could then sell the business going out the top. And, boy did it work. Even though we set what I considered to be some pretty lofty goals that I figured would take at least three years to reach, if we could reach them at all, we actually exceeded them in less than two years.
During the 18 months that Judy and I worked together in a coaching relationship, my veterinary business grew by more than 40 percent per year, my income more than doubled, and most importantly of all I fell back in love with being a veterinarian. In fact, there was a point where I was not sure I still wanted to sell the practice, and at that point I experienced, perhaps for the first time, the difference between deciding to do something, and choosing to do something.
When I had first thought of selling the practice, it was definitely a decision. If you look at the root word for decision, you’ll see what I mean. Decision comes from ‘cide,’ to kill off; like homicide, suicide, and genocide. So, to make a decision means you kill off the other options and what is left is your alternative. I had decided that I needed to sell my practice because I was not being successful at it, and I was not happy as a veterinarian. In fact, I had a long list of reasons I used to kill off the option of staying in practice.
But, after working with Judy I realized that I could keep the practice and be very happy doing what I was doing, or I could sell it and also be happy doing whatever was next in my life. After looking at all the reasons and circumstances, I could then choose freely.
After staying in that place of being free to choose for a few weeks, I eventually chose to continue on my original path and to sell the practice. But in the process, I also realized the tremendous value of having a coach in my corner, and have continued to include a coaching relationship as part of my ‘life support system’ ever since.
Judy Billman made a profound difference in my life, helping to guide me to a new life and new career. Our work togethr really wasn’t over either. About a year later, she offered me a job to be trained as a business coach, But that’s a story for another time. Thanks, Judy, for introducing me to the miraculous power of coaching.