What’s missing is “relatedness”. That’s what I was coming up with for the exercise I was doing in my Landmark Education program to explore next steps for growing my business. The assignment was to discover what was missing, the presence of which would make a difference in me getting what I wanted. I wanted clients signing up for my programs and my coaching. I wasn’t “relating” to women who might be interested in transforming their fears and doubts about hiking, so they weren’t available to sign up.
I love the relationships that seem to begin with a fortuitous meeting. That’s what meeting Wendy Lippard was. I had posted a request in my local neighborhood listserve for an accountant. Maureen Nolan, whom I had not met before, responded that didn’t know an accountant but that she had looked at my Forgiveness Walks website and suggested that I meet Wendy. I called her and within the first fifteen minutes of our conversation we knew we had work to do together!
Wendy became my first long-term client, meeting with me almost weekly at Big Trees Nature Preserve for over a year as we took turns coaching each other while walking through the preserve. It was a mutually perfect fit. One week, I said, “This would be even more perfect if you were paying me a hundred dollars after each session.” Oh, of course I understood that we were coaching each other, but there was something about the money that would make it real! Wendy said, “Well, let’s do that!” Starting the next week, we handed each other a fresh one hundred dollar bill. I would put mine in my new business account, proof that my service was valuable.
Gratitude simply gushes when I consider my community of supporters on the Appalachian Trail, and I’m talking about people supporting me as a Ridgerunner, not as a hiker! The list of “trial angels” on my hike from Maine to Georgia in 2007 would comprise another whole list!
Since April, 2010 for a three-month season each year, I’ve been working for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy with the main task of “talking with hikers on the 80-mile stretch of the trail between the James River and Rockfish Gap.” That position has the catchy title of Ridgerunner.
My Gratitude List would not be complete without thanks to the mechanics of my life!
Wherever I have lived, I have always sought out at least one mechanic within walking distance of my house. My main criteria have been their willingness to talk with me about my car in language that I can understand and a hesitance to fix everything under the hood when a modest repair would be sufficient.
Let’s see how many I can remember.
In Arlington, VA that was the teacher of a basic car repair class that John Reiter had taken. I don’t think I ever met him, nor can I remember his name. His greatest contribution was to advise us to replace the radiator on our Volkswagon Rabbit. Oh, and he recommended a mechanic to replace the whole engine when we had the misfortune of driving without the oil cap for 150 miles. (It was not entirely our fault as our lawyer friend, Tom Scheffey, argued, winning shared fault with the gas station attendant who closed the lid before any of us made sure the cap was on.)
“You have your own flavor of Radical Forgiveness coaching. It will be amazing to see that emerge!”
That was Pamela Black’s encouragement for me as I struggled to find my footing in my new business, Forgiveness Walks. Today, I’m remembering Pamela and some of the other coaches who have helped me realize my business as I celebrate my 60th birthday with 60 posts of gratitude. This is Post 51.
I knew I had a unique way of expressing myself with the tools of transformation that had already worked wonders in my own life and seemed to be seeking a voice through me. Yet, I wrestled with self-doubt that my expression was valid and worthy to share broadly. Pamela, one of the first coaches trained personally by Colin Tipping, author of Radical Forgiveness, was generously coaching me in the early days of my striving to “earn my living hiking.” She was right! I smile inside when I recall Colin’s words for me several years later, “Regina, YOUR niche is all the green people who want to be outside! See, you even DRESS in green! Talk to them!”
It’s December, 2008 and I’m googling “women’s business groups Atlanta” or something like that. Up comes “Ladies Who Launch.” With a name like that, this had to be good! And it was!
A couple of months earlier I had been completing my last few miles of my 5 ½ month walk on the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. I was saying to myself, “Doing this trail convinces me that I really CAN do anything I want to do!” What I wanted to do was keep walking on long trails like this one and the Appalachian Trail I had completed just the previous year. “What I want to do is earn my living hiking.” That was in October, 2008.
I signed up for the 10-day training and detox at The Living Foods Institute on an intuition that this focused experience with raw and living foods would clean out the abscess in my molar. I knew I needed more than the colloidal silver I was taking and thought that clearing my body with food and lifestyle suited me perfectly.
I didn’t even attend a preview session, just registered for the next session. I couldn’t make it to the first two days, however, because the final sales at the Native Plant Garden happened on those days. Jane, the director, said that would be fine to arrive on Day 3, so I registered.
“Would you like to work for me tomorrow and pot up all these ferns?” That was the beginning of my six-year job with George Sanko at the Georgia Perimeter College Native Plant Garden. I had been fascinated by the garden when I first went there with John Reiter for the informal Christmas Party when he volunteered there.
It was December, and something called me about that place. “I’d like to work here!” I remember thinking. A few months later, I was! My job at the Waldorf School had abruptly ended, and I was floundering around about what to do. George’s invitation to pot up the hundred or so ferns that he and John and I had just dug up from the nearby quarry really excited me. The next day, I learned how he did it, and, in a few hours had transformed that bag of floppy fern rhizomes into six rows of half-gallon pots.
When I left the Waldorf School of Atlanta, believing that I had no choice but to resign from my position of Class Teacher of Grade One, I was devastated! My self-esteem plummeted to the floor, and I doubted that I could ever teach again! Thanks for my sister-in-law, Deborah, a door opened to a new possibility.
“You could talk with Deron Davis over at Dunwoody Nature Center. He’s the director there, and probably could use teachers who love the outdoors,” she suggested when I shared my plight with her. I set a time to meet him within a week. He, indeed, was delighted to meet me, and practically gave me a job that same day! “I definitely need someone who could take this idea I have and run with it.” He took me over to Brook Run Park, which the County had just purchased, and showed me a musty building with a beautiful deck that overlooked a dense forest. “I’m trying to get this area to use as a demonstration of Outdoor Education. I need a lead teacher, someone who can create a program over here for the summer.”
One of the ironies of my life was that when I lived in Evansville, IN I found little connection with other parents in the homeschool community. I resigned to enrolling my children in the public school and got involved there the best I could. While they went to school, I studied to become a Waldorf school teacher, dreaming of having my children at a school where I resonated with the education and my friends were the faculty.
I landed a job in the Waldorf School of Atlanta, Georgia, fulfilling that dream, when the boys were almost finished with their schooling! David was in 11th grade, Adam in 7th, and Simon in 5th. The dream, however, turned into a nightmare, and Adam and Simon stayed in the school just one year. David endured a year at the local high school where he was in a 2% racial minority.