Would they miss you if you were gone?
What would have to change for that question to lead to a better answer?
This prompt for Quest 2016 is very similar to the prompt Seth Godin contributed to Quest 2015.
Last year’s prompt was “Who would miss you if you were gone? If you didn’t show up to work, didn’t send out that newsletter, didn’t make that sales call, didn’t tweet that tweet… who would miss it? How does your answer shape how you’ll live out 2015?” My answer was the only people who would miss me would be the people who had seen the authentic me. Everybody else would miss their image of me. And the inspiration was to head into 2015 bringing more of my authentic self into my work.
I have done that. I continue to do more of it.
My clients would miss me if I were gone.
But, Godin’s second question is more interesting to me. For “that question” to lead to a better answer, it would need to be a better question: Why would they miss you if you were gone?
I am sure this prompt is related to Godin’s book Linchpin in which he argues that people should aim to become indispensable in their work.
I am indispensable in my organization. I am my organization. I am a solopreneur.
But, I do not want to be indispensable to my coaching clients.
I do not want to be missed because things fall apart without me. In fact, if my clients fall apart when I am no longer working with them, then I will have done them a grave disservice. My job is to empower my clients not disempower them.
I want to be missed because I am a valuable resource, a trusted witness, and a useful companion on my client’s journey through the constantly changing terrain of life.
The why of my being missed matters.
In my work, I show up with my full self to witness my clients and put all of my skills and resources in the service of their fulfillment of their dreams. When I do that, I am not only helping them take powerful actions toward fulfilling lives in alignment with their values and standards, but I am also modelling for them how to support themselves when they are not with me.
In the long run, my clients learn to self-manage, and also come back to me for support when they recognize that they need it.
I can honestly say my clients would miss me for the right reasons.
Seth Godin is the author of 18 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.