I very rarely write a personal blog piece because I think perhaps most people find more value in less subjective, more informational articles. But today, I’m feeling extremely fortunate and am compelled to write about it; and perhaps—hopefully—there lies some value in my statement of gratitude. Just about every day, I get to do something I love to do, something I believe in, something I feel contributes to society in a meaningful way. I get to meet interesting people, hear their stories, and help them solve problems in their personal and/or professional lives. And I love it.
I recently established a new mediation and conflict resolution consultancy location in Palo Alto, California, a beautiful city in the heart of Silicon Valley, which I am just relishing. The landscapes and neighborhoods here are incredible. Yesterday, after waking up for a peaceful, early-morning walk around downtown Palo Alto, I spent some time counseling the CFO of a large educational organization about an escalating conflict between two top administrators at one of his colleges, after which we scheduled a tentative date for me to facilitate a dialogue between them; later in the day, I ran a short conflict resolution training for customer service agents at a startup; and last night, I facilitated a dialogue between a 92-year-old man and his 90-year-old wife who were at odds about one important issue that could literally break them up after more than 60 years of marriage.
For purposes of confidentiality, I can’t write any more about these cases, but in every circumstance, whether the outcome worked in the way I or my clients expected or desired, I believe each felt at least somewhat more satisfied than when we began the process, more understood, and certainly more heard. Often, I see that feeling heard and recognized is just as important as coming to some final solution.
I have been a personal and executive coach for almost a decade now, and while working in long-term settings with clients, helping them navigate deep, systemic cognitive-emotional issues over several months or years, is still extremely satisfying, I must admit that my growing practice of acute problem-solving for individuals, couples, and organizations has become deeply fulfilling and stimulating. I find great joy in helping to rebuild relationships of all types. I am deeply grateful that individuals and companies put their trust in me, giving me the privilege of hearing their very intimate and confidential stories so that I might help them navigate and negotiate their ways out of conflict and toward peace. Sometimes, I don’t stop to smell the roses; I take for granted how lucky I am, how courageous they are, and how special the intense, albeit brief, relationship between me and my peacebuilding clients can be.
Living now in the heart of Silicon Valley, getting to do what I love, having the great fortune to meet amazing people and help them solve problems that are truly significant in their pursuits of peace and happiness, I woke up this morning feeling truly fortunate and grateful. Along with the mission of building more peace in this world through my conflict resolution and relationship mediation practices, I now also put my intention toward helping any individual that seeks a way of pursuing what feels meaningful in his or her life. I believe that meaningful work—work that one is grateful for and stimulated by—is an important element on the path toward personal peace and a preventative method of mitigating and resolving conflict.