Atul Gawande is a surgeon and one of my favorite writers. No surprise then when I opened a recent New Yorker that I turned immediately to his article, "Personal Best." And, there was synchronicity on the page. The tag line was, "Top athletes and singers have coaches. Should you?" Well, yes, I should.
I had an hour previously returned from a workshop on small business development. I know too little about it and want to know more. Poets get complacent about the truism that we don't make money, and I've pretty much tattooed that idea on my frontal lobes. Surgeons, on the other hand, make plenty of money. So what do Gawande and I have in common? Writing, obviously. He has a handful of excellent books, and here he was still writing in the midst of raising a family and leading a professional life that must keep him roller blading from one task to the other. Now he has added another element. He hired a surgery coach to help him off the plateau where he felt stuck in his professional development.
The synchronous issue here is the coaching. I had that very day put myself in the hands of a couple of business coaches for the afternoon and one, Mary Walewski, asked casually, had I ever thought of coaching other writers? Well, sure. I do that sometimes. I had just offered to help one of the other attendees get started on her book.
But not for money! Heaven's sakes, I do it for free. Why? Mary had just coached me into a new attitude. I wrote down my credentials and hey! I qualify. So I'll sit with Mary an hour this week and let her coach me in the art of making what I do into a respectable small business. Like Gawande, I'll accept coaching. We all have skills to pass on and I will convince myself that I deserve to be paid for sharing my knowledge and experience. Except here. Here you get it free.