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  • Sara Johnson

Permission to Be

This month, I’ve felt like the words I want are just out of reach. I’ve felt ungrounded and far from my own center. I’ve found being human a bit sharp. The pain of the world, relentless. The collective experience, draining.

Maybe you are feeling the strain of things too?

And maybe it surprises you to hear me speak so plainly about these things?

If it surprises you that I am willing to say I am not okay right now, I’d like to reiterate a core part of my identity as a human and a coach: I am a whole person.

A person who struggles, grieves, and feels things. A person who rejoices, sings off-key (but sings anyhow), trips on the sidewalk awkwardly, writes love letters, spills tea on her best dress, buys herself flowers, has had her heart broken, and giggles at dog memes.

I am a whole person who coaches whole people (“motivated, messy, and whole people” to reference that sweet tagline again).

When I started working as a coach, I worried that there would be an insurmountable power dynamic. I worried there would be a distance between myself and the people I worked with that put me above and them below. I was disinterested in being an all-knowing and infallible source of wisdom. I’ve never been interested in being an “influencer.”

I was talking to a friend about this this past weekend as we wove our way by foot through the alleyways in our shared city (better to see the gardens from). I was telling her how I feel a bit disconnected from the word “coach” because it can create a dynamic (see above) that I find really uninspiring.

She asked me: So, who are you? How do you define yourself outside of the constraints of the word "coach"?

I said: I am a human who gives radical permission that in turn expands what other humans believe is possible.

I am a voice saying all feelings are allowed: even when they are uncomfortable or inconvenient or "too much" or "not enough."

I am an enabler for the most sacred dreams: those that come out as a whisper but long to transform into a shout.

Permission: You are allowed to feel. You are allowed to want. You are allowed to dream. You are allowed to believe in what could be.

There is so much in the world suppressing and silencing us. Optimism feels tricky these days.

And yet - and yet - in the coaching space we can dream together. We can make room for every single thing that wants to be known.

In the coaching space we give birth to possibility, while also releasing, letting go, and ushering out what is no longer serving us. We do this work together to acknowledge our complexity, our wholeness, and to make space for what wants to grow. In a heartbreaking world, individuals and communities need permission to believe change is possible, permission to radically imagine something new.

Let’s amplify what is possible, together.

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