One Man’s Journey To Find His Purpose
David Herdlinger, Business Coach
Most career paths are not straight lines. Mine has been so full of twists and turns that a casual observer might conclude I stumbled into coaching by accident.
But with the benefit of hindsight and years of experience coaching individuals, I see a process at work – a process directed toward authenticity, not unlike peeling the layers off of an onion. Today, as a business coach, I have the privilege of helping others use that same process to find their passion in life and pursue it. Here’s how this process worked in my life.
A Case of Mistaken Identity
I’ve always been goal-directed. In elementary school my goal was to someday be a lawyer. I imagined myself waxing poetic in front of a jury. Twenty years later I was doing just that, as the managing partner of one of the largest and most successful law firms in my state.
Law led to politics. I worked with the top political leaders in the state on their campaigns for governor, U. S. Senator, and other offices. My business life was exhilarating and financially rewarding, but my personal and spiritual life was in disarray. In retrospect I can see that my goals were based on false images of who I was and what I was created to do.
As a coach, I encourage people to “simply show up and be themselves” – to “be” before they “become.” Without realizing it, by God’s grace, that’s what I started to do. When a large healthcare company offered me an executive position that eventually included oversight of training and development, I accepted.
In my new position, another layer of the onion peeled off. As I worked with some of the premier international consulting firms on a variety of organizational issues, I discovered how much I enjoyed developing people. So much so, in fact, I left the healthcare company after five years and started my own training and development firm.
A Good Question
Initially Herdlinger Associates offered training and development services to small and medium size businesses. We achieved dramatic results using the dynamic “full life” processes developed by Resource Associates Corporation, which focus on the concurrent development of both individuals and organizations.
Some of my clients who wanted more privacy and in-depth help asked me to work with them on a personal basis. One said, “David, a friend of mine has a business coach. Is that what you do? Are you a coach?” I had never before heard the term “coach” used in a business context. The importance of the question deserved at least a week of thought. But within five seconds I answered, “Yes.” Then I got on the Internet to find out what I had just committed myself to being.
One Man’s Twists and Turns Help Others
I set out to expand my coaching capabilities by taking additional training in areas where I lacked expertise. My initial coach training was provided by Coach Training Alliance. Soon the results from my individual coaching efforts far exceeded what I had been able to accomplish in group settings. The transition from lawyer to politician to business executive to organizational development consultant to coach was complete. I had found my purpose in life: to help others develop to their greatest potential.
Today I’m coaching over forty-five clients all around the world, both individually and as members of corporate teams. That’s in addition to mentoring other coaches.
The twists and turns of my life have turned out to be a blessing. Because I had to learn through experience to “show up and be myself,” I’m better able to help others do the same. And what a privilege and joy that is!