I have been uncomfortable most of my life. I never felt like I fit in. People frequently told me I took too many risks, but I didn’t think so. After all, I was responsible, paid my bills, and avoided anything that was physically dangerous.
Apparently, packing up my son and moving 1200 miles away to a place where I had no job and knew only two people might be considered risky by some. Going into business for myself was considered risky by others. Completely changing careers and starting a new business after a debilitating illness ended my first business… again, some deemed that risky.
I couldn’t have done it any other way. I had to get away from my family of origin to find a healthy way of life. Mainstream corporate America didn’t share my views on what made for a good work environment or work/life balance. Others saw risks. I saw the insanity of staying where I was and the possibilities in moving on.
If you’re reading this and thinking, “That woman is crazy,” you are probably not an Edgewalker.
On the other hand, if you’re reading this and totally getting it, maybe even feeling like you’ve finally found someone who might understand you, chances are… you’re an Edgewalker.
I have been a misfit ever since I can remember. I swung upside down from the monkey bars in kindergarten, thinking the other kids were ridiculous for being appalled. After all, I was wearing tights with my dress; it wasn’t like they could actually see anything. I was the only girl in the vocational agriculture class in both high schools I attended. I trained in medical Massage Therapy in an era when it was more commonly known as a cover for prostitution than a healing modality. I became a Life Coach when I didn’t even know what one was.
That’s an Edgewalker. Except, I didn’t have a word for it back then. ‘Crazy’ and ‘misfit’ were the nicer labels that were applied to me. I felt like an outsider and outcast, and wondered what was wrong with me.
Even when I started my coaching practice, I still didn’t fit in. I tried to determine a niche for my business. Age? I had clients from 20’s to 70’s. Race? I’ve coached most, if not all. Geographic location? America, Canada, Iceland, Peru… the list goes on. Religion? You got it; atheist to Buddhist to Seventh Day Adventist, and everything in between. Sexual orientation? All of them, literally. Most people trying to help me find my niche would throw their hands up in the air and tell me that I needed to get more specific. One person dug deeper to find some common ground in spirituality, but the true nature was still elusive.
I was sitting with my mentor, Peter Reding (founder of Coach for Life, the Foundation for Inspired Learning, and a few other truly marvelous gifts to humanity.) “Peter,” I said in a moment of confusion and anxiety, “I feel like I’m always out here on the end of a limb. It’s tiring and scary. The limb is always moving around and I don’t see how it’s capable of holding me up. I feel like I’m always on the edge without a net. Why am I always at the end of the limb?”
With the opportunity of a question finally present, my Guydes chimed in, “Because it’s always growing.” I nearly dissolved into tears, relief mixed with sadness. Relief that there was an obvious answer, and sadness because I was so exhausted from living way out there in the middle of nowhere. Peter, sweet, kind, intuitive soul that he is, caught that something big had just happened.
I had that moment of wanting to go live at the trunk of the tree, back there where it’s stable and safe. Deep down, I was actually glad to realize I was at the end of a limb, which meant there was a branch, which was connected to something really stable, which meant I really hadn’t been dangling, disconnected, out there in midair all along.
As I absorbed the bigger picture, I realized I couldn’t live at the trunk of the tree, because I loved being out on the end of the limb where I could see everything. The view is stunning! The possibilities are endless!
That afternoon’s speaker was Jayne Warrilow of Resonant Coaching. As she took the stage, I had no idea how much my life was about to change. She began to talk about Edgewalkers. As she spoke, I felt she had turned me inside out and put me on display, in the gentlest and most respectful of ways. She had the words for everything I was experiencing. Someone understood me! Beyond that, she had data to indicate that I was far from alone.
She also educated us about other types who are not so comfortable with Edgewalkers. I began to understand the effect I have had on people, and why they tend to be so uncomfortable with me. Her presentation helped me to normalize my experiences. I stopped feeling like something was “wrong” with me, and began to appreciate my uniqueness even more.
Thanks to Jayne, and to Judi Neal who coined the term before it was delivered into Jayne’s soul, the likes of me (and maybe you) have a niche, a place to call home, and kindred souls who know that we are not so strange as we once thought. If you’re resonating with this conversation, stay tuned. There promises to be much more about Edgewalking in my future!