Welcome to this installment of The Wellness Universe’s ‘A Conversation With …’ interview series! Each week, we will feature interviews from some of our amazing WU World Changers so you can learn about who they are as a person, their profession, mission, and their why!’
Welcome to A Conversation with Patrick Williams –
Life and Leadership Coach, Author, and Trainer.
The Wellness Universe directory is a resource and community filled with Change-Makers, we call WU World-Changers (Wellness Universe World-Changers). Today we want to introduce you to our member, Patrick Williams.
Hello Patrick, will you please tell us about yourself?
I am an explorer and adventurer of living life fully. I seek adventure, albeit that has softened a bit as I reach ‘wise elder’ status. I am a dad, grandfather, involved in community volunteering. I play golf, pickleball, hike, and bike. I love living close to the Rocky Mountains and explore the outdoors frequently.
Patrick, what is it that inspires you?
Nature and mystery of the order of life. People in that view get out of synch with natures energy and when they do realize what is possible and then experience new ways of living, working and relating, that inspires me.
Will you please tell us what you call yourself and explain what it is that you do?
I am a Life and Leadership Coach, author, and trainer for the last 3 decades. I started professionally as a psychologist but really did not like seeing people as broken or as diagnostic labels…so coaching fit me better and I was one of the founding members of the International Coach Federation and have had a long career as a coach and in many leadership positions in the profession.
How exactly does that help someone?
Coaching is a special conversational space that allows someone to think what they have not thought, say what has not been said, and dream out loud with a committed listener. People realize their unique purpose and raison d’etre from coaching over time, and then find ways to live it more fully.
Why are you so passionate about helping people live more fully and authentically?
I had many mentors and influencers in my life and wanted to be that for others who might not have had such a supportive early life as I had. Everyone has a unique purpose and unique gifts, and I love assisting them in discovering what they are and how to live beyond mediocrity.
Did any specific life experience prompt you to follow this path?
Yes… but not a trauma or negative experience. I had many experiences of supportive teachers and my family and seeing, that others may not have. I wanted to be someone who could be a positive influence for those who felt wounded or scarred.
How long have you been doing this?
Professionally 40 years, 15 as a psychologist and 28 as a leadership coach. However, I was also the one people would come to share things; I was a good listener and positive influence from young adulthood, wanting to emulate mentors I had in my life.
Will you share a story of how you have made a difference in someone’s life?
I had a client whose progress illustrates how following the trail of envy can lead you to your deepest longing. After several years of coaching, I wrote some articles on retirement coaching—what I called “legacy” coaching. I targeted people who had either retired or were looking to shift their work to philanthropy or professional volunteering and thus create a living legacy. A 71-year-old widow came to me and said she wanted coaching. She said her husband had died two years earlier, and he had left her plenty of money to live without worry, but she felt something was missing. She wanted something meaningful in her life.
After some inquiry and asking a few apt powerful questions, I began to explore ideas with her.
I asked her if there were any dreams she had given up on or put on hold from earlier in her life. There was a long silence. She looked deep in reverie and then said yes. As a young girl, she had loved dance: ballet, jazz, ballroom, any kind of dance. But she got pregnant at age 20. She devoted herself to her homemaker duties, taking care of the kids, her husband, and the household.
Her dreams of dance got shelved and forgotten. She had not been asked these types of questions before, and I could see in her eyes and hear in her voice the younger woman she remembered. This was touching something deep within her. She was not incapable of absorbing this revelation, and it did not cause her to be broken in any way. But it did open up a long-buried dream that was truly an expression of her essence.
I asked, “How is dance in your life now? Do you attend dance performances?” She said yes, but she sometimes felt sad watching performances because it brought up such a yearning to dance. This was an area where she was feeling envy. I then asked, “Well why don’t you?” She replied, “You’re crazy. I’m too old!”
To be a coach is to believe in endless possibilities tempered with a dash of reality. I asked if there were dance classes in town that she could go to and enjoy the movement. The eventual outcome for this feisty woman was that she went dancing classes and loved them. Her teacher’s feedback was that she was better than women half her age, which of course she enjoyed hearing. But the best part was that she and a couple of younger women (in their 60s) formed a troupe that began doing dance recitals and dance therapy at nursing homes, schools, and churches in her area.
Boldly disclosing to me her cherished dream had opened the door to resuscitate it. At age 71, she rediscovered her dancer’s legs and her buoyant heart. We were both overjoyed with her creation, which got written up in the local paper and gave her joy for several more years. She stayed involved with her troupe and the dance world even after her movements became limited.
What’s next on the horizon for you?
I am developing online classes so many people can learn from my life’s work and apply it to their life where helpful. And I am focused on living life as vital as I can as I approach aging challenges and opportunities.
Thank you so much for sharing today, Patrick! Do you have any final thoughts?
Oscar Wilde said, “you might as well be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” I love helping people find who they are and how they can show up in the world.