My Everest


I spent a week in Singapore at an intensive coach training program.

This is what I learned…

A few months ago, after Steve climbed to Everest Basecamp, he urged me to find my Everest.  After some soul searching, I declared life/corporate coach training was it.  I have always been drawn to the space and it felt like a pretty cool way to acquire skills that will help me become a better leader, culture player and all around good human.  I crave continuous growth and want to keep obtaining marketable skills that will make me more kick-ass than ever.  

After talking to people in the space and Googling like a madwomen, I decided on a program that offered an intensive program with upcoming dates in either Portland or Singapore.  

I chose Portland and went to tell Steve I was going to go for it.  Immediately he asked why Portland?  I said I wanted to travel to a place with like-minded individuals that felt like home.  He said that is exactly why I should do the program in Singapore.  He pushed me to embrace this once in a lifetime experience, take advantage of a global perspective and reminded me I have ALWAYS wanted to see Singapore.  I reluctantly agreed, not being able to shake the feeling that Portland just felt, well, like a safer option.

Fast forward to a week ago when I arrived in Singapore close to midnight.  I had packed a weeks worth of dust masks because of the air quality I had been so closely monitoring over the past month due to the fires in Indonesia.  I hopped in my hotel shuttle, strapped on my mask, and with eyes wide open I took in the iconic buildings with awe, as we drove though the city.  I got to the hotel, checked in and went to sleep with my mask on.  

That morning, I awoke.  The sky was blue and the air was clean.  I realized it was time to drop my guard, let go of any anxiety and embrace the experience ahead.

On Day 1, I thanked my lucky stars I was paired with the most incredible women.  Two soul sisters from completely different backgrounds.  One a CEO of a global organization in India, one an ex-investment banker living in Singapore to give her daughter the best education she could.  And together we were a force.  We experienced skepticism, Ah-ha’s, No-Duhs, push back and openness together. 

As we lead each other through mock coaching sessions, we were vulnerable about our whole selves.  We laughed hard and had each other’s back every step of the way with nothing but mutual respect.  Two women, from different parts of the world…more alike than different.  They were like-minded individuals that felt like home. 

And as we learned and coached and learned and coached one piece of the puzzle resonated with me above all:

There is incredible power in listening, really listening, without judgement and believing the person across from you holds their own answers.  

So many times when we sit down with colleagues, friends or family and they share, we come right back at them with advice.  In fact, we stop listening as we prepare our response in our own minds.  Or we fire back with our own stories to show them they are not alone, when in that moment it needs to be about them.  But, if we hold space and let them know we’ve got their back then - BOOM - magic happens.  Their truth is uncovered.  How powerful is that?

Each evening, after a full day of learning, I would set out to explore the city of Singapore with a lightness in my step.  Walking miles and miles with my eyes and heart open, taking it all in.  I once heard you can tell a tourist from a local, cause a tourist looks up and boy did I look up.  I took in every building and every tree.  I ate all the foods and smelled all the smells and a city I once thought was like a beautiful woman with lots of plastic surgery but no depth, couldn’t have been further from the truth.  As I roamed from Little India, to Chinatown, to Arab Street there was so much culture.  And the modern design of the architecture inspired me.  And the green, all that green…green in the most unexpected places, made my soul happy.  So clean and so safe and so appreciated by this solo female traveler.  

On this trip, I fell in love with Singapore, I fell in love with my coaching partners in crime and fell in love with myself as something beyond the titles of Mom and Wife.  I feel so very blessed for moments like this, when the routine of life gets stripped away, you are pushed to a place that feels a bit uncomfortable and come out feeling more alive than ever.  

Melissa BertlingComment