A Message from our Founder and President, Elena Aguilar
A desire to leave the earth a better place than when I arrived is what has always compelled me. I became a coach because I hoped it would be a way to positively impact more children than I could as a classroom teacher. I began writing, and then delivering workshops and consulting and training, because I want to find channels for big impact.
I have some insights about teaching and learning and teams, about how to listen to and ask questions, about what to do in the face of fear and resistance—and I want to share those insights. No use keeping them to myself: We have a planet to rescue).
(For as long as I can remember, I’ve held what’s called a systems thinking approach—I perceive, understand, and am
curious about the interconnectedness between events and people. And also, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been heartbroken by the violence inflicted upon people and our earth’s land and creatures. There is so much beauty on this planet—from the human creations of music and art to the macaw parrots in the rainforest and the translucent waters of the Caribbean and the flavor of a mango: this planet is remarkable.
A long, long time ago I landed on education as the answer—if people only knew, I thought, they would do something. That became my theory of action: fill the knowledge gaps, teach the skills to change the world, and one day, we might all have access to the beauty and wealth of this gorgeous planet.)
My visions have always been large. I am up before dawn, I love strong espresso, and like Thoreau, I aspire to suck the marrow out of life. I’m here to get stuff done and also to play and delight in what humans and nature have made. (I am also passionate about vacations: I work hard and then disconnect completely.)
Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, “Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.” What I have found is that my reach extends far beyond the tips of my fingers, infinitely farther than I could ever imagine. It is satisfying beyond description to know that my work, my singular little life, has reached people in places as far as Nairobi, as well as an indeterminate number in my own neck of the woods. It is my responsibility to explore my reach.
These evocative words from Martha Graham guide me every day:
There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.
There is only one of me. How can I do what I do best? How can I have the greatest impact?
During the first year that I offered Art of Coaching workshops, I boiled the eggs for the morning snacks, assembled the photocopied packets, picked up coffee and bagels, and hauled supplies all over town. This was, as they say, “unsustainable.” When I came up for air, it was clear: I was not doing what only I do best. I could offer more if I did only what I do best.
The search for a team began. I found them or they were here all along or they found me. And the joy in the discovery was mutual, for they believe in this work, their vision aligns with mine—for mine is not mine alone, it was not mine to begin with—I’ve joined forces with many others.
I am a rather quiet and solitary person. I’ve struggled with this—what discomfort I’ve felt by my introversion and how I’ve longed to be extroverted. But I’ve always been far more sensitive to sounds, busyness and large groups of people; sensitive to emotions in others and full of them myself. I cry easily. I feel other people’s pain. I like to sit on the side and observe and listen. I need large quantities of time alone, or with just one or two others.
I love presenting workshops. I do. I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned, I learn from the questions I’m asked, I love meeting new people and uncovering our connections and commonalities. I appreciate hearing about how my writing has impacted others. And presenting workshops wipes me out.
I’m still working to accept my introversion, which has been easier as I’ve learned to manage my energy. I’ve learned that I’m limited in how many workshops I can present. And I’m accepting that for me to offer my unique contributions, I need time alone to write books or design workshops or script a speech. In those spaces of creation, I find myself in that elusive and exhilarating state of flow where I lose track of time and space and it’s this experience that I want for all other human beings—to feel transcendently purposeful and doing what only this singular composition of cells and consciousness can do. Every one of us deserves this experience.
With a team, under the banner of Bright Morning Consulting, I can do what I do best. With a team, we can share the concepts behind transformational coaching—compassion, community, curiosity, justice—with far more people than I can alone. What I have to offer will be far better with this team. And I believe that their unique offerings will be similarly enhanced and impactful. We will make each other better.
We have plans for online courses and a video series and podcasts and much more than I could ever do alone. I want to start a nonprofit to heal the deep wounds in our country that have been grotesquely exposed as a result of our last presidential election, to hold a space for us to come together and talk and listen and learn. I have visions of building a center in Costa Rica, (my second home; my father’s country) where I can host all of you in retreats that will rejuvenate and renew (and where you can also bask in the glories of this beautiful earth). In response to your requests, our workshop calendar is more extensive than ever before. We have new content and new workshops to share. We can say “yes” to far more invitations than ever before. And I will write more books and continue designing transformational learning experiences.
And: it’s going to be a lot more fun with a team. Because even though I’m an introvert, I do get lonely and I really like these people.
Know this about me also: I love people and I’m a hugger—I hug trees and humans and furry creatures. And so when we meet, if you are so inclined, a hug would be great.
Next time: Where did the name, Bright Morning, come from?