Life is a potluck, what are you bringing?

I grew up in Minnesota where potlucks are the staple (our bread and butter). The majority of the country, unfamiliar with Midwest intricacies, thinks little exists of our culture outside of casserole dishes. An accurate, but tiny sliver or a much richer community. In my hometown, you’d be hard pressed to find a wedding registry that didn’t include multiple crockpots. Family and community gatherings evolve into endless discussions of who brought what food, the meticulous details of how it was prepared, and the stories behind how we landed on that particular dish for this occasion. The culinary delights we bring evolve into our brands. It is the real deal.

Think about that. Life is a culmination of interactions. Interactions with yourself (yes, you have a relationship with yourself), those around you, and your broader community. Some are small like the morning routine with your barista and some have greater consequence. That saying - life is a potluck, what are you bringing - is a valuable reminder to be conscious of how you are showing up to life. This is important in brief interactions and big events.

When you show up to places or relationships, people notice what you are bringing. The way you show up becomes part of who you are - your personal brand. The stakes are high and the beauty is that each of us have a choice in how we show up. What we bring to life’s little potluck.

The most macro view of the Co-Active coaching model has two considerations:

  1. Co - being
  2. Active - doing

Life is a potluck, what are you bringing - a play on these two concepts. It uses something active (the dish that we bring to the party) to highlight a deeper consciousness of being (who we are).

When clients ask me what coaching is at its essence, I describe it as a two-step process.

  1. You learn more about who you are in this present moment
  2. You move into action towards the things you want in your life

Both components are crucial to successful coaching. It’s natural for clients to want to skip over the first step and move straight into action. The value of understanding ourselves doesn’t often provide an immediate high the way action can. You know you need to prepare a dish (doing) but if you do so without considering what that dish represents about you or thinking through why you are bringing a particular dish (being) you will not build the skills to decide what dish you want to bring next time. You will just bring the same dish because it’s easy. You will solidify your brand without any conscious thought around doing so.

You lost the opportunity to connect with the action.

Action is meaningful when you create the time to get centered on the meat - the why. If you understand what you are honoring in yourself when you take a particular action or the impact you are intending to have in doing so, you also create a tool to evaluate your actions to make more informed decisions in the future. It creates the barometer to invest time and action into things that are important to you. That support your life’s purpose. That fit into the larger picture of the life you are creating.

Next time you are called to action, pause to check in with yourself about what it represents about who you are. Life is a potluck, what are you bringing?