October 29, 2021
by Allison Iantosca
We went apple picking earlier this month. Well, kind of. Let me back up.
First of all, it’s October. And though I would swear on every fall prior to this one that October is the prime apple picking month, apparently it’s not. It’s too late. I do remember that September is too early but October is definitely too late. This happens to me from time to time. This thing where I miss the magic memo that tells the other good souls (usually maternal and beautiful with angelic children and the right sunglasses) when is prime time for an event or happening to which one should take one’s children. I almost always feel duped; like I tried to show up but it didn’t work out. If I had only known. If I only had gone last weekend instead. If I only had her children and her sunglasses.
Alas. I was feeling pretty happy that my oldest, now fifteen, took the opportunity into consideration at all. I’m not sure what either of us expected as the idea erupted from my lips but we went with it. Time constraints forced us closer meaning smaller orchards…AKA no hayrides, no cider donuts and, well, it turns out, no apples. Kind of hilarious truth be told. The two of us set upon a memory making outing only to find ourselves with an empty half peck bag in a tree grove that seemed to serve as half a front yard to the family farmhouse. If the miniature trees weren’t so already beleaguered and bare from previous parties, we might have felt we were trespassing.
I wasn’t sure if the lesson was best taught to go back and haggle for a better return on our $32 investment or to snipe the remaining cooking apples on the last tree in the far back corner and support the local farming effort. We went with the latter and returned home with unexpected memories that may have staying power over the years for the anomaly of the experience. A reminder of what not to do. Perhaps, in the end, that is my maternal contribution. There is always a story, that’s for sure.
As it turns out, I have quite a little collection of these stories going. If I am honest with myself, more often than not, it’s because I have to keep moving. There isn’t time to slow down and make the perfect choice; any choice that honors an idea is sometimes all I’ve got. It seems to work out for the most part. Besides, slowing down to choose with precision sometimes leaves out the perchance. But I suppose we do make choices about how we make a choice constantly; otherwise we would just be standing still. It’s just that sometimes it feels like the choices are happening to us versus us happening to them.
I hear this from executive level leaders all the time. Many of my clients don’t feel like they have the time to choose; they just end up somewhere and then have to make the best of it. It’s part of their charm and skill set for sure! But it can be very hard. And when too many of these choices happen all at once, it can be even more difficult to untangle the threads to discover what they were going for in the first place.
In coaching, we slow down. Even just for one session. Slow down enough to begin to untangle. To begin to follow the thread of choice. To ask if we still like the thread and to discover how we might, with intention, weave it in a different way. It’s never a beginning or an ending. It’s a process of discovery that allows the greatest of leaders to be who they want to be by starting with who they are. Even if its only to acknowledge how they go about choosing to make a choice in the first place.
We already have in us everything we need to navigate and lead; sometimes we just need a little help to find everything…and a good pair of sunglasses never hurts.
Allison Iantosca is a Gestalt International Study Center (GISC) trained coach certified by ICF with extensive leadership and management experience. She is an Executive Coach and is the Owner and President of Boston based FH Perry Builder.
*Photo Credit Aaron Burden