THE BLOG

The Science of Possibility

Nov 07, 2013 | Updated Jan 23, 2014

I don't know the family I'm about to tell you about, nor am I associated with the foundation. I was just so moved by what they have created in the face of "reality" -- I simply wanted people to take notice, stand and support.

I am a sobbing mess.

I just watched Life According To Sam, a documentary that follows the story of Sam Berns, a teenager born with an extremely rare genetic disease called progeria. It's the "premature aging" disease, in which few people live beyond 13 years old, and most die from heart attacks and strokes because their blood vessels are those of elderly adults. Mental capacity remains normal, so mentally, these children are 13 years old. Physically, they are 80.

There is no known cure. No known cure.

And yet, Sam's parents did not accept this as their only reality.

Why am I writing about this? In my previous career, I worked with some really smart folks. World-class brilliant people in all areas. When I told them I was becoming a life coach, their reactions were a mix of vague support and uncertainty as to what I was actually doing with my life. And to be honest -- in the beginning -- I wasn't always sure either. I often asked myself: "Am I making the right choice?"

Yet, the more I delve into the work of life coaching, the more I experience stories like that of the Berns family. In the span of 12 years, they created a foundation to support research, discovered the progeria gene (they are physicians), and had a drug delivered to market to treat the disease. Anyone in healthcare can attest that this is an unprecedented and "impossible" accomplishment. How did they do it? I assert that it's because:

  • They had a powerful "for what" -- to save the life of their son and other children (and families) suffering from progeria.
  • They did not accept their circumstances as "fixed" -- yes, there are facts that correspond with their situation, and the facts only define what is, not what is possible.
  • They rallied support around them -- Sam's aunt left her high-powered legal career to run the foundation.
  • They worked their asses off to meet impossible deadlines.

I don't know if the Berns family worked with a coach. That's really not the point. Nor am I here to sell you on hiring a life coach. I'm just struck by this extremely powerful example of seeing (and believing in) possibility where no one else does.

Hopefully, none of my clients will face what the Berns family faces, but I do hope they all take something from the Berns' story. The "impossible" things my clients are creating aren't any less miraculous because even the smallest of challenges can loom large. Beyond the "woo woo" language that peppers the transformational field, seeing the possibilities in a "reality" that quite emphatically tells you that something is impossible -- that's the work of coaching.

The Berns family simply demonstrates the work in a scientific context.

This is why I chose to coach.

I invite you to consider the possibilities (and please, support their miraculous work).