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  • Writer's pictureSue Bowles

A Step Ahead

I sat in church in 2015 while the pastor spoke about growth. He posed the question, “What does it take to help the person behind you?” The answer? “You only have to a step ahead.”

That phrase stuck with me like a fly on a flytrap. It is the foundation for my DBA, My Step Ahead. It started with a website. Then it became the DBA for my Life Coaching business. And now, it’s just fact.

Today I found myself with opportunity to live “you only have to be a step ahead to help the person behind you.” I was in a conversation with someone who lost a loved one recently. The person knows my story. In fact, today is six months to the day since Mom passed on October 5, 2020, also a Monday. The person knew my story and was concerned the conversation might be hard for me.

Toward the end of our time my conversation partner began to ask questions about the funeral home, what services they would provide, etc. I was cognizant that I was speaking of things that just a few months prior I had lived. The hard conversations at the funeral home. Reading the obituary carefully crafted from points shared just ten minutes prior. Casket or cremation. Funeral home or off-site for the service. As I heard words coming forth from my mouth, I had the video playing in my head of my story.

As I left the home where we talked, the phrase ran through my head as I thought of what just happened. “You only have to be a step ahead to help the person behind you.” I just lived that.

I am not far in my grief journey. In many ways I have only just begun to deal with the intense emotions I feel. I finally went on a deep dive with my counselor. The person with whom I spoke is just beginning the journey. I don’t have it all figured out, but I could share the little I’ve learned so far.

I heard “I’m being strong for everyone else”, to which I said, “You don’t have to be the strong one. It’s okay to not be okay.” The person began to sob in my arms saying, “I can’t do it anymore. I’m tired of being the strong one.” We talked about self-care, available resources, and giving grace to oneself.

As I reflect on the experience today, it drove home the truth of what I have been saying to people for a year: you only have to be a step ahead to help the person behind you, and it’s okay to not be okay.

What misconceptions do you have when it comes to helping someone? Does Imposter Syndrome whisper in your ear, tempting you to stay silent when you have something worthwhile to share? Do you doubt your ability to help someone else when you feel you don’t have it all together or all figured out?

I am here to remind’s okay to not be okay. You don’t have to be the strong one. You don’t have to hide your questions, fears, or doubts. Strength is shown in sharing your humanity. Ask your questions. Cry your tears. Stare into the silence. Let your mind process as it needs to. Draw your boundaries, build in self-care, and give yourself a lot of grace. Growth is painful. Take time to rest along the journey. And as you are able, share your knowledge with another when there is opportunity. In the sharing there is healing. You only have to be a step ahead to help the person behind you. As long as you keep moving, you will be ahead of someone, just as someone else will be ahead of you. It’s a process, and you have something to offer. The world is better when you share it.

As a Master Certified Life Coach, I specialize in helping people take the 'next step' in their journeys. It would be my honor to walk a few steps with you. For a free 15 minute consultation, click here.

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