Group coaching for Generational Activists

Generational activist (noun): a person working to resolve tension between family expectations and personal fulfillment. Respectfully deviates from cultural and societal norms, offering others a pathway to do the same. Might pursue an alternative career, defy gender / sexuality mores, or be the first in their family to attend therapy. Likely a member of an immigrant diaspora or otherwise “third culture kid.”

Group coaching is a powerful container for both personal transformation and community-building. Together, we will ask questions like:

  • How can I honor my family’s sacrifices while walking my own path?
  • What does it mean to have a relationship of abundance with money?
  • What are the internal pressures I feel towards “success,” and how do I want to define it for myself?
  • How do I want to relate to risk and uncertainty? How much exposure to risk is appropriate for me?
  • How can I balance personal safety with a desire to be of service?

The next group will comprise 8 members — we’ll meet on Zoom over six 2-hour sessions (PT) in April and May. Reach out if you want to learn more!

I’m in this picture

I decided to define Generational Activist to describe the challenges I faced on my own personal journey towards becoming a coach and artist.

I’ve been map-making my entire adult life, but it wasn’t an easy path to claim. When I decided to break from a software engineering career towards one that spoke directly from my innermost desire, I felt totally blocked. I struggled to feel okay with walking away from security. I felt the pressure of my family on my back: the same family that insisted I attend a top university and pursue a legible path. The family that had put so much effort into raising me with financial, educational, material resources that they didn’t have.

I felt I owed them, and yet I was choosing to do something wholly illegible and risky. Wasn’t I guaranteed to disappoint them?

I had no intellectual reason to doubt my family’s support towards me: I was encouraged to pursue creative interests, and both my parents are entrepreneurs! More than anything, my family fiercely defends my happiness and growth. And yet, I found myself paralyzed from taking actions that would further my expression as a creative. Whenever I imagined telling someone what I was hoping to do for work, my body would tense up and my voice would get soft.

I wish I’d talked more with people about this.

things do get easier

I’ve been lucky to have a lot of community support on this topic. I saw from talking to others the ways that revealing who I was and what I prioritized — at times in opposition to my family’s image of me — created closeness with them. Together with others, I started to experiment with how I relate to my family.

It’s still an active effort to explore and explain the ways my path differs from what my parents expect. But what’s resulted is greater trust between us, and therefore more sharing as well. As I claim more of my life, I’ve realized just how many of my internal blocks were upheld by my perception of my parents, rather than what they actually imposed on me. I learned to communicate across this generational divide, and when necessary, process and release my own expectations towards my family.

I’m still on this journey of discovery and growth, but I’m actively engaging with the shame, fear of failure, and scarcity mentality I was raised to think were essential to excellence. And I look forward to unpacking more in the the context of this group.

how does group coaching work?

Group coaching differs from individual work in a few key ways. First, it’s a community space as much as it is a transformational one. This offers us unique opportunities: we can learn to hold these topics with one another, unpacking common threads as well as our unique perspectives and experiences. This group isn’t as intense an emotional or financial commitment as individual coaching, which means it’s a softer entry-point towards engaging with this work. Finally, in a group we all have permission to cultivate relationships and accountabilty structures that extend beyond the coaching container.

My facilitation style is not strict agendas or strong direction of the room: I hope to speak roughly as much as anyone else in our sessions, while subtly guiding of the flow of energy towards emergence, connection, and meaning. I hope to do this in ways that empower each participant to take this role as well. While I’m responsible for the space itself, we can all take pride and accountability for what happens inside it.

For every coaching group, I give the disclaimer that “I don’t quite know what this is, yet.” In many ways this reflects my philosophy that each group is a mirror for the specific participants who have chosen to make it. I know some folks believe that the certainty of schedule is what gives a container its power, and with my work I hope to serve folks who believe that the specific people who enter the room and the intentions they set together give the container its power.

If you were to join, I’d invite you to ask yourself: What’s my vision for the space? What questions am I holding? Who might I be after an experience like this?

I’ve been doing this kind of community building and facilitation for many years, in the classroom, in festival settings, in 1:1 coaching. But this group will be a prototype, an exploration, a work of community art. How we frame the space and what I ask for from each of you (payment, time commitment, etc.) will also reflect that.

Come play with us ☺️