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A Bird With Clipped Wings

Coach Viktor Sághy by Viktor Sághy
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Early in my coaching journey, I met a very special person.

At the time, I loved to do what I call "rouge coaching".
(Not a professional expression here, I’m just messing around) XD

Rouge coaching is when you coach in creative places, often in places where the circumstances are not ideal. I did coaching in busy coffee houses, on streets, on park benches, and on super fancy hotel lounges.

The secret to coaching anywhere is to create a strong container through mutual agreement and presence. A coaching bubble if you like. An aura that closes everyone and everything else out.

Amongst the places, there was a particular place I liked. A fancy hotel lounge with white walls and a wide variety of teas. I did quite a lot of coaching there. It had a nice, warm atmosphere. The staff greeted me by name and protected the sacred space for our work.

I reckon they had no idea what we were doing there, but they must have sensed there was something special going on.
One day, a young man showed up. I will call him Sam.

Imagine the sweetest young guy with a kind, open face and a bit shy posture.

He said: *"…H-hi!"*
I said *"Hi"* and gave a firm hand.
He gave his.
It was a "half-handshake". He gave his hand but didn’t really. A half-handshake. I took a mental note.
Then I invite him to sit down and have a glass of water if he’d like. He takes a sip and we start talking.

We’re warming up the conversation while setting up the mentioned "coaching bubble." A nice atmosphere emerges around us, shutting everything and everyone else out. Shortly thereafter, we sense a genuine human connection. I asked him;

*"So, Sam, what brought you here today?"*
He sits. Silence. His posture is slouched. He was looking down at his hands and just sat, frozen. I sat with him for long...very long minutes. He slowly opens his hands revealing it like you would reveal a bird with clipped wings. We're looking at his hands. Two of his fingers are section shorter. Nothing major in my opinion, but I see, that it's a life-defining burden for Sam. I take his hands into my hands.

*"I understand."*

We felt human.

Imagine the sweetest, cleverest young guy. Full of potential, believing that he wouldn’t be able to fly because he had clipped wings. It affected every part of his life. He always wore long-sleeved hoodies and never left any trousers pockets empty. On dates, holding hands was out of the question. And a firm handshake at a job interview was not a possibility either. Imagine... Just imagine, what a source of insecurity this could be for a young man. Imagine this life without a change.

In the presence of the coaching bubble, an unexplainable clarity emerges.

We’re holding hands...

And I say, *"I think these are completely normal hands."*

We look down. None of us denies what we see. They aren't normal hands, but THEY ARE!!! We stared at it...and it all just made sense:


We do.
It’s so profound and relatable. I’m sure that you GET IT too!

We all have clipped wings.

I stuttered severely till my late twenties. I always felt like an outcast, or at least different. For a long time, I believed that I wouldn’t be able to do many public speaking or having a good relationship. In secondary school, one of my teachers told me, out of genuine concern; "Viktor, I really hope you find a very understanding partner, you know...because of your stuttering."

Others have different reasons to believe that their wings are clipped. That they can’t fly, do stuff, or create things! No one grew up with an intact wing.

But in the same way, we realised it with Sam, it’s all just a mirage...

...Our wings are not clipped at all. We have just been carrying this story everywhere we go.

Of course, we can’t deny that certain events have a certain impact. However, the impact is frequently far less influential than our story about it. There is much more possibility in our life than we give credit to. It’s simply our stories that hold us back not the impact.

And stories can be changed or let go.

In other words, we can always make the most out of what we have. And what we have is actually quite a lot!

We ended our session with Sam. I asked him to check back with me in a week.

It didn’t take a week. Two days later, I received a message from him. He ditched the long hoodies and started to wear shirts. He ditched the shyness and joined a public speaking club.

Since then, Sam continued his studies in another country with top grades. In photos, he is grabbing onto friends, with no shame. And I like to believe that he has also had many dates, holding hands and firm handshakes.

His case is so much of a lesson for all of us. We all have our own clipped wings; our insecurities, doubts, fears, and valid reasons why we can’t fly. However, these are merely stories.

And stories can be changed or let go.

Change is possible. It all starts with one deep conversation.

From the bottom of my heart,

Viktor Sághy

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