Personal Stories of Meaningful Work

Integrative Career Counseling has allowed me to see and hear the myriad ways people experience work, how the work we do affects our development and our view of our selves. My own work continues to enlighten me on the extent to which innate capacities, personal values, purposeful striving and the desire to be a valuable part of something impact the motivation, definition, decisions and challenges people face in the work they do and wish to do. My experiences in counseling inspired me to create this Interview section to highlight personal expressions and experiences of work. I thank the many individuals who share their perspectives and reflections in these interviews.

  • Interviews with Britt-Mari Sykes PhD
    Interviews with Britt-Mari Sykes PhD

    Lisa J. Weiss

    10/16/2019

    Evolutionary Alchemist, Founder - I of the Storm Coaching and Consulting
    Ottawa, Canada

    Every coach brings unique perspectives, skills and experiences to their work with individual clients. Lisa J. Weiss, founder of I of the Storm speaks with me about how she assists clients to discover the many personal ways they can transform the relationships in their lives. As she states, “Relationships are great sources of meaning in our lives. This is the fertilizer of our evolution”.

    BMS

    You describe yourself as an “Evolutionary Alchemist”. How does this phrase describe you personally and how does it inform the underlying philosophy of your coaching and consulting business, I Of The Storm?

    LJW

    Evolution. I know that I’m always evolving. Evolution is a force present, whether we’re aware of it or not. Life is inherently about relationships. They can be our greatest teacher in our path of growth. Relationships are great sources of meaning in our lives. This is the fertilizer of our evolution. When we do not work with this force, we lose meaning and our evolution lacks fulfillment and can create a sense of isolation. As we evolve, our relationships with others and life evolves. When we seek to grow and change, we must come to know and trust in our ability to change ourselves from the inside out. Evolution demands change and change can happen on many levels. It’s my belief, when real change happens it takes place at a cellular level. We are physically not the same person. That to me is alchemy. 

    Alchemy. Alchemy involves magic. For me, magic is science that we cannot yet explain. When we think of an alchemist, images of wizards, witches and sorcerers come up and we don’t consider science as part of the process. At its heart alchemy is a transformation process. When something shifts into a new state. In the past, the process was turning lead into gold. I of the Storm Coaching and Consulting embodies the mystery and magic of alchemy of personal growth. My work weaves together science and magic to bring about fundamental change in people’s connection with themselves and others. I model, teach and coach people how to consider and invite their emerging SELF into being. It’s magical to bear witness to the transformations. As I say on my website, we explore the “I” – that is, your Self, how you understand your Self, how you move your Self through the world, how you engage with others, how you feel, know, learn, lead and carry on; and how you integrate …
    Being the I of ‘the Storm’. – Consider that the storm is all that swirling, mysterious, messy, wonderful, internal and external energy running through and around us. What many people simply call ‘life’. When we make friends with our SELF as this force & learn how to relate to ourselves and others from a deep connection with this force, alchemy happens & we evolve.

     
    BMS

    The transformative power and art of conversation is an important area of your business and how you help your clients. Can you comment on this further by describing the specific work you do to help successful career individuals reconnect with their loved ones?

    LJW

    It all begins with a conversation. We’re often having conversations in our head that never see the light of day. Our intellect loves story and all the conversations we have inside ourselves is a brilliant strategy to keep us exactly where we are. There is great relief when we give voice to these conversations, out loud, and in the presence of another person. In many ways the conversations offer a peeling of an onion approach to getting at the roots of what’s happening with a person’s experience of connection. A major part of the process for me is to engage in conversations until what I call ‘the wave of information’ moves. These are all the bodily sensations (energy), what most refer to as emotions, that rise-up. When this happens, we stop talking. I then guide my clients through a process that invites them to let their body do all the processing of the energy and information. It’s a real switch from what we’ve been taught. Often when these sensations come up in conversation, we’re taught to stop them. They feel uncomfortable, inappropriate or sometimes just plain scary. Whether by changing the conversation, eating or by some other external substance or distracting the body in some other way. We’re not taught how to welcome them and how to view the intelligence they carry for us. In our connections with others, we develop many different strategies of relating to one another when these sensations show up for us. 

    When we release ourselves from the stories in our head we gain access to, and connect much deeper with, our true SELF. When we regain a deep connection with our selves, we’re able to connect more deeply with others. The result for my clients, they are able to connect at a much deeper level with their loved ones. Whether that be children, siblings, friends, parents or partners. Part of the releasing requires awareness. 

    I guide people through processes that help them to see and own their patterns of thinking and to develop an understanding around how these same patterns connect to their emotions, triggers and reactions. Once awareness occurs, then the choice presents. They are supported to choose and experiment with authoring a new story. It’s like learning a new dance, and because it’s about having lived experiences after a session, they go and live what they discovered. Often this means they have very different conversations with the people in their lives. It’s an invitation, and adjustment, for everyone, and every time it creates a bigger space for people to connect at a much deeper level. It’s not always pretty, or fun, but wow, in the end most could not imagine how their relationships change in such a short space of time.

     
    BMS

    You help your clients to access and work with the tremendous amount of information that our physical bodies hold. Can you describe the importance this information has for a personal process of reconnection?

    LJW

    The body is the keeper of information and experiences. Often, generations of information and experiences. It’s running a string of reactions and responses that may have nothing to do with what is actually happening in the here and now. And yet where do we go when we’re faced with an issue or problem? We try and ‘think’ our way out of stuff only to find ourselves right back where we started. I’m going to say 98% of the time the information we are looking for is in our body. Yet we were not taught how to engage or own it. We are not taught that what moves inside of us belongs to us. When my clients learn to take ownership of their ‘feelings and emotions’ (energy in tissue), what I refer to as sensations, and release themselves from the stories they’ve created about the sensations, it creates more space for them to be with and move through the intensity of what is happening. They are no longer afraid, of themselves or others. It’s a process of recognizing that our body is not the enemy. When we make friends with the body, our mind and body can work together, versus being at odds in our relationships with our Selves and other(s). 

    Once my clients experience a new way to relate to the sensations in their body, they show up in relationship authentically and become the invitation for the people in their lives to know there is another way to engage. It can be very discombobulating at first. Eventually they discover that they can have open, honest, clear and direct conversations about what is happening inside of them, which creates a space for each person to connect to themselves, and each other, differently and often more deeply. It does require willingness from all who are involved. One person cannot do all the work. In order to reconnect with another person we must first be willing to reconnect with our Self, and that begins with us reconnecting with the information stored in the body.