As you may have gathered, I’m an overly analytical, always looking to understand myself better, constantly striving to reach the ever-raising bar of self-actualization, type of person. I’m kind of weird that way. I recognized a fellow weirdo in Mr. Joshua Barad as he spoke to my heart in a blog piece he wrote titled Why I’m Not Married – Even Though That Was My “Plan.”
As soon as I finished his article I put my google skills to use, trying to learn exactly what this man is all about. What I found was far cooler than I could have imagined. The dude has a coaching company called In The Middle Seat. You know why it’s called In The Middle Seat? Because the middle seat is the most uncomfortable seat, and it’s when we push ourselves to become uncomfortable that we find that we are in the best position to learn and grow from our vulnerability.
Can I get an “Amen?”
Yes, it’s true. I’ve wanted to hug this man from day one. And that’s saying a lot, because I’m really not a hugger.
I’ve spent quite a few hours on on the phone with Joshua for both one-on-one and group coaching sessions. And I’d be lying if I said he didn’t have an impact on the existence of this blog series, as well as a few more moments that have defined my last six months. Part of what keeps me coming back for more are his authenticity and his fearlessness. I mean seriously, he talks about crying in front of other men, he seems to wear his heart on his sleeve, and he will post a video of himself dancing in his living room on Facebook. All of that is pretty bad ass, if you ask me. Although, after speaking with him for this post, I learned that he’s not fearless at all. He’s just comfortable being uncomfortable. Which is even more awesome. And also, not terribly normal.
He had some really inspiring things to say when I got to sit down with him via Skype. Here are a few of his answers:
Me: What is your definition of weird?
Josh: Someone looking at you kind of sideways. If someone has a reaction to you like *head tilt,* I imagine that that would fall under “weird.”
Me: So what makes people look at you sideways?
Josh: Dancing in public makes me weird. And I don’t fully dance in public, but when I feel like there’s some level of safety I break it down in public and I let people see me. So that’s probably one. I think the fact that I in the last twenty-four hours I went to a yin yoga class which is really grounding and slow, and then I just took my first [freestyle] dance class. I don’t know. I feel like these things make me weird. I think just by gender it makes me weird that that’s what I do.
Me: How did you get into this coaching thing?
Josh: My life wasn’t weird enough. (awesome, answer, btw!) What feels the most true for me now is…like I was scared of everything in my life and I felt like the only way I’d be able to break through my own limitations was to put myself in a position that in order for me to support others, I would have to do it [for] myself. I its almost like built in accountability. That’s what got me into this work. That’s the most present answer. I think there’s definitely lines of always just wanting to help people. Which I find is not weird. It’s almost a universal thing that people experience.
Me: Why do you like to get uncomfortable?
Josh: Because of what it makes possible in my life. The act of it, I’m not an enthusiast of that. I don’t actually enjoy the process of the discomfort, but I love what’s on the other side. I just finished a dance class that I was feeling super uncomfortable about. A one-on-one dance class with a beautiful woman as my teacher, and I feel amazing now. I feel grounded. I feel empowered. I feel further able to express myself. Which I find are results of getting uncomfortable, almost always.
Dude. How amazing is that?? And how true. Getting uncomfortable can lead you to feel more grounded, empowered, and further able to express yourself.
What’s funny is that this conversation happened in the middle of March. Which was just as I was starting to put stuff together for this random idea of a series I had. I just told Tyler last week that I seem to feel a little bit more empowered and a little bit calmer every time I hit “publish” on a piece that makes me uncomfortable to share. As I transcribed my conversation with Joshua, I realized that his answer to my final question totally describes the way I feel, too. I imagine it would be pretty spot on for most of us.
So, here’s to choosing the middle seat, to getting uncomfortable, and of course to the amazing, dancing, crying, coaching, Joshua Barad.