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May 5, 2014

Taking the Longview: Interview with Megan Murphy

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Growth and change are inevitable. Megan Murphy embodies this truth in her professional and personal life. She has carved a brave path toward identity, over and over again. She let go of who she ought to be in order to make room for exploring who she is;  a journey focused on expnading self awareness and nurturing interpersonal relationships. I had the pleasure to sit down with Megan and pick her brain as well as discuss our shared purpose drivers.

Will Denton: Tell me about your journey. How did you get to where you are now?

Megan Murphy: Alright, well it took me quite a while to get to where I am today, three lives in fact. In my first life I was a professional ballet dancer, in New York City. I really loved dancing with other people. I’ve worked really closely, both physically and creatively with other people in that first life. Then I moved into my second life — marriage. I got married to a creative, an actor and a director in Hollywood. I tried to keep dancing, but I got pregnant and then I got pregnant again. Living two lives proved too taxing on me, so I chose to be a full-time mom and I am very proud of my children.

Towards the end of this married life, I hit a midlife crisis. As it turns out, I met a woman and fell madly in love with her. And thus began my third life which required changing everything. I was forced to think, “What the hell am I going to do now?” So I went back to school. I got my coaching certificate because of my passion for interpersonal connection. The practice of coaching is beautiful because you’re listening and you’re asking questions, in order to draw out a deeper meaning.

WD: It’s inspiring to hear your journey.  What were some of your impediments along this path toward purpose?

MM: As I look back over everything, I realized I just had to gather the courage to do what I needed to do. I really had somebody guiding me, a higher power. Before I made this huge transition, I started creatively to do things that were really pushing the boundaries. I’m sure a lot of people were like, “Oh my God. I can’t believe she’s doing that.” I needed to keep pushing the boundaries because life demanded many sharp turns. I think that my life journey is giving me purpose. So if I can connect with people and I can help them kind of uncover their journey, that makes me feel so good.

WD: I can really resonate with that. I find a lot of meaning in being able to connect with someone on that very empathic individual level. What are some of your purpose moments?

MM: So I have a beautiful relationship which challenges the shit out of me. But it’s so worthwhile because she doesn’t give me the soft easy answer, and I always think, “God damn it she’s right.”

I am veracious about Personal growth. It is like my mantra. I’m doing a plank challenge right now; to get up to five minutes. Some people ask, “Why do you do it? Why do you challenge yourself like that?” I like building that relationship with myself. I think that life will call on that strength. And I want to have it because life gets gnarly sometimes, right?

Being of service to something bigger than myself brings me a lot purpose as well. I work part-time as a writing tutor at SUNY Empire which is populated by adults who are coming back to school. Many of them are challenged by life. Some of them have kids, they’re working and they’re trying to go to school. It is deeply rewarding to sit with them and listen. People just want to be listened to and the biggest contribution I can make is just being present for somebody else.

WD: I can really resonate on that same note, just being able to be a loving witness. And you don’t always have to have the right answer.

MM: And most of the time Will, actually, the work is not having the answer. Because as soon as we are nailing down an answer, we’re dead. We’re no longer listening, it’s just about really understanding this is how it is right now.

WD: I was wondering if you had any final thoughts you would want to let our readers know?

MM: Well, I guess it would just be about purpose right? I mean, I deeply believe that everybody has a purpose. And I also deeply believe that they carry it within them. And so doing the sometimes difficult work of doing nothing and sitting and learning to be with one’s self, that is going to be the quickest road to sort of figuring out what your purpose is I think. And doing things that make you feel really alive and connected.

My conversation with Megan was a reminder that purpose is not a destination, it is a journey. It is a process of self reflection through continual growth and experimentation. The people in our lives encourage and guide this meandering path. Megan’s coaching philosophy reflects the idea of deepening one’s center by sharpening one’s edge. To learn more about her practice, please visit http://meganmurphy.com/

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