When I sought a name and icon for my coaching and consulting practice, the image of the Chambered Nautilus surfaced again and again for me. The reason wasn’t obvious until I did some research and discovered that our human experience of learning and growth reflects the life experience of the Chambered Nautilus.
The pearly nautilus is born with only 4 chambers. As this sea creature matures, she outgrows one chamber and creates a new one for herself. Over her lifespan, she moves from one chamber to the next, creating an exquisite shell along the way. By adulthood, she inhabits a smooth, coiled shell about 10 inches in diameter, consisting of about 30 chambers. Scientists believe the nautilus lives approximately 20 years engaged in this pattern of growth, expansion, and beauty.
My clients have taught me that our coaching relationship mirrors the connection that exists between the Chambered Nautilus and her shell. In our coaching sessions, clients identify their values, dreams, and goals. They wrestle and play with provocative questions that ignite their growth. They make shifts in perspective that enable them to take more powerful action in their lives. They outgrow their protective shells and shed them so they can lead more fulfilling personal and professional lives. Read Oliver Wendell Holmes’ poem, The Chambered Nautilus, for a moving description of how our human condition illustrates the experience of the chambered nautilus.
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