The Joyful Turnaround of an Obligatory Life

Just a few years ago, Mark Richard’s life was defined by the busy-ness of supporting his family and running his company. Life at the time was “an obligatory life, it felt empty.”

He explains, “I didn’t feel joyous, authentic, or engaged. I felt stressed, obligatory, and without joy. Also, I felt like I was in a dark, empty place. I was 50 years old – halfway through life. I had been married since high school, I took a business from start-up to success, and I had children. I had all the classic ‘white picket fence’ accomplishments, but I was not happy inside.”

Outwardly, those “white picket fence” accomplishments offered the appearance of contentment. “But I was not joyful,” he adds. “My marriage was in trouble. And I hit a wall with my business. I wanted to discover who I am, and how to express myself.”

Yet Mark almost didn’t take that first step!

“A friend came back from Kyle Mercer’s Mountain Experience; she was very excited and encouraged me to go,” Mark says. “So I looked it up online. Every bullet point I read resonated with me. I signed up. Then fear kicked in – I did everything I could to get out of going!”

Mark spent weeks in near-panic. Finally someone commented, If you don’t like the experience, you can always leave. “That was freeing,” he says. “Knowing I could change my mind gave me the confidence to show up.”

Mark didn’t need to escape the Mountain Experience after all. “That weekend was a beautiful time for me. It was an amazing experience of safety and being with authentic people,” he says. “It offered a glimpse of what I was looking for: engagement with life, peace, contentment, and joy.”

After the Mountain Experience, Mark coached weekly with Kyle Mercer for 3 years.

“My overwhelming feeling about life was OBLIGATORY. It had crossed over into my business, my marriage, and my relationship with my children,” he remembers. “I wanted to change that! I wanted to move to a different place – to a place of JOY. I realized that one-on-one coaching with Kyle was a natural for me. I respond to that type of dynamic: a connected, authentic mentoring and coaching relationship.”

A key factor, Mark adds, is that he truly believed he could change his life. He was ready for discovery. He was willing to consider different perspectives. And he was highly motivated.

“My marriage was in crisis,” he says. “When I came home from the Mountain Experience, my biggest realization was that I had to do my own work. My wife and I were in marriage counseling at the time, but I stopped attending counseling the day I got back from the Mountain. It was clear I needed to work on me – no one else was causing my pain.”

This realization marked a big shift in Mark’s perspective – and his marriage. “It’s amazing,” he says. “The approach I take now – Inquiry Method – has crossed over into all my relationships, including how I view my responsibility as father to my children. I used to try to control them, steering them to arrive at a specific outcome. Now I let them be their own person. They’re young adults, so when asked, I offer guidance and support. In fact, my oldest daughter attended the Mountain Experience. Helping my kids transition to adulthood has been one of the hardest spots in my life. Yet this approach has been freeing for me. It feels right.”

Mark asserts: “I feel that I’m in a place of deep joy and contentment.”

He explains: “Small shifts have created a big impact for me. The key has been awareness. For example, my marriage feels more open and relaxed. My wife and I are on our individual paths, yet we’re aware of how we connect together. More awareness results in less conflict. And when I trip (it’s the reality of life), the awareness is much easier to find. There’s elasticity in those moments. That’s all thanks to my personal coaching with Kyle,” he says.

“This experience is so cool. I feel freer and more open. I’m thrilled.” Yet Mark notes that a duality is at play. “I can rest in a place of deep joy and contentment and, at the same time, I realize there is more to learn. Thanks to years of conditioning, I still try to control situations. So I still have work to do.”

Mark’s advice for others who are contemplating coaching with Kyle Mercer …

“When people ask me about coaching, I’m happy to share my experience. Kyle means so much to me. It’s a beautiful experience to work with a person who is so authentic – a person who guides you to express who you really are. If you’re searching for a coach or mentor, I encourage you to open yourself up to this amazing, powerful process.”