I’m a life coach??? Says who?

Lioness-Roar-Images

…well, says the 4 years of intensive and extensive life coach training and real life practice I have been through and been doing with clients, for starters, (which of course means I am still in life coach infancy) but seriously?  Who do I think I am to call myself a life coach??

As I was running up what felt like the world’s highest mountain a few days ago (in reality, it was JUST a 45 degree angle hill that went on for about two minutes)…but anyway, as I was running up that hill, I had a little moment of panic considering my current life circumstance.  Ok, maybe it was a big moment of panic, but I’m entitled.  You see, I recently quit my well paying job with great benefits and tons  of vacation in a very reputable university to pursue a dream of hindsight enlightened misguided philanthropy that died right there on the vine with a quickness I did not see coming and sure as shit wouldn’t have pursued said dream had I any idea that it would disintegrate so quickly and so fully.  Yes, that was a mega run-on sentence.  And YES, this life circumstance is completely of my own making, responsibility, ownership. But still…a complete life change calls for a bit of panic, second guessing and whatnot from time to time.

It has occurred to me many times since that perhaps I needed just such a complete upside down turn of events to give myself the proverbial kick in the ass that was needed to start “walking my walk” and taking that leap into becoming a full time life coach as is the ultimate goal at some point.  So, why not now?

But still – again…what the hell qualifications do I bring to the table that give me any kind of “validity” as a “real” coach? Why should or would anyone hire ME? And just as I thought that thought, my sweet and scared little inner child gave way to the mighty lioness that has been with me as the defining spirit essence of ME all my life.

I’m a goddamn warrior, ya’ll. I’ve done my self work and will continue to do it daily. I’ve been to hell and back more times than I care to  remember. I emerged from an abusive and incredibly dysfunctional childhood that included physical, mental and sexual abuse at the hands of those who were my caretakers and blood family – to move away from home at 16 or 17 to save money and save myself and ultimately put myself through college. I could easily have become a drug addict, high school dropout or committed suicide.

I did not.  Not even close.

I worked 3 jobs before college and 2-3 jobs the majority of the time I was there to pay my way through 100%. I walked away from my first semester with a GPA of 1.7 and a suspension warning that if I didn’t bring it up to a 2.5 the following semester, I was out. So, I did. I think I made a 2.8.  And every semester after that? Dean’s List or a 4.0. I just had to find my groove.

I joined the work force in 1992 in a recession in the hotel business as a catering secretary and managed to work my way up within one year to Catering Manager and then went on to have a successful leadership and operations career as Director of Catering and Convention Services and even Assistant General Manager until I realized I was burned out on the 90+ hour weeks and wanted a change. I left the industry at the top of my game and as a star.

What I did next surprised even me.  I joined the recruitment business without knowing a thing about it.  And not just as a recruiter, but as a recruiter whose salary came from 100% commissions.  This meant, I made no money until I found people to hire my people, went through the full interview cycle with them, extended offers, got acceptances (or didn’t), waited for them to actually start work, billed the company who hired them, THEN got paid whenever their accounts payable departments processed the payment.  I was not an overnight success to be sure.  Actually, I was…but that’s a longer story.  I was damn good at what I did.

At one point earlier in the game, I had to do a role play call with the owner of the company, Shaun Bradley.  I screwed that role play up so bad because it had a formula and a script and at the end of it, Shaun told me as gently as he could that he didn’t think this job was right for me.  I WAS DEVASTATED.  I cried.  A lot. I told myself I was crap for a few days.  This defining moment could have gone many different ways…And then I remembered who I was, and what I was good at, and I set out to listen and learn as much as I could from Shaun and so many other leaders in the company, (Tim Best, Craig Griffin, Chris Stevens, Sandy Morris, Jason Cook, so many others…) added my own style to it and became the #3 person in the company.  And I was never below #8, which is no small feat, thank you very much.  The ranks are based on your billings, and yes, as you can probably figure out, those who billed the most, made the most money.  I was with the company for 9 years until a large contingent of the hiring company leaders who had been my loyal customers for years started losing their jobs in the big recession of 2008-2009 and started coming to me to see if I could find THEM a new job.  At first I was excited, but quickly realized the economy was not my friend at that point.

From there, I stayed in recruiting and did some time as a corporate recruiter with great success…moved to Kuwait to work for a military contractor as a recruiter with great success…moved to Abu Dhabi and joined the higher education sector as a recruiter and also had great success.  In my final year at NYU Abu Dhabi, I was seconded to the Academic HR team and became an Academic HR Business Partner and had great success there as well.  Along the way, I got the opportunity to “teach” or facilitate a class of first year students in what is called a “First Year Dialogue” course that is required for graduation, based on the recommendation of a few colleagues in different departments across the university.  At the end of the course, a colleague who took in the evaluations from the students approached me in the coffee shop one day to tell me how very much my students had enjoyed our class.  (I’ll tell you a secret…I rarely followed the “script” for the course, but I sort of mirrored the things I was learning and doing in my NBCT {Nature Based Coach Training} course that I was taking in tandem with The Sagefire Institute and the beautiful Lynn and Michael Trotta and Margaret Webb.)  The students loved it and responded very well and quite deeply to it.

So, what does all this mean?  I’ll tell you…it means I’ve never NOT been successful at anything I have done.  It means I have changed industries and not only survived but thrived.  It means I could so easily have ended up as a drug dependent pregnant teenager based on my upbringing – but I DIDN’T.  I put myself through college instead.

Has it been easy? Hell no! The best rewards certainly don’t come easily…

Has it been worth it? Hell YES.  Every single time.

That’s sort of just the tip of the iceberg, but THAT in a nutshell folks – is why I feel pretty damned qualified to put the words “Life Coach” beside my name.

That’s not all, of course, but the long and the short of it is that in all of the jobs and industries I’ve been in – my strength and my superpower of sorts has always been my sense of empathy for those I work with…my attention to detail…my desire to help others intensely whether it was to make their wedding reception the most special day ever or to make sure they hired the right person for their job and to help both the company and the candidate feel like they were a match made in heaven or to make my university partners feel that they mattered to me and that I took their needs and concerns seriously.  Through all these career moves, I have built relationships with people from all rungs on the ladder and from all over the world.  I have earned their TRUST.  They have told me so.  And in earning their trust, I have earned their LOYALTY.  And in earning their loyalty, I earned their confidence in me to be their partner.

Their partner for planning their event.

Their partner for choosing talent to hire into their organization.

Their partner to share concerns and troubleshoot solutions with them as an advocate.

And in more cases than not – I became their friend.

So, who do I think I am to call myself a life coach?  Maybe even YOUR life coach? The approach I’ve taken to my life and my career choices and changes over the years is the approach I take as a coach.  I listen.  I care.  I get it.  I understand.  I see you.  I hear you.  I have felt the fears.  I have known the regrets.  I have leapt and leapt and leapt again into the unknown and the uncertain…and I have followed my gut (and sometimes not, which I learned very valuable lessons from). I never stop learning…I have had dreams.  And they have sometimes been scary.  But I’ve pursued them and have made them come true.

I believe I know a lot about how to help you make yours come true too.  As your coaching partner, I come equipped with successes and failures and all the in betweens and the certainty that at the end of the day, I will be just fine.  And you will too.

My areas of training include Martha Beck Life Coach Training from 2013 (incredible!); an Adult Child Apprenticeship with the fabulous Judy Klipin (a model of coaching based on the Adult Children of Alcoholics model – very powerful tools here!) and am a graduate of The Sagefire Institute’s Nature Based Coach Training from 2015 and am currently working with them all over again as an apprentice  with new students through December of this year.

They all speak to me in various ways, but I find myself most alive and in joy and my happy zone most with the tools and teachings of nature. I’d love to share them with you, if you are so inclined to navigate  your way to fulfilling that dream you’re not quite sure you can reach either because society told you that you can’t…or you think your family situation is too demanding…or you’re just scared…or don’t quite believe you can do it…or just don’t know how.

If any of this calls to your soul, I am always just a message away.  Skype works everywhere, so geography is not a hurdle.

Thanks for your love and company throughout it all.

It’s a great big magical world out there,  ya’ll.  And a great big magical life.  Let’s explore it together and expand what we think is possible.

Let’s blow your mind!

 

 

 

 

 

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