For years I struggled with telling people I was a life coach. I was raised in a family where woo-woo was just, well, too woo-woo. My parents weren’t trying to be mean on purpose, but they just thought I would be safe in a conventional career, such as being a lawyer. Therefore, education was key. Having a “proper” full-time job was a must. It was the reason I went to law school. But not following through on my dreams also caused me the biggest heartache in my life. Even after I left law school and completed a Masters in English, I still wasn’t happy. There was something still missing in my spirit.
I had always dabbled in the self-help section of the bookstore. I had my first life coach when I was 22 years old (someone in a peer mentor group gifted me with 4 sessions and it was one of the BEST gifts I’ve ever received. Next to my chihuahua, of course)!
Giving up the safety blanket
I realized soon after that I love inspiring and motivating people myself. Yet for years, I struggled with giving up my status as a professional marketer. I felt important dressing up in my suit and heels every day for work. I loved building my writing portfolio and publishing my work in high volume trade magazines. I also loved managing a team when I transitioned to project management. I was making my family proud, and hanging around a successful social circle.
Yet, that piece that made my spirit whole was still missing. I started dabbling in different religions, looking for one that would give me the peace I’d always thirsted after. I read spiritual books after spiritual books. I spent my weekends trying new hobbies. I partied hard. I immersed myself in activities to help alleviate the loneliness I felt deep within myself.
After 10+ years of this fast-paced, constantly-searching-for-that-fill hell, I had a nervous breakdown. I took time off of work and during this leave, I reevaluated my life.
Was money making me happy? Sure, it was keeping me safe, but I was completely miserable. In fact, I was shopping too much to fill the void in my spirit.
Would I disappoint my family if I gave everything up? Yes, I probably would–at first. But, then again, my parents had given me the most precious gift–life. What did it mean then, if I never had the guts to live life on my terms?
Would earth completely stop spinning if I quit my conventional and respectable job? That one took a lot of thinking! What would I do for money? I didn’t really know what it was I wanted to do, so how could I just up and quit?
I rationally explored my options. I researched my finances–what I had in the bank, what my current bills were, and how I could reduce my living expenses while still enjoying my life.
Then, I just let go.
A few months after my breakdown, I left my high-paying project management career. I was 29 years old. And I made it my mission to become a certified life coach one week later. I knew my mission was to go out and transform others who are going through the same crap I had gone through in my 20s.
Dealing with self-doubt
One year later, I was a certified life coach. I had also trained become a personal trainer. This was the old me, still whacking away at my brain, telling me I wouldn’t be good enough until I had accumulated enough education. So even though I started a life coaching and personal training company, I still didn’t feel good enough. I had run 4 marathons by this time, had a full practice of clients, and still felt like a fraud! When I moved to the South, where life coaching isn’t as accepted as it is in California, I received many snarky remarks and it tore down my confidence, one little snark at a time. Not saying everyone in the South feels this way as I’ve met my best coaching buds down here.
I started calling myself a personal trainer only. I was ashamed to say I was a life coach.
Dealing with my own inauthenticity
Inside, my heart bled a little. My passion wasn’t in ONLY fitness. I love the entire well-being spectrum. I love the inspiration aspect more than I love the “do 10 squats now!” bark.
It got to the point that my passion was almost completely shriveled. I hated to go train. I loved my clients, but I hate having to don the workout gear, schlep the tools and stand there and watch people do lunges.
What I loved was the part of my training where I would ask someone what their dreams were, how would they get there, how could I support them.
In January, I decided to rediscover my own confidence. It had been my dream to end my mobile personal training company, Chicks in Motion, since September. It was also one of the hardest things I had to do.
I slowly started building my online life coaching clientele. I entered a wonderful program called B-School, created by the fabulous Marie Forleo. It transformed my life.
But I still struggled with calling myself a “life coach.”
“It’s so woo-woo,” certain Southerners told me.
That’s all I needed to hear to shut my mouth. I felt like a kid again, not like an adult in charge of her own destiny.
Then a few things happened. People began telling me that my message wasn’t clear enough. And I realized it was true because it was the reason I would stay awake until 3 am—Who am I? What do I do? What do I offer?
It suddenly blasted through me one day, like an electrical shock to my system.
What if I died?
If I died today, would I have made the impact I first envisioned when I started life coach training?
Absolutely not, because I wasn’t acting like a coach. I fucking love inspiring people! I love motivation. And I love (times a million) helping others transform themselves for the better.
I realized that to become a life coach, I have to admit to MYSELF first that I’m a life coach. I needed to live by example.
Once I started believing that I’m a life coach, regardless of what others think or say, I became a real life coach.
Own Who You Are and Be Proud!
If this is something you struggle with, ask yourself why you’re absorbing what others say to you in the first place. It could be that you’re a people pleaser. It could be that you just don’t have enough faith in yourself.
If that’s the case, set a goal to start reading more motivational books from your favorite authors. Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy are two of my favs.
Read yourself affirmations every morning (and every hour if you need to).
Do not allow other people to shatter your dreams because it is your life, not theirs. They express fear, doubt, cynicism and even a little haterade because it just might not be in their world view to understand what it is you are doing. This is a reflection on them, not you.
Be the artist you were meant to be. Be the singer, the writer, the dancer. Surround yourself with like-minded people, who will not only inspire you to pursue your passions, but who will also cheer you on as you do so. Find an outside job that will help tide over the bills while you pursue your dream. There is no shame in side-jobs that don’t fit the professional, conventional mold, as long as they allow you your freedom.
Have you ever experienced self-doubt about your career? Share your story below!