Would You Hire a Life Coach?

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of stories from friends who hired life coaches or executive coaches to either get out of a rut or find a new perspective on moving forward in their career/personal life. In fact, I just hired a screenwriting coach to help me push my career forward. I was on the fence about it for awhile before I actually pulled the trigger – I kept asking myself, “Can’t I just motivate myself?” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had nothing to lose but money, and even if I gained just a little bit of new knowledge about the industry I’m trying to break into, then it would be worth it.

Also, when I asked my dad for advice on whether I should pay for the coaching services or not, he gave me some great advice. He said that an investment in myself is always money well spent.

I’ve met with the coach twice so far, and it’s been pretty great. She re-energizes and focuses me. She keeps me accountable to my goals. (Granted, we’re only two weeks in and I’ve had no real deliverables, so we will see what happens going forward. But I’m confident that I won’t want to let her down.)

I think what’s great about coaching is that your coach allows you to see the big picture. They give you the Grand Canyon vantage point. Are the small issues you’re fretting about or spending time on really adding value to your life or getting you closer to your goals?

If you’re interested in coaching, the first step is figuring out what kind of coach you would want. They are usually bucketed into two categories: 1) Personal or life coaches, or 2) Business or professional.

Next, you want to make sure your coach is highly vetted. Recommendations from family or friends seem to be best. And you should make sure your coach is certified by the International Coach Federation.

If you don’t know someone who can give you a personal recommendation, a thoughtful Google search may direct you to the websites of coaches who deal in issues you might want to tackle (like, transitioning careers, new motherhood, etc.). These websites will give you a good feel of the coach and their methodology. They will often have free reading material which is also helpful.

Here’s a couple of life coaches websites, so you can get a feel for the different styles out there:

http://yourkickasslife.com/coaching/

http://erikadolnackova.com/life-coaching-for-women/

 

Advertisements

Are You Working In A ‘Shadow Career’?

Have you heard the term ‘shadow career’? I hadn’t until I started reading Ed Pressfield’s book “Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work.” This is how Pressfield explains the idea of a shadow career:

“Sometimes when we’re terrified of embracing our true calling, we’ll pursue a shadow career instead. That shadow career is a metaphor for our real career. It’s shape is similar, it’s contours feel tantalizingly the same. But a shadow career entails no real risk. If we fail at a shadow career, the consequences are meaningless to us”

So I guess a few examples would be:

  • someone who wants to write movies, but instead pursues development of other people’s work
  • someone who wants to run for office and instead is a campaign manager for someone else’s political career

Pressfield says that if you’re in a shadow career, you’re hiding from yourself and can’t fully actualize or be fulfilled. If you have a passion or project you keep denying from yourself because you’re working for a job that eats up all of your time, you’re probably in a shadow career.

turning-pro

I like this idea of ‘shadow careers’ but I think there’s a fine line between a ‘shadow career’ and a ‘day job’ to pay the rent. I work in the entertainment industry when I know I want to write for TV and film, but I can’t just quit and write all day. Or, is that just what I tell myself to avoid putting in eight hours of writing work? Pressfield might suggest I work for one year, scrimp and save and then take 6 months off to solely write all day. That’s similar to what he did – and how he “turned pro.”A film professor of mine in graduate school gave me similar advice. He said to take a day job and try and write on nights and weekends, but if after 2 years, I hadn’t made significant progress in my writing, I should quit and just focus on writing. But uh…that still doesn’t address the money/how to live issue.

It’s an interesting book. I was originally turned onto Pressfield’s work by fellow writers who love his motivational book “The War of Art.” It’s all about pushing through the resistance of creation to actually get work complete. It’s a pretty fantastic book, and very inspiring to those of us who need a kick in the butt to get writing done. Or anything, really.

So, do you think you could be stuck in a shadow career?

Life Lessons You Learn By 30

One of my favorite websites to read for inspiration is The Minimalists, run by two friends who had achieved everything they thought would make them happy by age 30: six-figure salaries, nice homes, cars, expensive clothing, etc. but even with all that, they didn’t feel fulfilled. So they gave it all up to live minimalist lives. You can read more about what that means to them on the “About” tab of their blog.

There’s a post of theirs in particular that I really like and that I think you guys will find relevant:  30 Life Lessons From 30 Years.

The most resonant lesson for me is:

5. Make change a must. For the longest time, I knew I wanted to change: unhappy, unsatisfied, and unfulfilled, I knew I didn’t have freedom—not real freedom. The problem was I knew this intellectually, but not emotionally: I didn’t have the feeling in my gut that things must change. I knew they should change, but the change wasn’t a must for me, and thus it didn’t happen. A decision is not a real decision until it is a must, until you feel it on your nerve-endings, until you are compelled to take action. Once your shoulds have turned into musts, then you are ready for change.

There were many years before graduate school when I knew I wanted to be a writer but I didn’t actually make the time to write. Eventually, it became MORE painful to NOT write than to actually sit down and write. And that is when I became a real writer.

How can you transform your ‘shoulds’ into ‘musts’? And if they’re too hard to make ‘musts,’ then perhaps you don’t want whatever it is badly enough and aren’t ready to prioritize that change.

I guess it’s also learning how to accelerate getting that feeling in your gut – learning to tap into your emotional drivers.

What big lessons did you learn by the time you reached 30?

Temptation in Your Thirties (Or, What About Those Times When Only Nutella Will Do?)

I remember the good ol’ days when I had no idea what the heck Nutella was. Those days are fuzzy and feel like they happened in another life.

Then I went through a period where Nutella was my kryptonite. It’s so delicious and tempting, I could eat the whole jar in just a few days if it was in my apartment (ok, maybe more like 2 days…or maybe even 1. Eek!). I used to stare longingly at the Nutella in my kitchen cabinet. I wanted it so badly. I had to use every ounce of my willpower to avoid it.

But then I discovered a funny thing- if I didn’t buy Nutella and didn’t have it in my apartment, I wouldn’t eat it. I couldn’t eat it. It wasn’t there to eat.

In my thirties, the Nutella lesson has become a life metaphor for many things. I started making it a habit to keep my phone ringer on silent while meditating first thing in the morning. That way, nothing can come up and interrupt my meditation- it’s just the first thing I do. I also blog at least twice a week- and I have an accountability agreement with Jane: she writes, then I write, then she writes, then I write. It’s good to have that kind of system set up.

I think that by your thirties, you’re really beginning to know yourself- your strengths and weaknesses, what you can tolerate and what you can’t, where you can push yourself and where you cannot. If you work with your strengths instead of against them, and you take your worst weak points out of the equation as much as you can, your life will run smoother. There are ways to really start working well with yourself in your thirties the way you never could before.

Setting up habits is super helpful, and can help remove kryptonite situations from your life. It’s hard to remove your kryptonite until you know what it is.. but once in your thirties, you know yourself better. So you can set yourself up to remove bad temptations from the equation and make way for good temptations to come in and make your life way more fun.

Temptation_150x224-150x150

 

 

Sometimes the Solution Isn’t to be Nicer

I struggle hard to learn from my mistakes and not repeat them. I strive to do my absolute very best.  I hate regret. I hate it.

I try very hard to word things correctly, and to be aware of what I might have done wrong in the past so I can always do things right in the future. I think hard about people’s feelings. I try to be helpful. I try to be fair. I worry about people’s happiness. I hope I’m being nice enough. I hope that I’m not doing something wrong and upsetting someone. I strive to be the best possible friend. I strive to be the best possible family member.

I used to be slow to return texts and emails– I struggle to be faster.

I used to let friendships lapse a bit when I got into relationships– I’m now very aware of this issue and have sworn my allegiance to my friendships.

I used to let significant others do what they wanted, even when it made me extremely unhappy or suffer– I now attempt to communicate what I need early on. This is very hard for me to do. I sometimes feel awkward communicating what I want without being asked but I know I have to.

I used to be more outspoken– now I struggle to be careful with my wording… to the point that I’d almost rather be silent than say the wrong thing by accident.

I used to believe that being nice (and down to earth and rational) could solve almost any problem– I’m now starting to understand that it cannot.

Sometimes when people surprise me by acting in what I perceive to be a sudden cruel way- possibly by saying something mean to me, or flaking on me, or disappearing on me, or by not accepting me, or telling me that they’re upset with me but hadn’t let me know before, I freak out. I obsess over what I could’ve done differently. I look through my old texts or emails, and think about conversations. I wonder if I worded things incorrectly. I worry that maybe if I could have somehow been even nicer and more thoughtful, things would be better.

But then I think about all the amazing friends and family members who accept me even when I’m busy or don’t return texts immediately or say random things that come to my head without editing them. I think about all the people who I accept and forgive all the time…even when they’re slow to respond to me or jot down brisk silly texts, or seem distracted and don’t act the best they can all the time. I realize that the people in my life are imperfect. The same way I am imperfect. And I’m suddenly starting to realize that the RIGHT people, the amazing ones, will forgive the dumb mistakes or the slow emails or the days between seeing each other when we get busy.

Sometimes being nicer and nicer in an effort to make things work with certain people isn’t going to ever make things work anyway. Perhaps the answer is to have more respect for myself and for the people who forgive my transgressions because they know that I’m doing the best I can. Because they love me for who I am, however imperfect.

Imperfect1

%d bloggers like this: