I was thinking about the whole ‘perfection’ misconception earlier and thought this would be good to share:
When I decided several years I wanted to earn my certification in life coaching, I was so excited.
I wanted to help people reach their goals, I wanted to see them succeed, and take steps towards their dreams.
I signed up for the course and launched into it with a passion.
Every module I learned resonated deep within me.
I didn’t really want to be a counselor — not even when I was contemplating grad school. Law school, for once, was above being a counselor, and when I did get my master’s degree, it was in psychology — but NOT counseling.
Why would someone want to be a life coach but not a counselor?
Well….the answer is simple and complex really. In counseling, you often are working through so many levels of underlying issues, resolving hurts from the past, and healing at a very deep emotional level. I knew, as an empath, I could not handle the pain that would come up in those sessions to be effective; I would be sitting on the floor sobbing right along with the client.
Life coaching helps the person where they are. Right there, in the present moment. Doesn’t matter what happened two minutes or two decades ago — we’re moving forward.
All of this made so much sense to me. “Yes! I found what I need to do!”
Some jerk interjected their two cents into my life story.
“You think you are going to help someone? You hate your job, you aren’t happy with where you are in life, you complain all the time….how can YOU possibly coach someone?”
That glimmer of hope, spark of excitement, that joy about helping others…died.
Who did I think I was to help someone when I was NOT PERFECT?
I couldn’t possibly help anyone could I? Not when I was miserable and unhappy…it didn’t matter what my intentions were or what my expertise was.
I was NOT PERFECT.
So I tucked my dreams away and didn’t talk about them, didn’t try to reach anyone, didn’t try to help anyone, really. Because who was I to help….when I was a mess myself.
Flashforward a few years later and my life had changed. I had charted a new course in my life and was moving forward on some goals that were similar (getting that master’s in psychology) but not the same as coaching, when I was offered a position at a drug and alcohol treatment facility.
I could help people at least, I thought, even though I didn’t know much about recovery.
During the two week training, I learned that self-reflection is a huge part about working with others, particularly if you are helping them overcome addiction. I knew from my master’s program that we had to check ourselves for bias constantly but this was the first time I was seeing it applied. We had to sit in a circle in the middle of the room, and state any possible problems we could see arising to the group, as well how we felt we may be the most effective.
I didn’t think I had any bias in terms of prejudice…but I had to check deeply. “I think I can help because I can bring compassion and non-judgement to how I work with my patients,” I said, but admitted, “I worry I can’t relate to the patients as I have no idea what being addicted to drugs and alcohol is like.”
Heads nodded all around the circle. Then, one man spoke, “I feel like I can help my patients because I am in recovery. I have been clean for 12 years, I was homeless for a while, and I hit rock bottom several times. I know every day is a struggle but I get up and I do the work. I had people not give up on me, and I won’t give up on them. ”
Suddenly, it made sense.
I didn’t have to be perfect.
NO ONE did — no one was, anyway, but perfection was absolutely not required.
My failures, my mistakes, all the messes I had made over the course of my lifetime….were the message I needed to share.
I had the luxury of a few people who had not given up on me….and I wouldn’t give up on someone I was coaching.
Every day can be a struggle when we aren’t happy in our lives. It can make us miserable and dread to face our day.
But we have to get up each day and DO THE WORK.
A life coach can help. Together, we can figure out your steps to take, and chart bite-sized attainable goals so you can get there.
I’m not perfect and I don’t expect you to be either. But together, we can get you closer to your dreams.