“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself” ~Alan Alda
Two weeks ago, my son gave me one of the best birthday cards I’d ever received; on the front of the card, it said: “Mom, you were my Life coach before I knew that was a thing,” on the inside: “So glad you didn’t charge by the hour!”
“As soon as I saw it, I knew it was the card for you,” he said confidently. He was right; it was.
My boys have made it known how they feel about having a mom who’s a Certified Life Coach; often, they roll their eyes when I ask questions; other times, I can see a smile of pride when I ask one of their friends a thought-provoking/coaching question. What did you learn from that experience?” I asked one of my older son’s friends who had been questioned by a Sherrif’s officer after skateboarding in a “Do Not Enter” area. There is usually a slight pause after I ask the question; then the response comes out: confident, and without hesitation, often surprising themselves.
The questions I ask come instinctively and are not intended to judge. Questions like “What did you learn?” or what is the opportunity here?” or “How does this honor your values?” halts evasion and complacency, moving people into action.
“Sometimes you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone,” I’ve told my boys countless times throughout their lives. It wasn’t always easy for them – and sometimes it took a gentle nudge (and a few questions) – but eventually, they saw the benefits of trying something new.
The best part about coaching, for me, is witnessing the change, and seeing the “a-ha!” moments. It is not just the other person who is affected; I am as well. I cannot describe the uplifting feel of joy when helping someone.
Last week, I was beginning to feel complacent; I was itching to do something new and different, but not sure exactly what I needed.
At the beginning of April, two weeks into COVID Shelter-In-Place, I created a Facebook group and invited my friends to join me in a project to help take their minds off COVID. I wanted to help others downsize and declutter their homes as well.
My neighbor asked me, “Why? Why are you doing this, Karen?” and while I set it up to stay connected, to motivate, and to inspire others, it was also a way for me to do something new.
I didn’t like the feeling of complacency. It had been four months since I wrapped up my declutter group, and members of the group had reached out to me asking if I would do another one; a few told me how they had fallen off track and needed a refresher. The overall theme of the messages a need for motivation and accountability.
I put on my coach’s hat and asked myself a few questions: “Why am I drawn to the group?” “What will the content look and feel like? And “How do I make the change?” were some of the questions I contemplated.
I loved the engagement and connection within the group. I loved the tips, ideas, and challenges shared within the group. I loved knowing that what I was doing was having an impact on people’s lives; this realization hit home for me.
I wondered about how I would make the change and roll it out. The name of the group included “Shelter-in-Place,” and no longer resonated with me. I didn’t want to rename the group and have members wonder why.
As I thought about the “best” way to roll out the change, I looked at the bookcase in my office. The birthday card from my son caught my eye, and the words “go live,” popped into my head.
“Going Live” on FaceBook was daunting and scary. I did not know about recording or lighting. I had no idea how to set it up or how to tell if anyone was watching it.
I poked my head into my son’s room and asked him what he thought; “Sometimes you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone, Mom,” he said, going back to his video game.
Yesterday, sitting on the floor in front of the clean, tidy cabinet under the kitchen sink, I went “live.” It may not have been perfect, and I may have stumbled with my words a few times, but I survived.
The idea had felt uncomfortable, and it pushed me out of my comfort zone. I discovered it wasn’t as scary as I thought, and best of all: the members of the group are just as excited about the restructure and change in the group—a win-win.