A classmate named Sarah recently told my four year-old son…
Hiring a life coach? My advice to you: be careful what you wish for. I recently determined that I needed, and could afford, a life coach. I could use someone help to be accountable to my goals, I thought. It will be worthwhile to have someone to answer to, I thought. It will motivate me, I thought. Let’s circle back to my advice. Be careful what you wish for.
My habit of listening to podcasts led me to my coach. I have been on a podcast binge lately, listening to podcasts by Gary Vaynerchuk, Lewis Howes, and Rob Bell. They are all very different dudes with different messages, but each led me to the other and eventually I started listening to a podcast called “The One and Only”, hosted by my coach, Mark. Podcasts have become a great method to remind me to stay on course and they’ve exposed me to a variety of mindful topics and interesting guests.
My life coach is an awesome guy. His mission in life is authenticity. He strives for authenticity for himself and cultivates it in others. Living an authentic life is paramount and, frankly, if you aren’t being authentic in all your endeavors and your dealings with others – why even bother? Authenticity is not a buzz word or the feel-good theme of the year, authenticity is a mighty goal. Authenticity is my goal.
But, something horrible happens when you attempt to live your life with greater authenticity, especially with your life coach in tow. It casts a bright light into the peripheries of your life. There is nowhere to hide. That’s the point, really.
Having places to hide was something I had become accustomed to. I hid all the time. I hid behind depression, anxiety, and general angst about life and its daily atrocities. I hid behind malaise and emotional laziness. And, to a degree, I still do. But I strive to be a better father and husband – a better person. Incrementally I am making change.
Hiring a life coach is a somewhat pricey way to shine light into the corners of your life. For a fee equivalent to a monthly car payment you get four weekly sessions on the phone or via Skype. For 50-minutes your coach is at your disposal. You set the agenda and you do the work. It’s not therapy; the coach is there to support (or challenge you) you as you move closer and closer toward your stated goals. Essentially, you’re paying someone to “call bullshit” on you when you stray back into your old patterns and ways of thinking. When you have a coach, forward is the only direction you ought to be headed. Did I mention that coaching is not therapy?
I’ve discovered that using squishy language and making excuses is my modus operandi when I feel the need to retreat from what life is showing me. “Bullshit” says the life coach, using a more eloquent (though direct) string of words. Having someone “call bullshit” on me every time I turn and run, I begin to see how often I turn and run. This revelation then begins to piss me off. Using that frustration to create change is essential.
The concepts are nothing new. My friends, spouse, and relatives have all taken turns over the years challenging me to do better and see things to which I’ve turned a blind eye. Having a dedicated coach to do the same is more effective.
It’s a necessary evil (if I may call it evil) to cast a light into the shadows. I’ve made progress but I’m still in the midst of it, so I don’t have a lot of revelations to share at this point. I am certain, though, that this process is expanding my world and stretching emotional muscles that greatly need it.