How an hour with a life coach gave me the clarity I’d spent two years seeking
I’ve always liked the idea of a life coach. But I’ve never known how to find one or trust that one I pay to see would be any good.
I didn’t intentionally go to a life coach either. Someone I’ve known for a while through a local Entrepreneurs Club I was involved with – Tommy Gentleman – had been a personal trainer and had developed his own interest in a more holistic approach to health that had included Neuro Linguistic Programming (not as serious as it sounds, but definitely highly effective – more on NLP in another blog).
I’ve had a few experiences with NLP and when I was struggling to motivate myself to exercise, it was NLP (and Tommy) that was kickstarter for me.
So after endless months wrestling with which direction to turn next in my career (and life) – see the background on this here – I finally decided that another visit to see Tommy for some magical NLP might help me tackle what I thought was a limiting mindset and a fear of scaling my company. Or to put it another way, perhaps NLP could encourage me to have more of a growth mindset.
What happened during the hour we spent talking was not what I expected.
And it was literally just that, an hour of talking. But it was controlled by Tommy – he had a system of asking questions to get to the heart of the issue. By the end of it, I felt elated, I was so clear on my vision and which direction I needed to take. I went home and bought the TheLifeReporter.com domain I wanted. And the next day I’d already written out 50 ideas for blogs for this site. And the writing just started to flow.
I can’t tell you what a relief it has been after so many false starts before now. I’ve had many, many ideas of ways to develop my business, or things that might interest me personally but when it came to taking the first step to get it going, I wasn’t doing it. That’s unlike me as I’ve always been very self motivated and a hard worker. And so I was incredibly frustrated. I thought I’d ‘lost it’ – lost that drive and vision I felt I’d had for years.
What I think happened that clicked for me, was that I needed that extra help to figure out where my true passion lay. Believe me, I’d read books on it, listened to podcasts, come up with ideas that excited me before but I couldn’t put my finger on what was holding me back with every single idea I’d come up with.
So how did I get such clarity from one hour with a life coach?
I knew the answer deep down (as I think everyone does), but needed someone to help me dig deep and pull it out. He asked me some very simple questions that put everything in perspective.
I discussed the thoughts going around in my head about what path to take next for my company. Here’s a (condensed) example of how that conversation went, with examples of the questions he asked me:
- Me: I can’t seem to motivate myself to move forwards on any of the ideas I have for my future direction – I don’t know what direction that should be. My current view is that I need to work on my existing business and try to launch a new product to my existing list. I’ve also thought about other blogs such as helping small business owners, or more personal topics that focus on stuff I enjoy like motivational skills, living a healthy life etc.
- Him (focusing on the existing business): What would it take for you to launch that new product in your existing business and what’s the worst thing that could happen if you do?
- Me: (feeling the sheer weight of that option and the dread associated with it): It seems the right thing to do because I already have a list and can test monetising it in the new ways I want to be involved in before expending any effort in building up a new resource. But it would be a huge amount of work and I can’t bring myself to do it. I question the value of what we can provide in this different format and I think we’d have a tough time selling it to our existing audience.
- Him: Ok, so let’s take that option off the table (not something I’d considered!). What are you left with?
- Me: Well I could start from scratch on a new blog but I have to build a new audience and find a way to make it work. That seems like hard work to me. Again, I can’t quite bring myself to commit to it.
- Him: What skills do you feel you have?
- Me: Everything I do in my company is focused on marketing – helping technology companies raise awareness, demonstrate thought leadership and generate sales leads. I can break it all down from A to Z and explain the exact processes and systems we use from understanding the business and creating the strategy, to the execution, such as creating a marketing campaign, running webinars, writing white papers, creating a lead funnel, etc.
- Him: What would happen if you focused on expanding this?
- Me: I’ve thought about it but i’d have to create all the content needed to raise the awareness of what we do and I don’t feel I have the energy for that. In fact, I don’t know what I have the energy for. I’ve spent time trying to figure out what my real passions are and I keep getting stuck.
- Him: What did you come up with when you did that?
- Me: Lots of different things. Some were more knowledge areas I have, but not necessarily passions. Actually, what I get most excited about is self development. I love to read motivational books and blogs and am constantly seeking ways to improve myself, get more enjoyment out of life. And I love to share what I’ve found and think I could help others with the things I’ve been learning and experimenting with.
- Him: If you took that passion and did something with it, what would it look like.
- Me: I don’t think I could – there are SO many blogs out there about health, fitness, self improvement. It’s too competitive.
- Him: Does that mean you shouldn’t do something? Could you share valuable content that people would still want to read?
- Me: Good point! I know competition just means there is demand so perhaps I shouldn’t let that put me off. And yes I believe I do have ideas worth sharing.
- Him: If you launched something in this space, what’s the worst that could happen?
- Me: I could waste a lot of time on it and get nowhere. And I could embarrass myself with a failure.
- Him: What could you gain from doing it?
- Me: Well, it would be amazing to spend my time on something I’m really truly interested in. And it would be personal – just thinking about it I already feel free from the need I’ve felt to make something really work for pure money. This would be a hobby. Something I could get my teeth into and would really be excited to focus on. I can already picture all the things I could look into and spend my time researching – things that I really love and want to learn more about. It doesn’t need to be a commercial success so I wouldn’t have to worry about all the nitty gritty of the marketing of it – I could do it for pure pleasure.
- Him: What could happen if you do this because you want to?
- Me: I’d have an awesome time doing it. And I know things can come from starting. Opportunities come up from all sorts of places and it could be that I end up with a bigger success because it is driven from passion.
- Him: When you go home, what will you do to make this a reality?
- Me: Research the domains, start writing (hurrah! something I haven’t felt able to do for months) and launch it. I haven’t been able to launch anything for months despite all my efforts and thinking. But If I were to do something in this space I could see me launching it tomorrow (Editors note: It took another five months to get to launch point but that wasn’t due to lack of motivation!).
If you’re facing a similar challenge of trying to figure out the next best step, try asking yourself the questions above. Speak out loud if you can as it makes you think about your answers. As I was speaking I kept realising I already knew the answers but just hadn’t approached it in this way before.
The lesson I’ve taken from this is: keep digging to find your passion and that is what will inspire you to move forwards. It sounds cliched. But although I’d read many books dedicated to the topic and tried different exercises to try and identify it, I still couldn’t move foward. I knew I was very interested in self development, but I think that I didn’t have the confidence to believe I could do anything with it.
This leads me to the second lesson I took from this: don’t be afraid to seek external help. All the soul searching I had done had got me tied up in knots. But one hour with a life coach I trusted was enough to cut through it all and help me find the direction I was looking for. He challenged the barriers I’d built up around the view that the space I was really interested in was too crowded.
For me, I believe one wouldn’t have happened without the other. I needed to have done the soul searching so I had all the pieces there. And I needed the external guidance to put them all together and get the clarify I needed to find the motivation I had been sorely lacking.
Oh, and how I ended up seeing a life coach when I hadn’t expected to is that Tommy had only recently come to the realisation that the amazing work he’d been doing with his clients could be called that. More on that in another blog too.
Have you seen a life coach? How was the experience for you? How have you found direction in your life or are you still struggling to do so?