Coaches, it's time to end the woo-woo crap and start BEING excellent
Something was missing in my life. Something MASSIVE. I’d hit a ceiling in my business growth and couldn’t seem to break free from it. I lost motivation, I lost clarity in my purpose, and for the first time ever I was questioning if I should just go back to being a full time personal trainer (which for the record I’m REALLY good at) but it’s not where my heart is.
This is the story of what I uncovered about my stuck-ness and how I became un-stuck
I spent an entire year digging through my own psyche in search of the answers to how I can become the BEST coach possible. It had nothing to do with being in competition with anyone else and ALL about being in competition with myself each and every day.
Gary Vaynerchuk says it best when he discusses trying to put himself out of business before anyone else can. If you are waiting for the competition to change the game before you make a move…you’re too late. Your passion to act must come deeply from within; from that deep dark place within your soul that very few ever courageously attempt to access.
And that’s what the year of digging taught me.
I spent more time comparing myself to others in my industry who had an amazing sales funnel and killer social media presence than I did on just being ME…a person…who actually likes people…and cares about seeing them succeed.
The journey sparked during a conversation I had with a mentor at the time, fairly early in the year. Pejman Ghadimi and I would regularly discuss the issues wrong…or should I say, missing links, lacking integrity, and absent soul…with the coaching industry. He opened my eyes a great deal about things I never even thought to consider by pointing out dialogue cues that would hint at a coach’s avoidance on a topic, teaching me to question who that person was behind their flashy brand, and how to see through the facade of a well executed social media campaign/sales funnel.
I dissected each coach, expert, and sales funnel that crossed my path and was quite disappointed by the recurring theme I was seeing. Once I knew the signs, I couldn’t un-see the hot air being blown around. My fan-girl bubbles popped FAST when I realized the people who appeared to be awesome on the surface had no true credibility on the back end. Every answer they gave was like the last, calculated and fluffy to avoid deep introspection.
My heart was crushed as many pedestals disintegrated in this process.
While this is a VAST generalization, I found many coaches/experts, not all, to be a “do as I say, not as I do,” type. Their lives on the surface, along with 98% of the self-proclaimed “online entrepreneurs,” are fluff and their marketing was more a slight of hand trick than actual wisdom…
“Hey you there! Look at my fancy car…look at my lavish laptop lifestyle…you should trust me with your money…sign up here for my new program so you TOO can have this life!”
In that year long study I found things that I didn’t want to see. Things about others…and myself…that were out of alignment with being a TRUE High Performance/Wellness/Life/Executive/etc. Coach.
I meet with many people who wish to be a coach at some point in their lives. I’m quick to explain that certain variables must be addressed in order to create success:
1- BEING the change we wish to see in our own world
2- WILLINGNESS to face adversity without whining or complaining
3- OPENNESS to take our own advice whenever possible
4- LEARNING how to be a mirror of excellence that our clients can calibrate to
But it was all really fluffy, like sprinkles and unicorn fluffy! Each of these things sounds so cliché…(def: betraying a lack of original thought). Many coaches know it all in theory, practicing only for necessity, and preach a big game as if they really understand what these mean at the core but their lives and answers to basic questions exhibited otherwise.
Sadly, I saw myself in all that surface-understanding crap…to a lesser degree…but still present nonetheless.
Every coach falls, at some point, necessarily into their own trap for the sake of leveling up in the adversity. At which point, hopefully, said coach realizes at the fundamental level that LIFE is not by chance and instead by creation.
We decide to purposefully create the challenges we want to experience.
And it hit me: one thing I had not mentioned to ANY of my clients in a very long time…something I’d selectively and conveniently forgotten during a particularly rough period in my life…was the need for a seemingly obsessive drive to conquer tough challenges. I mean an all-out, balls to the wall, thrive in the flames, no excuses, no limits, relentless pursuit of excellence in even the worst of times, kind of approach to life.
THAT is who I used to be. And THAT is what Pejman meant when he told me to ‘bring the bitch back.’ It had nothing to do with conquering anyone else through competition, or asserting myself with aggression and defense as I did in my teens.
It was ME being so inspired to learn and grow that I did nothing to hold myself back. That’s the REAL me and one I’d been hiding for quite some time.
I used to not care how tough something was. I used to not consider how long something would take. I used to care more about achieving and conquering a goal than who it would please if I did so. I used to consider myself a bad ass who took no crap from anyone but somehow I started giving one, then two, then ten F@#%s about what others thought.
When I died, I kinda lost that voraciously hunger for life. Basically, any mojo I thought I had, died.
At least that’s what it felt like.
In March of 2012, I had been attending University of Santa Monica in the Spiritual Psychology program. During one of our meditations I received the message, “Alida, you are to be a spiritual teacher.” Being the self-proclaimed bad ass I thought I was, I was like, “…um, ME?!?! Do you know who I am? Do you see my life as it is now? I’m not qualified! I have no experience in that and have no business even trying to assert myself in that way! Plus, I’m not ready to go sit on a mountain top, shave my head and devote my life to silent meditation!!”
Isn’t it funny how a direct call from Spirit can be met with such opposition? My argument was deeply rooted in a heavily drained self worth!
In my resistance, I did everything to convince myself that this was not happening. I even wrote a book in two days only to find that it was NOT what Spirit had in mind. Doing everything to try and prove my worth as this ‘spiritual teacher’ I chose my actions in search of validation from others rather than internally knowing I’d been chosen for some reason that was beyond my current limited perception. Whatever that reason may have been, I was NOT open to hear it.
Within a few weeks I moved back to LA to figure myself out and by late July, the day after Year One Lab at USM ended, I found myself with no choice BUT to listen. After a near death experience caused me to cross over and receive direct messages, I finally resolved to see a doctor, have life saving surgery and be treated for an auto-immune virus that was eating away at my blood. Four days in the hospital, scoffing at nurses who tried to take my blankets away in hopes of breaking my fever, and begging the doctor to release me so I could heal at home, gave me a lot of time to surrender to the messages and shed my anger at it all.
During the following 6 month recovery, I did everything to figure out what this all meant. The flow of all things blissful came so rapidly that I needed nothing more than my present self to feel good but not great.
Okay great, I KNOW that there’s a grid of consciousness that responds to our thoughts. I see now God as you’ve shown it to me in ‘reality’ when I crossed over.
And now because of that experience I truly know that even the tiniest of beliefs will manipulate the grid and create a new experience for us in manifest. Yeah, that all makes sense and I’ve been teaching people these same principles for 8 years now but still…I didn’t want to be a monk!
In that time of provoked listening, I realized that fighting would no longer serve me. In fact, I lost my ability TO fight. I lost my ability to be angry with people for hurting me. I lost my desire to defend my point of view or any for that matter. I lost my need to prove my worth…even to myself. And overall, I lost my drive to be someone I thought the world wanted.
Who the f#%@ am I then if I am not a fighter anymore?
Surrendering taught me compassion and love for anything and everyone which ultimately fed more into my lack of “knowing” who I really am and how to translate that into a persona that resonated with my new awareness. As everything around me was a reminder of who I was in the past and nothing resonated anymore, I was stuck in limbo. (We in the coaching world call this Cognitive Dissonance- the space between paradigms of the old you and the new you)
It’s like a bad dream when you go to what looks and feels like your home, but there’s no real imagery of YOU there. You realize that someone else has moved in who looks and feels like you…but the old you, not the NOW you.
I heard Dr. Joe Dispenza describe it best: when we make a shift we walk through a doorway of opportunity into a new ‘room.’ In doing so, not only does the door close behind us, the entire room collapses in on itself and there’s no room for us to return to our old state of being.
The journey took me into what I call Full Woo-Woo- an extreme allowing of what is through unconditional acceptance of myself and those around me…a veritable feast of fluffy ‘consciousness’ meanings to life.
‘they don’t know what they don’t know so I should not be upset with them,’
‘I’m just working my process, I don’t need to be, do, or have anything other than what I have,’
‘I’m only experiencing what I project so if all I do is project fairies and sprinkles that’s all life can give me back.’
A good process to go through but not one any good coach should stay in forever. David Hawkins, PhD, used to say that it’s our duty to get clear then go back into the world to help others do the same. I was wrapped up in all the happy vibes giving little care to contributing to the world with my actions.
Meditation came easy and I often spent 6–8 hours per day in that state receiving messages that I promptly wrote down but rarely shared due to my fear in rejection or judgement. I softened up everything I knew about reality and felt an immense amount of healing take place.
In time, I stopped blaming others and started owning my projections but that type of ownership began stripping me of a sort of zest for challenge and conquest. I stopped being fueled by the thrill and needing to conquer challenges, eventually just accepting what I was being ‘given’ without question.
By March of the following year, I had jumped into a 10 month intensive training that got me 7 different certifications, a short stint in teaching the same principles I’d learned, a trip across the globe…and an addiction to clearing limiting beliefs. (One of the OTHER OTHER things I’ve found many coaches struggle with) Even with all of the new certs, teaching workshops, and mentoring new coaches in the program, I still bounced through life like a pinball in someone else’s game.
Essentially, I stopped actively and purposefully manifesting my reality and started being present only as a sidekick in everyone else’s life.
As a coach, that just won’t fly.
Without any sort of passionate pursuit, we have little to no passion for conquering much of anything. We just…are. Without a declaration of healing and optimal wealth, we become addicted to clearing what’s wrong instead of searching for and celebrating what’s right.
In all of this divine and unconditional acceptance for life, I lost the ONE thing that drove me to success in the past: a relentless pursuit of conquest not just for me, I did it for us all. I used to be fueled by the notion that if I can do it anyone else can too…and I SHOULD do it so I can show others how to do it too. I used to purposefully seek out challenges that I could take on in order to hack the system, find the inner workings, and create ways to mastery that I could teach my clients.
And my favorite part…I used to see struggle as a slap on the face from life saying, “What now, bitch?! Are you ready or not?! Let’s do this!!” and I’d gladly step up to the plate every time!
In fact, it’s the only thing NOW that keeps me feeling human as I often teeter back into that blissful ‘death’ state more often than not.
I’ve seen countless coaches get lost in clearing endless limiting beliefs only to manifest more of them by simply focusing ON what’s broken. I’ve witnessed so many of them get wrapped up in the cliché woo-woo stuff that keeps them stuck in defense of their fears. And sadly for them, they stop purposefully creating their reality.
Coaches, you’ve got to find a way BACK to bliss in your creation process by not only defining your struggles as divine, perfect, and gifts for your growth, but USING them as tools TO grow. You can’t just stay in the happy place of ‘this is this and that is that…all is perfect and everything will happen when it’s meant to happen so I’ll just sit back and wait for it TO happen all the time and wonder why your bills aren’t getting paid or why you can’t seem to find your life purpose.
Plain and simple- if you stop contributing to the world, it will stop contributing to you.
While this unfoldment of identity is a divinely spiritual process for us all, coaches must find a way to BE the example of what they wish to inspire within their clients by doing the inner work and coming back to reality with the findings each and every day. They must not get wrapped up in the fluff so that they can keep a level head enough to lift their clients out of said fluff.
And if the passion you project, and I had previously projected as well, is focused blindly on trying to help the world when your own life is in shambles your road will be much tougher than necessary. Coaches in this struggle often base their self worth on validation from others rather than from within.
So stuck in making logic out of everything that their actions do not resemble the very message they deliver to clients. So out of connection with their example of greatness that they become wordy and descriptive without tangible proof of their own life achievements. Their self image is validated by taking credit for their clients’ achievements rather than BEING that success in their own life.
In essence…they are so focused on trying to “help others” that they lack the self-awareness/capacity to help themselves. They see others in need who are really reflecting what they project and feel the need to help. At the end of the day, it’s the COACH who needs the help and is too stubborn, rooted in defense, or fearful of being seen, to allow the deep introspection.
And don’t get me wrong, this is not ALL coaches. There are some amazing coaches out there! But if you look around and take note of those great ones…WHY they became a coach and what they do to be a mirror for their clients’ success…everything lines up. They ARE great in their habits, actions, relationships, and overall life, so too are their clients.
The rest hide behind a carefully crafted brand, pre-packaged tele-summit structures to harvest email lists from other experts, and endless sales funnels that speak only to perpetuate the need for people to depend on them. They talk a big game on the outside but secretly fear taking ownership for their actions on the inside. These I call Pridefully Ignorant- they have a reason (aka excuse) for everything they have not taken action on, can explain with impeccable logic as to why their success is still very limited at this point in their career, and try to convince you that it has nothing to do with their coaching.
Let’s cut the crap. It has everything to do with their coaching. And admittedly, I too fell into many of their marketing/branding traps having zero awareness to question the facade because I too, at that time, was out of integrity.
In my 12 years now of coaching, I know that when I am not at my best, my clients are not either. Having everything to do with the fact that my perception as a human being is filtered by my own experiences, I can only see in them what I give myself permission to see in myself. If I am not vibrationally in alignment with the higher solutions, I cannot speak from successful experience, and I am assuming that words will be the answer to their struggle.
NOTHING is as impactful as experience. Period.
When I became numb to that fire within, I looked everywhere to find it only to discover it came back down to me.
MY chosen identity.
MY beliefs about what’s possible.
ME choosing free will and actioning it with purpose.
A monk in my heart and mind, a coach in passion and purpose. THAT is who I am now, by choice.
Being a great coach requires BEING excellent. Not selling yourself short in numbness, fear, or avoidance of contrast. It’s not simply about “charging what you are worth” when your life exhibits nothing of your teachings. Your teachings should be based on lessons you have learned personally by taking your own advice. And if you aren’t willing to take your own advice every step of the way, you have no business being a coach.
That goes for me as well.
To be excellent requires us to consistently level up, to seek AND create challenges on OUR terms, and to BE the walking billboard for our teachings. If we can’t do that, then we deserve mediocre results in life because that’s all we are feeding into our own lives.
I…the identity I…died in many ways.
So shattered in that death that I had to take time off from coaching to figure out who I wanted to be in the now because I still wanted to be a good coach for others. With all resistance gone now, I’d be pleased to be a monk if that is my calling. I’d be happy to sit on a mountain top and meditate in silence if that is my soul’s desire.
But I’ve found my purpose is exactly as I choose it to be: a fiery teacher of spirituality that walks and lives and breathes the teachings. One who thrives in challenges and creates them voraciously for the purpose of being in control of my own leveling up, THAT is who I wish to be.
If you are a coach or you wish to be, I encourage you to review everything you give your power to...the things you make excuses for…the real reasons you are held back. Go deep into every excuse for suffering, all your reasons for failure, all the past life experiences you still give attention to, the limiting beliefs you are addicted to clearing, and the identity you still carry that no longer serves you.
What aspects of your life are you still making excuses for?
What areas are you logically explaining away that really need your attention?
Where are you lacking the same excellence that you attempt to extract from your clients?
How can you take your own advice daily in order to really SHOW how it’s done?
How are you being numb to the real cause for your stagnation?
What can you do TODAY to play all-in?
Spend time each day planning and actioning out your strategy for excellence. Review everything from daily meditations to grooming.
How will you show up better today than yesterday?
What ways can you approach adversity with excitement and passion to conquer it?
What tools and habits do you need to develop in order to become fearless in your pursuit of greatness?
And finally, if you are a coach and you still blame external forces for your struggles…it’s time to take a step back and rebuild your frame of thought.
First of all, don’t assume that just because you had one epiphany at a low point in life it qualifies you to coach others. It’s like every wedding planner out there who planned their own wedding and now thinks they are qualified to plan weddings for everyone else. Sheesh.
Don’t even get me started on that LOL
Or that just because you got a great certification with a top named expert that you are ready to coach.
None of it means squat because being a coach really means you are willing to run into the fire when others run away then turn your experiences into the content that you share with clients time and again. It’s not your cert or your one epiphany that qualifies you…it’s how you approach your obstacles, your ability to follow through with success when your brain wants to quit, and your capacity to translate all of that wisdom into unconditional guidance that can spark greatness in others.
To me, being a coach means I am accountable not only to myself but to the world. If I am not being my best, then I can’t expect you to trust me with your time or your hard earned money. And it’s my relentless pursuit of conquest, excellence and wisdom that makes me who I am today as a woman…still feels weird calling myself a woman even at the age of 38 :P…as a business partner, as a fiancé, as a friend, as a daughter, as a step-mom, and as a coach.
I know you may not always have the answers but your life will gift you with powerful insights that will BE the guidance you need IF you choose to play all-in.
Coaches, don’t just preach it…please for the love of all things holy…go out and BE it! Whatever that means for you just be excellent so that your clients have the space to be too.
(this article originally appeared on my blog at medium.com/ambassador-for-goodness)