You may not know...I gave up my dream job to coach.

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Over the weekend I received a peer-selected Leadership Award and it’s causing me to reflect on how much I have grown and conquered in my years as a coach. SO many battles lost and won. SO many struggles I’ve been swallowed by and overcome.

Now I’m sitting here thinking about how I got started in coaching 14 years ago.

Back in 2004, I was laid off from my dream job. Only for the summer. Azure closed for the summer in La Quinta (located near Palm Springs) so I took the time off to reflect on life and what I wanted to create moving forward.

See, in a little under 2 years out of culinary school I’d gotten recruited 4 times, had multiple promotions and raises, designed menus for a medical wellness program and worked my way to the grill station at Azure…a fine dining restaurant who sistered the famous Le Bernadine in New York.

I was passionate about living up to my full potential. I wanted to prove myself capable every step of the way. I was not willing to accept anything less than my best.

I loved everything about that work…

Except the fact that I could not financially support myself through a divorce AND pay my school loans.

If money were not a factor at that time, I would have never become a coach and I’d probably own my own restaurant by now.

However, as the fates would have it…14 years later, I’m still coaching and my hourly pay rate is 10x what I made before.

It all started with a vision board…

The summer of 2003 I got back from vacation with my then husband for our one year anniversary. I’d gained 20 pounds back of the 80 I lost and was disgusted with how I was letting my hard work go to waste.

I wanted to figure out how to create a business for myself that would be spiritual at the core so I sent away for a home study course in “Spiritual Business.” The textbook suggested I make a vision board to chart my desires and serve as a visual representation of where I was headed.

I spent loads of time creating it!

With magazine cut outs spread across the living room floor for about a week, I took my time in properly arranging so that my board would be clear and precise in what I was asking of myself and the universe.

Once complete, I placed it right in front of the tv so I would see it each morning and remember that first thing to do each morning is work out…not turn on the tv. It wasn’t so much about the wish I made to the universe so much as it was about walking forward in faith KNOWING my wish was already true.

When a decision would need to be made, I’d turn to my vision board as the deciding factor:

Does it support my vision? Great!

That’s a hell yes!

Does it hold me back from my vision? Okay then.

That’s a hell no!

The board became my North Star. Life was made easy.

By the time 2004 summer came, and I was laid off, my weight had come back down, I’d become an avid student of weight training, and I’d become confident in my ability to stick with my personal promises.

I spent the summer reading everything that would support me to becoming the BEST version of me possible. My reading list included:

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer

The Law of Attraction by Abraham-Hicks

On Myth and Religion by Alan Watts

The Heart of Understanding by Thich Nhat Hanh

I learned one thing: if I didn’t believe it, I wouldn’t BE it.

That and, curiosity in the possibility of greater things was the answer to any doubt that may creep up in the journey.

It was the first time in my life when my vision was so clear, anything I set as intention came true with impeccable rapidity!

Even self sabotage. 😧

I spent three months questioning how I could take everything I’d learned in personal commitment and share it with others. My heart yearned for working hand-in-hand with clients to cut the learning curve on weight loss and I wanted to find that path.

By early September of 2004, I began getting “We’ll open in two weeks…” from my restaurant job. My dream job. And yet, I’d cracked open something deep within my soul telling me I needed to coach.

I walked into Gold’s Gym two blocks from my apartment and signed up for a gym membership to have access to more equipment as I’d lost all my weight using the complex’s tiny gym up to that point. During my tour, I asked “What does it take to become a personal trainer?” The manager set me up with an Intro session with the in-house training company to further the discussion.

At the Intro (Orientation…aka Sales Appointment), the Training Manager asked me “So, what are your goals?” I told her I wanted to know what it would take to become a trainer then showed her my before and after photos.

She hired me on the spot.

With .50 cents an hour more than I made in my culinary job, a flexible schedule and nights and weekends free if I wanted, I thought, “hmmm this could be a great part-time thing to supplement my income!”

Never once did I imagine I’d be quitting my regular job before the restaurant opened for the season. But I did. And it only took me two weeks to build up a client base enough to do so.

The key my success has ALWAYS been immersion.

I may not have all the answers in the moment though I WILL do whatever it takes to FIND those answers such that success IS inevitable.

Even if I have to fake it till I make it by using affirmations and trying on new beingnesses each day until the right one clicks, I will find a way to reach that new level.

In 14 years of doing this work, I am nowhere near perfect.

In fact, the longer I do this work, the less I FEEL perfect or right or even knowledgeable. Wise, yes. Based on my training and experience, that’s a given. Yet, the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know and that keeps me as sane as humanely possible.

I give myself permission to explore and experiment with new concepts and ideas before I cling onto one or the other.

My success as a coach is dictated by my willingness to always be a student of what’s possible.
Period.

If I didn’t question my own beliefs, I would not be who and where and what I am today.

I would not be the woman I am.

I would not be the leader I am.

I would not be the student I am.

No matter how many certifications I have…it’s now 10 in total…I will never have all the answers because being a coach with all the answers means one has stopped learning and started dictating.

The Leadership Award this weekend was given to me because I’ve allowed myself to be vulnerable and raw with my team; deeply willing to show up with a zest for learning rather than having all the answers .

And while my knowledge base can be likened to a walking encyclopedia in the eyes of those who know me, it’s my ability to ask the greater questions and shed old beliefs that gets me results…not the excessive data stored in my head.

So while you may be holding back on something in life, just stop.

The vision you hold does not require you to have all the answers before taking action…it simply requires your curiosity to seek the answers along the way!

If you want to be a great leader, you need only the willingness to be the perpetual student and hold yourself accountable to being who you teach others to be in every point of the day. Yes, you will have obstacles and struggles and pitfalls, and yet, those are there to help YOU level up in your leadership skills.

The more you give yourself permission to try out new personas and qualities the more chance you’ll have at reaching and exceeding your mark.

I pride myself in being a walking billboard for what’s possible because I know I wouldn’t respect someone who didn’t walk the talk. And so, it’s up to ME to keep grinding away at the personal development of my character.

While I am nowhere near where I want to be (I keep setting my goals higher each year so technically I will never reach them), I am by far more where I want to be than ever before!

And I won’t be stopped in my pursuit of a greater me. THAT is what makes me great at my work and has sustained me as a coach.

What is your biggest sticking point? What will you do today to create a shift? Leave a comment in the section below and let me know 😉