Monday, January 16, 2012

yeah... about that, Part II

Welcome to another installment of the Life Coaching Chronicles.  In Part I, I gave the story of why and  how I hired a life coach. 

It was important that I felt I could (a) trust her, (b) feel comfortable talking with her, and (c) get results.  (c) was yet to be seen, but (a) and (b) were a go after that initial consult.  And notice that I say "her" because I knew I wanted a woman coach as things were going to get personal, and it's probably best to avoid that whole "Harry Met Sally" hypothesis. 

Also, I liked that she came from a creative background as opposed to being a corporate/business type coach or a relationship guru type coach, since I felt it was my right brain that was the most confused.  I watched the movie my coach told me about in which she'd successfully tackled  a challenging role that, in turn, had made quite a postive impact on many lives. Yes, this just might work.

Artwork courtesy of Deidra Alexander

One of the first things she introduced me to was the "inner critic" and how I should train myself to ignore it.  We all have one.  It's the voice that tells us stuff like, "You're too old for a career change", or "You should do what makes sense according to your resume'", or "People will think you're weak if you tell them you hired a life coach".  WAIT, WHAT?  Or how about, "A life coach?  Seriously!?  Think you could be any more self indulgent?!?" 

Yeah, that voice.

When I was researching others' experiences with life coaching, I remember one woman who actually constructed a doll to represent her inner critic.  It was hideous.  I didn't construct an inner critic doll.

I got a bunch of homework before our official sessions began.  My coach directed me to this website where I completed a questionnaire to identify core strengths and values. Additionally, I did a fill-in-the-blanks questionnaire and colored in my wheel. 

My coach's job was not to tell me what I should do (that would be so much easier).  It's to help me figure out what I should do (that would be so much better).

After just one session, I noticed I was already thinking differently and noticing things I hadn't really thought of before.   One thing that came up, for instance, is the fact that I had none of my artwork on display anywhere in my house - not counting the couple of murals anyway.  Even the space where I do my artwork looks more like an engineer's cubicle most of the time.  Yes, I'd uploaded some here and on the art blog, but all of the originals were tucked away in binders or folders.

I thought of my art hobby as just an indulgence for me, but it wasn't suitable for the walls of my home, and not to be taken too seriously. 

It made me wonder (speaking of the murals), why I had enthusiastically "vomited" a large display of floor to ceiling bold-colored florals one day, but kept everything else in a stash?

I still don't know the answer to that, by the way.

And let me just add that Magnum supported this whole mid-life crisis  life coaching endeavor.  I told him I felt confident that the benefits would outweigh the cost, and he backed me.  "Not everyone has that", my coach reminded me. 

And that is really a big piece of this.  I know that I have advantages and opportunities that not everyone has.  Some of them I've aquired through dumb luck, but others, I've "earned", and I don't want to go squandering them. (btw, I've earned Magnum with a little help from dumb luck).  I just really want to do this right - not surprising after what the core values questionnaire told me...

After just a couple of sessions, I was already thinking differently and better.  I was putting some frames on and hanging up a few artworks one night when Wolfgang asked me what was up.   I told him it was homework from my life coach.

"You have a life coach?", he asked.

"YES!", I replied rather loudly and quickly, before I could be too embarrassed to admit it.

It had started out well, though, I thought. But it would get even better...


Anonymous said...

This post came at the exact perfect time for me. I was just wondering how I could help my son through what seems like a hopeless time for him. I immediately went to the website you visited, and while it may not be THE answer for him, I feel like I at least have a starting point. So thanks for sharing. It sounds like it's gonna work great for you! I can't wait to hear what's next!

"Abby" said...

That's great to hear SR300. Sometimes I think I'm just ruminating through my keyboard on here. I hope the site makes a difference for your son and you!

agg79 said...

I think it is great you have found a life coach. I think that your life coach serves as a missing piece in a lot of people's life - that mentor/adviser/counselor that we lack. Don't let anyone discount your choice (they're just jealous).

BTW - I did one of those core strength and value assessment exercises. My color wheel came out all black.

terri said...

I love the way you've taken charge of the uncertainties you're facing. Instead of just being a sitting duck and waiting to see what's going to happen, you're figuring it out ahead of time. Some people (ahem... me) are learning much from you.

Anita said...

And after you've "allowed" yourself the joy of seeing your work on your walls, dream a little...
like seeing your art on note cards being sold in your Etsy shop. Or as illustrations in a children's book. Gotta be a writer out there who needs an artist. Or you write the book.

Okay, so those are my dreams. Only, I don't have your artistic talent. Darn!

Anita said...

Oops, I got carried away. For a minute, I thought I was the Life Coach. :)