Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Life After Life Coaching

I did not know about life coaching until a good friend invited me to undergo it with him as he was still gaining experience in the field.  What a great blessing.

This happened on the month I finally started reading Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert, given by another friend last year, and right before I was gifted with The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin by yet another friend.  So I must have been going through something, for the people around me to not-so-subtly give me tools towards happiness in life.

I had no idea what to do on our first session, but I gave what I thought were my best answers. My life coach started with a series of questions that were so tough that I almost wanted to quit. He refused my press-release answers to my happiness level on every aspect of life.  He knew I was holding back, although I was not aware of it. He was very gentle, yet very firm. I actually wanted to hate him if he were not a very likable person.

He explained to me that simply put, he was there to help me identify my goals in life, work on the perceived obstacles, and achieve said goals. I thought it was going to be easy-peasy.  I had been writing my goals since childhood! But I was wrong.  I did not know how life-changing and perilous the road I had started was going to be.

We met regularly, and it helped give me a sense of accountability.  It was like having a personal trainer, a spiritual director, and a career mentor all in one package.  I have had all three before, so I thought I was the expert in submitting to authority.  But life-coaching was much more than the sum of its parts.  And the greatest thing was that I only had to pay for dinner!  Once I started Googling about life coaching, I realized I could never afford it, so I knew I was being given a gift.

Still, I was not sure if it was effective.  I went through the motions.  A lot of times I thought I got things wrong.  I learned to trust him more each session. He taught me exercises to blast away my overstaying beliefs about my skills and overall worth.  He made me write down my goals and then to rewrite them (and I hated repetition).  He made me see the distance between my perceptions about the things and people around me and what was reality (This.was.hard!).  He taught me to be detached from my emotions during stressful situations so I could focus on the tasks and hand, and not be pushed down into distress.  He said his goal was to make himself irrelevant.

The timing was impeccable.  Just when I had a life coach to lean to, two things happened to me that previous subscribers to my dramas could tell were my oldest stories - a complicated childhood relationship gone sour, and a professional insecurity brought about by a major setback when I was starting out my legal career. Probably, my life coach dealt me the truths that my friends had been saying all along, but it took this person who did not know me so well to show me the way out of the prisons in my mind.

And then I was free.  I saw how far I had moved on from that painful friendship I had carried with me for decades, and how I had so many friends who treated me better that more than made up for the damage to my self-image wrought by my personal Voldemort.

I also finally let go of The Bar Card, my failure story that I loved to use against other people, whether in my head or out loud, whenever they whined about their respective careers.  I thought I was the winner in the loser category.  My life coach helped me to see how much this was hindering me from becoming the best lawyer I was meant to be. I did not even realize how I had been using this Bar Card as a crutch when I was no longer injured.  I was, in fact, healed.

Life coaching in general is a secular concept, but I was doubly blessed because my life coach was a man of deep faith.  He understood my worldview since he had a similar one.  He seamlessly integrated my relationship with God into our sessions, so that my goals, dreams, fears, and perceptions were seen in the light of faith.

Each life coach has a different approach.  I am grateful that my life coach was perfectly suited to my background, personality, and vision. He has left the country now and so I am on my own. He may, as he is wont to do, follow me up once in a while, but our sessions have equipped me to change my views enough and step out in greater faith. 

You might see results of the more amazing in me in the posts to come. 

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