For one year now I’ve been on a journey with a life-coach. Every three weeks we speak on the phone for 30 minutes. During that time we recap the previous three-week period and set some goals for the coming weeks.
Coaching is different from counseling. We don’t spend time hashing out all of my past and dirty laundry. We speak in the here and now with the goal of moving forward and growing.
At the beginning of this journey I was tasked with creating a vision/mission/purpose for my life… something I’ve never done. It was challenging. I’ve spent my entire life putting others first, never really thinking about what I wanted. Now it was time I became my number one priority.
My life is a good/healthy balance between giving myself to others and taking time for me.
Giving myself to others encompasses my job/career (even doing work in the summer), personal time spent taking care of the people in my life (family, friends) and saying yes to things people ask of me.
Taking time for me encompasses doing things that nurture my passion, creativity and soul, and that are good for me.
Both of these involve surrounding myself with healthy people and being able to reach out and ask for help if needed.
The journey has been very positive and also challenging at the same time. Some conversations were easy to have and encouraging. Others, difficult and seemed to last forever. Occasionally I’d start out almost dreading our time and hang up refreshed and encouraged; ready to tackle a new day!
My coach is real and honest – something I really appreciate, even in the difficult conversations. She challenges me on many levels – spiritual, personal, emotional, relational and physical. She does not mince words or sugar-coat. She speaks with truth and asks hard questions, while at the same time encouraging and affirming the work I am doing. She challenges me with spiritual tasks as well as everyday practical tasks. She helps me balance the areas of my life that are unevenly weighted. We both pray before our sessions and God always shows up.
Mid-way through this past year, I did an analysis of “My Intentional Self.” I listed what was successful and what still needed time and work. To my surprise, I was far more successful than I thought I’d been with nurturing and growing my intentional self… ME! When I shared those things that I felt were in-progress, she gave me suggestions on how to carry on and see change. She gave me hope along the journey.
Winter into spring brought challenges that seemed daunting. She helped me see God in them and gave me hope and tools to press through them.
At that point I really couldn’t see the forest for the trees. The sessions seems to be getting harder. One night in March, I was feeling very flat and it seemed that I was falling into a hole of isolation. During our conversation she stopped and said with conviction,
“You are strong – really really strong!”
I was stopped in my tracks and totally taken aback. I am? Really?
I had moved so far into feeling tired and discouraged that I was missing monumental changes surfacing in me and my life. What a gift to receive on that cold March evening, for it was that strength and encouragement I needed to get through the last three months of school. For in those months, I operated more in keeping my head above water and surviving. I was extremely tired and that made for a more difficult journey.
So, here I am a year later. As I look back over the past year I am encouraged. I’m different. I’m stronger. I look at my life through a different lens than I had 12 months prior. A better, stronger, more positive lens. It’s one that says I matter… I’m worth it… I’m valued. It’s one that says “I can do this – no matter what difficulties are thrown my way.” I am stronger even though I’m exhausted and ready for a summer break to rest and rejuvenate.
I’m once again brought back to my vision and purpose. I’m not going to just survive… I’m going to thrive! My summer is filled with things I WANT to do, not just need to do. I’m taking ownership of what I value in my life, not what I think I should do or what I think people expect of me. At our session last night I set a reasonable goal for the next three weeks and I’m off! In the meantime, I’m going to take a nap… because it’s what I want to do!
Having someone to coach and guide and be that outside perspective is powerful. I have an accountability that pushes me, but is filled with grace. I wish for everyone to have that someone in their lives that can take them on a journey to find their purpose and live intentionally… one day at a time.