One thing that has turned me off about the world of personal coaching is that many coaches portray themselves as having found the answer, as having “arrived.” They are selling the great life. The great life that “can be yours too.”
I think the idea of presenting oneself as having "arrived” must be a very lonely and high pressured place to exist. To have to maintain an appearance that one can easily overcome trials and tribulations and always end up on top must be difficult. Where does this person go to share their pain? To admit failure? To have bad days?
Because we all have pain. We all experience failure.
Even when we have achieved important goals in our lives, we cannot live forever on that mountain top - problem free. Life does not stand still in that way. We are always at risk of losing something. We are always at risk of facing difficulty. None of us will always make perfect choices.
Life is a journey. Sometimes we are feeling good, we are doing good, and everything just seems to be flowing in our favor. But inevitably we run into storms, some that quickly pass and others that are violent and persist. Other times we come to forks in the road. We sometimes have to stop and rethink our values and make difficult decisions. Sometimes we have to give up something that matters in order to have something that matters more. Sometimes we wonder if we made a wrong turn, and sometimes the opportunity to retrace our steps and take the other path has passed.
Sometimes it hurts.
I recently read a blog post written by a good friend of mine who is also a pastor. These words in the post comforted and inspired me:
“Our daily lives – our relationships, our work, our obligations – are full of difficulty. The temptation to go numb, to settle for mere survival, to live with low expectations – that temptation is huge...because life is full of pain, and loss, and disappointment. And even when it’s not – it’s still hard. And it takes great inner strength to be the person God has called you to be. It takes great strength to live the life that you know you’re capable of.”
My friend’s expression of the experience of life is one of the many reasons why I consider this person a good friend. I love being in spaces where the people around me are able to admit that we don’t have all of the answers, that life is hard and sometimes confusing. My friend is someone who I deeply respect, someone who is willing to embrace questions and uncertainty, willing to live in the space where answers are not easy and are often elusive, believing that dialogue and discussion and wonder are where we gain the possibility of experiencing a glimpse of the great mystery of love, God, and the universe.
His post inspired me because being real with each other about the difficulties of life is what helps us to heal and is what helps us to connect with each other intimately. To know that others get it helps us to feel less alone; it helps us to realize we are not the only ones going through hardship. The other thing about his post that inspired me is the reminder that the temptation to settle is strong...
but we must not.
I can’t help but believe that each of our lives has purpose and meaning.
One of the things I love so much about my women’s groups is that everyone gets to talk about what’s really going on in their lives, and they get to hear other women say, “Yes, I have experienced that also!” They get to hear other woman say, “I’m sorry. I know what you’re going through is hard.” And they also get to hear other women say, “I’m dealing with that too and this is how I’m managing, maybe this strategy will help you as well.”
I wanted to write this post because, as a coach, I have a certain skill set in helping people strategize and meet goals, to come up with solutions to challenges they are experiencing. But these skills don’t mean that I have life figured out. They don’t mean that I don’t have bad days or that I don’t wonder at times whether I took the wrong road somewhere along my journey.
Sometimes it feels like we live in a world where we’re expected to smile all the time. Smiles are good. I love smiles. But we all need a place where we can rest our heavy hearts at times and know that others get it. Sometimes we need to know that our lack of a smile or feelings of discouragement are normal and okay.
So, when someone proclaims that they have arrived, you are right to question this. There is no mountain top. When one problem is solved, another always appears. You did not somehow miss out on life’s secret. Find for yourself the company of others who can admit their struggles but who are also not willing to give up and who won’t let you give up either. It is often this good company that gives us the strength not to settle.
** Curious about the women's groups? Visit myheartdances.com for details. There will be a new schedule in the fall. Feel free to email me with questions.
Melissa King : Life Coach for Women * Dating / Relationships / Health
Specializing in helping women to honor their needs and values while developing practical solutions to life challenges.
Other posts you might like:
My Body... Finally. (Body image video released July 9th)
14 Days Closer to Love
What Our Painful Stories Say About Us
One Small Question About My Big Butt
Cliché Dating Advice? Here's My Response
My Journey with Bulimia
Things People Said that Changed My Life
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Since 2002 I have been coaching women who are frustrated by common life challenges like dating, career direction, self-esteem, weight loss, and meeting health goals. Through private coaching, women's groups, workshops, and classes, I offer women tools to create strategies that allow them to move forward without compromising their personal values and needs.
My services are ideal for women who are interested in authenticity, improving self-esteem and self-respect, breaking unsuccessful dating/relationship patterns, and developing new habits that lead to better communication and improved intimacy with others.