“Who we become by going after our goals is even more important than achieving them.” – Allison Burch
Six years ago this month I sat down for coffee with a woman who would change my life.
At that time I often felt like I wasn’t a good enough mom or a good enough employee.
I had a very active, intense kindergartener and I worked full-time in marketing and communications. Years prior it was a dream job but now I was burned out and bummed out.
Some days I was certain I just needed to do more; that I wasn’t doing enough. And then other days I was overwhelmed by it all and couldn’t possibly see how I had anything left to give; I was so depleted.
At this point in my life I expected to be enjoying my success and instead I felt like a hot mess.
That’s why I found myself in a coffee shop talking to a life coach.
Even though I had always rolled my eyes at the words “life coach” I knew I needed to work with her when we met at a workshop and she explained the difference between a coach and a therapist: “A therapist helps you heal your past and a life coach helps you create your future.”
I remember that morning vividly, me spilling out everything that was swirling in my head, the decisions in front of me – to go after a management position, work for a different company, look into changing my career, be a stay-at-home mom, start my own business – and all the fears and expectations that went along with each one, and a few things stand out.
It felt so good to be able to talk about me.
I got to share everything and be listened to without judgement, without concern for someone else’s opinion or unspoken agenda, and without the need to reciprocate. As a busy mom, loving wife and dedicated employee I gave a lot of my attention to other people and never expected it in return. It was amazing to experience someone deeply listening to me.
She pointed out the patterns of my thinking through what I said.
And on that first day I said “should.” A lot. I was living by what other people, and what I, thought I should do rather than what I truly wanted to do. I realized I had no idea what it was that I wanted. No wonder I was confused about what to do.
I felt different, even though everything was still the same.
After that first conversation the stress and worry that sat in the pit of my stomach like a knot had loosened. I walked out the door feeling lighter, hopeful because I had a different perspective and I saw change was possible.
Why am I sharing this with you?
Because I know I’m not the only one who has gone through this.
If you are in that same place I was then you need to hear this:
You are not alone.
Wrestling with purpose, especially at mid-life, is very common. Although many of us go through it, there is often shame admitting it because we see it as failing rather than the opportunity for growth that it is.
You don’t have to go through it alone.
We are relational beings so finding someone you trust, who you can talk to is essential. If you have a partner or friend who can hold space for you without their own hopes and fears getting in the way, awesome! Many of us don’t. Even when we have well meaning, loving relationships it’s hard for our loved ones to be neutral. That’s where a therapist or a life coach can help.
New possibilities come from new ways of thinking.
We feel stuck because our brains have thoughts that aren’t serving us and they’re playing on repeat. Those neural pathways can get so deeply ingrained we don’t even notice the thoughts anymore and we need help pulling ourselves out of that brain rut.
Once you start thinking new thoughts that serve you and have experiences that strengthen them and do that more and more you open yourself up to opportunities and possibilities you never could have imagined.
It’s brain science but it’s also pretty f-ing magical.
I know, because I’ve experienced it.
6 years ago, I sat in that coffee shop confused and overwhelmed. I walked out with a smile on my face and a flutter of possibility in my heart.
5 years ago I took the leap and left my corporate job, stayed home with my new baby (yep, got pregnant with #2 during this transition) and started to tip-toe to entrepreneurship.
4 years ago I started my business teaching workshops and helping new parents have better relationships.
3 years ago I decided to get trained and become a coach myself because of how powerfully coaching transformed my life and because it was so fun!
Now I have the best job in the world.
I get to help people confidently live in their potential so they can create a life they love, make an impact with their unique gifts and feel more fulfilled in work, life and love.
I don’t want to give you the false impression that it was easy. But most of the work was on the inside.
As I grew my self-concept and what I thought I was capable of, I stretched and strengthened and learned and failed and got back on track and asked for help and readjusted and got brave and reached out and on and on and on…in fact I’m still doing it because the journey is never over.
But that future I glimpsed in that first day in the coffee shop with the help of my coach — the one where I had more connection, joy, freedom and fulfillment — I’m living it now.
If my story speaks to you and you want to talk about where you are now and where you’d like to be, let’s have (virtual) coffee. Don’t put off starting your own journey.
Trust me, it’s so worth it!
With Love and Light, Allison
P.S. I want to give tons of love and appreciation to Jenny Remington, that woman in the coffee shop who became my coach for many years and who I now am lucky to call a friend and mentor. We should all be so blessed to have someone like Jenny in our lives! xo
Photo by Melanie Grizzel Photography.