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Three Nuggets of Learning from a Life Coach

November 9, 2010

This week’s Great Life Experiences comes from a Life Coach, Anne Kellogg Reed, who shares 3 golden nuggets from her own progression of cube dweller to self-employed.

I am a life coach.  So I should probably be able to give you some brilliantly genius advice that will change your life, right?!  Nope.  It’s YOUR job to be the genius!  And that is what I love so much about coaching – that it’s built around the core beliefs that:

  • YOU know what you want (whether or not you’ve discovered it yet), and
  • YOU are brilliantly capable of bringing it to life.

It is my job, then, to invite you onto that bandwagon of belief and get rolling.  So that’s what I have to say about coaching right now.  If you want to learn more, check out my site or send me a message.

Now on to what I really want to jabber about!  It’s been just over two years since I quit my full time job to focus on coaching, and in preparation for writing this little ditty, I found myself thinking – what on earth HAVE I learned through the experience of self-employment, a.k.a. the path less traveled?  So here I present you with a little platter of three nuggets.  Take what you like and feel free to sample!

NUGGET #1 – THE EXPECTATION OF FREEDOM (and how it surprisingly came to be)
One thing I think about when I look back at the past two years is this myth I shared with many that self-employment = more freedom.  The truth I discovered pretty quickly was that for me, self-employment has been a very messy experience that has a way of bringing all of my insecurities and anxieties to the surface.  What an unexpected joy!  These little monsters have come out of the woodwork wearing nametags like guilt, money insecurities, and self-confidence issues.  So what is a life-coach to do but face them the way she’s asked her clients to do?

And two years later, the truth is that I AM experiencing a lot of freedom in my life.  But I honestly think it has more to do with the fact that I am taking the time to deal with my junk.  And yes, being in charge of my own schedule certainly helps, but only now that I’m in a position to be powerfully in charge instead of fearfully in charge as I was at first.

Let’s be honest, here, I owe a LOT of this learning and freedom to my partner in life and biggest supporter, fellow entrepreneur Ben Reed.  There is no stinking way I would have survived this without his support (emotional, financial, logistical, technological, humorical…okay, I made up that word, but you get the point).  There’s my mom, my sister Katy, my family, my friends.  And my life coach!  Obviously I believe in the value of working with a coach, and I’ve found that limited-time engagements have worked the best for me.  I had one coach through my certification process and a different coach since then.  Both have been hugely fundamental in supporting my focus on the big picture of what I’m up to.

Then there’s this community of women I stumbled into made up of women who all believe in living life intentionally and aligned with our greatest values, callings, and priorities.  Being a part of a group like Tiara fulfills my need to be in community with like-minded, independent women who snub the notion of being a victim to ‘life as it’s supposed to be played.’

So my point here?  I am hugely grateful for the support I’ve received from the incredible people around me.  And more than grateful, I’m recognizing how I WOULD HAVE GIVEN UP LONG AGO WITHOUT THEM.

Something else I find myself learning over and over is that it’s worth it to consider both sides of what I want – the SPECIFICS and the FEELINGS.  To give you some context, consider that desires tend to fall in two categories:

  • FEELINGS we desire – the ‘big picture’ (for example, adventure and freedom)
  • SPECIFICS we desire (say, a pony)

Here in my lovely example, you can see how a desire in one category can be linked to one or more desires in the other category.  I believe that we want SPECIFIC things because they’re actually capable of giving us the FEELINGS we want.  And sometimes we’re wrong.  Like when I thought that earning my official certification as a life coach would make me feel confident.  Wrong-o.  Turns out that earning the ‘CPCC’ designation was not the magical stamp of approval I thought I needed to feel great.  The FEELING I wanted – confidence in my abilities – was only something I could give myself, and faking confidence wasn’t working.  So once I identified that desired FEELING – confidence – I could be on the lookout for other SPECIFIC actions to take aligned with that desire.

Without going on and on too much more, the reason I share this is because when we’re clear about the FEELINGS we want, we are in a better position to notice SPECIFIC opportunities that happen to show up.  These might be things that we would not otherwise notice or consider.  For me, it actually turned out that my confidence was built more in the time I chose to take a break from coaching to ‘reset’ myself.  I NEVER would have thought that taking a break would build my confidence, but I was tuned in to the desire, gave myself permission to do that weird thing, and magically, more confidence was present once I started coaching again!

So if you’re considering a desire you have – stop to notice whether it’s a SPECIFIC or a FEELING, and think about what the desires are on the other side of the coin.  Get busy with the SPECIFICS that feel aligned with the desired FEELINGS, and be on the lookout for surprise opportunities that come your way.

I strongly believe in the value of reflecting and sharing when it’s in service of learning and growth.  Writing this has helped me reflect on what the last two years has meant to me, so thank you for the virtual venue!  And good luck to YOU, reader, as you move forward.  From one learner to another, here is what I have to share, in true nugget form:

  • Self-employment is a trip.  If you’re considering it, get ready to accelerate your learning!
  • Find your people and hold them tight.
  • Get clear about your desires – the specifics and the feelings.  And watch them come together in ways you never expected they would.


Anne Kellogg Reed, CPCC
Certified Professional Co-Active Coach
Bicycle Life Coaching

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