People often ask me, “Susan, how did you become a life coach?”
It’s a good question. I’ve told the story of “how I discovered coaching” many times—on my website, through my blog, in media interviews, and casually over coffee.
But I don’t think I’ve ever shared the whole story with you, here, like this… in an email.
Today, I’d like to do that.
Why share this?
Because my story is a story that will (hopefully) remind you that you can change the course of your life at any time—yes, even if you’ve got kids at home, yes, even if you’ve got lots of responsibilities, yes, even if your life has been tough, yes, even if you don’t have much support from family and friends, yes, even if [insert situation here]. Your inner strength is greater than any of your “circumstances.” Your inner fire can burn through… anything that is holding you back.
I didn’t always believe this, but I do know. I am living proof that it’s true.
So here is the story of how I became a professional coach.
I hope it sparks something beautiful and brave inside of you.
. . .
Nine years ago, at one of the lowest, unhappiest points in my entire life—reeling from the shock of sexual assault, grieving a miscarriage, trapped in a career that felt suffocating, overweight, uncomfortable in my skin, with two young kids at home and a husband who did not know how to help me feel like “me” again—I bought a book called Finding Your Own North Star at the bookstore.
The book looked very “spiritual” and even a little “woo woo.”
It was written by a woman named Dr. Martha Beck, who was apparently some kind of “life coach.” (Never heard of her. Also, what’s a life coach?)
Yet… I felt a powerful urge to pull the book off the shelf.
So I did.
I bought it and took it home, ran a bath, and started reading. I remember reading, sobbing, reading more, taking notes in the margins, sobbing more, reading more, looping like that until I reached the end. (The book was sopping wet.)
That book changed my life.
That book helped me to realize that—no matter what has happened to me in the past—the future is mine to create.
I can change my thoughts. I can change my habits. I can change my life. It’s up to me.
Shortly after that, I Googled Martha Beck’s name, feeling an intense urge to meet her.
I didn’t know how it would all unfold. I just knew I wanted to keep learning from her.
One thing led to another, and several emails, phone calls, and strange coincidences later, I was told that a spot had just opened up at her life coaching program.“If you want to,” her program director explained, “You can take that open spot. You can fly to Phoenix and become a certified life coach, training with Martha. I know it’s last minute, but if you want the spot, it’s yours.”
“I’m in!” I declared. I had very little idea what I was signing up for. It was impulsive, it made no sense, and yet somehow, I knew I was making the right choice.
Over the next nine years, I studied with Martha and other personal development icons, eventually earning a mastery level coaching certification. I went on to open my own coaching practice, helping clients to lose weight, change careers, launch businesses, and achieve all kinds of meaningful goals. I developed my own coaching philosophy, myown stance, my own voice. I started writing and sharing my (sometimes wild and sassy) stories online. I continued to invest in myself and work on myself, taking my own hard-won lessons and using them to help my clients. I wrote a book. I watched, gobsmacked,as unreal, crazy-amazing opportunities (O magazine, speaking onstage right before Maria freaking Shriver, meeting the dignitaries of Aruba?!) came rolling into my life.
My coaching practice didn’t “blossom” overnight, of course.
It took time, but… slowly, steadily, one step after another… I figured out how to run a profitable coaching practice. I figured out how to use my gifts to really help people. I figured out what made me “different” and “special” as a coach and entrepreneur.
I came into my own.
Life coaching has been the great vocational “love affair” of my life.
I love coaching. I love helping people get trained to become coaches. I love working with coaches who are big-hearted and caring but struggling financially, teaching them how to find clients and actually run a viable coaching business. I love this work, the people who do it, and the people who are impacted by it.
Nine years into my coaching journey—as cliche and cheesy as it sounds—I feel like I am just getting started.
How about… you?
Have you found a job, a career, or an approach to running your business that you absolutely love? Or are you still searching? If you’re searching, and feeling like you could use some guidance, I’d love to help.
Or maybe, like me, you’ve fallen head over heels in love with coaching. Life coaching, wellness coaching, relationship coaching, leadership coaching… some flavor of coaching has burrowed into your heart and you know it’s your calling. Except you’re struggling to get clear on your specific message, your business direction, and what ypes of marketing work best for you. You love being a coach (that’s for sure) but you’ve got… lots of questions. If that’s you… this is for you.
Consider this your invitation to join my community of Clear Coaches. I’d love to help youbuild your dream coaching practice, whatever that looks like for you. It’s all going down at Clear Coaches Live, a training event and love-fest especially for professional coaches. Tickets are on sale now. I hope you’ll be there.
So… phew. There ya go. That’s the story of how I became a coach—at least, as much of the story as I can possibly tuck into this email without turning it into a 300-page memoir. Thank you for reading. I gotta bolt because I have a phone call with a coachingclient later this afternoon (yay!).
I will leave you with this beautiful Martha Beck quote, because it feels “full circle” and very appropriate to close up with a few words from one of my greatest teachers:
“Your North Star is not a place but a state of being. It is the state in which you are fully—and only—yourself. You may cover a million miles on the way, but ultimately you will come to see that all along, your own North Star has been, simply, you. You are the best destination you could possibly imagine or experience. Welcome home.”