Research Paper By Julianne McKnight
(Life Coach, AUSTRALIA)
WHEN SHE WAS A BABY her mother dressed her in pink with frills and bows, and as the only girl in the family, she was treasured and spoilt.
WHEN SHE WAS A LITTLE GIRL she played ‘family’ with dolls and dreamt of weddings, picket fences, babies and happily ever after. She adored her mother and idolised her father, and thought they were the perfect couple who survived on love with never a trouble in the world. Like all children, she never considered the work involved in any relationship.
WHEN SHE STARTED SCHOOL she tried hard so that her parents would be proud of her. Early on, she adopted the belief that if “a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well”. Her fairytale dreams for the future grew and she knew no reason to doubt her knight in shining armour would one day arrive.
WHEN SHE WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL she continued to work hard. Her parents were proud and whilst she didn’t top her class, her diligence resulted in good grades. On graduation she was accepted to university although she doubted that a career would be important once she was married.
WHEN SHE STARTED WORKING she met her future husband on her first day. She fell in love quickly – both with her beau and her work. Her performance in her role was recognised and she appreciated the positivity and encouragement from her colleagues and managers.
WHEN SHE WAS 18 YEARS OF AGE her aunt took her own life. She had never before considered that some people might elect to call an end to their living and she struggled to understand how life could be such that making a conscious decision to finish it would appear to be an appropriate choice.
WHEN SHE WAS 19 YEARS OF AGE she married, dressed like a princess in white. She and her husband were happy and she took to her wedded life as she had been raised. At the same time, she continued to excel at her job and over the next 5 or so years she worked her way through the ranks.
WHEN SHE WAS 23 YEARS OF AGE her father died after a short illness. His departure was different to her aunt’s 5 years before, however it left a far greater hole in her life. She felt it unfair and unjust but she vowed to stay strong and to always make him proud.
WHEN SHE WAS IN HER MID 20s she continued to work hard although she began to think about babies. She pushed the thoughts aside, believing that the time was not right and they did not have enough money.
WHEN SHE WAS 28 YEARS OF AGE she woke to find that she no longer knew the man sleeping beside her. Worse still, she didn’t know herself. She was driven in her career but for no apparent purpose other than desiring independence and to be seen as strong. She changed employers and continued to advance in seniority and income.
WHEN SHE WAS 30 YEARS OF AGE she accepted a position to launch a new company in her region. She revelled in the increased responsibility and worked hard to be recognised as a key player in her industry.
WHEN SHE WAS 31 YEARS OF AGE she married again, this time to the man she believed would be by her side for the rest of her natural life. She wore a turquoise wedding dress as a sign of her individuality.
WHEN SHE WAS IN HER EARLY 30s she continued to pursue the next promotion and to seek more responsibility. She did not know where she was heading, apart from up, and she believed that one day she would make her parents and her family proud. She pursued excellence at the cost of almost all else.
WHEN SHE WAS 35 YEARS OF AGE she gave birth to her son, her greatest achievement, conceived after she couldn’t push the maternal urges down any longer. She had arranged to take 12 months maternity leave, but returned to work part time when he was less than 4 months old, much to the disappointment of her mother. Her husband reduced his work hours to help care for their son and her hunger for continuing her career resulted in her next promotion soon after.
WHEN SHE WAS 37 YEARS OF AGE she had sufficient energy to focus on her job and her son only, and her relationship with her husband failed. She bought a new home for her son and herself and worried how she would cope being a single parent.
WHEN SHE WAS 38 YEARS OF AGE her boss rewarded his company’s management team with six months of life coaching. She hadn’t heard of life coaching before.
WHEN SHE WAS 38 YEARS OF AGE she was a strong and successful career woman and a single parent who supported herself and her son with limited financial support from his father. But when her life coach asked her to answer one question and told her to answer without using titles or roles or relationships or achievements, she failed. For the first time in her adult life, someone had asked her something she could not answer, and she felt herself crashing at high speed. She had been asked “Who are you?” and she had no words and worse, very little idea.
WHEN SHE WAS 38 YEARS OF AGE she began to work on herself. With the guidance of her coach, she worked hard to understand what was truly important to her and took steps to live her life more in accordance with her values. She simplified her everyday life and introduced structure. She began to spend her time on the important things in her life – spending time with her son and discovering more about herself. She still faced some challenges, but she began to blossom.
WHEN SHE WAS 39 YEARS OF AGE she juggled a lot in her life and still had periods of stress, but she dropped the balls less often. She started dating a new man.
WHEN SHE WAS 40 YEARS OF AGE she moved closer to her family and her son started school. She continued to concentrate on understanding herself and moving in the direction of her dreams. Her new relationship continued to strengthen.
WHEN SHE WAS 42 YEARS OF AGE they bought a home and brought their families together. She gained an extra two sons and revelled in it. She continued working with her coach.
WHEN SHE WAS 44 YEARS OF AGE one of her closest friends took their own life. This brought back many memories from the loss of her aunt and her father. Although she suffered great grief, her coach helped her explore her feelings and she had learnt enough to accept her friend’s decision more easily. Her new husband shared her grief and she accepted his support.
WHEN SHE WAS 45 YEARS OF AGE her curiosity in the process and benefits of life coaching led to her realisation that she wanted to know more. Whilst unsure if she wanted to pursue coaching as a career, she enrolled with International Coach Academy confident that whatever knowledge she gained would benefit her personally and professionally.
NOW SHE IS 48 YEARS OF AGE and she is near completed her coaching qualification. She has taken to coaching like a duck to water, and is keen to continue learning. She is certain her life is all the better for her experience with coaching- enabling her to dig deeper into her own life, her beliefs (both those that seek to hold her back and those that push her on) and her dreams.
To the age of 38 years, she had not lived an extraordinarily painful life and she was not broken. In fact, her life had been quite blessed and she had grown in a family of love and support. She was generally in good health (physically and mentally) and not in any immediate danger. It is unlikely that her life would have ended in suffering.
But what benefits has she experienced from her exposure to life coaching? These can be best exhibited by looking at her life til 38 years of age in contrast with her present.
HER FUTURE is guaranteed to be exciting. She understands the power of coaching; of taking the time to explore, understand, challenge and fall in love with yourself. She will continue to determine and work towards her life purpose. She is establishing her own life coaching business and is amazed that she is taking such a brave step. She is driven by love, acceptance, truth and trust. She loves helping others and strives to inject harmony, patience and passion into her dealings with them. She is stronger and she knows it. She will continue to rule her own world.
She is me.