Research Paper By Kelly London
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
I am a life coach, I specialize in transition times. I can help you discover who you used to be, and who you really are now. How can I do this, why do I do this, and what qualifies me to do this? Read on, let me share my story.
Did you wake up one day and say, Man; this is not what I signed up for, how did I end up here? I never thought my life would be like this, and I DON’T like it? WAAAAAAAAA! You’re not alone; millions of us have had the very same moment. Mine came somewhere in 2004. I was doing very well in my career path; I had achieved every goal I had set out to accomplish one to two years ahead of time. I was next in line for a promotion, and I was very good at what I did. Then one evening after work, at the gym, I turned to my workout partner/coworker and said, “I’m tired, I’m going to go home now. I know I’m not done with my work out, but the heck with it”. It was 1 am in the morning seriously and I was at the gym??? I’d started work at 7:30 that morning, and not gotten off until 12am, this was a normal day for me. I realize I was tired, burnt out, and my life style wasn’t working anymore. That was the beginning of the end for me.
I like most Americans have been conditioned to believe that success means money and stuff, happiness has nothing to do with being successful. People won’t respect you, and worse and your family won’t be proud of you if you don’t have the powerful job title, the big house, the luxury car etc. That is a very narrow view of success, and it took me a long time to change that belief, and understand that the beliefs that I carried and system that I followed wasn’t actually mine. My job was a life sucker, yes the money was great, but I had no time to enjoy it, to rest, to spend time with friends and family, let alone go on vacation. I spent years creating the successful life. I had all the stuff, and I was one step away from my second to last career goal, when I had that moment in the gym. I was miserable. I no longer had the hobbies I used to, I didn’t go away for the weekend, and I didn’t go out to dinner with friends. Now I didn’t even have time to grocery shop. Thank you grocery delivery service! It was a slow transition to get to this spot, so slow I really didn’t notice it. I just kept giving up things I loved so I could be more focused and present, and available at work. I would have internal discussions with myself as to what I should do with my half of a day off. Should I do errands and chores, or should I relax, no matter what I did, I felt guilty for neglecting the other. That night/morning driving home from the gym, I vowed, that I would live in a cardboard box under a bridge if I had to, but dang it I was going to be happy. I couldn’t imagine quitting my profession. I made good money, I had the respect of my co-workers and peers and a great reputation. I had never done anything else, what was I going to do. Starting over is a very scary proposition, and I had no idea how to do that.
Ironically the recession hit and I didn’t have know how to change. It is much easier to change your life when you are forced to then to change it by choice. I lost 85% of my income, and my house. I had to find a foster for one of my beloved dogs and move to an apartment. I went from a 3 bedroom 2 bath new construction home to a 900 sq. foot two bedroom apartment with a roommate and her son. I spent 18 months out of work wondering what the heck I was going to do with my life. I also watched a lot of baseball, but that’s quite another story. I started to examine who I was, who I used to be, and how I got to where I was. I spent most of my time examining my job. I started there, since that was all that was left of me. My identity, my passion, my wants, my needs, and my desires were all wrapped up in my job. Really though, they weren’t, I gave them up for the job. I still couldn’t imagine changing my profession, so I tried to figure out what I liked about it in the hopes I could rekindle the fire. I probably also did this because that seemed easier than finding a new profession. What I came up with was there were 3 things I liked about my job. First was the money, which I had also come to realize was nice, but didn’t need that much money to be happy. So I decided to adjust my lifestyle and the amount of money I needed. Second, I liked being really, really busy, as a matter of fact I thrive on it. Third, when people came into my office they unloaded, they felt safe and wanted my advice. I however wasn’t keen on giving it, what if I was wrong so I always tried to “coach” them and have them figure it out on their own. I loved that. Now at the time I didn’t know what I was doing was coaching, but one day in between baseball games, I discovered this new profession called coaching. I figured out it was my passion to help you figure out yours. To help you get back on track and to figure out what your inner map or GPS if you will is saying. To help you stop putting that voice on mute and to listen and get back on the route you were meant to be following. You know what it is, your GPS tells you, but you’ve stopped listening. Let’s pull out that internal map and re-examine it. But that is the end result; let’s examine how I really got here. But please remember that life, mine, and yours is a journey and this is the story of my journey so far, from that fateful day somewhere in 2004 to…well not now, but at least until 2011. This was the start of my GPS Coaching model, I developed it, as I explored and got re-acquainted with myself, and it became its own thing. It was developed hands on, not just a theory.
The G stands for goal. It’s hard to get somewhere if you don’t have a goal. The first thing I did was write down all the negative things about my life. It was easy; after all, it is human nature to focus on the negative. I listed things for days. I would list until I felt I had everything, and then I would put the list away, and pull it out the next day and more things would crop up. I did this for about five days. It was quite a list, it was three pages. I was disturbed by what I wrote and what I read. It was very emotional journey to think that I disliked so many things about my life. Then, I took a deep breath accepted it, pulled out a fresh sheet of paper and wrote down all the things I did like about my life. I also did this for five days. It was exhausting. I wrote about 10 things down, and felt I was done. So I sat there staring at this sheet of paper with 10 measly little things on it. And I got even more depressed. So I put it away and watched a baseball game. The next day I pulled that distressing piece of paper out again, and added a few more things. I didn’t put it away though; I kept it out on my desk for the next 4 days so anytime something struck me I could easily write it down. After five days, I figured I was through. I had a list that covered three quarters of one sheet of paper. Hmm, not so good. Then I did the same thing with what I considered to be my strengths and my weakness’. I figured I needed to know these things too, so I could find my perfect job and life. Once I had that down, I took the negatives of both lists, and tried to phrase them, or “reframe” then into positives. Now I had 4 positive lists. I then took those and carefully considered them and ranked item in order of importance to me. Once that was done, I wrote the top ten on a sheet of paper. There, that was it, these were the top ten things I needed in my life to be happy the core and essence of who I am. To achieve and have these ten things in my life every day was my goal. It sounds easy, but it was work, this simple little thing of defining my goal, took me seven months. Seven months of thinking and writing and introspection, and getting to know who I am again. I had to let go of preconceived notions, and adopting new ideas that were more aligned with me and who I want to be and how I want to live. This was hard and frustrating, and sad and joyful. It angered me, elated me made me cry, made me laugh. Some people will be able to do this much faster, and some it may take longer. Remember everybody’s journey is a different road, and a different destination. What is important is you are taking that journey
P is for Process. Now that I had a goal, I had to put a process in place to attain that goal. Like a business plan, or a curriculum in school. I am not the most structured person in the world, I like my routines, but I can’t be too rigid or I rebel and all my best laid plans go to the wayside. I started changing things little by little. First I changed jobs. I was still in the same industry, (hey baby steps!), but I was in a much different capacity, and the pressure wasn’t near as much, nor was I making anywhere near the same amount of money. This was important to me; I had to learn to live on less. Then, I went to school. I joined ICA and began my journey to be a Coach.
During this time, I struggled with many things. I had a coach to help me as I rebelled against not being able to buy what I wanted when I wanted. I felt mutinous at the thought of living within a budget and a small one at that. I raged internally at my lack of authority at work and inability to make instant changes that I was used to making. Did I mention I’m a type A personality? I was presented with the opportunity go back to my previous position, and I turned it down. The temptation was huge, I could make more money and it would be ok right? NO, that would be like taking a u-turn and going away from my goal and my destination. Many people who didn’t understand what I was trying to do thought I was crazy. Then I took another step. I moved away. I had lived in the same area for twenty plus years, and I moved. I quit my job, and moved nine hours away to help take care of my father. That was scary. Not only did I move back in with my parents, but I had no idea if and/or when I was going to get another job. So, I got my real estate license. I could only work part time due to caring for my father, but it paid the few bills that I had, and gave me some spending money. When I was not actively caring for my father, I would do my mother’s paperwork and website maintenance etc for her. During this time, I did take a break from coaching school. I just couldn’t do it with taking care of my Dad and everything else, emotionally and mentally I was drained. I still worked on me though. I adjusted to having very few material things, and space, and privacy. After a year and a half, Dads condition had gotten so bad, that I could no longer give him the care he needed. They decided to get better care for him, and I moved out and back to the town I came from. I got a job, in a completely different industry. I was so proud of myself. I resisted the temptation to return to my old ways, the comfort of the known evil and embarked on a totally new path. A year later, this would all change again. I was getting laid off, the new people were all going to be let go. I interviewed for the job that I have now, got it and haven’t looked back. I did move again, but this time for the sake of convenience. My new job requires me to travel 85% of my time, so I needed somebody to look after my dog. When I am home, home is my mother’s house. My dog is loved and well taken care of while I am gone.
The next step in my GPS coaching model is the S, which stands for success. I have had many successes, and have celebrated each and every one no matter how small. My goals were and still are many, and I haven’t reached them all yet. But I’ve gotten through the biggest ones. I no longer work in an industry that I was miserable in. I don’t have to make a large amount of money to support the stuff I accumulated. I have time to spend with my friends and family. I have time to read a book. I have time to go on vacation. I have started my own coaching business. I have a full time job that I love.
Those were the basic goals I set out to accomplish. I still have a few. I want to grow my business so I can coach full time. I want to be able to travel where and when I want to. I want to be a non location dependent individual, so I can work and live where I want to, and change it whenever it pleases me. I believe I will be there in the next 3-5 years, and I’m good with that. In the mean time, as I work towards that goal that was hatched so many years ago, I also have new goals I am striving to reach. Remember the final destination is the end of life. In coaching, the destination and success is to reach a consistent state of being, a way of living that is true to yourself, allowing you to be the best version of you.