In this article, I’m going to share the story of why I hired my first life coach and how it helped me. I’m sharing this because it’s helpful to know how life coaches help people and it’s part of the story for why I decided to train as a life coach.
I hired my first life coach in 2018.
Why did I hire a life coach?
I hired my first life coach because I was — and this is a fancy technical medical term — CRANKY AF.
It wasn’t all the time. Some of the time I was smiling and laughing. It was some of the time. It was like the little things in my life would cause an outsized reaction for me.
If you want an example here you go. Driving …I was very unhappy about how much time I was spending driving.
I shared a bit of this story in a post about an online quiz.
How did I know that this was a problem for me?
My family was really paying the price for my overall general crappy mood. I did not like the way I was behaving. Nothing in my normal bag of tricks was working to pull me out of this cranky mood.
Here’s the thing. I think I already have good coping skills. This is what I mean when I say my bag of tricks. Sleep, exercise, nutrition, community, things like that.
Back to life coaches.
I did not at the time know what a life coach was. Or what a life coach did.
I think at the time the only life coach I knew about was Tony Robbins. Maybe I had heard or seen Martha Beck on Oprah. That’s a guess because I really loved Oprah. I watched Oprah every day after high school and through college. don’t actually remember seeing Martha on the show. I thought of Tony Robbins as an entertainer. I honestly never gave it any thought.
And definitely given my personal history I thought professional therapists were for when other people in your family were in crisis.
A lot was happening in my life.
My dad had died. That was a lot. My kids were moving out of elementary school. I call this a Redbook moment. I had a super dramatic blow up with a couple of family members and related to running and triathlon I had DNFd (means did not finish) at Ironman Louisville which triggered a mini identity crisis in my life.
My life from the outside looked awesome.
Actually, my life is awesome. I have an amazing life. I’m healthy, I have a lot of privileges. My family is healthy. I have nothing to actually complain about. I know this. I knew this.
At the same time I was still really cranky and was struggling to work through it. That came with it’s own little ball of shame because I felt like I should know how to shake it.
What do I mean when I say I was cranky?
Well hopefully most people who dealt with me on a regular basis never saw this.
My poor dear loving family paid most of the price. And a few unsuspecting strangers who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and invoke my ire.
I was yelling. I was yelling, a lot. I’m not usually a person who yells. If I yell something is on fire or about to crash onto you. This was really unusual.
I was also crying. I am actually an easy crier. My kids and step-kids tease me because I do cry at commercials and sappy movies and tv shows but this was different. I wasn’t sure why. I didn’t like it and I didn’t know how to make it stop.
Check under the hood, please.
I went to the doctor and had a full checkup. I do that every year but it wasn’t thyroid and it wasn’t hormones … it wasn’t menopause.
The whole time I was getting up daily, showering, getting dressed, working and doing what was asked of me. I was functioning and this is actually kind of significant.
It is significant because I was not in crisis.
I actually reached out to a few mental health therapists to ask for help. I was quite surprised that and none of them would work with me. I would do a phone call or an intake survey and they all said – you are actually doing okay.
They turned away because I was not in crisis and their schedules were full. Remember those coping skills I talked about earlier. As these folks turned me away they would say – you have good coping skills. Keep doing what you are doing.
And yet … I was still really cranky.
My story might be different if those folks hadn’t been so busy
I remember being on a walk and I was listening to a marketing podcast (Amy Porterfield) and she talked about or interviewed a life coach. I don’t remember what the topic was but I went and listened to that life coaches podcast.
At this point, I was pretty willing to try pretty much anything that people suggested. Green juices, supplements, energy healers … bring it on. All of it.
I remember clearly listening an episode of the that podcast while walking. I thought oh man …this podcast is for me.
It was like a warm blanket of comfort was being poured over me. It was soothing and empowering and I can distinctly remember feeling like I wasn’t alone and like there was somebody out there in the world who had tools that could help me help myself.
I binged that podcast and then I signed up for the coaching she offered. It was without a doubt a lifeline for me at the exact time that I needed it. It changed my life.
What were these magic tools?
My first life coach helped me examine my life, my actions and my thoughts and figure out what was creating my crankiness. Once I figured some of this out I was able to take action to make changes and decisions.
That was several years ago.
Recently my son commented at the dinner table that I am much calmer and that I smile more. My family still remembers when I was cranky. I’ll be honest they probably are a little afraid that cranky Amy could come back at any moment.
I have a bit of mom guilt for that period of time where I was cranky. I’m also very thankful for the people who helped me through it and that includes my first life coach.
I have always believed in coaching.
When I started my portrait studio business one of my first expenses was that I hired a business coach. When I trained for my first Ironman I hired a triathlon coach. I will be honest I was unaware of what a life coach did and how they would help me until I met one who was crazy unbelievably helpful to me.
That’s the story.
At the time that I found my first life coach I was literally working as a triathlon and running coach.
In 2021 I went through the process of certifying as a life coach myself.
I’m going to write more about that decision in other articles.
If you want to know more about what I do as a coach today click here.