How did I get to where I am? Here is my story: from victim to empowered, happy and whole.
I’ve always been an entrepreneur. For years I had my own marketing agency and I even launched a cookie business! Years ago someone suggested I’d make a great coach, so I ordered a home study kit while at the same time wondering how I was going to make a living from it. Convinced it wouldn’t work out, I put it aside. As a single parent responsible for three other humans, I needed more of a “responsible” job that would pay the bills (can you say scarcity??).
Fast forward almost a decade.
I read “The Wishing Year” and loved it because it was so relatable during that time of my life. I had been laid off from my six-figure job as a VP/GM for an advertising agency that specialized in recruitment. It was the start of the recession when jobs were disappearing right and left, so I was several months into being unemployed. That led to me reading many of the books the author (Noelle Oxenhandler) suggested in “The Wishing Year” (the wonderful true story of her own life), some of which I still own and recommend today.
One in particular, “Calling In The One,” was also perfectly timed as I had someone in my life I couldn’t let go of. He was back and forth like a yo-yo so I was looking for a sliver of hope that my dysfunctional situation could somehow turn into a soulmate situation. Of course life is funny (or not so funny), so this man showed up once again in my life after having disappeared. It was short-lived (he was emotionally unavailable and SO WAS I, although I did not realize it), yet there had been all this synchronicity, so it left me scratching my head and feeling like there was something deeply flawed in me.
In an effort to “resolve” the situation, I booked an appointment with the book’s author, Katherine Woodward Thomas. I was basically broke (scarcity again!), but somehow I scraped together $300 to have an hour with her. I was hoping she could save me.
Because the universe works in interesting ways, it wasn’t the session that turned things around. In Katherine’s office I met her business partner, Claire Zammit, who needed some marketing and business development work for another one of their programs: Feminine Power. I jumped in because I loved the work they were doing and it gave me something positive to focus on as I looked for a job. It was also a huge sign post for how I didn’t value myself because I did the work for free; I couldn’t bring myself to charge a dime for my services. I mean after all, they chose me. Yeah, that was my logic.
Soon after I was invited to work their Feminine Power Conference, conducting audience interviews for testimonials. While I did not participate in the conference itself, I conferred with Claire’s husband Craig about the marketing of the event. And as I conducted interviews, I spoke with attendees who were so thrilled to have come. I started wondering if I missed something. Claire must’ve seen something in me because that led to her ask me to train with them as a coach for Calling In The One. My response was, “Thank you, but no thank you.” I had no interest in sitting through days of training because I had self-diagnosed ADD, and I had anxiety about being away from the guy who showed up during my second reading of “Calling In The One.” Yep, they do show up, but they show up right where you are. Eventually, after a lot of prodding by her and her husband, I agreed to do it.
I was told over and over by several people that I was a natural coach… but it didn’t sink in. It’s not what I pictured for myself. By this point I had done some work on myself but I was still a hot mess. The basis for my coaching training was in Ontological coaching (the combination of mind, body and spirit), which brought some sanity to my still anxiety-ridden mind. As part of the program I coached four people for free (the requirement was three, but I was an overachiever). During this time I was losing everything that I felt counted, including my house and my wonderfully avoidant, delusional relationship, but when I was coaching those people for an hour a week, I was in focus. I was right there with them.
After I lost my house, a friend took me in and I found a temp marketing job that ended quickly, propelling me into panic mode. I was desperate. I had no money to eat regularly or put gas in my tank, so I turned to a psychic who I picked out of a phone book. I needed someone to tell me things would get better. Strangely, the woman misunderstood me when I called and thought I was looking for a JOB as a psychic (which I am, by the way). Without putting much thought into it, I accepted.
Another string of synchronistic meetings included a therapist who I became friends with. It was through her that I was sent to a woman for an intuitive massage. We also hit it off and she introduced me to her daughter, who was the owner, and I was asked to give psychic readings in her new age store. It was in that store that I finally decided to start coaching… because people kept asking for it. None of this was premeditated; in fact I resisted it at just about every turn. But as I continued to take intuitive action, opportunities showed up.
I took more training from Dr. Rosie Kuhn who had developed a transformative coaching program at a post-graduate university. Did it become easy from there? Nope. It was a very long and windy road of having to work other jobs to earn money. I worked in the new age store, did recruiting for digital technology, headed up marketing for a social media game and had a lot of great people who supported me in a variety of ways. I had to learn to ask for help because I had always been the rescuer, never needing anyone. After eight months of coaching, I had 10 weekly clients at $40/person. It was a struggle, but I knew it was my calling. Even when fear tempted me to walk away.
For the first few years I had no website or online presence because I saw everyone in person. What propelled me into the digital world was my need to write about the on-again, off-again relationship I was in, hoping to achieve some level of clarity. I cringed every time I published a post because I felt so exposed. I had always seen myself as having my shit together and being able to intellectualize myself out of my circumstances, so this level of vulnerability was beyond scary. When I took my writing outside my own platform to elephant journal (and later to Huffington Post) where even more eyes would see it, I cringed even harder.
Because I was still scraping by and almost losing everything again ( I was evicted from a dispute with the owner of where I lived), I took a part time job with the Revlon Run/Walk doing social media and interviewing cancer survivors, which I then turned into articles for local publications. Through their stories I learned about resiliency, pain, attitude, suffering and so much more. I confronted my own fears about illness and met SO MANY amazing women, some of whom are still in my life.
My work moved completely online in 2012 despite the fact that I had no real plan. I also finished my bachelor’s degree (which took me 10 years) in 8 weeks by taking 24 units in 8 weeks with a GPA of 3.93. I also found my love for Emotional Intelligence and my study was around it in my final thesis. As an over-achiever, every job I ever won was without a degree. Don’t let anyone ever say you cannot have something, because of a degree; I won management jobs over MBAs. By 2013, despite growing my business to six figures, I was still in a scarcity mindset. I was wooed by all these coaching programs that made ridiculous financial guarantees, so I poured my time and money into them and was back to broke again at the start of 2014.
It was so bad I filed for bankruptcy.
The roller coaster continued as I pursued side hustles while coaching. Doing something you love takes a shit ton of commitment, and if you’re like me, every crappy belief you have becomes an obstacle to success. But I pushed on because I’ve been able to help people change what I have changed in myself. And being part of that transformation is like nothing else on earth.
It took a while to find my authentic voice, and to realize those who were drawn to me were my tribe. I didn’t have to “be” anything particular. My scarcity issues continued to surface, however, in my boundaries with clients. I would overdo EVERYTHING, which didn’t benefit me or them. That took some time to work through.
By early 2015 I started to live with far less scarcity because I confronted my core belief that “there is not enough.” Then I stepped out of my comfort zone by launching my podcast, which has become the source of more joy than I ever could have expected.
I hit six figures again in 2015, and have been able to sustain that because I’m no longer holding on so tightly, afraid of losing it all. The more authentic I’ve been in my life and my work, the more I’ve received. Last year I stopped chasing clients, and you know what happened? More started showing up than I was able to help. Plus they were the clients I wanted–people ready and committed to doing the work. Not people I had to convince. What a shift.
My journey certainly hasn’t been a fairy tale (or a straight line!). I had many opportunities to give up, but I didn’t because it’s something I deeply love. This love enabled me to weather the challenges and the multiple “back to zero” set-backs. Even when I was low on food and worried about filling my gas tank, I was able to find that deeper connection to coaching and writing.
In the beginning and for a long time this journey of hard knocks was created from my head. I thought it was the only way and therefore made choices from fear very often, as in all the time. It’s not that I wish it was different, I probably would not understand the difference in living had I not had these experiences. I had to learn to trust, not just myself, but the Universe and let go of attachments to people and things having to be a certain way. I had to give up control, I can’t tell you how many times I surrendered to my circumstances. Now I tap into a sense of peace, which I may never have experienced in my life. I dared myself to feel my feelings, to learn, grow and not know what the hell I was doing sometimes. Quite a journey for a perfectionist, people pleaser rebel.
Life is far from perfect and I am far from perfect, but I live from a deeply entrenched trust in myself rather than holding onto set outcomes or fantasies. Plus, I absolutely LOVE the people I work with. Even when it’s only a Discovery Session, I love being about to give something… so they know they are not alone.
This didn’t happen overnight, and I continue to grow each day by reconfiguring my deepest beliefs along with the patterns that support them. Things started to shift when I became truly authentic with myself and accepting of my flaws. Now the personal work I do comes from a completely different place; a place of being totally and completely connected to myself and my feelings.
And that, my friends, is possible for you too. If I can go through the trenches and come out the other side, ANYONE can.