Before I became a coach I worked as a fitness trainer for many years. I absolutely loved it but I developed so many injuries I was in pain 24/7 and reached breaking point physically and mentally. I felt forced to leave the industry, at least for a while.
Health and fitness was (still is) my passion and only talent I was aware of at the time. All of a sudden I found myself in a deep well, and seriously distraught.
What was I supposed to do?
I was almost 30 years old, with no career, no money, no health… no nothing.
I didn’t see a future.
I couldn’t afford to stop working at all, so I applied for temporary office work, and I don’t know how but I got a few jobs here and there, small cheques that barely covered the rent. I found myself asking friends for a tenner here and there so I could buy food.
My boyfriend at the time had broken up with me too. I was at an all time low.
A good friend suggested I went with him to a Life Enhancement weekend at the Irish Institute of NLP. I’d been reading a lot about personal development and NLP but had never taken a course, yet. I had practically zero money and remember making a small budget “right, If I eat just rice and veg this month I’ll be able to afford going to this course”. And so I did.
I came out walking on air. I still remember the big smile on my face. Until then, I’d been feeling so down and negative that I thought there was something really wrong with me, that I had depression or something. After that course I was sure of one thing: there was nothing wrong with me. That was a huge relief.
I started getting more and more curious. I started reading and researching neuro-linguistics, neuroscience… anything to do with the brain and self-improvement. I was obsessed!
After the course, I landed a longer office contract and managed to save up some money. I invested it in another course.
Then I saved up some more. I invested in another course…
As time passed and I continued to put what I learnt into practice and inject more fun into my life I felt my confidence grow
The next step in the NLP ladder was to take the coaching course, but I couldn’t afford it.
A friend – the boyfriend that had dumped me months before – offered to loan me the money.
It was a considerable amount of cash. I said I couldn’t possibly accept. He insisted. I said no. He insisted. I think he saw something in me that I wasn’t able to see at the time. Plus he’s one of the most generous people I’ve ever met – one of the many reasons why I ended up marrying him 🙂
I said I’d pay him back as much as I could every month. If I recall right it took me the best part of 8 months to repay him. In fact, I might still owe him some…!
I took the course. I did the homework, I applied myself. I put 100% of my focus (not an easy thing if you’re me and you’ve got the attention span of a fly) and energy into completing it and doing my very best at it. I hadn’t seen anything from start to finish since I’d dropped out of college aged 22, not even a book, so trust me when I say that completing that last course was a feat in itself for me.
But even on my last day of the course I still didn’t know whether I wanted to be a coach or not.
I didn’t know whether I’d be any good
One of the final tests consisted of an actual coaching session between me and another student, where we would be video recorded live.
I was totally petrified. Using the skills I’d learnt so far I put myself together and was able to go ahead with it, even though I clearly remember my legs feeling like jelly, and that it felt surreal, like a dream.
Until I was “awakened” by the applause of everyone in the room shouting “well done!”, “how did you do that?!” and “that was amazing!”
“Come again?” I thought “what’s happened here?!”.
At the time I had no idea what had happened. I was so nervous I couldn’t recall what had been said or done at all!
But I remember one thing very clearly to this very day; the applause, the facial expressions, and the heartfelt words of encouragement that were said to me that day.
After that, it still took a while before I decided to make of coaching my career. It took a bit (a lot) more work and a few more challenges. But now I realize that really I’d been a coach all along, and the trials and tribulations I went through to get to where I am today were just part of the journey I had to travel to become the best coach I could be.
My answer is: it takes what it takes
I certainly takes a huge desire to be better and do better. It takes inner strength, determination, discipline, and a lot of hard work. It takes blood, sweat and tears (hopefully take out the blood bit…). It takes constant and consistent awareness, mindfulness, thinking about who you want to be, what you want to be, do, learn, teach, have… thinking about what needs to be done and how you’re going to do it all the time, not just when you have some spare time. It takes creating opportunities, and grabbing opportunities when they present themselves.
If you really want to change your life for the better you need to wake up, pay attention, take action, take better action, strategise, plan, schedule…
Genius Alfred Einstein once said: thinking is hard, that’s why most people don’t do it.
Well, improving your life… it takes what it takes, and it’s hard, that’s why most people don’t do it, regardless of how unhappy they are.
But you’ve to start somewhere, and if you’re feeling as low as I once was it’s not easy sorting the bulls from the cows… if you get my drift (I totally just made that up by the way). So whilst it took me a while to figure things out, what I did know is that I’d had enough of feeling so down and negative all the time.
See, sometimes it doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you start by standing up, dusting yourself off, and asking yourself:
What have I had enough of?