I was having greater and greater success in my job, being promoted, and given additional work that came with it. I had the success and accolades I had always aspired to in my International Logistics career including international travel. I had the picturesque, new home I had always aspired to have in the country. All good, right?!
In the short span of a year, I had earned three speeding tickets. One more and I’d lose my driver’s license. Constantly on the go, I was frenetically trying to stay on top of everything, pulling my hair out, crazy with the busyness of work and family. I drove my children to extracurricular school and sports events; I was heavily involved in numerous boards and volunteer activities, etc.
Then one Saturday morning, I was squeezing in an early morning walk in the beautiful countryside near our home –and I had an epiphany. The lightning-bolt moment of realization formed itself with such shocking clarity: “I am choosing this”.
It felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. Whoa. Like getting bucked off a horse or falling from a height with a heavy, surprising thud. Uncomfortable. Breathless. What? I am choosing this? Who in their right mind would choose to be super-stressed, way out of balance, running themselves ragged? Choosing to commute two hours a day and working 60-plus hours a week. Choosing to be the transport and dinner entertainer for international colleagues when they came into town on business. Choosing to be a hardly present mom and wife, and yes, I WAS “at choice.” I got it suddenly. “At choice” meant I was right there, at the point of choice, and there was no denying it nor sliding out of it. I had chosen my actions – and thus chosen the consequences of those actions. OUCH, the truth hurt. That was 1997.
To this very day, I am amazed that it never occurred to me before then that I am always a choice. Yep, even when it does not seem like it, I believe we are always a choice. Through each individual small and large choice, we design our destiny. That morning’s epiphany was my starting point to create new choices and begin to intentionally weave them into the new fabric that would be my life journey.
So what came next? I did plenty of soul searching. I began asking myself important questions. What really matters? What doesn’t matter? What do I do now? I knew I had to make a change, but I wasn’t quite sure how. Did I even have the courage to take a risk? Gulp. Time to find out.
I began attending learning and networking events. At one of those events, I met two women, newly minted professional life coaches. We struck up a conversation. On that day, I struck gold. My journey as a professional coach began, along with my business, Design Your Destiny.
I coach professional women who are leaders, positive influencers, and passionate about empowering others. They have hearts of service and that’s what I love about them. Their professional backgrounds are diverse, including health care, education, business, non-profit management, and entrepreneurs. What they have in common is they are successful in their chosen field. They are lifelong learners, highly driven, intelligent, and powerful in their quest to have a positive impact in the world.
My client Sarah
Sarah was outwardly on top of her game, recognized nationally as a stellar achiever in her profession, earning performance awards and distinctions. Frequently she was featured, or quoted in the media, getting great PR for her community involvement, volunteerism, and making a positive difference. Like a force of nature, she was powerful in her impact for good. How did Sarah feel about her success? Hollow. Flat. She confided in me that no matter how much she was doing, it never felt like it was enough. She’d continually push herself, over-promise, over-commit, and over-deliver, which left her feeling joyless, tapped out, resentful and exhausted. Sarah had lost herself in all the doing.
When she was home, she was mentally consumed with work. When she was working, Sarah felt guilty for her lack of presence and her restlessness at home. She was tired of doing it all and feeling like it was never enough. Besides that, it was lonely at the top. She was successful but felt isolated. Something had to give.
What if it could be different? How would life be then? What was getting in the way?
Through our coaching, she came to realize she too was “at choice” and that her choices mattered. She made new, intentional choices. Not only did Sarah stop over-working, but she also committed to honoring herself and her priorities. She silenced the brutal inner-critic and fostered some self-compassion instead. She included self-care practices and improved her health. Family time became sacred. To her delight, as she created clearer boundaries, her work became even more productive and fulfilling. She practiced NO and gave up her lifelong default of trying to please everyone. Even better, she courageously pursued some new, life-giving passions that infused her life with way more fun, adventure, and inspiration.
As I’ve followed my own heart’s choice in my coaching business, I’ve been privileged and excited to have a small part in my clients’ designing their own destinies. Clients have communicated that through coaching with me, they’ve been able to:
- Become self-referenced, honoring rather than over-riding their own needs
- Create healthy boundaries that include lots of NOs
- Identify values and meaningful priorities
- Release fears, perfectionism, and self-judgment
- Make clear requests and agreements
- Silence the harsh inner tyrant
- Connect with authentic, higher self and purpose
- Let go of BS lies of “not enough” and variations therein
- Build on personal strengths
- Stretch beyond previously known zone of comfort
- Affirm “Hell Yes!” goals and aspirations
- Celebrate and acknowledge the gifts inherent in failures
- Amp up well-being and practice self-care
- Honor their inner goddess/badass/wise woman
It begins with a consultative conversation. During this complimentary conversation, I get to learn about your coaching needs and what you're looking for in the coaching alliance. You get to experience my style of coaching and assess for yourself if we're a fit. Contact Michelle today to schedule your consultative conversation.
Professional Certified Coach, International Coach Federation, Lexington KY
Certified Professional CoActive™ Coach, the Coaches Training Institute, San Rafael CA
Graduate of Foundations of Ontological Learning, Newfield Network, Boulder CO
Graduate of "The Choice in Coaching: Arbinger Mastery Training for Coaches," Arbinger Institute, Farmington UT
Graduate of Co-Active Leadership Program, Co-Active Space, San Rafael CA
Graduate of Adler International Learning: Positive Change: Leader As Coach Facilitator Certification, Toronto Canada
Certified Master Retreat Coach, Retreat Coach Network, Beulah CO
Certified Seasons of Change® Master Coach, Transition Dynamics Enterprises Ltd.
Everything DiSC® Certified Trainer and Authorized Partner
Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst in DISC Style Analysis.
Past Minnesota Coaches Association Membership Team Leader
Business Owner since 1999
Ten years in sales and key account management, Kuehne and Nagel Inc.
B.A. in Business Administration and Spanish, Minnesota State University, Mankato MN
As an ICF Certified Professional Coach, I abide by the International Coach Federation Standards of Ethical Conduct. www.coachfederation.org