coach, facilitator, creator, runner, INFJ
This project is an effort to collect stories, to hear people's lived experience that they're going through. So much of published content these days seems to be about "successful" people already doing a pretty badass job of something. They speak about hard times with the polish that can only come after you're through them. So I guess I was curious - what is it like to talk to people who are in the muck of it?
Yeah, that is a very interesting question. I mean I think that there is a great space for people who are already accomplished and I love reading examples of folks who have made it because it shows that it's possible, but at the same time it all feels difficult to be looking up to that person and feel like it's relatable. You know?
I can tell you that since I quit my job, which was arguably one of the biggest risks I've ever taken, I feel like examples like yourself are very much more relatable than anybody who's like already made it and is famous because I'm like, "Oh, she's living it now". I feel like your experience definitely was one of the things that gave me the courage to make that move. But the fear does not go away.
When I think about transformation and being in transition, I feel like one thing that I've really tried to do is document what I've done because transformation really is only invisible after a long period of time. You know, you don't transform over a 24 hour period or a week, you know, it's not like a To Do list worth of stuff. It really does take a lot longer. And I think especially when you're making those markers for yourself, I think that it's even more important. It's not like you're in school anymore and you get a progress report every semester to know how you're doing. You have to do those things for yourself.
One thing that I've started doing that I felt was really valuable is every quarter I like to go back through my calendar and be like, What did I do? Like how did I actually spend my time and I'll come up with goals for the next quarter, but it's kind of like, "Okay, like did those things match up?" And it is helpful to just remember, "Oh yeah, I did, I did do enough."
You know, my brain is always like, "You're not working enough". It's like "You're not spending enough time doing these things", but I have to keep in mind that transformation is cumulative - it's not what you do on one day. You do it over time and I think it feels tough for me when I'm doing it by myself.
So it's been nice to come into the space [New Women Space] and talk to other people who are doing freelance work and have a wide variety of different jobs to just be like, "Okay, like I'm not alone in this". It's exciting but it's also, it can be kind of lonely and like in your own head sometimes.
Do you feel like you're doing this alone or like what's the relationship to having a community or support system?
Yeah, I mean I think like definitely having, being able to come to New Women Space on a regular basis I think has helped a lot because it's put me in contact with people who aren't necessarily doing the same thing as me but are in that same kind of transitional space as me where I feel like everybody that I've talked to is really starting to build something, you know?
And it's funny. So I went to Creative Mornings the other day and John Berman was the speaker and he was talking about how he infuses the day with creativity. But one of the things that he talked about was not getting too caught up in what the final project will be. Just kind of flowing with it and seeing how it evolves. And it was very interesting because I feel like I've talked to a lot of folks that are in different spaces of putting something out there and some folks really want to have it all flushed out beforehand. Like my brain definitely wants me to do that and I have to override it and other folks are just like, "I'm going to try this and see what happens". And so it's been interesting to see that mix of approaches all coming from people in the same space.
Would you categorize this time for you is definitely around the career transformation? Or does it feel like it's everything?
I feel like it's everything because I feel like it is not only my career, but I feel like it's also like me as a human. Because I'm doing this by myself, like I have to figure out a way to make myself feel validated, to reassure myself when my brain is like, "You are going to be broke for the rest of your life". When those voices come in, I feel like it has been a real learning curve to be like, "How am I going to deal with this?" Having to deal with a client who ghosts on me and the answer is you changed your pricing structures. I could sit and take it personally and be really upset or I can be like, "Okay, what information can I glean from this?" Not to say that that situation wasn't upsetting, but it was like, "Alright, I need to find a way to move forward."
And so I feel like that has been an even bigger learning experience. It's just like figuring out how am I going to be okay when nobody else is here. I have to be okay for myself.
How has it felt to introduce yourself and step into the identity of a coach?
At this point I'm like, I wanna give this a year to see if I can do stuff and then really make it work. It is weird being in a position of saying no to things, but I found that to be very important because I only have so many hours in the day and I feel like now I spend a lot more of that time doing very focused work and taking on more than I know I have the time to do is only going to diminish the quality of that work.
Yeah. So I also spend a bunch of time on Instagram, let's be clear, I'm not just like hammering it out. Like I just spent seven hours do deep work, sometimes I take a walk, sometimes I take yoga class in the middle of the day, and I think I've gotten to a point where I'm like, work is getting done and it doesn't matter when I do it, it's just getting done and as long as I keep hitting the goals then that has to be fine. Nobody else is watching.
How does it feel when you were setting up your website and started the to see yourself as a coach? What was that like?
Oh, I still feel like imposter syndrome a lot. Um, but it's funny, I just did a session with this client and we're talking. I was giving her some feedback and she's said - I'm really grateful that you are pushing me in this process.
And I was like Awesome. That didn't necessarily feel like what I picture pushing to be like, at least on my end. But I was like, "Oh, like take that and put it in your pocket. You are good at this. You're doing the thing."
I was talking to somebody like the, at the laundromat the other day, this guy asked what I did and I was like, "Oh, I'm a career coach for people who are trying to get into tech". And he was like, "They pay you for that?" And I'm like, "Okay, externalized monologue, thank you". So we had a conversation about it and by the end he was like, "Oh, that sounds pretty interesting..." And I was like, "Thank you. I think it is". Yeah, so it's getting easier to introduce myself as a coach for people, but it still feels weird.
Yeah. I was thinking about kind of a metaphor of a marathon. You're a runner so this could work. Any goal with a finite amount. You're like, "Okay, so I'm going to run 26 miles" and even if you're training and you get to mile 20, you might not know what it feels like to be at mile 24.
Oh yeah. And you don't. You have no idea.
Like you have some like numerical semblance to imagine what it would like be like. Whereas the mess of personal growth or transformation, it's not as quantifiable. I guess what I'm curious is - do people have a sense of that?
I don't think that I, at least for me personally, have the same kind of vision for personal growth. Like I don't know when I'm like 75 percent self actualized, you know. But I think through that process of running a marathon, I guess once you hit the 20 mile mark in a marathon, you can reflect back on that and trick yourself into running more because you're just like, "All you have to do is one more mile". Like when I'm at that point I can't even think about six more.
I really have to break it into smaller pieces and so in that place and I'm just like "You've already done 20, you just have to do one more mile". And so, maybe that's the mentality that you have to take because you could be in a place where you don't know how many miles you have left, but it's just like "I just need to focus on this next chunk and I already have all this behind me".
If you could imagine waking up one day and feeling like a completeness of this transformational time, what would that look like for you?
Yeah, I mean part of it is twofold, right? Because part of this is the business and part of it is me. So like I think the business is much easier because it's like if I reach a place where I'm paying my own bills and have a sustainable source of income I have achieved. I have leveled this up.
In terms of me personally, I don't really see it being an end goal. I see it more as like moving further on a continuum. Like continually, as a person who like really struggled with anxiety and depression for a long time. I never thought that I would be at a place where I felt better at all.
In previous jobs it was just physical, like I just felt on fire with anxiety. It was like the mental piece. I was just panicking but also the physical piece of my body just couldn't calm down. I never thought that I would be in a place where I would be taking on this much personal risk and being like “Okay, this is fine”. But that took years of work to get to that place. And I think one of the things that I had to recognize through that work was that completely eliminating the anxiety or destroying anxiety, using very strong language about how to just like get rid of it permanently gone, like that’s never really gonna happen.
I experience probably more anxiety than the average person. There are people that are experienced more anxiety than me, you know, and so the best that you can do is just move further towards the direction of chill and calm. But I'm never going to be a totally chill, calm person, you know. So I think I can reflect on that work over time and be like, "I definitely feel like I have more of a handle on it today than I did a year ago, two years ago". And so a year from now I'd like to be able to say that same thing. Like "Wow, I've really come a long way in terms of managing those emotions and managing those frustrations in a way that makes me feel more in control of it".
Thanks for sharing that. I think it is that dance and that balance between accepting where you're at.
You're good at setting goals for yourself and for other people. How do you have optimism and that growth mindset but also still accept where you are?
Yeah, I mean that was something that I struggled with for a long time. So when I first like... it was funny because my therapist is like, you are equal parts the ideal client and also a very difficult one. Because I was so eager to come in and do the work. I would've done workbooks, like I wanted very clear action steps and activities that I could do.
It was so not like that at all. It was like, "So I really just got to come in here and like talk about this stuff and cry like every week?" And for months I just felt like nothing was moving, you know. I did not want to accept it. I was like this is not who I want to be. And I was like, "This is where you are. The reason that you want to be someone else, that's why you're here". But the only way to go through, to get to where you want to be is to go through a period where you feel like you're sucking. It's going to look like you're sucking and you're not doing anything.
But again, coming back to day-by-day change doesn't really look like a lot, but over a series of months I could look back and be like, "Oh, I would have freaked out about this situation six months ago, but I actually felt like I dealt with it like a person or like I was able to communicate my own needs and intentions without bottling them and feeling like I was putting the other person out. It took a long time for that work to manifest itself in action. But I was doing the work the whole time. I just wanted more tangible results.
What does the idea of transformation bring up for you visually?
For me it kind of looks like the stock market where on any given day you're experiencing a lot of fluctuation, but over time that curve is going up. And so that's kind of why I'm of the mindset that you got to get as many data points as possible looking back to get a full picture. Because if you just look at it today you get a very narrow slice. But I feel like life is a cumulative experience that you're drawing on all of those things that you've done up until this point. So things that you did in high school could potentially be influencing you now. Or you may go back and revisit them in a way that you hadn't previously.
What piece of advice would you give someone else who's having was feeling stuck in the transitional transformational time in their life?
I feel like lots of times when I've felt stuck, I have started... like my sister always knows when I'm not happy with my job because I started a side project.
But I'd say like, if you're in a space where you are not really sure what to do next, then maybe an interesting way to approach it is to document all the ideas that have been kicking around. Like anything that you have wanted to build or do or try write it all down just so it's not obstructing any of your brain space. And then pick one of those to focus on. Because that way it's like, "Okay, like I am being intentional about my choice. Like what am I trying to explore here without permanently saying no to any of these other things". You know, if I go down this road and decide “oh this actually is not the thing that I want to experiment with”, go back and pull another thing. But lots of times, those are great ways to learn things, connect with other people and just get a little bit more clarity on what feels good to you.