Want to transform your life?

ARE YOU SURE?

Here’s how to know.

Disclaimer: I have been a life and business coach for more than 20 years and while no one wants to attack their own industry, it’s no secret that the coaching world has a million-and-one problems. After hemming and hawing, debating what to do about it, I’ve come to understand that my job is to solve exactly zero of these problems. My job is not to fix the coaching industry. My job is to serve and give generously to those who value what I provide. That’s why I think it’s important that you hear this message from an industry insider about what to reflect on and consider before you spend another dollar on personal development.

There are two archetypes that make up the broad majority of people who join coaching programs, invest in personal development, buy self-help books, register for transformational retreats, etc.

Joy and wellbeing is something everyone wants more of, right? Everyone want to improve their relationships and be a better version of themselves, don’t they? I mean, who couldn’t benefit from solutions to chronic overwhelm and the exhausting hamster wheel experience? And who doesn’t want more love, abundance, freedom and ease…?

Seems like a no-brainer – but is it?

Those who seek and embark on such things tend to fall into one of two personas. 

I’ll name one Jackie (the larger segment) and the other, Claire (the much smaller segment).

Before I introduce them, for context, let me share a reference to the renowned work of Joseph Campbell about “The Hero’s Journey.”  Writer and professor, Joseph Campbell highlighted a pattern, or route, that every hero’s journey follows. He outlined the mythological stages that a hero moves through on a quest, to include: leaving their comfort zone, accepting the challenges ahead, meeting a guide, navigating obstacles, rising above and conquering fear. This journey changes the hero. It transforms the hero. The hero grows and changes as they experience and live the journey toward success and the satisfaction of achievement and discovery. 

Here’s a short video that sums up the Hero’s Journey:

In many ways this is a tale of my own journey. 

Raised by a father with undiagnosed mental illness, the first 18 years of my life were an absolute rollercoaster. As a kid, I crawled out my bedroom window and ran away, too many times to count. From painful dynamics within my family of origin, to a marriage that was full of dishonesty … to finally finding true love: self-love without conditions + relationships that nourish and enrich my life. 

From fiercely striving for independence and escape, fighting for self-preservation … to realizing autonomy in inter-dependence and fulfillment of self-actualizing dreams — an extension of my heart, brain, and inherent self-concept. 

From “don’t make your bad day my bad day” people with a central role in my life … to “I’m here for every kind of day you have” people and relationships. 

From being a 3-time drop-out (acupuncture school, massage therapy school, and an MBA program) to earning a Bachelor’s in Psychology, a Masters degree in Leadership, Coach training certification, etc. and studying therapeutic models that, while they provided some value, were more theoretical than practical … to developing my own fusion of models and implementing REAL CHANGE with breakthroughs that stick — finally understanding what I was put on this earth to do.

From the panic of an empty bank account and daily phone calls from collection agencies, knowing that no one was coming to save me … to paying off those debts and establishing a bank account flush with cash. 

From defeated and exasperated, trying to fit the status quo path I was told I should follow … to blazing my own trail, designing my own career and building a business that fulfills my sense of legacy and purpose while supporting my lifestyle freedoms.

From years of calling a dark musty basement apartment with a black phone-booth-sized bathroom, “home” … to home ownership, national and international travel, and the freedoms of location-independence.

From shame-filled dysfunctional habits and default patterns (the best ways I knew to cope) … to building healthy new habits, game-changing shifts in perspective, and the implementation of life-giving strategies that allow me to not just cope, but THRIVE. 

These are all just starting-line to end-point snapshots. 

It’s the journey in between that’s important.

It’s the shit, and the pain, and the drama, and the trauma, and the crying on the bathroom floor, and the wanting-but-fearing support, and the how-do-I-make-it-happen exasperation, doubt, and questions in the “messy middle,” that tell the REAL story.

When I started my hero’s journey, I was the “Jackie” archetype. I was flailing. I was a hot mess. I was a pained self-protective person trying not to get hurt, or fail. I was a Psychology graduate but a personal development amateur – even while being paid as a behavior modification professional and part of an addiction treatment team at an Ivy League university. (The circa 2001 unfiltered truth of the matter.)

I came to learn that the “Jackie” archetype was destined to live a life of “somedays” and would never get out of her own way. Her dreams, her goals, her passions and joys were buried under something heavy. Her aspirations of an uninhibited heart-led love-filled life would always elude her, unless she changed. Unless she transformed. 

I realized I had a critical choice to make:

  • Continue to blame my circumstances, and others, for why I couldn’t have the life I wanted, continue living in a perpetual state of crisis whack-a-mole, exhausted but running in place, frustrated and wondering why things weren’t going my way, why unfortunate things kept happening to me, and why “the good stuff” in life always seemed to be for other people but not me.
  • OR, transform into an empowered, self-actualized version of myself, represented by the archetype of who I’ll call “Claire” here, to depict this hero’s journey.

It was from that dark, musty basement apartment that I made a new choice: Claire.

It wasn’t a flip of a switch transformation. It doesn’t happen like that. (Anyone who tells you, or sells you, on the idea that it does, simply isn’t telling you the truth.)

The only way to make the transformation from Jackie to Claire is to choose to go on the journey, to navigate the obstacles, to slay the “monsters”, to do what it takes to grow and become the person you know you can be, the person who goes after your dreams and lives a regret-free, self-responsible life that reflects your big Self, your true Self. 

Now that I have over 20 years in the coaching industry, with credentialed psychology of change knowledge under my belt and hands-on in-the-trenches support for countless other Jackies-turned-Claires… I want to share what I’ve discovered helps Jackie navigate obstacles and emerge victorious on the other side, as Claire.

And, the REAL REASON that what you’ve tried so far hasn’t worked.

Next: Part 2 (of 5): Why everyone is not cut out for this

SUMMARY

1.   Most people aren’t getting the results they want from personal development programs. 

2.   In part, this is due to sales strategies persuading people to get out their credit card who may not actually be ready to show up for the process and make the changes needed to reap the benefits of what’s being offered. Self-reflection about the two primary customer archetypes, done in advance of purchase, helps protect both the client and the industry.