Will everything be ok?
This is a bit of a left-field post, and not in my usual style. It’s about my own experience of how a massive change can be both painful and full of possibility. This is usually how I write for myself to synthesise my thoughts.
Change is hard and it takes courage. I got a lot of professional help both during and after the changes I experienced, which made an important impact.
I think sometimes we think that change has to be borne, or that it requires a therapist (and sometimes it really does if it causes mental health difficulties). But often what we need is support, understanding and compassion from ourselves and others. And sometimes we need that support to be professional and dispassionate.
Me: before and after change
There was a shake-up.
Nothing was left untouched.
It was an avalanche of pain.
But doors to possibilities opened everywhere. I got to choose which ones to walk through.
My life before was fast and busy. There were lots of external pressures. It had glamour: there was money and travelling, and dinners and drinks and hotels. There were galleries and shows and gigs. There was status and admiration.
It all stopped abruptly.
And what I saw was that I had been lonely in my relationship and anxious about my life.
Now the anxiety was replaced by fear. But fear was a conquerable adversary. It was powerful but I could walk it off. Literally hit tennis balls until it retreated.
The anxiety, though, had been like an insidious creeping gas. Sneaking under every door and into every crevice. I could never pinpoint the source. And it was suffocating.
Looking back I wonder if it was disapproval and jealousy and contempt that was the cause. Those things seem to me to have existed now, though I didn’t recognise them at the time.
It’s hard to say, and there’s not much point dwelling on it. Since I don’t think I’ll ever know the answer.
That abrupt ending ripped off my skin and left me bare. But I could suddenly see myself again. In my alone-ness was the possibility of discovery.
I discovered someone sociable, light-hearted, funny, warm. I discovered a cautious saver. A quiet potterer. A fierce arguer for the truth. I didn’t feel ashamed of who I was anymore. After years and years.
When the layers were stripped back I was just an ordinary person with no need to try to be anything else. I shifted the gaze from the imaginary outside viewer, to me. I became the viewer, experiencing my life, at last, and again, as myself.
What does this have to do with coaching?
I was talking with a client yesterday about how ‘change coaching’ is a nebulous kind of an idea, and that most people wouldn’t think it was necessary. I guess I wanted to say that what I know about change, from experiencing it, from studying it, and from working with clients on it, is that change can be grasped by the horns. It can bring about beautiful transformation, but to do that it requires support.
Often family and friends don’t have the skills or the attention to be able to support you with changes. They may not recognise the magnitude of the effect of the change you are going through. They may not be cognizant of the mechanisms of change. They might just say stupid things that make you feel more alone and less resourceful.
When going through change: whether a change of job, changing your career so that it reflects your values, moving, adding to your family, starting a new chapter of education, living in a new country, starting your own business… what coaching gives you is a focus on what you can do to make that change worthwhile and worth the discomfort and the effort. So that when the change is done, you can feel like it was for the better.
Take it from my recent client, Sarah, who had quite recently become freelance, moved countries, and wanted to change her living arrangements says:
After a rollercoaster of a year, Jodie helped me understand how to handle and deal with my new "normal" life and coached me into feeling positive about what I had achieved and the life I was living. Jodie asked questions that helped dig deep into what was really triggering those emotions and helped me understand and accept that. Would recommend Jodie to help you get through any uncertainty or times of change in your life or career.
Incidentally within weeks of coaching Sarah had moved into a new apartment, and successfully raised her day rates with existing clients so that she could live the lifestyle she wanted to live.
If you need extra support with making life changes and to move you towards living the life you want to be living, why not e-mail me to discuss whether coaching could be right for you? firstname.lastname@example.org
Marcus Aurelius IV.43 AD121-180