It was two years ago this week that I left the “working world.” Wait, let me clarify that…the paid working world. All for a good reason, of course. Three years of European living courtesy of the husband’s job was like a dream come true. I knew I would miss working and was definitely a bit sad and sentimental when I walked out of the office that last day. But I was excited to finally focus more on our family and myself, and do all of those things I couldn’t when I was working full-time.
I couldn’t wait to dive into my “new job.” I was envisioning time to exercise, explore new places, meet new friends for coffee, have a clean house, and the laundry done – everything in order and in its place. And now I look back at this girl and her dreamy aspirations, and think “Bless her heart…”
The truth? I was losing myself in the day-to-day “domestics” – dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, chauffeuring the kids to and from school, soccer practice, cooking dinner, and packing lunches. I was in a horrible rut, and the fact that I had such lofty visions for what I thought my life would be like with all this “free time” made it all the more frustrating. My goodness, the whole stay-at-home wife/mom gig is humbling. And the pay stinks.
I should also mention that the other item on my newly-found free-time list was to do some soul-searching about what I’d like to do next professionally. You know, use this time to re-invent myself, figure out my next career, etc. Needless to say, this “new job” was not what I thought it would be.
Then last summer I began working with a life coach. I’ll be honest, I really wasn’t sure what life coaching was all about, but I knew I needed to do something to get myself back on track. For my sake and my family’s sake. About 15 minutes into the first session with my coach, Kate, I had the first of many “ah-ha” moments. You see, in my professional life one of the things I did was manage projects – big, complex projects. And I was good at it. But in that initial conversation with Kate when I was talking about my professional background, I realized that I was treating this “new job” like a project. Except that it was an ongoing, never-ending, one step forward and two steps back kind of project. No deadline. No completion date. No project deliverables (except for raising my boys to be decent human beings and making sure that we all didn’t starve in the process). No wonder I was frustrated!
Over the course of 3 months and 8 sessions, Kate helped me navigate this new phase in my life by giving me the tools to determine my priorities and my passions; essentially developing my own mission statement. The outcome was better time management, the ability to look at potential work opportunities based on my values rather than my skills and experience, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone to try new things. I have also prioritized my self-care through exercise, bible study and meditation (well, I’m still trying on that last one…) and I consciously think about the habits (both good and bad) that I’m forming.
For me, the experience was extremely worthwhile. I learned new things about myself and am now seeing things through a different lens. I’m more aware of the choices I make because I’ve clearly identified my values and priorities. I still don’t know what’s next for me and I still get frustrated with the “domestics” at times, but I have a better focus, a better outlook, and better habits. And best of all, I choose how I want to show up – with my family and with myself.
I learned new things about myself and am now seeing things through a different lens. I’m more aware of the choices I make because I’ve clearly identified my values and priorities.
Who Needs a Life Coach?
I would recommend life coaching to anyone who has gone through a major life or career change, or anyone that just needs to hit the “re-set” button on their personal or professional life. Here are a few tips based on my experience:
- Find the right coach for you – get recommendations from friends and search the web. Some coaches offer a complimentary session, which is a great way to see if it’s the right fit.
- Commit – do the homework, be prepared and show up for your coaching sessions (both physically and emotionally)
- Follow through – implement the thoughts and ideas you and your coach discuss. The only way it will stick is if you put it into practice.
I feel like we can read all the self-help books out there (who has the time?), but it’s also helpful to have someone who isn’t our spouse, our friend or our family member help us to take a fresh and unbiased look at our lives.
Have any of YOU tried a life coach? What was your experience like?
I’m married to Tim (US Navy) and we have two boys, Timothy (age 7) and Charlie (age5). We are currently living in Belgium, so I’m new to the stay-at-home mom gig, having left my 20+year career before moving overseas two years ago. I enjoy traveling, reading, writing and volunteering and in my spare time, I’m trying to become a better cook and learn how to knit. We call Florida home, but as the saying goes, “Home is Where the Navy Sends You!”