Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Coach potato

I have eschewed therapy and its cousins for most of my life but a couple of years ago, I came around to the idea of a life coach. Sure, I could limp along just fine without one. I consider myself "farm stock," someone who can pick herself up by her muddy bootstraps and go on. For a long time, I didn't indulge my feelings, thinking myself weak if I cried, talking myself out of being upset, just sucking it up and getting on with things.

My life coach isn't necessary if I simply want to get by, but she's proven herself invaluable and necessary in helping me make my life better, bigger.

Instead of hiding my finances from myself and others, I now embrace Excel spreadsheets and Quicken. I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad. More astounding, I quote Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Regularly. I have gone from getting agitated and crying discussing finances (I remember the first fight I had with my best friend Alison, talking about money over sausage at Ludwig's Garden) to broaching the subject with anyone and everyone.

I have developed a branding statement for my business, determining the kinds of writing, editing, consulting, and lecturing I want to be doing.

In addition to my coach, I have an accountant, an agent, and a lawyer, a support team I can utilize. Before, I thought I could handle it all myself and if I couldn't, well, I told myself I couldn't afford outside help. These people—my team—have helped me grow my business, make better deals, and earn more income.

I am talking and writing about what it means to be a blue-collar tomboy from a corner of Michigan who's living and succeeding in the big city (sounds like a sitcom, doesn't it?). Rather than trying to reinvent myself, I am trying to see what puzzle piece I am in the giant jigsaw of my family. My writing has become richer, more human, because I'm writing about things that matter and things I don't have figured out. I hope that's as exciting to others as it is to me.

As someone who works for herself, I need my coach and my support team to push me. As glamorous as it seems to those working for someone else, it's hard in every way to run your own one-person business. I work in isolation a lot and writing in coffee shops doesn't quite juice me sufficiently. Erratic cash flow is stressful and requires planning and discipline, something I definitely need help with when there's a sale at Nordstrom. Immediate deadlines push proposals and new business aside and I need my coach to chide me and give me homework to keep future projects percolating.

A better person than me might be able to do this all by herself, but I'm happy to know that at least I'm a better version of me. And I know with my weekly one-hour sessions, I can only keep getting better.

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A sampling of my books