I can still feel the sting of his words, even though it was over a year ago they were said. A guy that I exercise with said to me… “Why would I hire a life coach, who clearly doesn’t have their life figured out?” At the time, I was in the midst of my life coaching and recovery coaching training, and this question gutted me. He made me feel like a phony. Who was I to think I could help people work their way through depression, anxiety, addiction? Who was I to think I could help someone to see their strengths, set goals and achieve health and happiness? I myself had yet to overcome my mental health issues, and had not yet proven success with running my own business. Some days, I think of his statement and still feel the pain of self-doubt, insecurity and shame. Days like today.
But the real question I need ask myself in these moments of self doubt is… Who am I not to help others? Who am I not to use my skills and training? Who am I not to try to show up as the best version of myself I can be? I refer to Marianne Williamson’s words:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
It is because I know depression so intimately that I can empathize with clients who are suffering. It is because I know what it is like to be afraid to walk out my front door, or go to the grocery store, that I can hold space for someone else with anxiety. It is because I have spent 30 years stuck in the cycle of addiction, that I can help another person step into sobriety. If I didn’t have this pain, I would not be able to bring my unique experience to the coaching relationship. A good coach is not someone who can only boast success and perfect health. A good coach is someone who can meet you where you are at. Someone who can listen, advocate and support you as you move through the stages of change. It is because of my ongoing struggle, that I will never, ever become the person who separates herself from you and claim to be someone who is more successful or further ahead than you - rather I am someone who walks along side you - knowing we are the same. We are all doing the best we can.
Sean Corne (yogi) said it the first time I heard it, she explained… “If you want to know your life’s purpose, go to your wound. This is where the light comes in”. I’ve seen it many places since. It keeps me going. Perhaps it will help you today too.