Sometimes, the next right decision is disguised as a seemingly insignificant decision, and its significance is not revealed until much later. Such was the case, in early 2020, when a friend of a friend posted a request on social media. She asked for volunteers for free life coaching from students who were in need of completing hours for their certification. I recalled my own days of completing the required hours toward becoming a licensed clinical social worker and a licensed clinical alcohol and drug counselor and how valuable hands-on experience is, and I decided to volunteer. Then, I forgot about it, until an email arrived several weeks later from one of the students, asking if I would like to schedule my first session. . . a week after COVID-19 shut the world down.
After I read the email, I began to type my response that I would need to schedule a session after things settled down. Remember when we thought that the pandemic would be over in a matter of weeks?! As I started to decline her invitation, something told me not to and to go ahead and meet with her, pandemic be damned. So, I set up our first Zoom call for a few days later.
This was not the first time that I had worked with a life coach, so, I was familiar with the process and looked forward to it. I went into this first session thinking that I was doing her a favor, but little did I know, she was doing me much more than a favor. Unbeknownst to either one of us, she ignited a spark in me that smoldered and caught fire over a year and a half later.
I do not remember what I initially talked with Jenn Baron about, but I do remember some of the thoughts that went through my head during, and long after, we spoke. Immediately, I was beyond impressed with Jenn’s skills as a life coach, and I never would have known that she was still in training. She seemed like a seasoned pro!
In addition to her excellent coaching skills, I noticed straight away her genuineness, enthusiasm, and desire to truly be of service. Jenn exuded pure joy and authenticity in every interaction that I had with her. It was clear that she loved what she was doing, and it was contagious. Working with Jenn left me wanting to help people in a different way than I had as a therapist, and it made me wonder if I could be a life coach.
Almost as soon as the thought entered my head, I ushered it right back out. I had a good job with a good salary and good benefits, but more and more, it did not feel like a good fit. I wanted to work with people outside of the confines of the corporate world, to be more creative, and to have more flexibility in my schedule. I knew what I wanted, but at first, I challenged it.
How can I even think of I giving up the security of a good job for self-employment?
What will people think?
What if I fail?
What do I know about starting my own business?
Is it too late for me to pivot professionally?
Even though I had more questions than answers and more self-doubt than self-confidence, after wrapping up my sessions with Jenn, I began to explore what it would take to launch my own life coaching business as a side hustle. So, I registered my LLC and began to draft an outline for a business, and while working on it lit me up, it was not enough to overcome those initial objections. So, I shelved the idea and returned to my regularly scheduled programming, thinking that this was the end of that.
A year later, I received a letter regarding the annual fee for my LLC. I decided to dissolve the LLC, as the final act to ending my fleeting entrepreneurial dream, but my now husband encouraged me to renew it. He then went a step further by suggesting that I focus on building a business in earnest, not as a side job, but as a career. His words resonated with me, but I retreated behind the familiar excuse that I didn’t know how to launch a business. It turns out that I did not have to know, because I knew someone who did.
It is said that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. In this case, my teacher was someone whom I had met while we were attending rival high schools, before we became classmates at the University of Dayton. I knew her as simply Cindy, but she became Dr. Cindy Briggs. Her impressive resume includes multiple academic degrees, work in the for profit and non-profit sectors, being a college professor, serving on various boards, etc., in addition to being a wife and mother. Cindy always has impressed me, but it was the most recent addition to her resume that really intrigued me. Business coach.
I saw Cindy’s posts announcing that she was going to be offering business coaching. As her friend, her announcement caught my eye, because I love to see my friends doing great things in their lives. As a timid want-to-be entrepreneur, I was definitely interested in how we may be able to work together, and that interest piqued with every visit to her website. Each time that I read Cindy’s mission and the services she offered, I felt more and more drawn to following my heart to pursue a new career. I absolutely trusted Cindy, but could she really teach me how to launch my own life coaching business?
I decided to reach out to Cindy about my business idea, and I secretly hoped that she would say that she could not help me, which would then let me off the hook. Making a change, whether professionally or personally, can be daunting, and even though I knew I really wanted and needed to make this change in my career, it was scary to transition from talking about launching a business someday to actually taking the steps to do it, not someday, but today. In the middle of a pandemic. In the middle of working full-time. In the middle of planning our wedding. In the middle of being parents to our kids. Someday was now.
For the past year, Cindy has worked with me methodically, patiently, and supportively, and she has guided me to make the next right decisions when it comes to creating a life coaching business that I can be proud of and that can support people to make the changes that they want to make in their own lives, just like she and Jenn helped me to make. She has been the perfect business coach for me by listening to me, asking, and answering, questions, connecting me with resources, and showing me that I don’t need to know everything, in order to do something.
This is how it started, so, how is it going now? Stick around for Part Three to find out what the next right decision led to for me.