For over a decade of my life, I worked almost exclusively as a life coach to a variety of clients and during this period, I discovered more about people and life than I have in any other career position I have held. Even though every client’s goal was unique and vastly different, there was an underlying common thread woven through all their coaching journeys. This invisible link was evident, no matter what the person’s cultural background, and they molded to become the 12 most important lessons and insights I discovered while working as a life coach.
They are as follows:
- YOU NEED TO BE OPEN TO CHANGE
Here’s the truth: if you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got. This means if you don’t make active and productive changes, your life will stay the same. If you want things to change, you need to MAKE SOME CHANGES! You will never accomplish the results you are after until you are willing to do what you don’t necessarily want to do.
- PEOPLE LIKE TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE
One of the main reasons people seek out a life coach is because they need and want to be held accountable to the goals they set. It is one thing to say you want to achieve some wishy-washy goal and another to be reminded week after week that you have committed yourself to achieving something concrete in the foreseeable future. Dreams become tangible actions to act upon and accountability is the glue that ties commitment to results. In the coaching process a client is accountable for everything he or she says or do and if they slip or falter, they have someone they need to answer to. Outside of the coaching process, you can find that accountability in a close friend or family member.
- CHASING YOUR DREAMS INVOLVES HARD WORK
Chasing your dreams requires courage, honesty, dedication and commitment. After all, everything you dream about isn’t going to someday miraculously fall into your lap, no matter how great of a wishful thinker you are. You need to actually DO SOMETHING to make it happen. Yes get out of your seat right now and do something constructive! Remember dreams don’t work unless you do. There is no shortcut or elevator to success – you have to take the stairs, even if there are thousand steps. You have to be prepared to work hard, sweat a lot, make numerous mistakes, fall a hundred times and still get up the next day, scrub your knees and start again, over and over, until things finally go your way.
- BEING COMMITTED TAKES EFFORT
When you take on a life coach you aren’t automatically injected with a daily dose of enthusiasm, resilience, energy and dedication. These things come from the process of DOING, which takes active effort on the part of the client. Every day you need to remind yourself that life is short and time waits for no one. Of course it is easier to come home from a job you only half-enjoy and spend the night on the couch watching reruns of your favorite sitcom but where is that behavior going to get you in the long run? Seriously, ask yourself: are your actions taking you closer to your ultimate goal or further away? Effort will only release its wonderful reward AFTER you refuse to quit.
- YOU NEED TO TAKE THINGS ONE STEP AT A TIME
Someone wise once said success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out and I witnessed the truth of this statement more than a hundred times as a life coach. Don’t expect that you will achieve a massive transformation in one day. Instead focus on making one small change or taking one small action at a time and all of these small changes will accumulate to a big transformation. Remember: the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. No one ever got to the top of the mountain in one quick jump because the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, you don’t even have to know what adventure awaits you. Just take the first step in the right direction, one step at a time – that is all you really can do.
- CHASING YOUR GOALS IS SCARY
I didn’t discover this truth until I stepped away from my role as a life coach and set out to achieve my own goals in life. It doesn’t matter if you have all the tools you require, it doesn’t even matter if you KNOW exactly what it is you need to do like I did with my experience as a life coach and background in psychology. When it comes to the crunch, a person often feels engulfed by a massive sense of fear while chasing his or her goals. Maybe it’s the fear of success, failure or commitment – whatever the case you need to be prepared for it so you can deal with it in an appropriate and effective manner. My best advice: feel the fear and do it anyway.
- YOU WILL HAVE SETBACKS – YOU CAN’T AVOID THEM
If we could have our way, everything would go exactly as planned. But who are we kidding? Life doesn’t EVER go according to plan. Instead it constantly offers us hurdles, hiccups, roadblocks and challenges along our way. It is almost like a test: come on now, the setbacks taunt us, how are you going to get past me? I am enough to make you give up? You don’t even deserve to achieve your big dream if every little problem is going to send you into hysterics or make you lose your cool.
Giving up on a goal because of a setback is like slashing your remaining three tires because you got a flat. You need to remember that no one on this planet is immune to adversity or personal setbacks. Expect it, embrace it and be prepared to have a backup plan.
- YOU NEED TO CHANGE THE VIEW YOU VIEW MISTAKES AND CHALLENGES IF YOU WANT TO SUCCEED
The biggest problem people have is that they expect to have no problems. They feel defeated and want to throw in the towel when something goes wrong and they forget that everyone makes mistakes – even the most successful people in this world. Think of the most successful people you know right now – no matter whom you picked, every wealthy businessman, every celebrity and every normal human being has encountered multiple challenges during their journey through life.
Do you want to know what the biggest difference is between those who succeed and those who don’t? Well for starters the dream chasers and achievers don’t waste time grieving over the past – instead they shift the way they view their failures into something positive, they turn them into lessons, learn from them and move on.
- WE ARE OFTEN OUR OWN WORST ENEMY
What to know what hurts your chances for success more than any unsupportive family member or criticism from others? It’s self-doubt. Remember doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will and when you doubt your power, strength or ability, you give power to your doubt.
It is easy for doubt to win a battle over your pride and emotions and yet it can also easily be defeated by forcefully kicking it to the side and stomping on it. Stomp on it hard! The moment you choose to believe in yourself no matter what, even when doubt dancing its crazy dance inside your head, that is when you can finally move forward with ease. Self-doubt is the anchor that keeps your ship from sailing out to sea, so cut that stupid unnecessary cord right now and swim out to freedom today.
- YOU NEED TO STOP PLAYING THE BLAME GAME
I will keep this one short: your life is, quite simply, a direct result of your decisions and choices so far. You are responsible for your actions, moods and behavior so please don’t try to blame anyone else for your problems or dysfunctions. Trust me when I say this: if you keep on blaming something or someone else for your problems, you will remain stuck in the same miserable position and never understand or learn why problems keep coming your way.
Stop looking outside; stop pointing fingers at other people and start looking within. You are the only person who can control your own thoughts and emotions. Yes, it’s true – only you. If someone has triggered a negative feeling in you, it is up to you to decide whether you will allow it to affect you or not. Your feelings are yours and yours alone, nobody has control of your feelings except for you. YOU GET TO DECIDE, YOU GET TO MAKE A CHOICE. IT IS UP TO YOU!
- WE ALL HAVE SOMETHING WE WANT TO ACHIEVE
While the majority of clients who take on a life coach without any hesitation are business–oriented professionals, I found a number of individuals who approached me fell into a completely different category. They were confused, disillusioned, scared and, in a nutshell, knew they wanted more out of life but DIDN’T KNOW know what exactly that entailed. I wrote my book CREATE A LIFE YOU LIFE, a simple and yet effective guide specifically to use with this group of clients, and this book helped many discover what their true passion and purpose was in life.
Because we all have goals, we all have something more that we are striving to achieve, whether it’s inner peace, financial security or a long-lost forgotten dream. We are all here for a reason and it’s that we have gifts to share. What are you good at? What do you want to achieve? What makes your soul sing with glee? If you don’t know, then found out! The meaning of life is to discover your gift and once you have found it, the purpose of life is to give it away and set it free.
- LIFE IS SHORT
Seriously time races faster than you think it does. There is no rewind or replay button on life. There is no time for regrets or time to leave important words unsaid. One day you will be at the end of your journey and you don’t want to be weighed down by a bucket full of unfulfilled dreams.
Time is precious – so respect and treasure it. Life is short – so live it. Dreams are real – so go out and chase them. Have fun, laugh, play, fall in love, don’t waste your energy worrying about stupid things, break some rules if you have to, regret nothing and don’t let people bring you down. Everything happens for a reason and life has an odd way of making things work out in the end.
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