Confession of a coach - I’m not perfect and I haven’t got it all sorted!
Phew! It’s good to get that out. Sometimes I’m so busy being the coach, I forget to admit I’m also me!
Do you ever have moments where you just feel at the end of your limit?
We all know what burnout feels like, what overwhelm feels like. When the plates spin too fast, or when haphazard hormones get the better of us. When you are literally at the end of your tether…and the rope is hanging on by the last fibre (cue dramatic cliff hanging music).
I feel genuine anger though when I get like that, and when I hear many of my clients tell me about it, that it’s like we were brought up to believe that that is the acceptable way to live, yet we know it feels so wrong.
So my confession is that even though I’m a coach, and I’ve learned that it’s not an acceptable way to live, AND how to avoid it, it still happens to me. Nowhere near as much as it used to, but occasionally.
I still can get to the Friday and scream at everyone and everything, emotionally distraught and in full on victim mode because NO-ONE CAN SEE OR HEAR ME!
It happened recently in fact. I let the waves of overwhelm knock me off my feet until I felt I was drowning. Afterwards, when I had realised what had happened, I reflected back to pinpoint the crossroads where I chose the wrong path - the place where the red flags had been valiantly flying and I had valiantly ignored them.
The red flags are always there. You just have to train yourself to recognise, and then respond to them when they’re triggered - like trip wires that tell you to stop NOW before you get to that overwhelmed state.
Here are some of mine:
Thankfully, the vast majority of the time I now know they are signalling a distress warning, and to act before the real distress kicks off.
I start to see and hear myself instead of expect my kids to see and hear me. (As a single mum, this is hard but vital for all our sakes!).
I start to ask what I need, not just what I need to do.
I take a long, deep breath and try really hard to redirect my energy in a more productive and self-enhancing way
Because when I go too far - and I’m sure you are the same - I lose the emotional resilience and energy to deal with anything well.
I’m training myself to stop at this point - when the red flags are trigged - when I still have some bandwidth left - and then take three things off the list, take the Saturday off, let it go on teenage phone console for one night… BEFORE I get to my limit.
I need to see me
I need to hear me
I need to be the hand on my own back
What are your red flags that you can lean to start paying attention to?
Once the flags are furiously flapping, it’s a spiral. I can turn on myself when I’m already down “I’m a coach - I should be sailing through life!”
So when the red flags show I now know what to do:
I had to coach myself and then get external coaching
Recognise I’m at the end of 15 months lockdown single parenting with no external energy-boosters that normally balance out the hard stuff
Recognise I run a business and it’s hard
Recognise I’ve just finished writing my next book, The MidLIfe Manual.
I missed the flags, and I got annoyed with myself for spiralling - but as soon as I caught myself, I was able to take a beat, do some journalling to realise why I’m feeling the way I did:
Here’s what I did do right:
Yes I am a coach and yes, I know way more about mindset, self-care, boundaries, goals, living life by design, not default than most people who haven’t studied psychology.
But also, I am a human woman in the midst of midlife with all it’s pressures, positives, negatives, trying her best to live the best life she can, given whatever circumstances she is dancing in - the rain, the shit-storms, the sun and the calm days.
I have a coach to help me stay on track because having someone (mentally and emotionally) hold me in a safe space where I can explore who I am and what I want is the most important investment I have made.
I also have a CBT counsellor that I use sporadically when I need that space too to delve deeper into why I am feeling or behaving a certain way.
I also have a business mentor who acts as a sounding board and guide when I’m feeling like an imposter. I have networks around me - business and personal, that spring me up like a trampoline, and catch me when I need to be caught.
Like most women, I am so many things to so many people. I cannot do any of it alone.
That is why I’m the MidLife coach. Not because I’m perfect but because I travel this road. I know every bump, every pothole, I’ve fallen off into the ditch, I’ve been inspired by the nature along the sides, I have battered against the hailing rain and pushed against the worrying winds, and have skipped in the shining sun and meandered under the clear cloudless skies, and kept going in the dark damp fog.
I walk this path of midlife. That’s why I’m this coach.