I don’t usually talk much about my 8-year double-Ivy education odyssey. I did my undergrad in Yale College and went on to Harvard for my Masters in Architecture degree. I think somehow I have been “denying” it because I am not even sure how relevant it is to what I am doing today. (hmm, let’s leave the “bringing all of you into your biz” bit to another day. Now, I am acknowledging it because, finally, I am starting to see why the universe put me through the grinder. Maybe it is to have the GUTS to UNDO what I need to unravel for my peeps.)
If you are curious about this bit of my personal story that is rarely shared, click here.
Anyhoo, I am dragging it up now (I am writing about it for the first time) because it is relevant to what is in this post, which is about cutting the energetic ties to past roles, education, trainings and experience so you can create a clean slate for you to express YOU. No more being defined by the stuff from the past just because you “paid money for it” or “spent time studying for the xyz certification.”
I started this post because I have a couple of clients who came to me as “health coaches offering a 6-month program” and we “reinvented” them into “not-a-coach.” I also have a client who is doing a weight loss certification, and we decided that her schtick is not “weight loss”- and she is completely jazzed about it!
I have gained a lot of insight along the process. There are times when you need to have the courage to “toss that ‘identity’ out the window” and there are times when you want to see how to use what you get from these experiences to take you to the next level. One of the lessons I learned is to DISCERN what needs to be shed and what can stay to support your evolution.
Such realization that you are not really what you think you are can be pretty darn scary. It can be no less than an entrepreneurial identity crisis. But the sooner you own up to it and get pass it, the faster you and your business (and bank account) will grow.
Just Say It: “I Am Not a Coach!”
Client K1 went to nutrition school and was trained to “coach” her clients through a 6-month program. She is super driven but found herself unable to gain much traction. Turns out she is “not-a-coach” – her straight-up, “let me tell you what’s wrong and fix it”, no BS personality is great for working with people in some kind of “get what you need and f— off” format but not in “long-term” coaching relationship.
Deep down, she did not resonate with the 6-month format, which follows a more conventional coaching model. This misalignment – the fact that not all of herself was on board – sent out mixed energetic messages to her potential clients and also sabotaged her marketing efforts.
The biggest breakthrough happened when we get her to “decide” that she doesn’t have to be a coach!! Her education on being a “health coach” does not have to define what she is or how she delivers her services to her clients! She can call herself whatever she wants. Period. (btw, if you have a good replacement for the word “coach” I am all ears. I, and my circle of Misfit Maverick “Not-Just-a-Coach” peeps, have been in search of that, desperately!)
After admitting that she doesn’t have to be a “coach” in order to help people with their health and nutrition in the way she envisions, K1 got out of her stuck-ness and move onto designing a signature system and offerings that is a full expression of herself, her personality and her talent.
It’s OK to Say “Thank You and Now F— Off”
To Your Training and Certification
Client K2 came to me “trying to do something with her health coaching education” – she was sitting on her certification for a couple of years and hasn’t done much about it.
Turned out her biggest vision was not even about health and nutrition! Her health coaching education exposed her to a whole new world of possibilities, pointing her to a direction she is now truly passionate about. But she was holding onto the “certification”, with the somewhat “limiting story” that she had to “do something with it”. The dissonance, the fact that her “should’s” and “what she wants” were not aligned, led to a 3-year bout of “dabbling”.
On top of that, she was taught to deliver a 6-month coaching program but her energy was that of a “teacher/sage” – despite being loving and caring for her tribe, her strength is not in the “week-in-week-out” of a coaching relationship. We also discovered that she had a long, painful experience with “co-dependency” and the idea of a 6-month coaching relationship was “too close to home”, potentially dragging up too much crap that would not bring her joy.
* I am not saying that 6-month program is a “bad” thing – it works for many health coaches and the lesson here is to find a format that allows you to express your gifts and do your best work.
Take What They Give You and Make It Your Own
Client P started working with me when she was going through a weight loss certification program. But deep down, her passion lies in mindset work and spiritual development. Her thinking was to use “weight loss” to get started and then… (??! – somehow, magically, her client base will want to do deep spiritual work??!) She had this plan to incorporate mindset and spiritual work into her weight loss program further down the road, but when we worked on her messaging, something with this weight loss bit just didn’t quite gel.
Turned out she is not even passionate about weight loss! She had a hard time writing up her website because she couldn’t whip out some stories or experiences (personal or otherwise) that can relate her to people who want to lose weight.
After some digging, we discovered that her passion is in “clean eating”, with the intention of raising the body’s vibration to support spiritual growth. Now we are talking! Everything turned from a blurry mush of “everyone and her aunt Betty is selling weight loss” to “a specialized program that will help create a clean physical temple, raise vibration to support spiritual growth.”
The cool thing is, all the materials she got from that certification and licensing program is staying! All she needs is an open mind and a different perspective to change the positioning the program, add her own voice, put in her own tweak and BAM! she is setting herself apart in the marketplace – in the “spiritual development” world, and in the sea of 100’s other nutrition people who also have that certification and offer the same program. (hint: specialized = higher price = good business)
Now Back To Yale, Harvard, Architecture, 10 Years In Online Marketing,
MS in Holistic Nutrition and Health Coach Training
Every time I decide to take a new direction (leaving architecture, leaving my 6-fig marketing agency job, leaving the health and nutrition work) I had to say buh-bye to an identity I have taken on. Say buh-bye to the experiences I have accumulated. Say buh-bye to the trainings and education related to that field.
If you are worry about the $5,000 you put into your coach training, let me tell ya – I invested over $100,000 in my Harvard Master’s degree, $5,000 in my MS and $5,000 in my health coach training. So I know how scary and doubtful “walking away” can feel. I also know that the thought of your investment may be tethering you to some idea that you have to “use” the training and work in that field. It can hold you back months, if not years, toiling in something that is not fully, completely YOU. Stop right now if you are toiling in something that doesn’t jazz you up but just feels like an obligation. YOU ARE FREE TO GO. The only person holding the string is you.
If you are thinking about the time you have invested in your training, let me tell ya – I spent 8 years in the ivory towers, 2 years in architecture, 10 years in marketing agencies and 2+ years in health and nutrition (shit, now you can figure out how old I am!) before I landed on slideberry (3 years, and of course, it’s about to die). The choice is yours, really – either cut loose NOW and start doing something that fires you up, or drag along for a few more years and then you still have to go through that “cutting the cord and starting the new, real thing” process – only to have let a few more years slip by.
I am not saying “cut loose, run!” just because I am sitting in a pretty place. I have been through all that – with a bigger price tag and a longer time invested – and thus harder to let go of. I am still shedding, I am with you. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
Find the clarity – see what is to let go and what is to transform – bliss and results will follow.
It’s easy to say “clarity” but are you really getting to the bottom of it all, punching through the blind spots and seeing what you really need to see?
(it comes with my big fat permission slip to say buh-bye to anything that is not You)