“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
– Louisa May Alcott –
I am made up of a patchwork of experiences and emotions attached to them. I have a strong will, not only to survive but to thrive, just as we all do. In my half a century of living, some of my experiences have been terrible, some less than ideal but, mostly, they have been great. That’s just life, isn’t it?
Depression formed the bulk of my terrible experiences. It hounded me and plagued me and it nearly beat me once as I tried to commit suicide when I was 15. Yes, I even lost the will to survive for a while. Depression is fierce, confusing and unrelenting. I had a happy childhood in a close family. I was loved and nurtured and that never changed but depression got me anyway. I had no obvious “excuse” for feeling depressed and people continually asked me why I was sad and I had no idea why. I made up stories about trauma in my life to keep the questions at bay. I never really understood why I felt so sad despite being part of many therapy sessions over many years.
Now, I know that chemicals play a massive role and it is almost comforting to know that I am not the only one in my extended family that has wrestled with depression. It validates that perhaps the chemicals in my system are at fault. Despite medication for “faulty” chemicals, I never felt that I was thriving. I just spent half my journey wafting along waiting for whatever emotions would come next and I grew weary of merely surviving. I wanted to control my reactions to the waves of emotions. I just didn’t know how.
So off I went on the journey of my life feeling that I was a tiny sailing boat in the big ocean with no rudder. When the waves were calm, I was, and when they were huge and crashing around me, I put up a fight. But I never had a sense of control over or within the calm times or the difficult times.
I was in my late forties when I decided to pursue my passion for helping others with their emotions. I knew that I wanted to add to my education in psychology when I stumbled upon Life Coaching. I was a sceptic, but I am an adventurous soul so I gave it a try. Life Coaching started me on the journey of how and why I could control my reactions to my emotions. I loved the sense of empowerment so much so that I studied Life Coaching. Now, on a daily basis, I help others realise what their “why and how’s” are. I know that we can’t erase life experiences, the good or the bad, but we can make sense of them and use them to move us forward. It turns out that even our worst experiences can be used as a stepping stone rather than a stumbling block.
When coaching face to face, I have the honour of watching people’s body language and facial expressions when a session really resonates with them. The sense of self-empowerment lifts them and propels them forward and it is such a treat to watch.
When long-distance coaching, I have the privilege to witness a person’s most inner workings through their written reflections of a session. I love to see a client’s writing move from defeated to victorious. What a wonderful record of progress.
Life Coaching covers a broad spectrum of needs. Clients who come to me want to change careers, reach an evasive goal, develop their Emotional Intelligence, improve interpersonal relationships or they may be seeking tools to thrive rather than just survive. In every case, the key to moving from where they are to where they want to be is a sense of self-empowerment. This is the journey that I facilitate.
Recently, I’ve had clients from across South Africa asking me to coach them. The distance made it difficult if not impossible, so I’ve created some long -distance coaching material. I have written several sessions that contain all the information a person would need to better understand and overcome a situation. There’s some science, some analogies and space for you to write your own thoughts down. Although it may seem less personal than face to face coaching, I have found it to be an intimate and effective process. By reading through the session, it allows you time to process the information. And the written reflections give a physical outworking of an emotional process.
So here I am, in my rooms in Hilton in KwaZulu Natal, writing this to you, who may take the long-distance Life Coaching journey with me too. I hope that you do and that I get to feel the improved sense of control that you experience, alongside you.