At one point I was looking for a therapist, but also wanted to learn more about life coaching and the differences between the two. I know therapy can be helpful for many people, but I also know plenty of people in therapy that never seem to feel any better about their lives.
In my opinion based on my research, I can boil down it down to one major difference — therapy drudges up events in our past so we can better understand of present behaviors and struggles, but life coaching seems to focus more on examining our present behaviors and thoughts and changing our mindset so we can move forward.
I also like what Brooke Castillo with The Life Coach School says about life coaching — that good life coaching can teach us to acknowledge our emotional pain and end emotional suffering. There is going to be emotional pain in life, but we don't have to make it worse by adding emotional suffering on top of it. She also says life coaching is for people who have good lives, but want to have more productive and successful lives. That sounded like me!
Smoky Mountain News team
Anyway, back in February I reached out to Robin Winters here in Waynesville — she's a therapist but also a Tony Robbins certified life coach — to get her opinion on which direction I should go. I gave her a not-so-brief update on my life and the changes I had made so far. Robin said she thought I was an ideal candidate for life coaching given all the work I'd put in by myself up until that point. I talked to my boss about paying for six weekly sessions with her since we were mostly going to be working on career goals and he gladly agreed.
The 6 weeks I worked with Robin was great. As a journalist, I will forever be a cynic with a "we'll see" kind of attitude, but the results speak for themselves. Even though she was soft spoken and gentle, I found myself crying a lot on those weekly calls. It was simply her holding up a mirror to my face each week. She let me come to my own conclusion about my frustrations and she helped me ease my anxiety by giving me useful tools for being organized and prepared.
She helped me work through my frustrations with work and helped me to realize I was mostly getting upset with people and circumstances I couldn't control. She taught me to focus on what I can control and that not every action from others necessitated a reaction from me. That was a mind-blowing moment for me, seriously.
SMN news team with all our NCPA awards
She taught me how to map out my goals and how to develop small action plans so those big goals didn't seem so scary and unobtainable. She taught me how to act like a leader even if I didn't yet believe I was a leader. Sh taught me how to ask for what I want and how to be prepared when it seemed like no one else knew what the hell we were supposed to be doing.
By the end of the six weeks, I had more confidence in my job and less frustration about where I was going. I realized I didn't need to find a new career to be happy — I just needed to stop making my job harder than it needed to be. I'm one of the lucky few who get to work in a profession I'm passionate about even with all of its uncertainty, but every once in a while I get this feeling I'm not where I should be in my career. I just needed to remind myself of my greater purpose and that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be doing exactly what I'm supposed to do. Everything else will fall into place.