So, What's the Plan?
"I know what I want, but how do I get there?" This is a situation everyone has faced at some point. We all struggle with how to achieve our goals, whether they be big, life-changing ones, or small, meaningful ones. I know that I want to work in the outdoor industry (but not behind a desk). I know that I want to write and speak and share and motivate others. I know that I want to find success and help others along the way, who feel stuck, to do the same.
The "how" part is possibly the scariest part of the equation AND the part that is most likely to cause me, or anyone else, to get tripped up and give up. So I've been focused a lot on the "how" recently. It's one thing to say out loud the things that I want to achieve and then start a blog. But there needs to be more action. I have to make a move. Lots of moves, actually. I need to start small, but make progress. It would be awesome if I could quit my job and launch myself fully into these endeavors. I'm certain I would get from point A to point Z much faster. But I can't do that due to financial constraints.
One area I've been seriously considering and looking into is life coaching. Becoming a life coach would afford me a way to make money on my terms while also helping people become their best version of themselves. I've excelled at working through my own challenges and I like to think I've been a valuable resource for others in my life who have struggled with one thing or another. I've always been one to listen closely, offer helpful advice and act as a sounding board, and so I would enjoy being a professional resource for others who need a little help tackling this confusing thing called "life".
There is no regulation in the life coaching industry. Anyone can hang a shingle and call themselves a coach. But just because you CAN do something ...
To do it well and responsibly, you need to get life coach training. There are lots of programs out there, from expensive, lengthy, master's degrees on one end, to $200 online, bogus, quickie courses on the other.
I know I need something in between those two paths, and many options abound. It's all so confusing, and, what IS coaching anyhow? And, perhaps most importantly, how do I know if I will truly love it? After all, the LAST thing I want is to find myself in another career that doesn't move me and motivate me.
Enter Jessica. Jessica is one of my dearest, closest, most-trusted friends. She was my first law enforcement mentor and helped train me when I graduated from the police academy and hit the streets. Jessica is so many things to me and we share a very significant and close bond.
Jessica is about to graduate with her Master's in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in Coaching and Facilitation. When she retires from her highly-successful law enforcement career, she wants to start a second career as a coach, and it's no surprise because Jessica has been coaching forever, both in her own career and among her friends and family.
Fortunately for me -- Jessica needs to practice her coaching skills and I happen to be in serious need! I want coaching for myself, on a personal level, because, frankly, I'm pretty scared and doubtful right now. I also want to see what this coaching thing is all about. She helps me, I help her. Winner winner, chicken dinner!
Jessica has laid out four coaching sessions with me over eight weeks. She has given me a list of her favorite coaching gurus and mentors and provided a list of books, articles and podcasts to get me started. I've been voraciously consuming information!
Perhaps the best part about starting this coaching process and beginning to develop resources is that it feels like I'm making movement. I AM making progress. I'm DOING something! The wheels are turning and progress is being made. Every little step means I'm accomplishing my goals. I don't have analysis paralysis.
If you want to accomplish something overwhelmingly big, you have to start with little steps and break your overall goals into smaller, more manageable objectives. I learned firsthand the value of this wisdom from when I started my own dog training business. It was so overwhelmingly new and complicated to me that I simply could not think about how to get to the end product; it would make me feel panicky, lost, uncertain. I had to break the process down into doable tasks and small projects. One day at a time, one step at a time - those were my mottos at that time.
To devise a list of all those little steps you need to make to achieve your goals, picture yourself at the end, when you have achieved your goal, and then work backwards from there. Using coaching as my goal, I pictured myself as a successful coach. After visualizing my future life and future me, I started working in reverse through the tasks and processes that led me back to the beginning, and now I know the steps I need to take to make life coaching a reality.
When you work backwards from Point B to Point A, realize these steps are not set in stone. This is a guide. Doing it right means allowing yourself to be vulnerable and accepting that the plan will need to be tweaked as you go. And that's OK! A masterpiece takes time and success rarely comes via your first attempt. I may have a plan for becoming a coach, but I recognize and embrace the changes and tweaks to the plan that will surely come as I learn, grow and achieve. So don't be hard on yourself if things don't go exactly as planned.