On Being a Personal Coach: A Two-Year Reflection

Here I Am. Two Years Later.

Two years ago, we closed our Studio’s physical doors. We went online and opened our virtual doors. Now, we operate both a physical Studio and a virtual Studio. Then, most of my work was teaching yoga classes and leading retreats and yoga trips. Now, most of my work is being a personal coach. Then, my work was a smaller part of our overall business. Now, my work is an important part of our livelihood.

As I sit here reflecting on where we’ve been, the miraculousness of my accidental-yet-intentional journey is apparent. Yes, the struggle has been real. But here I am, a retired professional engineer and building designer, a former ski school director and regional clinician, and a former self-employed business owner and company partner. Here I am, a husband who has endured the throngs of being a caregiver for close ones paralyzed by trauma, and a friend who has helped others negotiate their way through disability and disease. Here I am, surviving through career changes, random events, accidental experiences and a world pandemic, living a life that I was probably always meant to be living all along.

Life unfolds in mysterious and unexpected ways. The point is, of course, you can move with it or you can get stuck in the way it was, or how you thought it was supposed to be. More than a couple decades ago, during a period of big changes in my life, during a time when self-discovery became a priority in my life, I began to let go of my pre-conceived notions of what my life was supposed to be and learned to live more in the flow of things, letting myself be guided by life’s openings, life’s miracles, life’s synchronicities. I learned to tune into my higher values, who I am and why I’m here, to maintain direction and help me make day-to-day decisions, but I also learned to look at things with a wider lens, from different perspectives, and be more open to the present, more receptive, and perhaps more open to boldly walking through new doorways which opened.

During this time period over two decades ago, I was asking myself what are some of my innate strengths. I did self-assessment test which yielded the following list of my primary personal attributes:

Maximizer – I liked to transform something strong into something superb; strengths fascinate me… that I loved to nurture and refine and stretch strengths towards excellence; that I am inspired to capitalize on the gifts with which people have been blessed;

Learner – I love to learn; that I find the process of learning exciting and energizing, that the outcome of learning is less significant to me than the experiences of getting there;

Connectedness – I know that we are all connected, I am sure that we are all part of something larger than our own free will, call it collective unconscious or great spirit or life force; I feel responsible to live accordingly – not harming or exploiting others because of this deep awareness of connectedness; I am thus a bridge builder between people’s differences; I find common ground; I am a person of faith;

Ideation – I am fascinated by ideas and different perspectives, always looking for connections and possibilities; that I revel in taking the world we all know and turning it around so we can view it from a strangely enlightening angle; that I find new ideas to be thrilling, clarifying, profound, even bizarre; that I enjoy being creative, original, conceptual and intelligent;

Strategic – I have innate seeing-clearly skills, a distinct way of thinking, to sort through the clutter and find the best solution, the best route, seeing consequences and what’s around the next corner; that I see patterns where others see complexity; that I can foresee the paths which have obstacles or resistance or which lead to nowhere, which I readily discard, and find strategic solutions quickly.

My previous sustainable home design work, in which I helped leading local timber framers grow their business and help their clients find synergistic design solutions within myriad of diverse design wishes was work for which I was well suited. But as the work evolved away from sustainability and learning and my greater ideals, I lost my interest.

My previous work in the ski industry with the strength-identifying educational principles of Perfect Turn, and with abilities-focused work of coaching adaptive sports, was also well-suited, gravitating to working with the best and most diverse performers. But, as often happens in businesses and organizations, I was promoted away from my special skills and my personal motivations, and towards less-inspiring-for-me, repetitive-tasked, business management roles.

But here I am now, living through the most recent two years of an unexpected pandemic, thriving as a personal coach. I am helping motivated individuals live happier and healthier, maximizing their innate strengths, learning continuously as we work together – usually exploring different perspectives and viewpoints, and strategically focusing on readily-successful ways of achieving goals, vitality-for-life… all within a yoga culture with values of compassion and community connectedness. Indeed, this website blog (started almost a couple decades ago) is founded on the theme of living and learning… and my coaching business is called Perspective Coaching. Maximizing already-insightful clients’ life successes and abilities, making strong people stronger and more powerful. Coaching in a learning environment, creating cooperative educational experiences. Discussing life-enhancing practices of bringing wholeheartedness to life, exploring healthy life practices and building healthy relationships. Enjoying the fascination of different perspectives and ideas. Strategically applying intelligent ways of being a good person, effectively developing training progressions to live stronger, efficiently finding new ways to live happier and healthier.

Twenty years ago, I was living a totally different life in a different place and in different roles. Two years ago, we were all heading into the unknown of a worldwide pandemic, not knowing what was next. It is interesting to look back and see how the journey unfolded fluidly, making difficult-yet-intentional choices along the way, but each choice leading naturally to a more satisfying place.

Yes, these last two years have been difficult. Day in and day out, a quickly changing world with ever-increasing obstacles and new requirements. Personal and family health issues. Business and survival questions. Changing roles. Care for vulnerable loved ones. But here I am, the product of a lifetime of experiences and choices, thankful to be here, thankful to be doing what I was probably meant to be doing all along. Here I am, thankful to be at Heart of the Village Yoga, thankful that my studio-owner-wife just lets me teach and coach. Here I am, thankful to have a plentitude of clients interested in working with me, month after month after month, and friends who inspire me. Here I am, still open to what comes next.

It’s all connected. I have faith that it will miraculously always work out. I am excited that there will always be more to learn. I am confident to know that I will always find my way, whatever path opens up before me and whatever next step I choose. It’s nice to also know that we’re never alone in our journeys.

In many ways, the last two years have reminded me of the gift of life itself. Maybe, reflecting back, each of us might also realize something for which we can be more grateful, perhaps a new way of being happy or healthy, perhaps a new way of looking at all our relations, perhaps a new way of getting along, perhaps a new way of enduring faithfully through these changing times. Perhaps, we will all learn to live together in a way that utilizes our individual talents and still maximizes our true synergistic human potential.

Here’s to what”s next. For me, here’s to hoping to continue to find new ways to help my friends, my family, and my clients expand their strengths and fully express their unique personal powers, with joy and vitality. As a friend. As a father and son and husband. As a community member. As a personal coach! Thanks for being here. All of you.