I did it. I changed the title line on my LinkedIn profile. Now I need to update the summary, which is still focusing on my current job, but changing the title line was enough excitement for one day. (And no, this does not mean I’ve given notice, only that I’ve taken some more steps in the direction I’m slowly heading towards)

futureSpent last weekend attending a highly inspirational two day course in coaching, offered free of charge by The Coaching Academy. Although I have been coached before (last winter), I really didn’t know what to expect when I walked in and took a seat amongst 80 other people. The first task we were asked to do was to write down in a single word what we were feeling like right now. As I’ve never really been good at following instructions, i wrote two: blank sheet.

Returning to the hotel room some eight hours later my mind was nothing but. I had so many thoughts and voices and mental images twirling around in my head, I had to lock myself up in the bathroom for a good 15 minutes before I was ready to head out to dinner with my niece and a dear friend of mine. Back at work today, people keep telling me that I have glittering eyes and a sense of incredible flow going on. And that’s actually me tired. Just wait until I have slept enough…

So, what was so great about this course? I guess it was the realisation of us all being human. Most people are afraid of failure, which holds us back, living within too many irrational comfort zones. We keep thinking we cannot change our lives because we’re too old, too young, too lazy, too busy… it’s too expensive, we don’t have the time for it, we have the wrong education. Blah blah blah. We turn our limiting beliefs into what we consider valid reasons, when we should address them as bad excuses instead. We live our whole lives dreaming of something, not realising we will one day wake up with nothing but memories and “what if”s.

For me, the most challenging task of them all was on Sunday, just before lunch. We were asked to choose one limiting belief we have about ourselves, that’s keeping us from achieving our goals, turn it into a positive statement and tell that to another participant. UNTIL THEY BELIEVED US. I have never in my life felt so stupid as right then and there, repeating the same line over and over again, getting nothing but “Thank you. Could you please repeat that?” from my coaching partner. I started laughing, I started telling him that I don’t want to do this, I wanted to tell him to go to hell, but he just kept smiling, looking me in the eye, saying “Thank you..” After the never-ending (or so it seemed) repeating of this sentence, we continued with a 15 minutes coaching session where you were supposed to ponder on what next. And that’s when I finally made some real progress. I finally realised my own fears, and that I do have the tools to shoot down every single one of them.

The final pieces of the puzzle fell when we changed roles. As a coach, you’re not supposed to have a discussion with the client. It’s all about them. You are not to involve your own dreams, goals, fears, thoughts..whatever in the process. But as this was only a scratch on the surface of coaching, I could of course feel my thoughts wandering off as soon as my partner started talking. Rest assured, I didn’t stop listening, I was very present in the moment (and later got the feedback that it seemed like I really cared about what becomes of him, which I actually do) – but I couldn’t help feeling relieved. You see, what he was talking about, worrying about, was really the same fears I have. And when I saw him realising how many steps he has already taken, I suddenly saw how far I myself have come.

I don’t think coaching per se is for me, but I have learnt never to say never. Yes, we all make choices in life, and by choosing one path, you say no to others. But here’s a little secret. It’s never too late to change your mind. Even though you have walked far down a path, when you come to a crossroads, you have a new choice to make. And here’s another little secret. That fear of being too old or too young or not having time nor money… that’s just the fear or failure dressing up as different demons. When standing in front of it, no matter which form it has taken this time, just face it. It’s as simple as that. The worst thing that can happen to you is that you fail. So what? You’re still in a far better position than you were before, loaded with a myriad of experiences, ready to take on what comes next. Opportunity is what you make of it.

For anyone interested in coaching, or a crash course in personal development, I can highly recommend a weekend with The Coaching Academy (and no, I don’t get paid for saying this, this is just my personal conclusion). They organise these free events every weekend in London, and have a broad range of training programmes for people wanting to become professional coaches. Check them out for yourselves.

And what does my new LinkedIn title say? Something I’ve been wanting to say, but been too afraid of telling you all. Something I said out loud so many times last Sunday it doesn’t scare me any more. Something even more than that.

Hello world, my name is Chia, and I’m an International woman of mystery. Blogger. Storyteller. Freelance writer.


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