How I got started.
I’ve been a solopreneur (and total lady-bawse, obv!) since 2014, when I first opened my coaching practice. I started out working primarily in and around the L.A. area, where I spent several years conducting goal-oriented self-improvement-based sessions with private clients.
During this time, I was also hired on as a part-time consultant at more than a dozen in-patient and outpatient substance abuse rehabilitation facilities, where I was responsible for leading weekly or bi-weekly group discussion sessions.
In addition, I was concurrently hired to serve in an adjunct faculty capacity for a nationwide personal training school, where I was able to focus my coaching efforts on guiding trainers-in-training in honing the skills necessary to create effective and lasting behavior changes in their clients.
I’ve always wanted to make the world better in one way or another, and what I found in coaching was something that, as tooooooootally cheesy as it sounds, just really felt like my life’s calling. I haven’t regretted a moment of the work I’ve done since then, even on the most challenging of days.
The pre-coaching era.
Before I found coaching, I was kind of bouncing around for a while, exploring various different passions (and picking up a lot of the practical skills that would later serve me well in coaching work, though I didn’t know it at the time).
In no particular order, my past experience includes:
- Joining the Air Force and learning to become not just a survivor but a leader. I served on active duty before, during, and in the immediate aftermath of the tragic events of 9/11/2001 — garnering multiple awards, including a Joint Service Commendation Medal from the National Security Agency. Sadly, military life was never a great fit for me, because I’ve kinda always hated being constrained from living and expressing myself in exactly the ways that feel authentic to me (more on that in the blog). So… with SO much gratitude for all of the life lessons that this amazing growth opportunity provided me, I said “thank you but goodbye” to the military and moved on to other things after my contract was up.
- Saving the environment, one military base at a time. When I left active duty, I wasn’t quite ready to completely cut the apron strings, so I continued on as a civilian contractor working for the government. At the time, I had just completed my Master of Science degree in Environmental Management, and I spent several years thereafter developing and deploying environmental education programs at a whole mess of military installations throughout the US and Europe. I may have even hugged a few trees along the way. (This is when I learned that I loved teaching. And traveling.)
- Tutoring children and adults with autism spectrum and/or ADHD diagnoses in reading and comprehension. This was truly some of the most inspiring and rewarding work I’ve ever done in my life. And it sharpened my teaching and coaching skills in ways that I never could have imagined. And I just feel so blessed to have had this opportunity. (This is when I first realized that seeing the amazing results of helping someone through a difficult experience could touch me so deeply that it could actually make me cry.)
- Working as a certified holistic health practitioner. This sounds uber-fancy, I know, but it’s really just a title awarded to glorified massage therapists with lots of extra training — usually in energy work, Eastern bodywork modalities, and the like. (This is when I realized how very, very incredibly important self-care is to overall well-being, and how incredibly NOT seriously self-care is taken by most of the Western world.)
- Oh yeah! I almost forgot! I also held down a sweet job (pun intended) as the “designated pineapple chopper” for a luau-style buffet restaurant over a summer in high school. And I’ll have you know, this was the ONLY job that I could get hired for at the time, even after papering the town with my resume for months beforehand. Even McDonald’s didn’t call me back, you guys. For real. Anyway, that was way, way back before coaching! But I’m sure you’re totally loving the fierce hairstyle I was rockin’ back then. (This is when I learned that we don’t always get what we want in life. Sometimes we have to flip pineapples instead of beef. But by god, I did it with a smile! Most of the time, anyway.)
Divorce + a shift in focus.
I took a break from doing in-person coaching at the tail end of my divorce, when I moved out of the Los Angeles area and away from my established client base.
The divorce kinda came out of the blue to me and really rocked my world-view in a big way, although looking back now I know I should have seen the signs. (There were some big ole HONKIN’ signs.)
Okay, truth be told, I was probably in denial about the divorce for a good while, but once the sh*t hit the fan in the relationship beyond all hope of repair, well… things got even worse for me.
This was mostly because my health habits went to utter crap-ola as I wrestled with the emotional carnage and tried to find my footing again (and completely forgot about self-care altogether).
I spent about a year or so after the divorce digging deep, combing through the wreckage and working through all that came with it… with a therapist… and a sobriety support group (more on that in the blog)… and a health coach… and a personal trainer… and a bunch of other awesome resources that I am so incredibly lucky to have had access to. (So basically, with a lot of reminders from a lot of good people, I remembered how important self-care was, and got back to taking care of me.)
And I’m definitely not done with the work of digging deep and rising up from the ashes (I don’t think any of us ever really are), but I feel more centered, grounded, and compassionate now than I ever have.
And you know… I’m actually grateful to divorce… for cracking me open and revealing to me the tendernesses and roughnesses and many-layered sharpnesses of life in that special way that only divorce can… because it’s made me into a more mindful and resilient person… into someone utterly brutiful (and a great big thank you to Glennon Doyle for that awesome word)… and into someone I never would have become without that pain.
Learning to coach myself.
The one thing I know for sure is that the ups and downs I experienced as part of the divorce process helped shape me into someone who pursues and lives her dreams unapologetically.
Which is why I can now say to you that, among other things, I am:
- living an ethically non-monogamous lifestyle;
- a loud-and-proud teetotaler AND full-time RVer;
- not afraid to talk about my struggles (and triumphs) wrestling with a seriously skewed body image and disordered eating and drinking behaviors (more on all of the above in the blog).
But to get here, I kiiiinda sooooorta (with a lot of help) basically had to learn how to coach myself.
Because it would have been so easy at so many different points along my path to give up and go back… to pipe down and pretend I didn’t want more… to close my eyes to the belief that a different and better life was possible for me… to let the flame of desire burning inside me fizzle out.
But I didn’t. And that’s been such a huge, huge deal for me. Huuuuge. Like Ron Jeremy huge, you guys. (Err, if you don’t know who that is, I’m gonna go out on a limb and recommend that you NOT look him up. I’m not saying it would change your opinion of me. But stranger things have happened.)
Anyway, largely as a result of what I’ve experienced personally, my approach to helping people has evolved.
I think I’ll always love working with people face-to-face and one-on-one, but I want to do so much more now too. I want to reach people and help people on a global scale.
And that’s my goal with this site, with my blog, and with a few other resources that I’m currently developing — to help people learn how to coach themselves through the dark chasms of life, through the BRUTIFUL stuff, just like I did.
Feed your flame.
If there’s one thing that I’ve found incredibly valuable in my life, it’s the ability to activate and fuel forward motion.
(You guys, Dory was seriously on to something with that whole “just keep swimming, just keep swimming” deal. For real.)
I want everyone to have that ability.
You deserve that ability.
I want to help you learn how to activate and fuel your own forward motion — to feed your flame — and catapult you toward whatever it is that your heart truly desires.
In a nutshell, I want you to boldly go where no YOU has ever gone before. Because I know you can.
The boring stuff.
Okay, here’s the boring nerdy stuff that I just know you’ve been waiting with bated breath to read!
Coaching is no small or simplistic task, and I’ve never approached it as such (despite what my sometimes breezy-peasy communication style might lead you to believe). My coaching certification program included 510 hours of coursework plus 200 hands-on supervised internship hours.
I also count myself extremely blessed to have been mentored in the early years of my private practice by two of the kindest and wisest coaching and counseling professionals I know (you know who you are — big hugs, guys!).
Among other things, I am trained in integrative life coaching, habit-based behavior change, energy work / reiki, hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), nutrition, performance enhancement for sports and fitness professionals, and relationship enrichment techniques grounded in the principles of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality inventory.
I hold an AAS in Communications from the Community College of the Air Force, a BS in Management from Excelsior College, and an MS in Management from the University of Maryland. I’m also about 1/5th of the way through a Doctorate of Education degree at USSA.
Just FYI, you know, if you’re into that sort of thing. 🙂
See ya in the blog pages!
TWO TRUTHS and ONE LIE...
…just for fun, and because I’m a gigantic nerd who enjoys icebreaker games.