How to Go from a Breakdown to Breakthrough

How to Go from a Breakdown to Breakthrough

It was Friday afternoon in Washington, DC. There I was, excited to be there, looking forward to not only teaching another Accomplishment Coaching class, but to also get the promotion I’ve been working towards the last few years. I met with the senior leader of the program, who’s also on the steering committee and in charge of the “promotion” process. We walked back from dinner and she said: Sarah, you’re not getting promoted this weekend. I know the promotion of Junior Leader is still coming soon, but this was a tough pill to swallow because I was ready for it. I got pretty quiet on the walk back, and then I said, “I’m upset. I’m going to take care of myself. I don’t want to lie to you about how I feel, but I’ll be ready tomorrow.” Then I grabbed one of my friends, went upstairs, and cried, “This is stupid. I don’t want to do this anymore.” I said every untransformed thing you can think of. It wasn’t my most shining moment. After my friend left, I called Matt. He couldn’t have been more great if he tried, which to be honest, was a bit of a surprise. He usually gets in the deep end of the pity pool with me about Accomplishment Coaching (“Yeah, Sarah, quit!”). I was afraid he was going to say, “Get your butt on a plane and come home!” But what he said was exactly what I needed. He was out with his friends, stepped out of the bar he was at, and said: “You’re not there to be in a position. You’re...

Overcoming Fear Makes You a Better Person

One of the benefits of coaching and training coaches is being among loving, passionate people. One of my fav coaching colleagues is Joanna Lindenbaum. Joanna calls herself the Soulful Women’s Business Coach and helps women get authentic with themselves instead of trying to fit a marketing plan that doesn’t work for them. Joanna has thousands of women in her community and is seen as a thought leader. One of her missions as a coach is to provide quality content to her clients and her clients’ clients. Because she’s a coach’s coach. That’s why she decided to put together a handbook to help coaches (and their clients) let go of fear and resistance so they can make a bigger impact. This free downloadable handbook, called Overcome the Fear Barrier: 21 Leading Transformational Experts Share Their Best Strategies to Overcoming Clients’ Fear in All its Forms, is chock full of brilliant exercises and tools for overcoming resistance and fear, and includes contributors like yours truly. The thing is: If you work with humans, you’re going to need to cozy up to fear and really understand what makes them tick. Because fear likes to disguise itself. After all, most of us are taught from a very early age that being scared means we’re weak. Nope, that’s not the truth! Maybe you’ve noticed a client procrastinating, avoiding important conversations or self-sabotaging their results after they had a major breakthrough. One of the greatest roles you can play, whether you are a coach, healer, transformational expert, or someone who guides and leads people, is to guide someone through their fear. After all, as the old adage goes,...
What coaching *really* is

What coaching *really* is

You’ve heard me talking about coaching, but do you know what it really is? I got to tackle this topic in my Q&A with Sherri Johnson at StyleBlueprint this week, and a couple of my clients talked about their own experiences with coaching. In the interview, which you can read here, Sherri asked me what’s the difference between a life coach, executive coach and a therapist. Excellent question! “A great coach looks at the highest level of who that person is,” I said. “You can’t address one part of the person and separate the business side or the personal goals — it’s about the whole person. It’s like that saying, ‘wherever you go, there you are.’” Oh, and let me tell you the behind-the-scenes about my clients in this article: When Sherri first pitched me this idea at CreativeMornings, she asked if I would have clients open to talking to me. At first, I wasn’t sure they’d want to be so open about their experiences. But when I asked, they wanted to go on the record so other people could see what’s possible for other moms out there, if they were open to the possibility of getting support. Chandra Johnson, owner of SOCO Gallery and wife of NASCAR’s Jimmy Johnson, talked about how she’s reaping the benefits of coaching today. “My friends have all noticed a transformation in me,” she says. “I now make decisions from my highest and best self, instead of fear.” The thing is, coaching is for people who are operating at high levels and need additional support. Sometimes people feel stuck, and they often can’t...
The Time(s) I Almost Quit Coaching

The Time(s) I Almost Quit Coaching

Boy, I had THE BEST time in Chicago: I lead my first Accomplishment Coaching training weekend. I wasn’t the #1 back up dancer. I was running the show with another leader. Large and in charge. This is what I’ve been working towards for the last three and a half years. And at times, I wanted to quit the whole shabang. Let me explain: I graduated three plus years ago from the AC Program. There was an opportunity to join the leadership team and be a mentor. Then there was a big opportunity to coach and train at the United Nations. My first year was great — relatively easy. And as I grew in my leadership — it got really hard. Training for a big job can be really confronting, especially in my work where when people call you out on your stuff. Often, ego and self-defense come into play. It’s a lot to deal with, and there were many times I wanted to quit. But, I had a few positive things on my side that kept me in the game: A coach who reminded me of my higher commitment to transforming lives. A supportive team to remind me of my greatness. A group of people who listened to me, always. Back to my Chicago trip: Saturday morning, I spoke to a group of 40ish people (participants, guests and mentor coaches) I didn’t know. I had to create credibility and relationships with people I’d never met in a city I’d never been in with a team I didn’t know. What happened: People saw things they hadn’t seen and valued my...
How a Wrong Turn Can Lead to the Right Possibilities

How a Wrong Turn Can Lead to the Right Possibilities

Recalculating… Sometimes I’ve missed my turn on the road, as I’m sure you have too. When that happens, your GPS says “recalculating” in a calm, reassuring voice (maybe in a British accent if that’s how you’ve set it) and gives you a new route. It doesn’t ask why you missed your turn. No judgment, just quick, simple action. But when you’re talking to yourself about missing a turn, you’re not as calm. Maybe you say, “Dang, I can’t believe I missed my turn!” Cue the colorful hand gestures. The GPS has no qualms about moving on and seeing where the new route takes you. But you do. As a coach, my job is to fulfill what I declare: Helping clients and teammates meet their goals. When we miss these goals, we just recalculate the route. There’s no beating yourself up for a missed turn. Or at least a new turn. Sometimes the missed turns are exactly where you need to go. It’s where you learn more about yourself and get back on track — or find a whole new track. This happened in a big way for me when Matt and I first met. I was a bartender in Brooklyn. He was working on Broadway and doing some freelance copywriting. One night, he and I hit it off. We started dating. But it became clear to me that (at the time) he was “zipped up” emotion-wise. And for me, that wouldn’t do. It seemed like we were on different routes for sure. Recalculating… But what happened next surprised both of us. We got honest with each other, and we’ve...
Dear Sarah – How One Letter Can Change Everything

Dear Sarah – How One Letter Can Change Everything

Two days ago, I was having a day.  A program I’m going to lead isn’t shaping up as I’d hoped, so I was crying and feeling so super crap-tastic. Now, I’m no stranger to letting out the tears (and that we should all make time for a good cry), but this time, I needed reinforcements.  I started looking on my computer and found my “Break Glass in Case of Emergency” letter. The letter I read to myself when I’m super down.  It read: Dear Sarah, Right now, you’re probably really upset. Really, really upset. The first thing I want you to know is it’s ok. Let it out, sister! If anyone you know and love were this angry/hurt/sad/disgusted/etc., you’d want them to let it out.  Every drop. So do that. I’ll wait. So, whatever’s going on, you’re going to be fine. You rock. You really do. You got it all going on, sister, and this is just a breakdown. Expected and welcomed.  Think about Mirabelle. How would you like her to be when she is this upset?  You are loved. Deeply. Adored. Cherished. People have said the most amazing things about you and they mean it.  You’re a rock star and have created incredible things and are just beginning. Whatever it is, I assure you it will pass and it ain’t that deep.  And with that, I dried up my tears.  I remembered who I really am and why I’m doing what I’m doing. This is the life I chose for myself, the manifestation of who I am and what I want to accomplish.  As a human, you’re going to have...
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