After my sabbatical year, during which I visited classrooms across Los Angeles–as chronicled in this blog–I did a great deal of soul-searching and decided not to return to the classroom. It was a painful and difficult decision, but I felt that for me, classroom teaching in a public school is not sustainable over the long haul, especially if I want to work in an underserved community.
Instead, I am now working at a non-profit serving highly motivated students from low-income families, providing after-school and summer enrichment from 7th grade through college. I love it. I’ll stay with the same group of kids over the years, getting to know them as they grow up.
But I’ve also started a side business as a life coach. I learned, doing this blog, that I just love talking to people one on one, not just kids but adults. I love hearing people’s life stories and working with them to find meaning and purpose.
Now, after months of intensive training and countless hours of practice with clients, I am incredibly excited to tell you that my coaching practice is officially open for business! I want to take this moment to thank the many, many clients who agreed to be my guinea pigs and let me practice with them. We have shared many laughs and occasional tears, but always joy. I’ve been moved and sometimes even astonished by the changes my clients have been able to make in their lives. They are finishing dream projects, breaking through artistic blocks, gaining the confidence to make public presentations and finding the words to articulate their vision to others.
Here’s what I’ve learned: having a space to set goals and create a positive vision with a trusted, caring guide really can help you find direction and move toward your dreams. Creating a map of where you want to go can be amazingly powerful in helping you get there—and continuing to take small steps on that map can be empowering in and of itself. I know. I just wrote “empowering.” But that really is the way it feels. If you’re a teacher looking to re-connect with your inspiration, coaching is a great way to rediscover your motivation (or find a new direction).
My coaching practice is dedicated to creative people who want to get unstuck, finish dream projects and create a sustainable career. I’ve been a writer all my professional life. I know from personal experience that creative work can be risky and often scary. I also understand that all of us need to balance our creative dreams with our financial and personal responsibilities, and that balance may be different across our lifetimes. But I also know from personal experience that if you are a creative person and your life is without a creative outlet, part of you sometimes feels like you might die.
And the flip side is that if you really could find your creative voice, what might happen? Who might you become? What might your work bring to others? In my home office, I sit surrounded by small art pieces made by friends. Making visual art is absolutely not among my talents, so it gives me incredible joy every single day to sit down at my desk among so many tiny glimpses of an artist’s vision of the world. How often have I been consoled by a single line in a poem? If you could truly be the creative person you know you are, how might your work illuminate the lives of others?
I believe that teaching is a deeply creative profession. There’s a tremendous amount of talk these days about “data-driven” teaching. I get that we need to produce results–really. But I also believe that teaching is an art as much as a science, and if that art gets lost, the teacher will be lost, too.
Coaching gives people support as they push forward toward their creative goals. Often, I find that my clients are dreaming big, which is great, but also can make them perfectionistic or overwhelmed or both. Working with a coach can help clarify your overaching vision, but also break it down into small steps you can actually do, so that you’re always moving forward in a way that feels right to you. There are a million “how to” books out there, but the truth is, everybody’s creative working style is different. Some people need to work in long, uninterrupted, dedicated blocks of time on a single project. Others find to their surprise that they work best while juggling multiple projects in small time chunks (which is utterly amazing to me, because I cannot do this at all, but for some people, it’s how they are their most productive.) For many people, finding a time management strategy is key—and again, there are many ways to manage your time, depending on your personal style.
Want to try a free session? It’s really fun—I promise. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here or text me at (213) 610-3617. We’ll set up a free session so you can get a jump-start on 2015. And please do pass this on to anyone you know! Book now to avoid the crazy rush!