About six months ago, I decided to take the plunge and get certified in life coaching. I wasn't even exactly sure what it was or why I wanted to do it, but it seemed like it could help me grow up and start to understand myself. I always enjoyed therapy, and figured the courses could be a way for me to learn what I want to understand myself: how to live. They always said "You learn what you teach," right?
Being in my 20s, I think it is natural to be utterly confused about what you want in life. What career to follow, who to marry, when to settle down -- it all feels daunting. Unfortunately, I felt the same way in high school when I had to choose which college to attend, and then again in college when I had to figure out which major to follow or career path to begin. My friends often make fun of me that every period in my life is "the hardest time of my life."
So when I got home from work and fell on my couch so many months ago, I started to fantasize about how amazing it would be to have some guru that was able to tell me what I was supposed to be doing. I wanted someone who could tell me what to focus on and how to enjoy this crazy, perplexing period in my life. Unfortunately, I didn't have an epiphany and become spiritually guided. Instead, I realized that there is a profession out there designed to help people with just these problems. I figured that if I could become a coach for other people, I could also coach myself.
I showed up to my first class with a quizzical demeanor -- happy, but distanced. I wanted to be there and take it all in, but I still needed to be persuaded that this was really the answer for me. I spent six weeks in introductory courses, and started to realize that I was not only happier, but also more confident and inspired. Every week, I attended class and listed to theories and ideas based on psychology that led to the craft of coaching. I was coached by my peers on any number of issues I wanted to discuss. Sometimes, I would talk about my confused state in life. Other times, it was a relationship I wanted to strengthen. No matter what it was, I knew that I could bring it up in those sessions without any judgment from my peers. It felt like an energizing therapy session every time.
As I graduated into the next level of courses, I started to learn about workplace communications and how to be a better communicator. I was coached on issues I saw in my own workplace, and ended up getting some insight to use in my everyday job. One of the best lessons I learned in this level was the art of active listening. I don't think most people truly understand what this means, but if you watched a therapist or counselor, you might see. It's about showing that you're listening without interruption, asking follow-up questions and allowing for silences that seem awkward from afar.
While I am still confused -- coming up with new ideas every day and constantly changing my mind, life coaching opened me up to a world of other opportunities. Suddenly, I was around a group of people that were all just like me -- people looking to start something new and take control of their lives. They were of every age, descent and religion. We couldn't have been a more diverse group, but we bonded and learned from one another.
Through all of this, I learned about psychology, self-improvement, positive-action theories and the role that philosophy and spirituality play in each of our lives. I was introduced to people that live with true meaning and love for the world and everyone around them. I may not know exactly what I want yet, but I know that I am in the right direction. At the end of the day, all you can do is follow your heart and keep taking that next step to find out where your journey will take you. Personally, I want to help people through understanding them. That is where my heart lies, and that is what my coaching courses have taught me.