My first introduction to life coaching – sort of – was several years ago, when someone mentioned a powerful podcast she had discovered, the Life Coach School Podcast.
I had no idea what life coaching was but I am always happy to try a new podcast.
To my amazement, the podcast was nothing short of revolutionary. The host, Brooke Castillo, taught me that our brains could be managed in a way that I had never heard of, with intentionality. Not “just be happy!” or “stop complaining” but taking a step back and witnessing that our thoughts create all our results in life. Both good and bad results. That sometimes we WANT to think negative results (for example, when a loved one dies, we want to grieve) and that it's important to just identify our thoughts. Just separating thoughts from reality is really challenging but valuable.
After six months, I took a deep breath and invested in her monthly Self Coaching Scholars program. It was “only” $297 a month but I still didn't have a reliable income so it was scary.
Still, I had a strong intuition that this self-coaching program was the path I was meant to embark on, so I made the commitment.
To my astonishment, not only did the program help with my outlook on life in general, it specifically addressed my outlook on business and I watched my business begin to grow, first slowly, then more rapidly. My parenting improved. My self-image improved. My friendships grew stronger and more numerous. I felt rooted in community in Mexico for the first time.
I couldn’t believe that working on my mindset could increase my revenue. Mind officially blown!
My weekly mini sessions with various life coaches – included in the program – helped me see so many things about my life. It also inevitably contributed to my finding my life partner.
Last August, I nervously made another leap, this time massively – terrifyingly – investing in becoming a life coach myself. I couldn’t believe I was spending this ungodly sum… and yet, I knew that I need this certification to get my brain on board with the journey I knew I was destined to take.
This past week, I graduated as an officially certified coach of the Life Coach School.
I feet called to life coaching because so much of sleep coaching is actually parenting coaching. Teaching parents – and helping them discover for themselves – that training our children to sleep is sometimes our first experience in showing children that boundaries actually make them feel better and happier in the long run.
Now I want to help parents find their whole selves again, after giving up so much of themselves to their young children.
Just like creating boundaries around sleep helps parents actually enjoy their children more – and their children are happier too – I know that creating boundaries around other areas of life helps parents become better parents, too. For example, planning your evening routine with intention so that you get to bed earlier and make the best use of those precious child-free hours. So you both feel recharged as a human by getting real downtime and get physically recharged by getting better sleep.
Many parents struggle with body image after children join their lives, and tend to “revenge eat” against themselves as a result, compounding both the physical issues and the self-image issues. Life coaching can help you turn that struggle around, so that you start by loving yourself first and then create physical successes as a result of shifting your mindset.
One client struggled with setting boundaries with his son, for example, getting his son to cooperate with handwashing after using the bathroom. We coached his parenting mindset and witnessed his thoughts about what it meant to create boundaries, "being mean" versus "creating safety." Lo and behold, this father’s relationship with his child improved in multiple areas. Almost effortlessly.
Are you interested in revolutionizing one or more aspect of your life? Schedule a complimentary coaching session and make your desired results inevitable. Make sure to tell me in your message what your desired result is. I can't wait to hear about it and witness your success!
Many of us have been told that we should be enjoying this time while we are raising young children. You may remember this when you had a newborn and some older relative sighed blissfully at the memory of her own newborn.
You may have been told, again by some older person who is no longer raising young children, “the days crawl but the years fly.” Again with a sigh.
Parent, if this sentiment makes you feel guilty, you are not alone.
And those Pinterest-perfect lunches for toddlers (who scarcely remember to eat, except for that one meal a week where – without warning – they are bottomless pits)? Another opportunity for guilt.
And the Facebook posts and the commercials on TV and the photos on Instagram… so many opportunities.
But the truth is, allowing yourself to feel anxious, burned out or anger sometimes will actually help you enjoy your children more. Let yourself off the hook, please. It's okay to not enjoy it all or even most of the time.
Do you know that book All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting? It's not supposed to be fun all the time. It's drudgery a lot of the time. Rewarding drudgery, to be sure, but sometimes the reward doesn't come until much later.
The more we try to force ourselves into feeling a certain emotion, the more we resist. We think, “I shouldi feel grateful, happy, excited” and our inner teenager barks back a single, “NO.”
Or it works for a moment and then we fall, exhausted, again. By one more source of pressure.
Or it just creates guilt.
Resisting an emotion takes a great deal of energy. Allowing an emotion and even welcoming it takes a lot less energy and, to my surprise, actually allows that negative emotion to pass much more quickly.
So let’s say you discover that – true story – your toddler has poured an entire bottle of laundry detergent on the floor of the laundry room.
You want to blame yourself, and remember that she’s only a toddler, and laugh it off.
But the truth is, you are pissed. At yourself as well as at her. Realizing the amount of extra work that was just created for you. And you were already exhausted from a long day of adulting.
But trying to push down your annoyance will only make it stronger.
Instead, try putting your hands on your chest for a moment. Close your eyes. Breathe for a moment. Tell yourself, in your most loving voice, “Of course you are frustrated. Anyone thinking about this would be frustrated.”
Try to find the feeling of frustrated in your body. Maybe it’s a flat white bumpy cold rock in your stomach. Or a burning hot ember of lava in your chest.
If this sounds a little woo-woo, that’s okay. Try it anyway. It’s weirdly effective.
Just lean into it. Stay focused on the physical sensation, not the story of what went wrong.
The idea of “being the Watcher” comes from the Buddhist tradition. I am not a follower of Buddhism, but this surprisingly simple practice has changes my life, even in just the past few weeks (before, I used to be the Watcher but with an agenda of “this emotion better hurry up and finish).
The crazy thing – for me – is that when I do this, without an agenda, the emotion does lessen in intensity. Sometimes it passes altogether. It doesn’t mean I enjoy cleaning up the laundry detergent, but it does make it less infuriating.
It also makes you more emotionally available to connect with your guilty three-year-old. You might even be able to invite you to join you in cleaning the pantry, without inwardly seething.
Want some help finding your parenting "A game"? Or improving your child’s sleep? Schedule a free consult today.
Abby Wolfson is a pediatric nurse practitioner, certified child sleep consultant and certified life coach for parents. She divides her time between Brooklyn, NY and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.