I Have A Confession To Make – Transparency
Today I just want to talk about my struggle with getting my first clients as a life coach.
It's been a full year since I got certified and I have yet to book my first paying client.
I have done some free coaching with success, but not making any money from it discouraged me quickly.
It's not that I am just out for money because if I didn't genuinely want to help people, I wouldn't have taken on clients for free in the first place.
I simply get burnt out because I have expenses that cause tremendous anxiety.
It's hard to focus on helping people when you still need to fix things in your own life.
I keep pushing myself to find ways to get paid in hopes that if I get rid of the financial pressure, I can get rid of the anxiety.
I have purchased a few expensive courses with the belief that they will provide the solution to my problem.
While I trust deeply in my gut that these courses are providing me with great educational benefit, I also know that my anxiety increases after the purchase and I push myself even harder to make them work for me.
I'm irresponsible with finances. I'm impulsive, and a dreamer without a solid plan.
I'm Taoist and the Tao Te Ching teaches me to accept everything as it is.
One of the mistakes I’ve made in the past with that philosophy is blindly accepting my situation, but doing nothing about it.
Sometimes I would make the situation worse and just accept that it's a lesson I need.
This is all true, but it won't change my circumstances.
It took for things to get so bad that I had no choice but to fix it.
Then I would finally create some kind of plan.
After it's fixed, I would go right back into my old habits.
What I'm currently facing that is causing my anxiety is the upcoming birth of my second child.
My first child was conceived in unplanned circumstances, and I found a way to overcome that.
I was working as a golf caddy for almost 8 years making only about $15,000 a year. Certainly not enough to support a child.
I wanted to become a web developer and spent years training myself to finally get my first job.
I didn't get any support from anyone, including my pregnant girlfriend at the time.
That was extremely discouraging, but I pushed myself to succeed.
A few days before my son was born I got hired for my first job.
Then a few months later, even though I was so excited about accomplishing my goal, my poor decision making came back to haunt me.
In this case it started out in my relationship, then it became a financial issue.
My girlfriend and I didn't work out, then I started to pay child support.
I am all for paying child support, but separating forced me to start over. I had to buy a bunch of expensive items to make living as a single parent work.
Then I invested in therapy for over a year to learn how to fix my issues with relationships.
Life Repeating Itself
After all of that, I found myself in tremendous debt. I was already in debt and collectors seeing that I was finally working a job that collected taxes came after me.
I was financially miseducated and honestly, I didn’t particularly care to learn how to improve my situation because I always felt like it’ll be fixed once I get “rich”.
I seemed to be okay with buying things with money I didn’t have because I considered it investing for my future.
However, my focus was on finding the right woman to spend the rest of my life with.
I just wanted someone in my life that would validate me. So I went on lots of dates and met many different women.
Eventually, I gave up because I couldn’t find anyone that was a good fit for me. Then I tried working things out with my son’s mother.
I found that was not a good idea. While I was investing in therapy to learn how to be a better man, she was harboring contempt for me.
Then I finally realized that we just weren’t meant to be together. I wasn’t loving her as she was. I was always looking forward to her someday reaching her potential and maybe our relationship being better.
I also wanted to spend more time with my son since she was the primary caretaker. So my reasons for trying to get back with her weren’t completely genuine. So we agreed to move on.
At this point I just let go.
I told myself the right woman will come along and I will know what to do when she shows up.
And I knew when we met she was the right person for me.
The reason I knew is because I took a leap of faith that I never thought I would.
We began a long distance relationship, and I never would have considered doing that if it weren’t for the strong level of communication we seemed to have.
I bought a plane ticket to visit her for the first time 2 days after we met online. It was scheduled for a month and a half later, so I thought we would use that extra time to get to know each other.
I figured if we weren’t meant to be, it would come out by the time I came to visit her, but we actually grew closer.
It was something I had never experienced with a woman.
We actually talked through our problems in the rare moments when they came up.
We respected each other (and still do) and both put forth our best effort to make sure we felt understood and validated.
It was an amazing feeling!
Then after we finally met, we had the best time together. Making her feel comfortable enough to continue our relationship and come visit me in Chicago for Valentine’s Day, which was coming up in a few weeks.
When she came to visit, I had so much planned for us, and we had such a wonderful time together.
It was so good that I chose to come down to visit her only two weeks later.
When I got down there this time we started out having a blast, but what came next was so unexpected that you would think I was living out a romantic comedy of some sort.
She found out that she was pregnant.
Yup! Just when I thought the future was starting to look brighter, I was hit with a brand new reality check.
We both wanted to have this baby and continue with our relationship, but we knew it would be hard.
Neither of us were in a place we wanted to be in, and we were in the process of figuring all of that out. We just weren’t ready, but we committed ourselves to figuring it out along the way together.
The Big Aha Moment
Today, after thinking all of this over, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is exactly what I need.
See, I genuinely want to help people. In many ways, I’ve broken a lot of the chains that held me back, but some are still there.
The moments when I’ve had the biggest breakthroughs is when I start being honest with myself and others.
I haven’t gotten my first paying client, not because I’m struggling to find a niche, or need more education and credentials to feel worthy of helping others, but because I’m lying to myself.
I tell myself that I’m not worthy because I don’t have myself figured out.
I keep spending money I don’t have on things I think I need because I’m trying to fill an emptiness inside me.
I want to be a transformational coach, but for some reason I believe I need to be completely self-actualized to help others transform.
I struggle to find the right niche because I’m afraid of failure. Therefore I try to choose niche markets that I’m not necessarily passionate about, but I know well and people are able to sniff out my bullsh**.
So after a long self-evaluation process, this light bulb just went off.
Just be authentic…..be myself.
I make a decent living on the salary I have. My debt is self inflicted and I can fix that with the right kind of plan.
Pushing myself to make money right away will only make people sense my desperation and turn them away.
What value will anyone get from a coach acting like he has it all together, but behind closed doors he’s compensating for a severe lack of internal resources.
From this day forward, My Broken Chains is a transparent blog about my struggle for self-actualization.
My goal is to share EVERYTHING, and hopefully I can help someone. Even if it’s just a few people that choose to read it.
Just like all the moments I’ve shared in this article where I’ve had breakthroughs. I believe they only happen when you let go.
“Man at his birth is supple and weak; at his death, firm and strong. (So it is with) all things. Trees and plants, in their early growth, are soft and brittle; at their death, dry and withered.
Thus it is that firmness and strength are the concomitants of death; softness and weakness, the concomitants of life.
Hence he who (relies on) the strength of his forces does not conquer; and a tree which is strong will fill the out-stretched arms, (and thereby invites the feller.)
Therefore the place of what is firm and strong is below, and that of what is soft and weak is above.” - Chapter 76 of the Tao Te Ching
Today, I’m making a promise to myself.
I’m letting go…
The verse I’ve shared from the Tao Te Ching says to me that forcing the desired outcome will only result in self destruction.
Like a tree that is hard and brittle in a storm, it will only end up broken, and possibly dead.
Yet a tree that is soft and supple in a storm will bend and adjust, but survives.
I need to be like the soft and supple tree.
Eventually the storm will pass, and when it does I will still be grounded and centered.
From now on, I will just help people. If I can provide value for them, eventually money will come.
A few days ago, while trying to get market research data, I was in a Linkedin group asking if I could help aspiring web developers find their first job.
Since I’m a web developer in my day job, and I overcame tremendous odds to get my first job, I figured I could help others find theirs too.
My post was immediately met with judgment from veteran web developers because my current job status read “Transformational Visionary”, and they made rude and sarcastic comments on my post.
In a nutshell, they didn’t take me seriously because of what I chose to call myself. One guy even said that it raises flags whenever he hears someone use words like “Visionary”, or “Guru”.
That was heartbreaking and discouraging for me. I wasn’t trying to sound like some kind of guru, I honestly believe that I developed the ability to help myself and others envision and manifest a better future.
Then a few days after I got an email from Ryan Levesque.
He was promoting a course from Ryan Eliason that helps social entrepreneurs find success.
I clicked through to the offer and was blown away by his message.
It spoke to me in a way that truly resonated with my inner being. It made the promise also to help me find my niche.
Ironically, the course was called Visionary Business School.
Something about the timing said the Tao was literally screaming at me, so I went all in with it and enrolled.
In the upcoming weeks, I’m going to share my journey with you as I learn how to overcome the limiting beliefs I struggle with.
If you’ve made it to the end of this long article I first want to thank you for taking a genuine interest in my story, and second I want to ask you to take one single action step.
If something in this story resonated with you, and you want to continue reading more about my journey, subscribe to my email list below. Also leave a comment if you're struggling with a similar issue.
It was very difficult to write this and even harder to publish, but I hope you got some value from it.
PS - My apologies for lack of editing. I needed to get this written and shared before I found some ridiculous excuse to stop myself like I normally do. I wanted to commit to this and have some kind of way to be held accountable.