The life of a life coach
A true story
It’s 9:14 am on a Wednesday. I’m looking out the giant window of my office, (a coffee shop in Los Feliz). The rain just stopped and I worry about all the people in Los Angeles who are panicking right now and turning into Gremlins because they got wet. I take my first sip of my nearly six dollar coffee (how do people live these days?!) as I gather my thoughts about what I want to blog about. I take a deep breath and check in with myself, something I do before I punch any keys. What I write needs to feel like it’s coming from an honest place or I feel like a fraud. I feel gross. Yes, I get paid to write so I don’t always have that luxury but when I blog, I still blog for me first. If I don’t, it will show in the writing. So it’s for me but it’s also for you.
I’m turning forty six next month. In Korean years, I’ll actually be forty seven. They count the time you’re in the womb. Thank God I live in America. Anyway, I’ve been replaying my life a lot like a little stick figure in an animated flip book. Divorce. Non-profit. Doing burpees. If you read me, you know the story.
I’ve been life coaching for roughly a decade now and I’ve learned so many things. About life, love, how to help others, using social media as a tool, building an audience, documenting your story. All the things. And I want to share with you what a life coach does. What being a life coach looks like. At least for me. I believe it’s different for everyone. But first, I want to start with this sentence: Life coaching isn’t what you think it is. Before I explain, let me briefly tell you how it all started (skip this part if you already know).
I never set out to be a life coach. Ten years ago, life coaching wasn’t even really a thing. The only real life coach was Tony Robbins. There were business coaches but not life coaches. There was no such thing as a mindfulness coach. A break up coach. An empowerment coach. There were only therapists and I was on my way to becoming one when I started a little blog on Tumblr titled, The Angry Therapist. I was going through a divorce, at a very dark time in my life, and needed a place to vent and express “My Fucking Feelings”, which was my very first post. I didn’t know this at the time but I basically humanized myself by practicing transparency. Pulled the curtain back. Showed myself which therapists aren’t really supposed to do. Followers turned into questions and questions turned into sessions. I couldn’t afford an office so I called myself a life coach to avoid the strict rules from the therapy board and started coaching.
I saw clients all over town. Met people in coffee shops, on hikes, walked around the reservoir in Silverlake. Meanwhile, I kept blogging and documentary my story. As social media grew, “documenting” expanded to videos, Facebook Lives, podcasting, and what I call micro blogging on Instagram. It actually turned into a full time job as something called an “influencer” was born and here’s the part where I talk about life as a life coach.
Life coaching isn’t just about one on one sessions anymore.
I believe life coaching is about living a certain way. A way that feels honest to you. Then documenting that life, creating a dialogue about your life revelations, and sharing them with the world. By doing so, products naturally start to emerge.
In my case, the products that have emerged so far are -
- one on one life coaching sessions (both on and offline)
- group work (both on and offline)
- co-founder of a life coaching intensive where we certify life coaches (start up)
- retreats (my own as well as being hired)
- audio courses
- two published books
- a podcast
- and a little documentary I’m currently editing.
These are all products that have emerged from me living my life in a way that’s honest to me and sharing my story. And these products will evolve and grow or dissolve as more products continue to emerge. As I continue to “life coach” by documentary and creating a dialogue.
So life coaching isn’t just about creating a practice of one on one sessions. If that’s what you want, great. But it can be so much more than that. As the art of coaching grows and evolves, the way we help others will grow and evolve. It can be anything you want it to be and what you haven’t even thought about yet because it’s all growing at such a rapid pace due to the internet and explosion of wellness.
So then what does a life coach actually do?
Fuck if I know.
I can tell you what I do.
I get up every day and I document. Full time. I produce content — blog, videos, podcasts. I also run retreats. I also do one on one sessions online and in person in coffee shops. I also teach for our life coaching intensive on the weekend. I also make tee shirts and create audio courses. I also write books. I also try to do back flips. I also climb rocks.
I continue to live my life and document my journey, hoping it will help others. That’s my life. That’s what I do. I do it every day and some days it’s challenging and I wonder if I’m even making a dent and if this is even a real job. And other days, I feel like I won the lottery because I’m living a life that’s fueled with passion and purpose and that’s honest to me. I make my own hours, don’t have to wear pants, or punch a clock.
Life coaching is about living and sharing your story. It’s about being a Catalyst and sometimes it’s not up to you on how that’s going to unfold. My recent video went viral. It’s at over a million views, the most I’ve ever had on a video. It’s just me scared shitless as I climb a rock on a man date. That’s it. No dialogue or tips about self betterment. Just a terrified Korean climbing a rock and doing the splits over a cold river. Is that going to help anyone? I have no idea. That’s not my concern. It’s not up to me what someone takes from my story.
Life coaching may be one on one coaching, in a group setting, blogs articles and books, or life tips on your IGTV videos. Life coaching may be a secret group you create on or offline. Or running a booth at South By Southwest giving away free life coaching sessions (JRNI will be there this weekend)! Or maybe life coaching will be done through holograms in the near future. I don’t know. And it doesn’t matter.
What matters is what a supervisor once told me -
“You’re going to be a point in someone’s life.
Just be a bright one.”
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