At some point in 2018, I gave up a long held belief that I could do everything I wanted if I just tried hard enough or had enough motivation and dedication. It turns out, that while both of those things are important, it’s also possible to still not have the right resources to make things happen all by myself. I made peace with the fact that getting help with parts of my life isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of growth. So, I began to slowly add the right people to help me reach my goals and grow personally and professionally. So what kind of experts have I brought into my life to do all of this? All of them. I’ve brought in all of the experts.
Working with a therapist wasn’t a new addition in 2018, but I ramped up my interactions with her more significantly, and began tackling some new stuff with her rather than a specific issue that I had focused on in the past. I use Talkspace because it works best for my crazy work schedule, and it enables me to do the work on my time, and wherever I am, which is great since 2018 was filled with travel, and 2019 is shaping up to be much of the same. My therapist is a great match for me, personality-wise, and the approach she has for working with me. She also first encouraged me to read Brene Brown, so I feel like I owe her my life a little! Therapy via chat is a really different experience than a traditional face to face visit, but I find that it works for me.
In a professional environment where I’m surrounded by peers who are primarily men and usually a good 8-10+ years older than me, seeking help to grow as a leader is a hard thing to do. It feels a lot like saying “I don’t know how to do what you are paying me to do”, which would seem to put a spotlight on the fact that you’ve called yourself out on it, which then puts your livelihood at risk. This year, I decided it was worth it, and happened to have a colleague who was going through executive coach training. I had asked him to be a sounding board for planning actions around some feedback I’d received and in that first conversation, he asked if I’d be willing to take on full coaching; I jumped at the opportunity. It’s been a huge help to have someone who knows me pretty well (we have worked together for 6 years), but also knows the environment I’m in really well. Similar to most other types of coaches, we talk through general issues, but it always ends with me choosing 1-2 things to work on between our next sessions, setting clear action-oriented goals, and then using different techniques to reach them. It has enabled me to adjust to different styles or expectations, and change the way I am leading little by little, adding up to some big, positive changes. It’s important to note that none of this is about the functional job that I have, it’s still up to me to know how to have the skillsets to do the core of my job, but instead focuses on leadership, executive presence, building teams, coalition building, working the matrix, etc. It’s been one of the best adds to my professional life in years, and I am grateful for an organization that supports efforts like this, and so I am not paying for it.
As I mentioned in my New Year’s post, I started working with a running coach last fall. I interviewed a few, and landed on Caitlin from Fearless Feet Running, because of a combination of her work with other women who were coming off of injuries, and because her general approach and personality were a great match for me. While I’ve had some challenges – work travel, general running mojo issues, being sick – I’ve seen massive improvements in my speed, my recovery, and general attitude about getting my runs in each week. While I probably could have made some improvements on my own, hiring a coach enabled me to focus on doing the work, rather than use my untrained self to try to create workouts or choose a workout from another source, not knowing if it was really the right thing for me at that time. Caitlin updates my workouts based on how the prior week or even earlier that week went. If I need to take a step back and ease back in, like I am this week after being sick for 2 weeks, I have someone to tell me what that looks like rather than trying to figure it out for myself. People sometimes give me a weird look when I tell them I have a running coach. I’m not race, or even age group, competitive right now. I’m not training for a marathon or an ultra. To me, hiring the expert to help me reach the goals I do have is a better option than trying to figure it out on my own, even if that means people roll their eyes a bit when I mention it.
If you’ve followed this blog and my social media for a while, you know I’ve tried a lot of approaches to nutrition and dieting. I’ve spent the bulk of the last 30 years of my life trying different diets, some focused on weight loss, some on overall health, some to identify problem foods. And while some of the learnings from them have been helpful (like the fact that my allergist has asked me to pull gluten & soy from my diet for a while based on my reintroduction reactions to see if it helps my overall inflammation) for the most part, it just means I’ve been hyper focused on what I’m eating, when I’m eating and how I’m eating for 30 years. Gah, that’s a long time. So, right before the holidays, I decided I was going to bring in an expert to help me. I had my first assessment appointment this past week with Ander from Nashville Nutrition Partners, and am excited to take on a pretty significant mindshift change with her help. Her approach isn’t focused on weight loss, it’s focused on meeting my overall health goals and creating a healthier relationship with food through Intuitive Eating, and refocusing my energy on enjoying life rather than focusing on food. I’m one appointment in, so I will report back regularly on this journey, but have little to report on at this point!
What experts do you have in your life to help you reach your goals?
Have you worked with a coach or an RD before? What has been your biggest takeaway?