I remember when my first child left for college. A few days later, I was unloading the dishwasher and suddenly this whoosh of emptiness came upon me. For years his life meshed with mine and then, suddenly, that whole chapter closed. He had been a huge part of my daily routine for so long: and as a minivan owner, I was even the roadie for his rock band!
Then, two years after him, my daughters followed; the nest was officially empty.
I had always done what was expected of me, as a spouse and a mother, and had no regrets. What I did not come to realize until my nest had emptied – when I suddenly had time, freedom, and flexibility to focus on myself – was that something more than my kids was missing.
The term autopilot comes to mind. I was stuck in a holding pattern, unable to break free from my comfort zone. I had a nagging feeling that I could do more and be more, but I didn’t know how to move forward.
It’s easy to stay in your comfort zone when you are not being challenged by any outside forces, only what you are saying to yourself, day after day. That inner voice can easily take over. I was not experiencing any hardships, but inside I knew. I realized that I was not the same person I was when my kids were little. I had lost track of my goals and dreams because, for years, I had put the needs of my family before my own needs. I was burned out and had lost my sense of identity.
One day, at a simple catch-up over coffee, a friend told me she saw something in me I didn’t see in myself. “I think you would be a great life coach,” she said. She told me about a program to become certified as a Professional Life Coach, a great complement to my organizing business.
A few days later after learning about the program, I decided to enroll in the introductory course. “What negatives could there be in a program that focuses on personal development“, I thought. “If nothing else, I will learn more about myself and, if I don’t like it, I don’t have to continue on to the next section“.
Going through the program was uncomfortable and eye-opening, but through all the skills and exercises I learned, I started to see how I was showing up in the world all these years. As a result, I always say I was my first client.
Coaching brought many things to the surface for me. I began to focus a lot less on my to-do list, instead of working on my to-be list. Instead of wasting time on autopilot, I am embracing time.
I grew exponentially. My children called me Marcie 2.0. I trusted the process, dug deeper to analyze what was holding me back, and became a leader in my own life. Making choices to move me forward just one step at a time. Today, guiding my clients to an inspiring, rewarding future has become the inspiring and rewarding future I was searching for – a true win-win.