2006 on my way to Europe
There was a time in my life when I was fed up, burned out, and stressed. I didn’t really like how my life was going and I was way too busy to figure out what to do about it.
I was working as a psychotherapist in a clinic with children and their families. It was hard, challenging, and emotionally draining work. I’d been at this clinic for eight years and I felt like I made a difference in the lives of the children and their parents. But there was a cost.
Somewhere along the line, I began dreading getting up day after day, driving 30 miles to work in traffic. Some days it was hard to walk in the door because I was already tired.
Even though I felt like I was helping children and I worked with wonderful colleagues who supported each other, I kept hearing that nagging voice inside me say, “you're not doing what you love and this job doesn't really bring you joy.”
I was afraid to let myself even think about what I really wanted to do. Plus I wasn’t even sure what I wanted. When you’re so busy, you don’t really have time to think about what you do want, only just getting through the days.
So I took a leap of faith and hired a life coach. It was a radical step because I was also worried about spending that money on myself and was dubious about whether coaching could help.
My coach, Abigail, and I explored all the things I loved, my values, and the things that brought me fulfillment. As we explored my desires, I heard myself say, “all I really want to do is travel.”
Immediately I heard myself say…" but there are no jobs for therapists and travel."
Do you know what she said to me?
“Jo, just because you haven't heard of jobs that you get paid while traveling, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.”
What? I was taken aback. Could this be true? But how?
No…I bet there aren’t jobs like that. She’s just making that up. I was full of doubt but more than a little excited by the possibility that this could be true. That I could travel and work in my profession.
I had very strong (what we call in the coaching world) saboteurs.
These are the thoughts we have that hold us back and try to keep us safe: they’re our inner critics, monkey minds, and gremlins. They tell us something we want isn't possible. Other things our saboteurs say to us are: I’m too old, I don't have enough money, that’s not possible, what will other people think? I can’t possibly do that.
A few days later I was walking with a colleague who said, "Jo, I heard about a program that hires therapists to work on military bases overseas. They have positions in Germany, Italy, the UK, Portugal, and Spain.”
What? Are you kidding me? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Immediately, I said to her where do I find out about these jobs?
My friend got the contact number for me and I had an interview via phone the very next day.
I knew instantly that I was a perfect fit for the job.
This is me in Germany, 2006. I was having the time of my life while I worked and traveled.
A month later I was on a flight to Germany which would be my first assignment working with the Army, the first of many trips over the next eight years.
This work led to a 2-year position in Okinawa, Japan, where my husband and I lived and traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia.
The work I did with my coach was life-changing. Had I not worked with Abigail, my coach, I would have never:
I learned that yes, you can have your dreams, how to make them happen, how you give yourself permission to have those dreams, and how to combat the saboteurs who say you can't do it.
I fell in love with coaching and worked with Abigail for 5 years. We had sessions on the phone and I never met her in person until years later. And yet, I felt like she was the one person in the world who totally "got" me.
She encouraged me, she held me accountable, and she helped me develop a very different mindset, plus she always helped me create a plan for what I wanted to do. With her guidance, I felt like I could do practically anything.
I developed confidence in myself and discovered my natural talents. I learned how to talk back to my saboteurs. And I learned that my dreams and desires are important.
I became a coach myself seventeen years ago. I love encouraging people to realize the best in themselves and I love guiding them to really get that, yes, the things that seem impossible can be possible.
If my story resonates with you and you feel the impulse to go in a different direction in your life and create what you really want, I’d love to work with you. Go here to see more about coaching and schedule a free discovery session with me. Life is too short to wait. Work with me.
Abigail Morgan Prout, my awesome coach can be found here.
Fall is a time for us to slow down, to ground ourselves and to nourish our bodies. This retreat is designed to help you stop and listen to what it is you need right now. It's a fun and restorative weekend with mindfulness exercises, morning yoga, an online cooking class with the fabulous Chef Bai, healthy recipes to try at home, meditations and group calls to connect you with other women.