When was the last time someone hit you with a $15,000 price tag? Perhaps it was at the car dealership, or you were engaged in a transaction involving around-the-world airfare on the most luxurious plane in the world.
The last time I heard those words, “that will be $15,000”, I almost fell out of my chair.
I was in a meeting with a life coach, and hearing what it would cost to work with her was heartbreaking — I knew I wanted to change my life, but I had no idea that hiring a talented professional coach would cost as much as a car.
Deep down, I also knew that my decision to invest in myself had nothing to do with her—after all, a “no” to her was a “no” to ME and to my dreams.
Above all, I wanted to live.
I wanted to launch a business. I wanted to live out a purpose—whatever that was for me.
But, $15,000??? All my desire for change and fulfillment couldn’t make money rain down from the skies. So, I started brainstorming:
How do I create $15,000 when I’m broke and 24 years old?
I sold my designer clothing on eBay.
I put my car up for sale.
…And I asked my parents for a loan.
And because I was the sort of client that was willing to put everything in my being into this decision, I got the world back from my investment. In part, this is because I chose to work with a coach who had invested heavily in herself, and all those investments she made were reflected in the high price tag. Through our work together, I realized how critical it was to say “yes” to myself, because everything she learned from her mentors was being channeled directly into our work together.
I hear all the time from people who are curious about my experience and want to know if they should hire a life coach. How do you know if it’s time to hire a life coach? How do you trust it will benefit you when we live and work in an incredibly saturated market?
1. Your confidence is not where you want it to be. Everyone is wearing their battle scars, and the difference between those who are happy and sad are the ones who have learned to let pain go. I can’t tell you how many clients hold onto their pain, much like holding a beach ball under the ocean… Exhausting. They can push it down, but grief, trauma or sadness have their ways of creeping up on you, and that means truly facing your battle wounds with the support of a personal development professional. As a coach, I’ve learned first hand that the only way out of pain is through it. A talented professional coach will know how to guide you through your pain and memories in a way that helps you heal and let go.
2. You lack a clear vision… Or your vision is so big you’re overwhelmed. When I hired my first coach, I had some general ideas on what I wanted—to start a business, to help people, to be more authentic in my career— but I wasn’t clear on the specifics, nor did I know how to get there. I was done with the corporate world and clueless on how to make an empowered and strategic exit. Thanks to my coach, I discovered my calling and built a multi 6- figure career coaching company in two years time.
3. Your patterns are not supporting your goals. You are clear about where you want to be, but you continue to make self-destructive decisions that keep you tied to your bad habits. You lack the true commitment to really making your dreams a reality and you don’t know how to get on the right track. I have plenty of clients who come to me feeling overwhelmed. Overwhelm is a pattern and coping mechanism, so I start with mindset. In the words of John Assaraf, “When you’re interested, you do what’s convenient; when you’re committed, you do whatever it takes.” A good coach will help you clear blocks and reach levels of personal commitment and growth you’ve never accessed within yourself.
4. You’re irritable. Are you often in a state of reaction? This can manifest in a number of ways. Perhaps you have frequent road rage, or you turn into a light version of Sybil from The Exorcist when you’re fighting with your boyfriend. Deep down you’re wondering: Why do I fight so hard? And you often find yourself feeling guilty for the way you react.
5. You’re in a huge transition. Whether you’re looking to make a huge career change, or you’re facing a significant life transition, it’s no secret you’ll burn your friends and family out if you treat them like therapists. Transitions bring up stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, all of which have the tendency to set us on edge and make us feel as though we need to talk things through…over and over again. Drum roll, please: enter a life coach. This is a great time to seek out the support you need to seamlessly and effectively transition into your next steps of life with positivity.
6. You’re craving more purpose. You may be having huge success in your career, yet you still feel unfulfilled.I came into my coach’s office years ago without a sense of self, and I left in a career – a coaching practice for millennials— that really speaks to who I am.
So, you’re probably thinking, why not hire a shrink? Good question. The key difference between coaches and psychologists is that psychologists focus on looking back to heal, while coaches focus on the future with the strategy of positive psychology. While we may use therapy tools, our intention is always to mirror a mindset shift with an external goal in the world. It’s not just about healing; it’s about positively creating.
You don’t need coaches—you are perfect just as you are. They’re just there to help you get clear and make the greatness you have to offer happen faster.
In the words of Albert Einstein, “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” After months of thinking myself in circles, those words brought such clarity: I needed a new approach; I needed a new level of thought. In my case, that meant I needed a third party.
There’s nothing powerful about marinating, so go out and step into your power. Why waste even more time saying no to your dreams, when you can say yes to the transformation that awaits you?
This article first appeared in Forbes.