Sharon Davenport’s life mission of helping people began as she was growing up in her family’s Kentucky home. Her parents fostered a loving environment with pizza-and-soda Family Fun Nights, and affectionate rituals like back rubs and foot rubs while sharing about each other’s day.
“My mom was my first life coach and the most important person in my life,” Sharon, who has nearly two decades of experience in health, wellness and personal development, says as we sit down for our interview. “We were extremely close—really, we were best friends.
“She’d listen, ask questions. The biggest thing in coaching is to ask the questions to get us to figure things out on our own and then really listen—and Mommy would do that. She’d listen to where I was at and then she’d say, ‘Okay, you’re in a ditch right now. I’m not going to climb down there with you, but I’m going to reach my hand down and you can choose to take it or not.’”
Sharon recently found herself saying these exact words to a client: “I said, listen, I’m going to make you mad sometimes because when you’re telling me about your ditch situation, I’m not going to climb down there. I will tell you what I see and I will love you and I will absolutely listen, but then I’m going to reach my hand down. But it’s your choice whether you reach up and grab it and start climbing out.”
In addition to coaching as an Oola-certified life coach, Sharon also has expertise in massage education and holistic wellness and I ask Sharon if this has aided her ability to coach at the high-level she coaches now.
“Yes,” she says. “I didn’t choose to be a life coach; being a life coach chose me. After twenty years of studying the human body and what we do to adapt to stress and cope with life, becoming a life coach was just a natural progression.”
When Sharon was just twenty-five years old, a strange experience occurred that would usher in the greatest loss of her life. “I was living in Pennsylvania at the time and was walking out of my room and suddenly, it was as if somebody had punched me in the gut and took my breath away. I had to grab the doorframe. I saw my mother no longer here and I saw myself back in Kentucky.”
One week later, Sharon received an early-morning call from her dad. “Pray for Mommy,” he said. “She’s not doing well.” After hearing her mother’s troubled breathing come over the phone, Sharon knew something wasn’t right and told her father to get an ambulance right away. The breathing trouble would turn out to be a brain aneurysm. Sharon wasted no time and jumped on a flight that would bring her home that evening.
The gravity of the situation hadn’t fully sunk in for Sharon until she arrived at the hospital and saw her mother hooked up to the machines. “I went out into the parking lot and begged God not to take her. And I heard my dad in a closet praying—begging—God for her life.”
The nurses took their patient for a CT scan, but by the time they brought her back, she had stopped breathing without the machine’s support. Shortly after, with her family near, Sharon’s mother slipped earth’s grip.
Sharon gets quiet for a minute and I can tell she’s fighting tears.
“It’s interesting what people say to you when you go through a loss. You can totally tell who’s been through loss and who hasn’t. At my mom’s ceremony, the people who’d been through loss came up to me, hugged me and whispered in my ear, I’m so sorry. I’m just so sorry. I lost my mother, too.
“And then there were the people who came up and said, God doesn’t give you more than you could handle. And I just didn’t believe that. Those people I’d kind of look at in disbelief, because I’ve learned as I’ve grown that sometimes we do get more than we can handle. But with God, we can handle anything.”
Sharon would go on to meet the man who would become her husband—Ransom Davenport. But sadly, loss would be the road they’d begin walking together. Sharon and Ransom had difficulty conceiving a much-wanted baby, and when they finally did, they lost her—a little girl named Victoria Grace.
“We were ecstatic when we found that we were pregnant because it had taken us so long. We’d started dreaming, of course, and that just made it all the more devastating when we lost her. At the time, I didn’t realize how it would impact my future and how I could help people through that process, too.”
Not long afterwards, a close friend of Sharon’s lost her baby at eight months, just weeks before her due date, and Sharon was right there with open arms. “I just crawled into bed beside her and held her,” she says.
Right when the sun seemed ready to shine again, Ransom’s father very suddenly passed away. “He was just as close to his dad as I was to my mom,” says Sharon.
Two years later, they lost Ransom’s brother.
Shook by loss after reasonless loss, Ransom spiraled into a deep depression and a form of post-traumatic stress disorder. Sharon was grieving too, but she stood faithfully by his side, doing everything she could to help him. “At one time I was like, I don’t know who my husband is anymore. He’s not the man that I married. But I was able to walk with him through the losses. I had empathy for him because of what I’d been through.”
As I listen to Sharon, the dots begin to connect for me. Her wide range of human empathy and her skill for coaching (and coaxing) the greatest potential out of her clients couldn’t have come about by accident.
Have your life challenges made you a better life coach? I ask.
“Absolutely,” she says.
“Now, I try to see beyond what people are telling me and I try to listen with more than just my ears. I try to listen to what they’re saying on a deeper level. And I also try to watch what their body is telling me, because sometimes I can be listening to the words and not be aware of how deep and how bad the pain has become.
“All of the pain that I’ve gone through, all of the heartache and the loss that I’ve had has helped me to be even more empathetic and pay attention to what people may not be saying.”
Several years after the loss-heavy period of Sharon’s life, she has a healed and happy husband again, and together they are raising their beautiful, bright-eyed little boy named Justice. Life isn’t perfect and Instagram-glossy for the Davenports, but Sharon remains grateful.
“I realized that I was inducted into a club that I never wanted to be a part of, but so many women are. Women have come out of the woodwork to share their pain and their losses with me.
“It’s exciting to know that if I help one person change their life, save their marriage or start dreaming again—the pain and the heartache and the things I’ve been through have been worth it.”
One thing remains certain: even if the scars of loss are eternal, no season of loss lasts forever. And in case you still need evidence of that, just look at Sharon now.