It can be far too easy to focus on what we have not done. This seems to be especially true when reflecting on the second quarter of 2020, that already-hazy period in the last three months spent in various stages of COVID-19 driven lockdown…
In an experience I’m sure familiar to many, working consistent (or adequate!) hours was not an option for me, as I instead juggled a makeshift version of homeschooling and the various at-risk factors of those around me. I barely left the house, experimented with stay-at-home fitness routines and replaced my social life with reluctant zoom gatherings.
But, oh BUT… we spent endless hours together as a family, I danced, gardened, learned a new language, actually relaxed in the sunshine and somehow – despite everything – managed to continue building my coaching practice. It is easy to focus on what hasn’t happened, but I realise looking back how much did happen. This post is about my reflections, my gratitude and getting ready to switch up for the next phase…
What I Achieved
I’ll be honest, it feels awkward to list my achievements. It’s terribly un-British, but I’m tired of feeling like an imposter and this is the year I start taking pride in my success. So with that, my key professional milestones during Q2 were:
- Completing my training with Full Circle Global and becoming an International Coaching Federation (ICF) Approved Coach
- Continuing my CPD by learning alongside international clinical practitioners and exploring the latest research at the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM)
- Providing full-programme pro bono coaching to several new clients during the period of uncertainty in my ‘Lockdown Coaching’ offer
- Growing my presence on social media, including starting my first YouTube channel, having my first trending post on LinkedIn and building both my brand and network on Instagram
- Completing a ’10 Day Challenge’ publicly on YouTube to address my own fear: video!
- Designing 3 new personal coaching programmes, based on the experience, training, feedback and research I have been so grateful for in the past 6 months
- Making the switch from a company name for my practice to using my own name, a sign of my growing confidence in my ability and choices
- Surpassing my own progress expectations by exceeding every single one of my monthly targets
When I worked in the corporate world, formal coaching was a far-off dream for me and something that I was almost intimidated by. Receiving amazing feedback in my final assignment and having a badge from the gold-standard in coaching is hugely significant for me: it crushes that imposter feeling I’m now leaving in the past.
I hadn’t expected to be able to coach during lockdown. As the early weeks past, I read and heard more and more about rising anxiety and fear levels. I wasn’t focused on building my business; I just wanted to help. So I offered pro bono Lockdown Coaching on social media, unsure if anyone would respond. The response was fantastic. I have met and worked with some wonderfully inspiring clients through this initiative, all of whom are working with me on a 6 session programme.
2020 has been a big step outside of my comfort zone, involving significant changes to my career and life. Embracing vulnerability for growth is becoming a habit: in a long overdue and rather bold move, I set up my first YouTube channel and embarked on a “10 Day Challenge” to face my fear of video. I desperately wanted to be able to use the medium, but felt petrified by it. Yet, I have faced many fears and dedicated my career to helping other people face theirs. There was only one way forward! Here is my video on Failure:
What I Learned
Has anyone else felt like lockdown has been one big learning experience? I don’t necessarily mean for new skills or knowledge, but for learning about ourselves, what we value, need and… what we’re capable of! Many people I’ve spoken with have agreed that it has been a time for reflection. Perhaps we don’t usually get enough of that.
It has allowed me to realise how adaptable, resilient and patient I am. These aren’t words I would usually grab to describe myself, but I’ll take them now!
It’s important for me to develop my expertise and keep up to date with research. Aside from the courses I have taken, I have found moments to read books and listen to audio books. More recently, I have set myself a daily habit to read and this is really helping me to be more productive.
I have learned that starting a new business is hard, although I don’t think anyone ever said it wasn’t! COVID-19 has added to that challenge, but it has also shown how determined I am to pursue my vision. Acquiring new marketing, sales and finance skills alongside a new appreciation of an exceptional work/life balance has required me to push through and beyond my own comfort zone.
Developing my money mindset has been an uncomfortable and important learning this quarter. I am not particularly money motivated and have always worked in roles where my ‘worth’ has been largely dictated for me. This has meant that moving to self-employment, in a role I have taken on because I want to support others, has been difficult for me to monetize. Alas, I cannot continue to coach if I do not earn! Whilst getting paid to coach began as an awkward experience for me, it has allowed me to accept both my new status and career.
This has also been a period for new ways of working. Many of us have been forced into the unknown, so it takes some compassionate experimentation to make it work. I mentioned earlier that I have recently introduced some daily habits. These are alongside weekly goals, which break down my monthly goals. It all leads to my big, grand affirmation for 5 years time! I have found a system that works for me, but it’s not for everyone. It has really helped me to be accountable, consistent and focused. I don’t always complete the weekly actions, when I don’t, there are lessons learned!
I love coaching. I never said that about HR. I have been so fortunate to have worked with a good number of clients during this last quarter. It has enabled me to be certain that this is exactly where I want to be.
There is balance to be had. My biggest challenge has been time! Despite all I have achieved and all the fun I’ve had, I feel like I’ve barely worked. I miss it. I know what it’s like to spend too long commuting to a corporate job that zaps my sleep. Now I also know what it’s like to be at home with my family all the time. I’m ready to create that happy medium, for all of us.
There have been times of self-doubt in the last 3 months, but I have pushed through them and I am so glad I did. I am in a place now where I am committed to being a Coach, to self-employment, to building my brand and my business. I want to make a positive difference and I know how I want to do it.
There are topics I want to explore. I have a platform, a voice now and I want to use that. Being open and vulnerable has worked for me and I want to keep that space. I also want to develop my money mindset, to grow a profitable business to ensure that the vision and support I provide is sustainable.
But it’s time to get serious. Lockdown restrictions continue to ease, which means excuses continue to dwindle. Time is a problem for me, so I will learn to make the most of it. As I reach the end of Q2, I have new programmes, strategies and plans to move forward with. All of this is based on everything I have learned, listened to and experienced. My words for this quarter: Enriching, Expanding, Incredible. What would yours be?