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Stepping Back to Leap Forward

Since the start of the pandemic, I‘ve gone through some major losses and life changes. One of the biggest was officially closing the location for my wellness spa and moving out of office I’ve had for more than 14 years. The business was greatly impacted by the pandemic, as was I, and it was just not feasible to stay where we were.

Another big change was to put my 26-year career of being a massage therapist into hibernation. Though extremely painful to do so, I believe both choices were the right thing and they gave me room to take on some new adventures.

One of those was to immediately leap into a coaching program for speakers, authors, and influencers. I’ll be honest, the high price tag was a big pill to swallow, but the quality of the content, speakers, and connections was well worth it. In just a few hours, I learned some important lessons I wish I’d heard earlier in my career. Some have made a huge impact on my professional mindset and thought process. I’ve also made quality connections to some like-minded friends and colleagues.

Anyway, the primary focus of the program is to successfully learn how to create, produce, and workshop-style events online for my ideal clients or audience. The idea is to then enroll some of these folks in my coaching program, mastermind group, retreat, or something similar. As I love to teach, speak and coach others it seemed like a perfect fit.

The sessions have been intense – a Zoom room filled with 150 or more people – all eager to make back their investment and learn how to fill their programs. The information-packed workshops and calls have been overflowing with ideas, AHAs, brainstorms, bonuses, plans, hacks, outlines, and more. Students have shared their successes and failures - and have been enthusiastically coached, cheer led, pushed, empowered, and inspired along the way by the truly brilliant leaders of the program. And at first, I was moving forward full speed ahead, ready to be molded and mentored along with them.

But then, I lost one of the dearest friends of my life – someone who was a long-term cheerleader, mentor, confidante, and father figure. He was also a client for all 26 years of my massage therapy career. His death took all the spring out of my step.

In the months that followed, I was unable to jump back in and do what was needed to reach the “goal” of the coaching program. I pulled back from the online group, stopped attending classes, and failed to reach the vision I initially had of being the classroom-packing motivational speaking superstar. I’ve felt a lot of guilt and negativity toward myself about this “failure” and inability to soar beyond the expectations of the program in a single bound.

Then this fall, one of my coaching clients – I’ll call her Kate - said something to me which gave me a huge AHA as to what is going on and why it is OK for me to still have my feet on the ground. After an intense coaching session – one in which I gave Kate all the motivation and ideas I had plus the kitchen sink – she just vanished from my radar. For several months, Kate didn’t answer calls, texts, or emails and I did not know what happened. When she was finally able to come up for air and meet me at a conference where I was speaking, she told me what happened. Kate became so overwhelmed by ALL I shared and enthusiastically pushed her to do that she could do none of it. Instead, she became overwhelmed, just shut down, and just had to go to radio silence to recover. WOW…I felt terrible.

Did I mention Kate has also been through a lot of loss and life changes over the last few years? Moved a business, lost a parent, had major surgery, and had several other large personal challenges.

And as I’ve let Kate’s comment sink in I realize that is what happened to me. In the midst of processing all my loss and trauma, I reached out to a coach asking for big inspiration – which she gave to me in spades. But, like Kate, I was so overwhelmed by all the information, ideas, and possibilities – the successes and strategies and self-promotion that I just stepped back and checked out.

Since Kate’s comment, I’ve allowed myself a bit more grace and space to recover in. As I’ve become more gentle with myself, I’ve also realized that despite the grief, loss, and change I’ve been recovering from, I’ve still done a lot in the last year and have plenty to be proud of.

  • Managed a year-long renovation on our basement – 3 rooms from unfinished to finished and functional

  • Lost 25 pounds

  • Got our driveway paved, deck stained and house pressure washed

  • Had the busiest year yet with my consulting business, adding 19 or 20 cases

  • Visited family and friends in Michigan, Illinois, Florida, and Wisconsin

  • Started a podcast

  • Wrote an eBook

  • Started a new website

  • Set up a trademark and licensing agreement for The Dream Team Ducks

  • Contributed to three books

Maybe I didn’t fail to Leap after all?

If there is one thing I’ve learned over all my years in business and life, it is that the journey doesn’t always take you where you plan. You have a vision, set some goals, and do what you think will get you there. In some cases, you have to make adjustments to get to your planned destination. In other cases, you end up moving in a different direction with an entirely new vision and goal. What matters in the end, I guess, is that you are enjoying the journey, and being grateful for all the steps, hops, and leaps that brought you to where you are today.

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