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Taking the Leap

Updated: May 25, 2023

I want to take you on a short journey of how and why I decided to “take the leap.” I joined the movement of what is being called The Great Resignation, The Great Re-Invention, The Great Re-Imagination, or The Great Awakening. Whatever phrase you use here is how my leap happened:

In 2008, my supervisor at the time, Lydia Todd, said to me, “Jackie, you would make an awesome life coach!” I thought that sounds interesting, but I had no idea at the time what a life coach was or did. You see in 2008, life coaching was not yet popular. So that night I went home and googled it and learned all about life coaching. I stumbled on Tony Robbins, became an instant fan, and read what coaching was all about. You see I had worked in the behavioral health field all my professional life. I worked with youth in treatment programs as a counselor, was promoted to leadership positions, and eventually directed and ran adolescent treatment facilities. I did not know what my next move or professional step was going to be, but I never thought I was destined or interested in becoming a therapist, clinician, or psychologist. So, after ten years in the field, I went back to school for a master’s degree in management and shifted my career into the world of human resources. There I was able to bridge my counseling, people, and leadership skills to support the workforce and enhance employee experiences through a human lens.

People intrigue me. I profess to be a student of humanity, and I love solving problems, people problems but becoming a therapist just did not ring true for me. Coaching, on the other hand, seemed to be a variation of therapy that struck me as a perfect fit. The work that coaches do is cathartic, fosters personal growth and professional development. So, after my initial research, coaching ignited my interest and captured all the elements of what I loved to do. And so, my coaching journey began.

My next move was to get certified as a life coach and I did so in 2008. As I began my coaching practice, I learned that I was drawn to helping professionals and leaders who were having career issues whether it was problem-solving a workplace issue, figuring out their strengths, natural gifts, and talents, who they were, and what they wanted to do and how to chart out the actionable steps to get to their desired professional destinations. My coaching centered all around the world of career planning and professional development. I found that the common theme with my clients regardless of age, gender, background, industry, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity was this belief that they were not good enough, that the junky stories and narratives they carried contained massive doses of self-doubt and the internal saboteurs told them what they could and could not do. A lot of my work has been to help my clients untangle and minimize those self-deprecating voices and start creating new narratives and stories about possibilities, opportunities, and options. My clients were getting “unstuck” and reaching new heights both personally and professionally.

I continued to work in HR on a full-time basis until just recently and simultaneously built my side gig coaching business. I was continually straddling these two worlds and working to have a life outside of these two spaces as well. It was often tricky to navigate, and I realized that it was hard to be “all in” in either place. I had to make sure I was satisfying all ends and, in retrospect, not doing the best job in any of them. A wise colleague, Richard Wachell of Wachell Insurance, said to me after I had shared with him that I was going out full force with my coaching, “it does not work when you have one foot in and one foot out.” And do you know what, he is right. So here is how I came to the decision to go out, take the leap and pursue my ikigai, my life purpose.

I know for all of us the last 2+ years have been wrought with living and trying to survive a pandemic. An era in our lives that holds incredible amounts of loss and grief, massive social injustice issues, major shifts in our lifestyles and opportunities for self-reflection, and a re-examination of how we want to live and work moving forward. I have been a part of this very same experience and decided to examine what I was doing, why, and determine what I wanted for my future. I felt a pull, a tug, a tap on the shoulder, and sometimes a bop on the head and realized that I was receiving messages pointing me in the coaching direction. I heard it in various forms and accepted that coaching was calling me.

Here are two of the messages that made a real difference in my deciding to take the leap:

I was in a work situation that was less than ideal. As hard as I tried to navigate certain relationships, work through difficult and tough dynamics, I would leave feeling drained, ineffective and over time it tore down and negatively affected my psyche. My amazing friend, colleague, and fellow coach, Lupe Wood said to me “what you resist, persists.” A quote by renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung. I realized I was in a situation that was clearly not a match or a fit and regardless of the approaches or strategies I utilized it was just not working. I was fighting a battle that only intensified. I had to come to terms that I was not a failure and that this situation needed to change and end. I decided to stop resisting and move on.

Oprah said, “every person wants to fulfill the highest and truest expression of themselves as a human being.” I recognized that when I am coaching the parts of me that are activated and expressed bring out the best of me as a person. I needed to own where my gifts, power, and contributions to others get best actualized. I needed to lean into, surrender to my purpose and enter the coaching world in full.

I am most happy when I am working as a coach and able to create the space for others to evolve into who they are destined to become. I must thank you all for your support, encouragement, and love. I am excited and focused to step into my entrepreneurship, build my business and healing as goals for 2022. Feel free to join me on the journey!

Lastly, I received some wise counsel from a wonderful friend, colleague, and personal transformation coach, Shawna Pelton who said to me “trauma or bad experiences will try to keep you safe, however, don’t play it safe. Take risks.”

I will leave you with this Zen saying, “Leap and the net will appear.”


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