Back in Business

As many of you know, before my diagnosis I was starting a new career as a life coach. I was finishing up my last class, and starting the process of lining up more paying clients. That was one of the first things put aside in order to confront the Squamous Monster.

Since then, I’ve had plenty of time to contemplate the irony of having cancer appear in my mouth, just after committing to a career that primarily involves talking to people. I’ve also had plenty of time to worry about the surgery’s effect on my speech, and wonder if someone would hire a coach they had trouble understanding.

Most importantly, I wondered when I would heal enough that I’d have the energy to do coaching again. I’ve been pretty wrapped up in my own struggles. Being a good coach involves being able to focus on the client, and keep yourself to one side, in a way that was neither appropriate nor possible for me for a long time.

So it is a sign of my increasing familiarity and acceptance of my new normal that I have been spending the last few weeks preparing to dive back into coaching, and heading for the day when I can announce to the world that “I’m back in business!”

I’ve dealt with my personal issues about my speech through the tactic of actually talking to people. People seem to understand me just fine. I’ve even successfully coached a client who never knew me before the surgery. There is no problem.

Trickier has been the whole “having my own s**t together” aspect. I knew I could handle one client OK, but could I imagine multiple clients? Could I handle the focused effort of setting up a practice: finding clients, finishing the last details for my coach training certification, implementing a marketing plan? At the beginning of this year, the answer was “no.”

But now the answer is “Yes!

In the last month I’ve turned a corner. I’m no longer preoccupied with my recovery in the way that I was. And having dealt with a lot of my emotional stuff, I now have energy I want to devote to other things. Positive things. Moving forward in my new life things.

It is true that my body still tires easily, and I’m not swallowing as much as I’d like. I’m working on that, trying to get more exercise and seeing a new acupuncturist (who actually needles my tongue!) That’s just part of life here in New Normalville. I’m not spending time wrapped up in it, or beating myself, or the universe, up over it. Life goes on.

Conveniently, during a coaching session I don’t have to run anywhere or eat anything. It works out quite nicely.

I’ve had two final tests for myself to see if I was really ready to dive back in. The first was to revise my website. I’d put one up back in 2003, but I felt it didn’t represent me anymore, and besides, it was really ugly. I figured that if I could focus enough sustained effort to make the thing look prettier, and feel good enough that I could honestly rewrite the text, that would mean something. It became a way for me to gut-check myself, and make sure I was really OK with going back to work.

I’m happy to say the success is now posted, at http://www.nosmallplans.com . It’ll be evolving over time, but test 1 is complete.

This post is the final test.

I’m hereby announcing to my friends, family and greater blogospheric fandom that I’m back in business. Now.

And I am going to shamelessly ask for your help. I’m looking for clients. I expect some of you might want to use my skills, and almost certainly some of you know someone who could benefit from working with me. Please contact me, or tell that person about me. I do my coaching by phone and email, so this goes for those of you who live far away, too. C’mon folks, I’ve got a lot of talent and skill; we can’t let that go to waste! (Please?)

For more details of what I actually do as a coach, please read the website. In a nutshell, I help people see new perspectives and approach their life’s challenges in a new way, whether that challenge is getting around to cleaning up your house or trying to find an emotionally rewarding career, or living with a chronic illness. I ask questions, provide exercises, and offer support to help people get “unstuck”, or to see a way through a tangled mess. I’m pretty good at it.

So please help me get back to it. And if you can’t send me a prospective client, do send my your good wishes. Your support since the start of this adventure has been wonderful, and I still rely upon it.

I’ll keep you posted on how things are going.