I only remember once ever stating what I wanted to be when I grew up, and it was, “a counselor for abused children.” I look back on that statement in awe because I didn’t exactly step into coaching until much later in life. I see now that the journey I took between that childhood “knowing” and my passion as a coach today has brought me full circle. Let me explain...
I was 18 years-old, in my hometown in Northern Arizona, and drifting from job to job when I was recruited into the U.S. Navy. I believe being in the Navy saved my life, as I was traveling down a pretty risky path of addiction and self-defeating behavior. I loved being a part of the largest diverse family in the world and I spent my next 22 years serving my country, seeing the world, and creating deep and lasting friendships.
However, though I loved my job and the people I worked with in the Navy, I also lived in constant fear for being gay. If anyone were to find out, it would most certainly be immediate cause for discharge from the service. Initially, I experienced “witch-hunts” until the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was enacted. Both caused me to hide, not only in my personal life, but also behind the insignias of my rank and uniform. I, like the rest of my gay brothers and sisters, served in silence, remained closeted and adapted. Hiding became the norm.
After I retired, I came to the painful realization of how much that damaged my heart and my spirit. Although my family and close friends were aware of and embraced my sexual orientation, I braced for impact every time I came out to someone new. That secret and fear of rejection had created an embedded shame that I’m no longer willing to carry. Unfortunately, my story isn’t unusual; even today when there is more acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community than ever before.
Here's what I know. You hide. I hide. We all hide. That is not a song :-) How do you hide? Through fitting in, or body image, or addiction, or people pleasing?Do you know that is how you reject yourself?
I’ve been in the health and wellness profession now for 12 years. Right from the start, I noticed that most of my clients were trying to fix their “outsides,” while their “insides” were not only in deep trouble, but were being neglected or ignored. This lack of emotional self-awareness almost always led to subconscious self-sabotage.
This is why I dove into advanced studies of the human psyche, learning more about emotional, subconscious, and mind/body-related issues. I received my Bachelors and Masters in Psychology (Counseling), and became a certified Advanced Holistic Coach. I also spent 18 months serving in a veterans treatment center as a therapist intern, directly working with homeless and addicted veterans (one of the biggest honors of my life).
As an Emotional Holistic Coach, I’m fortunate that the Universe allows me to live my passion. Helping others help themselves in a way that creates insightful, true and purposeful change is a beautiful thing to be a part of. I fully believe that we all have the power within us to create the world we want, but it has to start with each of us discovering and loving the things that we hide about ourselves. Then and only then can we learn to practice non-judgment, acceptance and compassion for ourselves and others.
Are you ready to let go of hiding and start showing up for yourself? My guess is yes, or you wouldn't have read this far :-)
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