About a month ago I bit the bullet and paid for a group coaching program called “From Stuck to Unstoppable” with Tara Newman of FamilySportLife. Even though I really could not afford it, I felt that my life, both professionally and privately had gotten so mired in the muck (or “Knee Deep in the Hoopla“) that outside guidance was required. So I plunked down my money and entered the group with high hopes that it would offer a light, and not one that was attached to a large metal object.
Believe it or not I am not comfortable in groups likes this. I can write about my issues, here and on other social media sites, because I can do so with some degree of anonymity. The keyboard and screen offer a safe zone where I can pour out my thoughts and fears without, or at least without immediate, reprisal. The podcast with Andrew (Back of Pack Endurance) was out of my safe zone also, and it has taken me a year and a half to hit a place where I feel OK on the mic. But this? This would require participation in group meetings online with video.
There went the last wall of protection.
It’s not that I feel my thoughts are not valid enough to warrant a face to face meeting, it’s more that I do not feel comfortable with the way I look, and because I am so critical of my appearance I automatically assume everyone else is the same way towards me.
I was put at ease rather quickly I felt, mostly due to Tara’s easy demeanor, but also with the group dynamic being as it was. I genuinely came to like everyone I was talking to over the 6 weeks, and kind of miss the interaction now that it is over.
Tara provided a work book to use as a guide through the process, and we then discussed the issues on the call. I have had interactions with Tara previously so I understood her style, and she understood what it takes to get through to me as well (though I can be stubborn). The group provided insights to their own lives, and where it helped me the most was just learning that I was not the only one going through these life challenges. We are not all the same, not by a long shot, but change is change and it helps to have others to bounce these anxiety and fear off of to make sure you are thinking about things from all angles.
I learned a lot in this group, and if you are in need of this type of coaching I highly recommend it for you, so please look into it.
After the group is over, however, I am finding real life is not as easy as it seemed to be while working through this in the workshop. Most of this is due to my old nemesis “fear” coming back in my head, but lately I have had the old feeling of … melancholy … re-entering my life. With as much as we want to say we can do anything, there are just some things that cannot happen, because the hard fact of the matter is that we need our jobs, no matter how crappy they are, and wrong turns made 20-30 years ago cannot be changed now.
There were some “truths” that I knew as I was growing up, reiterated time and time again by my grandfather. Serve your country so you have a base of experience. Get a good education so you have the knowledge. Get higher education so you make yourself valuable as a job candidate.
I followed this plan to the letter. I served for ten years, from the age of 17 to 27. I left and pursued education, getting my BA in Psychology in 2006. I pursued a Master’s degree in Public Administration and received that in 2000. After working a few years in the non-profit world I saw a need for a business mind in that arena, so I went back to school and got my MBA in 2007. I was set. I was a man with leadership experience, and I was highly educated.
And it has resulted in nothing …
Well, that is not entirely true … it HAS results in $112k in Student Loans.
Because the sad truth is that I was pursuing a career that I had no real interest in, but one that would provide me with stable employment. It has provided me with neither. I actually make less now than I did before I started on my MBA in 2005. I don’t enjoy my job, though I am good at it, which I know has to come across in my demeanor even though I work to hide it.
A change is obviously needed, and was identified in the workshop, but the sadder truth is that I am almost 52 years old and closer to the end than I am the beginning. So changing, or starting over, even if there is an employer willing to take me on in the role at my age, is not easy to find, no matter how feel good the books are in that subject. The harsh reality of life is that I am stuck where I am until retirement. I used to combat these feelings with training; swimming, biking, running, lifting. Anything to keep me active and, bluntly, to keep me out of the house, a place where reality is far too close and … well … real for my liking. But now, I am not even finding the joy in that like I did. I leave home for work, a place I don’t want to be, then leave for the gym, a place I don’t want to be, and then to home, a place I don’t want to be.
Maybe it’s just the moon again?