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Is there something, anything, that you feel comes naturally to you? Maybe it was a skill you were born with or one you developed over time. Well, for me, that skill is coaching. No, not sports coaching, but life coaching. There may be some similarities between the two — strategizing, motivating, and finding weaknesses and improving upon them, to name a few — but they’re still different ball games. Pun intended.
I don't really know when it started, at least by high school, but I was doling out advice to my friends whenever they came to me with their problems, which seemed frequent. I was good at telling them what to do. “You should do this. You should do that. You ought to do this. You ought to do that.” Good gracious! Who wants to be “shoulded” to death? That was just what I did. I didn't know any better. Dear friends in the past whom I've “shoulded,” please forgive me.
I could see the error of their ways, a better path for them, a way with fewer headaches and heartaches. I wasn't cocky about it; I just had this insight into what could be a better way for them if they made some different choices. Here's the problem with that: people don't like unsolicited advice. Even when someone asks for your opinion/advice, they don't always want to hear what you have to say, and you don't always know what is truly best for another person. I believe we are here to learn and grow, and if you take that opportunity away from another person, then you aren't allowing them to learn those lessons. You are stunting their emotional, mental, spiritual growth. My philosophy on that now is: if you don't ask my opinion, I'm not going to give it to you. Who doesn't have an opinion on everything, right? We all just don't need to hear ALL those opinions!!! Please!
Have you ever had that friend or family member who has always told you what you should and shouldn't do? Always meddling where they don't belong? Not much fun, is it? If you haven't experienced this, then you may very well be that person handing out free advice to everyone who comes along. I'm not sure when I learned that people don't like being told what to do, which is what unsolicited advice is, but I am sure glad I did.
My best friend in middle and high school was in this not-so-good relationship and was always telling me the same story over and over again. I, in turn, gave her the same advice over and over again until she got to the point of saying, “Push the tape recorder.” That meant, “Hit play on the tape that is pre-recorded with all the things I already know you're going to say to me.” We would laugh, but honestly, how sad is that? Talking about tape recorders makes me wonder how many of you reading this know what a tape recorder is, and how many don't. ;)
Anyhow, fast forward a little, at 19 I took a self-awareness workshop and got self-aware (chuckle). Groundbreaking stuff, seriously. I majored in psychology and learned about human behavior and things that make us tick. At approximately 22 I started therapy...and have never stopped. I'm pretty sure some of my family thinks I'm crazy FOR going to therapy. I say I'm NOT crazy BECAUSE I go to therapy. The more I learn about myself (and help myself) the more I am able to help others. Therapy has brought me a lot of peace and happiness and understanding that I didn't have before. I'm pretty sure if it weren't for therapy, and a few other self-care modalities, I would be on an anti-anxiety med, an anti-depressant, and have a lot of health issues that would have been afflicting me for a long time now. Not a judgmental statement, just one of truth. Without stress management it is REALLY hard to stay healthy. See my blog article on self-care techniques.
I now have a proclivity for minding my own business, unless directly asked, which has made my life simpler and less stressful. I have found over the years that, when trying to comfort a friend, listening goes a long way. After truly listening, and not just waiting for my turn to speak, I often try to relate my own experiences to what they are going through and what I learned and maybe wish I had done differently. See, my life experiences and struggles help me relate to clients when they are going through something similar. Aren't you comforted when you talk to someone who understands what you're going through and when they listen without judgment?
I also love problem solving. I think on a big-picture level. I can see what is going on and get ideas on how to get you where you want to go. This is really fun for me. Sometimes I hear the ideas that come out of my mouth, and I'm like, “Yeah, that was a good one, Sarah.” Come on, nothing wrong with giving yourself a pat on the back now and then. Who else is going to?
My natural inclination to want to help people, which is where I was always coming from when giving advice before, my ability to sit and fully listen to people, my problem-solving skills, and my years of therapy are the aspects that drew me to be a life coach. I thought about getting my masters in counseling, but I felt I could be more effective and enjoy my work more through coaching. I love sending a client away with ideas on how to implement changes in their life, helping them get clear on what it is they truly want, not what they thought they wanted. We try to force things too often. I try to get you to stop doing that and to go where your heart truly desires.
To learn more about life coaching and how I might be able to help you, please check out my website – sarahpryor.com. You can also email me with questions if you want. I would love to empower you to help yourself today and in all the days to come!
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