I started Chaston Health one year ago. And while the choice to follow my passion and help people live healthier, happier lives has been rewarding, it hasn't been without its challenges.
Here are the key takeaways from year one of health coaching.
1. Selling yourself as a coach requires vulnerability
This has easily been the hardest part of my new career. I don't enjoy being the center of attention. But when your job is to show people who you are and how you can help them, you have to ask for their attention - and sometimes shamelessly beg for it.
I have confidence that my education, experience, and attitude make me a great health coach. But am I comfortable posting all over social media about how great I am and why you should immediately hire me? - Nope.
So as I start year two of health coaching my goal is to become more comfortable with the vulnerability and use it as a way to relate to people who might not feel comfortable seeking out help or talking about their health struggles.
2. It's not always easy to live your own advice
It's much easier to tell other people what to do than to follow your own advice. But it's also easier to tell people to forgive themselves and be patient while I still struggle to remember that meaningful change takes time.
I write blogs and give advice to clients that I think is useful and attainable. Not every strategy works for every person, but if it works for just one person - that's great! And I have to remember that I too am just a person trying to live my healthiest life.
During this first year, I have adopted a lot of new healthy habits, but there is always room for improvement. This year I want to live my own advice.
If I write a blog about 5 ways to sleep better, I'm going to try them all. Or if I tell a client to be proud of their progress even when things are tough, I'm going to choose to be proud of my own accomplishments and keep working towards my goals.
3. Appreciate every day you get to do something you enjoy
I have spent a lot of this year worrying whether my business will succeed and whether I am doing everything I can to help my clients. But all that time worrying could have been spent in better ways.
Instead of waking up and thinking, what do I need to post today to reach more people that need a health coach, I could have been thinking, today is another day to write, talk, and read about something you are extremely passionate about.
It's all about the mindset. And I quit working a standard 9 - 5 job because I didn't like what I was doing and I didn't think I was using my strengths in a productive way to help others. Now, I get to do that every day!
So, this year I want to spend less time focused on the outcome and more time focused on the process. This is how I will grow and have the career and life that brings me the most satisfaction.
4. Sometimes people aren't ready to change
During my initial meeting with a potential client, I am listening for an indication that they are ready to change. And most people contact me because they think they are ready for that change - to eat healthier, move more, and feel better about themselves.
However, despite their best intentions to change and their belief they are ready to change - they can't follow through. This happens for a number of reasons but usually, it's a lack of confidence. They make one "mistake" or break their healthy habit for a day and they lose confidence in their ability to change long term.
And while I know that this is a natural part of change, not everyone does. And when these individuals feel that they have failed and that they can't be successful, they worry that they will disappoint me. And I can't force them to continue if they don't believe they can change.
So as desperately as I want to help them, they have to be ready and willing if we are going to build a relationship and start the journey together.
5. Success doesn't come overnight
I'm still learning. And while I've been able to meet and help people this year, it's not as many as I had hoped. But as long as I keep learning and trying new ways to connect with people, I can reach my goals.
Consistency, patience, and persistence are the keys to building what I hope is a very successful venture in my life.