It’s been a little over 2 years since I started working with my life coach, Diana Kerr. And for the record, I feel really snooty saying “my life coach” as if it falls in a lineup of “my personal trainer”, “my personal chef”, “our full-time nanny”, “my tailor” (for you fellas?) and other privileged positions to have all around me.
And I won’t lie. I know it’s a privilege to work with a life coach. But there’s no big line up and this is truly something I’ve found worth investing in.
When I was writing Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday I decided investing a little of my advance into coaching would be worth staying sane through the process. When you decide to write a book, 9 times out of 10, you’re fitting it into your already full life. You’re fitting essentially a full-time job into a life that likely already has a full-time job, kids, etc.
When I hired Diana, I wasn’t looking for a coach to help me do more things necessarily. I was hoping she’d help me figure out the right things and maybe even fewer things.
Coaches are all different, but working with Diana doesn’t mean she tells me what to do. So often I actually want Diana to just kind of tell me what I should be thinking about something and that’s not how coaching works! Inevitably, the answer will come from my own mouth but, routinely, I walk away knowing I never would have discovered the answer had she not talked it out with me and asked good questions to help me figure it out.
It’s turned into this beautiful process of actually processing that I don’t think we leave space for in our lives or really know HOW to do effectively. Enter, a life coach.
Now that we are well past that initial investment, I’ve continued to work with Diana because, as I look back on the last two years, what I’ve learned from our calls has been more than worth the financial investment.
So, I’m sharing 10 lessons I’ve learned from my time with a life coach that I hope will be helpful. I’m sharing specific details and circumstances but I think all 10 can benefit all of us! And I think it goes without saying but I highly recommend reaching out to Diana to see if coaching would benefit you!
1. Value immeasurable moments.
When you’re talking to a coach, it really requires honesty and vulnerability. I’ll say some things and just assume that Diana will think less of me because they’re that honest. She is soo gracious and after so many conversations with her, I know she doesn’t judge. And those moments of complete honesty are where I’m able to admit things. Like how efficiently my brain works and just how much I prioritize measured success (even in really small things like laundry done) over people. If you’ve been around here long, you’ve heard me talk about this a lot and even have a book coming out about a lot of this but this was something I first realized in my talks with Diana that has since rocked my world.
2. Problem-solve instead of resolve to fail.
When I was on deadline for Fresh Start for Moms, I remember feeling really defeated not knowing how I was going to get it done. Foolishly, I had planned only a month to write it, forgetting that it wasn’t just a journal, but a small book of 20 thousand words. As we talked it out she asked if I could go away for two days to write. I literally hadn’t even thought this was an option, but yes, Tyler was willing and yes, my sister had a spare bedroom with a desk that I was holed up in for 48 hours in order to write. What came out of that weekend was 10,000 words, but more than that, words that I was really really proud of, knowing I was going to turn in a book that was high quality and not thrown together as it was looking to be.
3. Incorporate the 12 Week Year.
This book came up in our conversations when I was setting goals for 2020. I had heard of the book but don’t think I would have tried it had we not talked about it. I’ve just been implementing it in 2020 but so much is happening because of it! You can see updates here.
4. Balance my days.
This past year was my first time to have both girls in school full time. And with it, about 10 extra “work hours” in my week. Old Val would have worked from the time I dropped them off at 8:00 AM till pickup at 2:45 PM. The Val who’s been working the last two years with Diana to care more for my well-being than productivity hits the gym first, works for 3 or so hours, goes home for a salad and episode of The Office or a podcast, does a small chore at home that helps keep the house less chaotic and arrives in the carline 30 minutes early to read and prepare my heart for the afternoon with the girls. And there were even several months last fall when the weather was still warm that I read for 30-60 minutes by our neighborhood pool and have what I call “think time” (to literally just make space to think) before pick up. That may sound REALLY indulgent to some, and I 100% agree, but it has slowed my over-anxious heart in ways I cannot fully explain. I could cram my work schedule and make more money but I’m finally realizing it’s not worth the damage it can do to my soul.
5. Have a humble launch.
Okay, I feel silly telling you this one because how humble is it to brag about this? Ha! But seriously, it was really important to me to launch Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday without getting too big for my britches. We had several conversations leading up to launch about having a healthy launch, not burning out before release day and not letting everything go to my head. In past launches, I have built up this expectation in my mind that launch day could never actually measure up to, but this time I was so mentally prepared to enjoy whatever came my way, that I enjoyed the day so much!
6. I chose good, but hard things.
There have been seasons when I’ve felt so overwhelmed by the weeks and months ahead, but one thing Diana said in the midst of one early on was that I chose this. And it was 100% true! It had me giving up the complaining about how hard life was and being really grateful for the opportunity that I GOT to say yes. This likely won’t be everyone’s circumstance, but how often do we complain about having too much to do when we’ve chosen all the things we are doing? This realization changed me from being a victim to a crazy season to knowing I was the one who said yes. I felt empowered to plow through instead of defeated by something I thought just happened to me.
7. Put my phone away at 6 PM.
This has been sooo life-changing. When we first talked about it, I’m sure I threw it out there not knowing if I could really do it. It took a loooong time before I finally got consistent, but now MOST days my phone is in the laundry room by 6 PM. Even in our conversations, I’d mention struggling with it still and realize saying I was going to put my phone up after I put the girls down at 7 (the original goal) made it MUCH easier to just hop on for a few minutes that turned into 30. If I put it up before dinner it was a done deal. No chance to linger with the family waiting on me to eat.
8. Don’t plan too many projects too far in advance.
As the book launch for GM approached, I knew I needed to slow down. Diana and I talked about the idea of Future Valerie and how she will literally plan so much that Present Valerie wants to kill her for filling up the schedule. 😉 We’ve all done it. We get excited to plan stuff and then by the time it comes, we’re too tired or unprepared and regret our decisions. As we talked, I decided to not plan any projects for after the book release (April 9) through the end of the year. We had an idea for a podcast and new products, but instead, we came out with our regular collection without adding new things. I am SOOOO grateful I did this! This may be one of the biggest reasons I was able to slow down my schedule and hit the pool to read books and have “think time”.
9. Be intentional about our month away.
The last two Junes we have spent in a rented house in the woods in Georgia. This is not something we do willy nilly because we have unlimited funds. We save for this each year and because of that, I remember talking to Diana before we went because I didn’t want to waste this incredible opportunity! Our consistent conversations, even while we were there were invaluable to us thinking through what we hoped to gain from the experience and take home from it too. These are some of my sweetest memories and Vana asks at least once a week when we can go back.
10. Use my planner to its fullest potential.
I’m starting to think all my answers sound a bit pretentious but also I may just struggle wasting money on things. I decided to use a planner that I wanted to make sure I used well because it was more than I normally spent on a planner. But just knowing people think a $47 prayer journal can be pricey until they actually get the most out of it, I knew if I used the planner well, it would be worth it too. We literally spent a whole call talking about how I needed to ensure I’d actually use it. I then shared all the questions I asked myself in a blog post for anyone hoping to use our prayer journal (or really any product) really intentionally. Read it here.
That’s it! If you made it this far, definitely check out Diana’s blog! If you love our content you will love hers too. The first night I found her blog years ago, I got lost for hours reading all her valuable content!