Originally from Washington, D.C., I had been teaching English abroad for over 25 years when I began to have doubts about my life trajectory. I was thriving as a teacher and enjoyed the different challenges of living and working in Japan, France and, later, Spain. However, it was beginning to dawn on me that I might not want to continue doing the same thing for another 20 years or so.
But what else would be a good fit? How could I reinvent myself now? Wasn’t it too late? Wouldn’t I miss teaching? Should I move back to the States? So many questions! Help!
I was at that time teaching at university, as well as working with executive clients, in Barcelona. For those who don’t know, ESL teaching is a pretty amazing, challenging and creative career. I loved it. But then, in 2013, the university where I had the majority of my teaching hours (the very well-respected ESADE) unexpectedly closed their Executive Language Center. Suddenly, this was no longer an existential crisis, but a very real one! I needed to make a decision fast to either recommit myself to teaching and start looking for a new position or take advantage of this ‘opportunity’ to reinvent myself.
As luck would have it, at the end of a session around about that time, an executive client remarked that our conversations were almost identical to the ones he had with his coach. Intrigued, I asked more about this ‘coaching’ he mentioned. Long story short, that one innocent offhand remark set me on the path to where I am today – coaching women online and splitting my time between Barcelona and St. Croix. Wow, am I grateful! Thanks universe!
– Mary Oliver –
Isn’t it amazing how often serendipity plays a part in our lives? I agree that it can be wonderful (and I thank my lucky stars), but I also think it’s best not to rely on these chance encounters and happy accidents to determine our futures. A little self-reflection and exploration can go a long way in putting us on the right path.
How I wish I had had someone impartial and objective to talk with when I began to have questions and doubts about what the rest of my life might look like. This is the real motivation behind my becoming a coach : I would like to be that person for you! I have learned so much about myself and my life journey through my study of coaching and by being coached myself. I often think ‘If only I had worked with a coach in my 20s, 30s, or 40s, and been moving forward with purposeful intention – creating rather than reacting. ’
Early on, I recognized that what I loved most about teaching was building connection with my students/clients and motivating them to thrive and succeed. It is so gratifying to me that I can continue in that same vein supporting and working for the success of others. My experiences living and teaching abroad have helped me become the coach I am today. Building trust, meeting challenges, welcoming new perspectives, finding solutions where there seem to be none, and essentially, creating an environment where others flourish – this has been part of my day-to-day for 30 years.