If you are like me, you decided to become a coach because you are passionate about helping people reach their potential while finding meaning in life, career, relationships, business, etc. In other words, you love service and you have found the best way to deliver service through your experience, talents, and the areas of life where you became an expert, whether because you chose to, or because you learned it the hard way.
However, did you think of what it would take to wake up feeling like an empowered Coach every single day, regardless of what life is throwing at you? To your clients, you are a master of resilience, bravery, strength, positivism, and tranquility. Would you let them down by showing some vulnerability?
I have posed this question to myself several times. In the beginning, I was afraid of the answer and almost reached a point where I thought this wasn’t the right time for me to be a coach, I will do it when my life is easier, when I have the time to focus on my clients. But I underestimated the sturdy relationship between vulnerability and greatness. Vulnerability is greatness’ territory!
Over time, I have learned to make vulnerability a welcomed member of my Personal Advisory Board, for it makes me more malleable and receptive. I just needed to open the space in my hectic agenda for vulnerability to ignite a supernova of determination, clarity and self-love that makes me powerful and capable of projecting immense amounts of positive energy to my clients. And here is what the most interesting fact is, my clients’ greatest achievements align with my periods of greatest vulnerability. Can this be a coincidence?
Of course, this transformational process of pivoting from fear to courage only became possible when I understood that my role as a coach implies learning how to take care of myself first. Having a coach was fundamental during this process because I am as stubborn as I am determined and wouldn’t let my limiting beliefs go. His guidance helped me navigate through the uncomfortable waters of looking after myself first-thing every morning, and eventually finding power in it.
As coaches we create, we build, we empower, and we inspire, but “an empty jug can’t fill other cups”, right? We need fuel; so, what does the coach’s fuel look like?
- Balance – Body, mind & spirit. The coaching session is just the final section of a long value-chain of studies, research, preparation, programming, writing and evaluation; not to mention the remaining tasks that entail being an entrepreneur. We work around the clock and tend to fail in allocating time for selfcare. In my case, I thought that I didn’t have the time to exercise, meditate and pray everyday; the truth is, I was underutilizing valuable hours. After a few weeks of a strict routine, my body wisely asked for a healthier nutrition, which led me to unintended great results and much more energy, optimism, productivity, and self-love. Physical self-care started to look and feel great!
- Inspiration – I like reading and find myself comfortable between books, so I thought that inspiration mostly comes from great authors, until one day back in Colombia, a little 8-year-old orphan girl I was volunteering with, gave me the most inspiring pitch ever, all between games and toys. I absorbed so much love, strength, and wisdom from her words, that I use them as a mantra when my mind tricks me and wants me to feel insecure and inadequate.
Nature is a great source of inspiration as well, never underestimate the revelations that come from a tough hike. Or silence, you’ll be surprised of how much your inner YOU has to tell you, if you are willing to listen.
- Community – The term support system is familiar to any coach, but do we truly benefit from it, or we just use it to cover our need of belonging? As an immigrant I used to struggle with fitting in, I used to let cultural differences determine the level of involvement that I would have in any activity. I was operating from a place of insecurity.
Everything changed when I acknowledged both sides of the coin by asking myself: what can I do for them, and what can they do for me? Suddenly, everything changed. I felt appreciated, visible, and valuable. It was all about opening my heart and mind in a safe and trustworthy environment.
- Serving those in need – Mahatma Gandhi says that the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. I’ve tested his theory by making myself available for those in need, and he is right! The experience has elevated my self-awareness on multiple occasions, and as result, I have developed infinite gratitude for what I am and have, and for my life overall. I have learned to appreciate challenges as opportunities to unleash my potential. It has helped me to let the past go, and to disconnect from the future as well. It brings me here and now.
- Rest – Who can deny the miraculous effects of peaceful rest in the middle of a storm!
Returning to those days of vulnerability when I don’t feel like the Coach my clients deserve, or at least, as the person they see in me, I make sure to secure enough time to fuel me up. However, when the weight I am carrying is too heavy and it isn’t enough; I have two extra options:
- Identify the uncontrollable and leave everything in the Almighty’s hands.
- Opening up with my clients and sharing my vulnerability, appropriately of course. I have not only found relief from the pressure of being extraordinary when I felt off, but I noticed that the relationship reached the next level of trust and safety. Even a couple of times, they immediately related to the situation, and we made a masterclass out of it, finding and discussing potential solutions for everyone.
We are human beings doing extraordinary things for other human beings. Let’s take care of ourselves, so keep on showing up everyday!
About the Author
Ana-Maria considers herself a global citizen with one mission: to empower, inspire and help others flourish.
Originally from Quito-Ecuador, she is a humanitarian, servant leader, mother, daughter, wife, and entrepreneur. Ana-Maria has built a prosperous career in business for over 25 years, covering areas like marketing, sales and customer service, projects and strategies, operations, quality assurance, non-for-profit management, and entrepreneurship across multiple industries within three different countries. Some academic achievements have also supported her professional journey: a Bachelor of Commerce, a Master’s in Strategic Direction & Innovation, and a Diploma in Telecomm Law and Management, among other international certifications.
As a Certified Leadership and Empowerment Coach, as well as a member of Certified Flourishing Coaching™ and the Global Coaching Certification Association, Ana-Maria is committed to spreading the science and abundance of the Flourishing Coaching Model® throughout Latin-America, in order to raise a generation of powerful coaches that will ignite purposeful change in the region. And as for herself, she is devoted to lifelong learning, service to others, and an eco-friendly existence.
Eagle Business Coaching™, her coaching business devoted to support mid-size and small companies since 2016, is where she thrives as a Leadership Coach. In September 2020, Meraki Coaching™, a sister company, broke into the North and Latin-American markets to serve immigrant professionals who seek fulfillment and purpose in their careers. Newcomers are a population that she relates to deeply; therefore, she seeks to make them feel valued, supported, and inspired while they thrive to make their dreams reality in their new countries.
Ana-Maria is excited to facilitate the Certified Flourishing Coaching™ Program in Columbia, Ecuador, and Mexico.