How Life Skills Coaching Can Help You Stop Saying, “I Don’t Know What to Do With My Life”

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.

David Copperfield


When I was twenty years old, I entered the Catholic religious order of Jesuits to prepare for a life as an ordained priest. I was filled with idealism and determined to please my New York Irish-American parents – especially my father.

Almost twenty years later I resigned from ministry, not in repudiation of all I had done, but rather, in the conviction that there was more I needed to learn and do and that I couldn’t do it within the safe borders of religious life. I left the Jesuits not in rancor but in the conviction that I needed to “find my voice.”

When I joined the Jesuits, I thought that religious life would allow me to become the hero of my own life.  From this vantage spot today in my life, I realize that was just the first phase.

These many years later, I’m now coaching a growing number of clients who are struggling with how to become the hero of their own life. They come to me for life skills coaching because they sense their very life depends on it!

Jared (50) (all names changed) came to me for life skills coaching because he doesn’t want to become his father, who was a verbally abusive man, who only had transactional relationships with his family and had no friends.  Jared is self-aware enough to recognize that, indeed, he has more than begun to replicate his father’s ways.

Mary (32) recently sought out my help because she’s exhausted from having resisted turning into her father, a workaholic who lives to make a buck and who is controlling in his family relationships.  Mary has carved out a life for herself and her family that contradicts the career path her father demanded she march down.  Mary, though, is riddled with guilt and has become adept at sabotaging herself professionally. She wants to take back her life.

Kim( 46) was recently demoted at work, the victim of office politics. He came to me wanting to find a new job, a job that will give him money – lots of money.  Job satisfaction is his #2 priority, so he claimed.  As we explored his goals, what became apparent is that he wants money because he wants to prove himself to his father.  He’s never allowed himself to go after a job that he actually wanted because he thought it would bring deep down satisfaction – to him but not to his father.

Jared, Mary and Kim each feels frustrated, angry and helpless.

Each repeatedly said, “I don’t know what to do!”

And by that each means, “I don’t know how to become the hero of my own life.”

Each is courageously embarking on life coaching because each wants to live a life-giving life.

So, here’s what I now know about becoming the hero of your own life – and it’s what I did not know and could not have known when I was that idealistic Jesuit.

10 Things You Can Do to Stop Saying, “I Don’t Know What to Do With My Life!”

  1. Recognize the courage that was needed to get this far – which may not be where you ultimately want to be – but you’ve outsmarted some of your demons.
  1. Grieve and feel the anger for choices made that did not bring you to where you had hoped to go but do not beat yourself up. Being harsh isn’t going to aid you.
  1. Come to terms with the reality that change and newness of life will never come as quickly as you would want.
  1. Resist saying, “Yes, but. . .” when options appear in your life. The forces of darkness don’t want you to heal.
  1. Decide which pain you want – the pain of healing or the pain of self-injury.
  1. Brutally answer this question, “Who do I want to be?” Describe in detail what you would look like and feel like, how you would move and think and react.  And then make peace with the fact that that person cannot be the original version of who you wanted to be because you are changed by pain, loss and, yes, successes.
  1. Those early impulses in your life – impulses of generosity and idealism – they were real, genuine and enduring. They may have been half thought out, gingerly or callously handled BUT they are still your North Star.  How can they be reinvigorated?
  1. Expect self-resistance. Old habits resent newly forming habits especially when the new ones are healthy and effective.
  1. Believe that what you’re doing is a gift – to your self – to those within your immediate circle – to those within that small slice of humanity you interact with.
  1. Find a mentor, a coach, a “mid-wife” – someone you can trust, who you don’t have to idolize, and who can assist you in your heroic becoming.

Want help becoming the hero of YOUR life?

Have you been thinking about Life-Skills Coaching?

Let’s explore how I can help you gain massive traction on your goals!


The #1 Question Asked In Communications Coaching

I recently came across this posting by Liene Stevens on her blog, She covers trends in the event industry and here she’s talking about two of her favorite designers. You don’t need to be planning a party to appreciate Stevens’ insights –

I’m always amazed at how Beka Rendell and Kimberly Fink of Styled Creative see things. They can walk into any dilapidated venue and see it transformed into something magical. They can take a piece of what the rest of the world would consider garbage and turn it into art. This skill transcends events and design.

We see what we look for. If you look for cynicism, you’ll find a cold, hard, gloomy world where everyone is completely focused on themselves. If you look for the silver lining, you’ll find a world of joy, creativity, generosity and simple pleasures.

A few days after reading this post, I had a rather bizarre experience that brought Stevens observations home for me.

This past Christmas I threw a holiday party in my new home. Two of my closest friends weren’t able to make it. Norman lives in the South Pacific and Anthony lives in the Bay Area.

Last Friday, Norman flew into town on his way to Rhode Island. I picked him up at LAX and by the time we got back to my place it was 11:30pm. As I was pouring each of us a rum-and-coke the phone rang – caller i.d. indicated it was the building’s front door intercom.

Since I wasn’t expecting anyone, I presumed the person hit the wrong button. Moments later, the phone again rang. I ignored it. Norman asked if I was going to answer. “No, they’ll figure out what’s going on.”

But, the phone rang yet again. This time the person left a message. He sounded drunk and said he was “Roger” looking for Norman. I’m now officially annoyed as my New York instincts kick into high gear!

Norman blanches. He confesses he’d reconnected with Roger, a college friend, on Facebook and when he learned they would be in LA at the same time, gave him my address.

“WHAT?!  Phone rings. Now I answer. Yep, it’s Norman’s Roger.

It’s after midnight and I tell Norman this guy can’t stay long. As we head to the lobby, Norman announces he’s heard from friends that Roger has a drinking “problem.”  NOOO! I’ve now got a Friday night drunk on my hands!

I enter the lobby and Roger is standing outside the glass front doors –.long hair, goofy/drunk smile, holding a cake box and a “happy birthday” bag. Ugh! He’s just come from a birthday party and he wants to continue the party at my place! I frantically think  how I can get rid of him.

As I open the door, Roger grins and says, “Hi!  How ya doin?”  My smile is forced. I can’t see Norman and am annoyed he’s not stepping up. Roger just stands there, smiling, and again says “hi.”  I lamely smile back.

Norman suddenly grabs my arm and laughingly gasps, “It’s Anthony!”  Huh?

Turns out, “Roger” was my friend Anthony – and I didn’t recognize him!  He’d made no effort to disguise himself.  I hadn’t seen him in a year; he had longer hair and a scruffy look, BUT I didn’t recognize him and I’ve known him for half my life!!!!!!

The two of them had hatched this scheme to surprise me, though, neither imagined that I wouldn’t recognize Anthony. The ultimate surprise was on them!

I’m stunned as I write this AND I’m unnerved – what do we really see of reality?

Why do we see what we see and don’t see what we don’t see?


This is the #1 question at the heart of what I do in my communication skills workshops and coaching.

I wasn’t expecting Anthony. I was looking for “Roger.”

When I spoke to “Roger” on the phone, he sounded German and drunk. In an agitated state, I went to the entry door looking for a drunk, European. And that’s what I saw!

Yes, I was tired and, no, I hadn’t been drinking –  I saw what I wanted to see – a drunken college friend of Norman’s.

I’ve been thinking about this ever since.

What else distorts my vision of “reality”?

What distorts your vision of reality?!

As Stevens wrote: we see what we look for.

The Business of Confidence is the work of becoming aware of what influences the way you perceive other people, how you interpret their behavior and talk and how you engage the world.


Yes, it is the old – do you see the glass half-full or half-empty and why?

A creative person sees a glass, sees water in that glass and so sees a glass holding the source of life – water.

We see what we look for.

What are you looking for?

Is there more that you could see?!


If you want to expand your sights, become more expansive in your work and thinking,

please contact me to explore coaching options.

Saying YES! To Good Surprises

The other day a friend of mine surprised me with a generous gift. For a host of reasons, I find it difficult to accept gifts – especially generous and unexpected ones.

My instinct was to politely, firmly turn down the gift – to run from it like it was some alien, toxic matter! But I also instinctively knew that was not the right thing to do, that kindness should not be rejected.

And so with a note of thanks I accepted the gift.

In turn, my friend wrote back:

This is all part of my renewed pledge not to starve at life’s banquet. I’m on my 3rd day of 4 hours’ sleep working on a project with no end in sight, so I’m taking my joy where I can.

I’ve decided that nothing will stand in the way of celebrating what deserves to be celebrated – achievement, fellowship, friendship and love. All the time and at every opportunity.

I’m going to be a card-carrying member of the 47 percent and I’m entitled to be happy and make and share that happiness.

“Bon Courage” for the day to us all––every day.

I think we all would do well to follow my friend’s example.

What and who can you celebrate this week?

Bon courage to you this week!