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I’m never going to forget my coach’s words 10 years ago. He stressed from the beginning of our relationship that worrying about hurting my sensibility or making me feel extraordinary wasn’t his job. It was mine, and he made it very clear when I asked him with mixed feelings to tone it down a bit, and be nice to me. He couldn’t see the tears overflowing my eyes or the nervous smile tilting at windmills. I know today, he didn’t have to.

“You can go and get a box of Kleenex, but know that although I will support you all the way, I’m not here to be ‘nice,’” he said bluntly over our introductory phone session. “Life has already been more than “nice” to you. Now, it’s time to work toward your most grandiose achievement.”

It shocked me. I was sensitive. I cried some more in silence, while making a huge effort to hear his words. I missed the exact moment he switched subjects to briefly talk about his daughters, or the exact time he softly transitioned into asking me questions that reminded me of my own blessings, family, jobs, and life in general. But his message was still latent. And so it was my choice to work with the only person who dared to tell me that if I didn’t get serious, take the right steps to success, and follow the system I was to implement for my plan, I would have a very hard time accomplishing my new goals. However, if I maintained focus and applied tools that perhaps I didn’t have the need to use before in my career and family life, I would be able to really see what “nice” was all about. I would be able to take my life, to an even higher level; and, with it, everyone else around me.

This was his way of establishing his parameters, so that I could have clarity into our professional journey together. It wasn’t time to socialize, to make new friends, to test a new job, or see if I enjoyed a new approach. This was a thunderous change in my daily routine, in the way I’d been carrying my life until then; this was to shake me from inside out and expel me right out of that perfect-for-now box I had built for myself. It was time to know if I really wanted it or not. All my coach asked of me was to decide whether I was 100% confident and if I had the answer to the “why” I wanted to take new steps. Clear understanding of these two factors was key, in order to reach measurable and proven results.

I had already been in college, four times (that’s another story). I had already studied two and a half majors, had a couple of degrees and certifications, and had taken numerous continued education courses. I had happily worked in the fields of Communications and Journalism for several years, under various capacities, ranging from intern to management, to teaching higher education. I had already built a family that was prospering and growing. I had reached one of the most precious American dreams, which is to be able to own a real estate property at some point in a lifetime. And all was done organically, with hard work, ups and downs, and from scratch. What next?

My life goals did not end there, but I was in a comfortable zone that took me a few years to detach from. It was too comfortable. The excuses were too easy. I didn’t have an immediate need. Until one day, I had to move to a new city to maintain my family together (another long story).

For years, I had been designing courses, writing or creating programs for teens, immigrants, women, new entrepreneurs, writers, millennials, and baby boomers, in both English and Spanish. I incorporated in my courses material to help my students and coaching clients find their own gold mine, often deeply hidden within each of us. This was possible by utilizing a system that included phases of self-discovery, fieldwork, mind-nourishment, brainstorming, planting and harvesting, and results sharing with peers, family and friends. All this can easily be applied to individuals and businesses. But the question was always how do I apply all this to me? How does a doctor operate on him/herself? How does a massage therapist work on him/herself? How does the hand hold herself?

The journey was not one to take lightly. I had to learn to walk with construction boots so my feet wouldn’t get hurt, and to be able to kick any obstacle, any down time and any negative influence that would distract me from my focus. But my coach also gave me elegant sandals to wear. He gave them in the form of soles with plain design. I was to decorate them with ribbons and precious stones and add heals, as high or short as I felt I could walk on them.

Years later, fast forwarding to today where I have five plus one-on-one clients a week, a full calendar with items ranging from family, autodidacticism, fitness, webinars, workshops, marketing, online content development and book writing, I still have to make adjustments. I still have to switch shoes to walk me through the different types of steps I have to take daily. And, yes, I still need a box of tissues nearby in case my tears escape while trying to balance it all, or while listening the story of someone who is just choosing his/her shoes to pack in a new Life Coaching journey.

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