Let’s face it: There are things in your life that you know you want to change. On top of that, you have a pretty good idea what it takes to change them. Guilt derives from the behavior level, and shame derives from the identity level. And in case you’ve wondered, there’s plenty of both to go around. People, like you, for myriad reasons, are walking around with goals, dreams, and desires that they’ve been told are harmful either to their own interests, their community, or both. OR, they are told that these things are pipe dreams, a waste of time, unspiritual, etc. As a result, these go unmet.

What makes this a problem is that not only are these “advices” fundamentally wrong and lacking in context, but the natural desires which these goals and dreams are bred by, don’t go away. The thing is that these goals and dreams are the ways you feel you will satiate your deepest desires, which are understood by uncovering your motivating factors. The problem is that we move them deep down inside of ourselves, into a psychic basement, if you will, and do our best to forget about them. That can create many things, like “invisible misery,” resentment, a sense of inadequacy, self-hatred, and so on; in short, tremendous psychic damage can occur when a human being feels internally imprisoned by external influences, which of course, can adversely impact them and those around them. To make matters worse, you will project that unto other people, and as we all know, the best trait of Negativity is rapid reproduction. There’s a certain onerous and odious burden that comes with living a life you know not to be of you. You feel trapped, and over time that limited area in which you operate, becomes the new natural habitat for your psyche.

What makes this scary, is that it’s more common than you think, which is why the Health and Life Coach profession is booming. People are realizing that they don’t have to live the way that others simply prefer. And in admitting that truth, they’re also learning that it doesn’t necessarily mean they have to give up anything, including their relationships. You see, the stories we tell ourselves shape our beliefs. Our beliefs shape our identity. Our identity shapes our behavior. Our behavior then shapes our experiences, which confirm our beliefs. If you tell yourself bad stories, and find your identity from those stories, you will likely live a less-than-ideal life, captive to a vicious cycle of perpetual heartbreak, victimhood, shame, and/or mediocrity. You change your story, you change your life. Otherwise, you just have to keep carrying this undue burden; believe me, this burden is not carried well by anyone, and though some carry it better than others, it takes a psychic toll on all who carry it. When I began to pay more attention to people and watch for signs of mental health and illness, this was the common theme. For most, it typically manifested in the body. The way you do one thing, is how you do everything

Let me tell you what a Life or Health Coach is NOT: a mental health professional. Their job is a little bit of teaching with a dominating focus on habit change. If a coach suspects that you are suffering from mental illness, they must refer you to an actual mental health practitioner, or doctor, or an appropriate resource in general. In addition, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are perfect in the traditional sense; they are humans too. They have issues just like you, but the bottom line is they can help you.

A Health or Life coach (HLC) is able to draw out certain answers and confessions, which they then use to frame a better story for and with you. Granted, it is not their job to provide you with the solutions to your life. Our eyesight in the lens of life is narrow. HLC’s are able to get you to take off the tunnel-vision glasses and see a surrounding of broader possibilities. They won’t take your steps for you, neither will they do your homework for you. But they will give you the right information at the right time, and provide a better frame/perspective, cheering you on to make empowered decisions, little by little, and holding you accountable. Everything great and worthwhile has a humble beginning. The small steps you take today, make a big impact in your life tomorrow. But with that said, you will experience significant immediate near-term results with a good coach.

Imagine yourself in a small prison cell. The bars have been shut, and the key has essentially been thrown away. There are people outside of that cell telling you that’s where you belong, and giving you absurd reasons to stay. What you don’t know is that you don’t have to stay. If you simply turn around, you will see that behind you, there’s an open exit leading right outside to a sunny field of aromatic flowers, a fresh breeze, teeming with life and beaming from the rays of the sun. If you just turn around and walk out, you will experience all of that. That is what a life coach helps you do.

In his essay, “Self-Reliance,” Ralph Waldo Emerson writes of the vital importance of not being a conformist; in other words, finding your own story. The logical conclusion of the essay, along with certain elements of it, is a bit problematic, but the overall spirit of the message, as I take it, has a valid and poetic point. He urges the reader to “trust thyself,” and explains genius in a way that is not commonly adapted today. The things that only you and God understand, that are unique to you and which he gave you, which enable you to develop mastery of a craft which carries your unique fingerprint, is the essence of genius. Everyone has genius potential.

There is a deep yearning inside of you to be yourself. When you are yourself, you are happier, healthier, stronger, you likely live longer because of less stress, and you inspire others to do the same. To be yourself is to be honest about who you are, what you want, and why you want it/them, and where your boundaries lie. In other words, you live with integrity and deliberation. HLC’s help start you on the journey to do it well, and keep doing it well. They provide you with a foundation, from which to build the superstructure that is your genius; a superstructure that helps produce the results that you are looking for in your life.

Let me give you another picture: in a scene in the vintage T.V. series Longstreet, the iconic martial arts figure Bruce Lee demonstrates a unique and powerful technique that is opportunistic in nature, known as the Intercepting Fist (or Foot). Impressed by the demonstration, one of the men asks Bruce Lee to teach him. To which Lee replies, “I cannot teach you, only help you to explore yourself, nothing more.” Though there is some teaching when it comes to coaching, that’s only a small part of coaching. So if you find yourself able to be coached into a better life, through the opportunity to address unfulfilled desires and how to attain them through habit change, I speak on behalf of all coaches when I say, “you’re invited to do so.”

You may say, that the price is quite steep to hire an HLC. But I provide a counter-question: how much is it costing you not to address the unfulfilled desires in your life?