I suck(ed) at life

March 15, 2010 · 11 comments

After I graduated college, I had to face reality. The days of part-time jobs, bunk beds, and sleeping until noon were a thing of the past. It was time to figure out my life. Only problem was, I didn’t know a thing about the “real” world. So I did what I thought was most logical and went through a life coaching program.

Life Coaching. Sounds pretty cheesy right? I agree it does sound a little funny, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. If you want to learn how to be a good photographer, what’s one of the best ways to learn? That’s right, it’s to be coached by someone that has some mad photography skills. So why would my life be any different than a hobby? A sport? Or a blog? Truth is, it shouldn’t.

I went through a 12 month life coaching program. Every other week, I had a 30 minute phone call with my coach. (It really shouldn’t be called “coaching” though, as my coach didn’t tell me what to do, but instead helped me establish goals and aided me in achieving them.) There were seven different aspects of life that we focused on. They were: Family, Fitness, Faith, Finances, Friends, Focus, and Priorities.

We worked through each module establishing visions and action plans to ensure personal success in each category. I ended up inputting each module in to an excel spreadsheet, and now have my entire life in one single document sitting on my desktop. Below is a snapshot of my Focus module…

As you can see I wrote out my vision of what I want my life to look like, and what steps I need to take to get there. Is anything in that spreadsheet profound? No. We all probably want to have efficient finances, a wonderful marriage, and kids we adore. It’s not the vision that makes life coaching awesome. No, it’s the action plans and accountabilty that really foster growth.

I told my coach each week what I wanted to accomplish and how I was going to accomplish it. Two weeks later when we spoke again, he would ask if I was successful in meeting my goals. It was the accountability (knowing he was going to ask if I met my goals) that motivated me to complete each action plan.

There are a lot of ‘say’ers, but not a lot of ‘do’ers, when it comes to finances. Sure, you want to be rich, you want a large income, and you want to work for yourself, but what are you actually doing to make that happen? Do you have your goals written down somewhere and someone that will help hold you accountable to said goals? If not, your vision doesn’t hold much value.

Have you ever gone through any type of life coaching or mentoring program? Did you benefit from it? If not, what system do you use to foster personal growth? Anyone out there think the life coaching gig is a waste of time?

Clarification:

Life coaching was free as it was part of a ministry of my church.  My coach did it as a volunteer so he wasn’t paid at all. I would never sign up for the infomercially type life coaching programs where they charge you $300 for some CD’s and $50/hr to talk to someone about life.

1 Investing Newbie

This is about the coolest thing I've ever heard…so far…today. No seriously, I didn't know there were some such thing as a "life coach" beyond reading Joel Osteen books or seeing him in one of those Mega-churches. Can I politely ask for you to speak more on this?

I guess I have some life goals, but they aren't concrete and I'm taking small steps towards them. If I were to start now, I don't think I would hire a life coach, but I would have an "accountability" partner with whom I could discuss my progress and who would support me through it all. Sounds like a husband, I know, but it could be a gal pal.

2 PunchDebt

Yeah the accountability is all you really need. Some one that will challenge/encourage you to succeed. The motivation they can provide really is helpful! If you have other questions feel free to drop me an email

3 Sandy L

Mentors rock. You should find someone older and wiser at work that you could go to for periodic advise. I've had many formal and informal ones over the years and I've gotten alot out of the relationships. If there's good chemistry, they'll usually learn from you too. I've only had 1 that I didn't click with and I didn't force it, I just kind of pretended like it never happened.

If you ask your boss and/or ask around, there are usually people who will help you..plus it's sometimes an ego boost for them. More often than not, they just want to pay it forward for the times they got help when they were just starting out.

I'm surprised you needed/wanted a life coach when you have had other excellent role models to turn to(mom ninja). I suppose there's something to be said about unbiased opinions..but the whole thing just makes me think of the stewart smalley skit on snl.

4 MomNinja

Thanks for the shout out! Debt Ninja is a great kid who talk with us a lot….I am one of the many who also just thought of Stewart Smalley when he first brought it up but hey it worked for him and I think in life all the people we choose to surround ourselves with are our own mini life coaches as we tend to pick people who want the same things in life. Plus when his coach leads him in the same direction I would have I can just sit back and smile with all mom's favorite thought…I told you so!

5 Jenn @ Paying Myself

Love this post! I am going to come back to it when I have more time to focus on my own goal making.

6 Larry

Hmmmm . . . when I graduated college (yes, I know, many more years ago than you), there were no such life-coaching programs. You just learned what you needed on your own, surely with help from family, friends, and co-workers, but a lot from trial and error. And generally you survived and thrived.

I honestly wonder how much of what you got from your life coach aren't things you couldn't have learned on your own (again with freely given mentoring help from family and friends as needed). And no, it's not at all the same as learning a specialized technical skill like learning to play the piano or take pictures or play tennis. But in today's Oprah-oriented, pop-psychology environment there are lot of self-styled experts out there with dubious qualifications who are all too ready to take money from the inexperienced and insecure, and only you know if this experience was worth whatever you paid for it.

7 PunchDebt

Check out the clarification at the end of my post. This was not some "pop-psychology" gig. This coaching was done through my church and was more of a ministry than anything else.

8 Larry

I believe my comment appeared before you wrote your clarification.

9 PunchDebt

Yeah it did. I totally understood where you were coming from, so I wanted to throw that clarification up for all readers. Thanks for pointing out the "sham" that is often found in "self help" programs.

10 Jin6655321

I always thought goal setting and visualizing and blah blah blah were kind of hoaky until I took a goal setting class at work. It was all about turning the vague into concrete steps. One of his example was buying a house. It struck a chord with me because a home purchase has been a "goal" of mine for some time only I never did anything about it (you know, like save money for a down payment, pay off my debt, etc.). Shortly after, I started my blog. Talking about things made it seem more real and, all of sudden, oh, what do you know, I'm debt free and in the process of buying a house!

Shouting your intentions out, even if it's into the voids of the internet, make it seem real, and therefore, more possible. And, once you say it out loud (or write it down), there's a bit of a pressure to actually accomplish it.

I pretty much stopped blogging about finance (nothing left to talk about really) and now it's more about food. Blogging about an interest gets me more excited and I find myself enjoying my hobby more.

11 Chad Arnold

My mentor is through a discipleship ministry. We meet for lunch once a week and discuss the various areas much like in your post. Accountability is key in any area of life. This a great post and a great ministry from your church.

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