My View from 10 Years In as a Self-employed Coach

You know how they say you can call yourself an expert after ten years of doing something? I’m right here at the ten-year mark since I had my first paying coaching client in November 2009. I’m taking this moment to look and see what it feels like at this stage, at the end of a decade.

Val Nelson

I’m looking calmer than I used to feel. Haha.

There is certainly an interesting and different feeling at this stage than even a couple years ago, and a vast difference from the early days.

One thing for sure, ten years in feels amazing for me.

There’s a level of security, ease, and trust in my work life that I’m so appreciating. A settling in. Leaning more and more into a natural flow.

I think that ten-year mastery idea, and part of why ten years in feels so amazing, is about the concept of Flow.

When you’ve done something you enjoy for a long while, you are more likely to get to a state of delicious flow, where things “just happen,” or move through you, and you barely know how it’s happening.

It just feels.. natural.
Like I was born to do this.
Like a spiritual experience that I can’t explain in simple terms.

I call this feeling “natural flow” and when you get to know me, you’ll see that natural flow is a favorite topic. I want everyone to have this.

There’s a joy, a trust, a deeper knowing beyond what’s right in front of your eyes… if you allow this energy to move through you. It’s a mindfulness practice whose internal benefits build on itself year after year.

I don’t think it’s about “expert” or not (and I have issues with most uses of the word expert).

The ten-year mastery idea is about being able to fully rely on your wisdom and heart to lead the way, and even let yourself stake your livelihood on that! That’s a big trust. One that now feels easy. I feel so much gratitude for that ease as I write this.

It wasn’t easy at first. I had to learn to live on faith, and self-employment is a great teacher.

I’ll explain how it has evolved and continues to evolve, such as what I’m learning now. I even wrote a poem about it, in this post. It just showed up. Continue reading

My Facebook Sabbatical: Nourishing My Mind, Body, and Soul.

Last month, I decided to take a Facebook “sabbatical” for a month or so. (Actually a full social media break.) It’s an experiment to see how it would effect my focus, my energy, and my work in the world, similar to why one would go on a retreat — to rest and reboot. I’m still involved in the real world, available, and working, despite how it might appear to the Facebook world.

For some context, I was an active Facebook user for personal, professional, and cause-related connections, so it felt like a big decision to step away from it.

It’s now been over two weeks on the social media sabbatical, and wow, what a refreshing difference in my brain and my body, even starting from the first day. It feels great.

In this post, I’ll let you know:

  1. What was hard about the decision.
  2. The toll it was taking on me and how I came to taking a break.
  3. How I set things up to step away for a while.
  4. The benefits I’m already experiencing in my body, mind, and soul.
  5. The main thing I miss.
  6. Now what?

Continue reading

Someone Who Actually Understands Balance

Oh my, I barely have words to go with this video. Please watch it and let the inspiration and artistry sink in. Be sure to watch the exquisite ending. Wow!

What metaphors or stories does it bring up for you?

While I watched, at first I couldn’t breathe as I saw what was happening and I didn’t want anything to fall. Yikes, how will it all balance? (Like life!)

And then I just let her inner strength and calm presence find its way into me too.

While watching, part of me had a good laugh at the elusive Balance we all crave and struggle to find. Is she the only one who gets how to balance? Nearly everyone I meet says they want more balance in their lives. How do we find it? Continue reading

What Matters Now

It’s that time of year for reflection about the last year and the upcoming year. What matters now?

The world is changing so fast that sometimes it’s hard to know where to focus now, especially if you have your own business and you are considering changing course to keep up with the times.

I read this in a Seth Godin e-book from 2010.  It resonates with me still:

Dear ones, EASE UP. Pump the brakes. Take a step back. Seriously. Take two steps back. Turn off all your electronics and surrender over all your aspirations and do absolutely nothing for a spell. I know, I know – we all need to save the world. But trust me: The world will still need saving tomorrow. In the meantime, you’re going to have a stroke soon (or cause a stroke in somebody else) if you don’t calm the hell down….Consider actually exhaling.”
~Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic and Eat, Pray, Love.

I agree with her wholeheartedly.

I also think what matters now is that we all get a bit more real. Don’t worry what the neighbors will think. Let’s talk about what we care most about. It’s not always easy to do that! I get it. It’s hard for me for sure. And yet… Your heart will thank you. The world will thank you. Right? Might sound trite but it’s so true. And worth the challenge.

Here’s something we can try as concrete simple step to begin that. Start sharing what matters now for you on your social media updates and business communications. Don’t keep it to yourself. People appreciate realness. It might be safer to do this than we think. Hmm.

If you don’t know what matters to you now, here’s an exercise you might enjoy and find helpful:
Can You Name Your Focus in One Word?