Life coach, life transition therapist, life engineer… whatever name they go by, life coaches help people overcome personal obstacles and set goals for the future. I like to think of them as a therapist that can yell at you when you’re making shitty decisions. I spoke to one Charlotte life coach about firing clients, buckets of feces and finding a vibrator in the same box as an Elf on the Shelf. Here are her confessions:
What’s the most common issue you help people with?
I help people get unstuck. This means I’m there to catch someone during those eating glass sounds more fun than doing this anymore moments. Whether it’s a job change, life change, marriage, relocation, chuck-it and move to a hut in the woods, I support people in identifying it and making it happen.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you at work?
Because my every day involves having conversations about my clients’ deepest, darkest secrets (while most of the time I’m in their homes going through their “stuff,”) I don’t think anything is weird. From anal beads to dead animals to a shed decorated arsenal style with piles of bullets and a thick book including the Unabomber’s plan… I’ve seen it all. At this point, the only thing that would be weird is if it took me more than five minutes to see or hear something that isn’t weird.
Tell me about your most challenging client.
All of them, because I have to push people to their limits to do my job well. My favorite clients are the ones who yell and get angry with me, cry a lot and then thank me profusely at the end because I actually helped get their freedom back.
Are there some people that you just can’t help?
Very rarely, but yes. These are the people that don’t want to be helped or are simply not ready. Most of the time I’m able to filter out the please help me but I don’t actually want it clients before I start. But this one guy… I created endless (and completely doable) solutions to fix his issues. He would then get pissed at me when I was straightforward with him. After the fourth attempt I had to fire him! He tried convincing me that his personal life had nothing to do with his work life (nice try, Buddy). Trying to change something that’s not working requires us to carefully study ALL of our personal crap. It can be ugly, but it’s necessary.
What’s the best part about your job? The worst?
The best part is helping people make serious change! I’m able to (literally and figuratively) take the weight off lives so my clients can be, do and see what they want. The worst part is knowing and seeing so many people wait until it’s TOO LATE. (Health fails, someone they love dies, etc.) I desperately try to teach away from waiting for retirement or the assumption that you need millions in the bank to start X, Y or Z. Unfortunately, it seems to always take a huge tragedy to fully wake people up.
I know you work with a lot of hoarders; how common would you say hoarding is in Charlotte? What’s the worst case you’ve worked on?
Hoarding is equally as common in Charlotte as in every other city in America. There are millions and millions of people who live in hoarding situations, and these are not “gross” or poor people. Trust me, you have no idea you live next door to a hoarder. Some of the nicest houses on your block are war zones inside. Whether it’s shopping, boozing or collecting, these compulsive/addictive habits are often based from traumatic life events.
As for the worst case… stepping over 5-gallon white buckets full of human feces comes to mind.
Any other confessions?
I once traveled out west to help a client unpack in her new house. As I unpacked a bin of Christmas decorations there was her vibrator… right next to the Elf on the Shelf. She was mortified, but my response of course was “Really? Do you think this is the first vibrator I’ve seen this month?”
I also have a lot of conversations that start with “I’ve never told anyone in the world this before, but…” A few examples: “I’m actually gay,” “I hate my life,” “I hate my wife/husband” and “If I could choose all over again, I would’ve never had kids.”