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I was going to write about Balance today. And connection to Spirit. And my longing for more on both counts. But that will have to wait till tomorrow or another time.

Because I opened up my email today and received a message that got me thinking. It was from Tim Brownson, a life coach and very funny guy who I’ve been following on the blogosphere for a while now. The subject was “Only Open If You Want To Be A Successful Life Coach.”

Now, I probably wouldn’t have opened that a few months ago. It took me years to get past my skepticism about ‘life coaching’ or ‘personal coaching.’ What exactly was it anyway? Do such coaches offer any kind of true value – or are they just scammers who’ve found a way to separate people from their hard-earned cash?

Like herbalists, anyone can hang up a shingle and call themselves a life coach. There is no official regulation. But I’ve learned that just like herbalists, there are many, many gifted individuals who are changing lives by sharing their knowledge and their gifts. (And, like herbalists, there are probably some hucksters out there – and that sucks. But it doesn’t take away the value the good ones are offering.)

In the last year I’ve discovered a whole slew of coaches who inspire me with the work they are doing. Each has a different approach, and a different personality. Some are intuitive, some are brash. Some are hilarious, some are quite serious and spiritual. The common thread I see through all reputable coaching work is this idea of aligning yourself with your core values.

Of course we all have vague notions about our values. At least that’s how it was for me. I know what I believe in. But, I realized I’d never sat down and identified the specific values that are most important to me. That most express who I am. This one exercise is proving to be transformational.

In another stroke of serendipity, just as I began really digging into naming of my core values, A Year With Myself sent last week’s module which was all about discovering your core values! If the idea intrigues you at all, check out what last week’s featured coaches have to say on the subject. Enlightening!

Back to Tim Brownson and his coaching offer. I’ve read enough of his blog to know this wasn’t some ploy to get me to open an email and buy something. So I just had to click through and see what he was talking about.

And why would I? Aren’t I a writer? An herbalist? What’s this about coaching?

I believe I shared on this blog earlier that I’m doing a bit of inner work and soul searching to find my calling for this second (third?) half of life. In other words – what am I going to be when I grow up?

In this quest I’ve put a question out to my family and dearest friends (some of you got this question I know.) I did this because I’m told that often we can’t see some of our greatest gifts because they seem like second nature.

The question was:  what do you think I’m really good at? What would you ask me for help with?  It took a while, but I got a variety of responses.

Among  the ‘writing’ and ‘organizing’ and ‘exercise’,  I noticed a strong common thread. It went something like this:  ‘Giving advice, being compassionate, encouraging, nurturing and helping people with family, relationship & personal issues, encouraging people to follow their dreams.’

Hmm, that sounded uncomfortably like that very thing I couldn’t see. All those years at Moonrise, helping friends and strangers with so much more than just herbal remedies. My instinctive urge to search my brain and experience for ideas and solutions when people share what they’re struggling with. My willingness to talk with them for hours about such things.

Well, great, I thought. What does that mean? I have to go back to school and get a degree in counseling?

That’s not gonna happen.

But official training in coaching is a bit more accessible and doable. Maybe this is the missing link? It fits with sharing my knowledge on wellness and self care too. And it feels more like me.

I’ve already imagined this huge vision that could tie in my writing, my commitment to women’s empowerment, my excitement about helping people succeed in their business ventures – with a one on one coaching service.

Tim’s email liked to a blog post where he is offering a year’s worth of free mentoring to aspiring life coaches. All I had to do was submit a comment telling him why I was the best choice for his next mentee. And why I am a special snowflake.

I almost didn’t do it – because after all I’m so new to this idea. Reading through the other comments I realized there were far more experienced, qualified candidates. But – then again – my new promise to myself is to put myself out there in different and sometimes scary ways.

Because the answer is always ‘no’ when you don’t ask. I’ve gotten that sort of ‘no’ far too many times in my life.

Sure he might laugh at me – but so what?

It was a little scary to throw my hat into that ring – and frankly I’m a little scared to publish this post and expose myself as an aspiring life coach. Because now all of you might laugh at me.

I guess I get double points toward my goal of doing one thing I’m scared of every day.