In terms of investments that I’ve made in myself over the years, life coaching was not something I thought I’d ever be willing to put resources towards or even take seriously. I have really good health insurance so I can always see a psychiatrist or therapist for whatever ails my psyche. I have a great life partner that is particularly pragmatic and enlightened. I have supportive and loving family and a tight circle of friends that have seen me through a number of life experiences. But, all of that wasn’t enough.
Two and a half years ago, I found myself saying hello to an on-coming mid-life crisis, anxious, angry about having to give up a sport I loved and devoted all of my free time towards, and physically injured, with major scary surgery scheduled. The holidays were approaching and I was a bundle of unhappy nerves. My usual self-help method of a couple of tune-ups with the psychiatrist, a few weeks with a therapist and trying to talk myself out of that funk wasn’t working. I knew I was getting into deep trouble. I could see it in my partner’s face and body language and I was withdrawing into a place that was self-defeating and quite cruel. I couldn’t see my way out and things were getting worse, quickly.
During the summer of 2012, I ran into Mel at a skydiving event and we had a couple of minutes to catch up with each other’s lives. Six months later, while I was hiding from life (in the bathroom, my favorite place to regroup, don’t ask), I remembered that short chat with Mel. First one’s free, right? I’m desperate; let’s see what this life coaching is all about.
As it turns out, life coaching was the missing piece to my puzzle. Up until that point, I had addressed all of life’s issues one-by-one, usually in crisis mode. Have a big problem, fix it quickly, file it away. Mel was the one to show me that while it’s easy to narrow your focus down to the crisis du jour, it’s a much bigger deal to be able to expand your vision and capacity to see the entire landscape: the patterns of your life, and to tackle things accordingly.
As I mentioned, my approach to mental and emotional healthcare had been quick application of professional care on an as-needed basis. This is something completely different. Coaching is all about getting in the practice. Identifying life’s troublemakers, recalling methods and skills learned from coaching sessions, and applying them and seeing new, better results takes practice. Accountability is a huge factor, as well. It isn’t just enough to have a couple of chats about major life issues. It takes a whole lot of repetition, conscious focus and dedication to reset a lifetime of patterns. A great life coach facilitates that practice and makes sure you’re staying on track. In my time working with Mel, I have had a number of occasions when I found something I had already addressed was coming back up as a show-stopping issue again. Each time, however, I was getting better and faster at identifying and problem solving. Having a coach that I know only has my best interest in mind and wants to see me succeed for the long haul gives me the confidence to confront my issues, both one by one and with a big picture approach. Life coaching has been the only effective way I’ve found to learn how to do that.
In one of the lowest points of my life, Mel came in with her energy, ELI assessments and relentlessly positive approach to (pardon the language) un-fucking my shit up. I like to call her my flashlight in the darkness. She brought in illumination, focus and with her clenched tightly in my hands, the strength I needed to uncover and tackle the not-so-pleasant parts of my life that were driving my dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
When I say Mel Curtis is cheap, I mean for the invaluable return I’ve received and continuously benefit from, I sometimes think I should direct-deposit paychecks into her bank account, make small burnt offerings or build tiny, glittery shrines in her name. Am I Buddha now? Not by a long shot. But I can confidently say that I’m a happier, better version of me every single week that I put the work in and that peace and awareness is worth its weight in gold.”
– Laura Song
June 4, 2015