A Real-Life Coaching Session With My Life Coach

Life coaching is something I firmly believe in, 100%. Whether you’re the greatest teacher on earth or a total newbie to life, everyone needs one. Everyone needs a mentor. It’s how we grow. If you think about it, in elementary school we had teachers. In high school we added on guidance counsellors. All through life, we’ve had someone to guide us through, so it’s naive to think that as adults, we’re totally, 100% capable of everything in life on our own, not needing any more assistance. We don’t need to grow anymore.

That, my friend, is a recipe for disaster.

Whether you choose to invest in one is totally up to your own interest, money, and time, but remember that you are worth investing in. The reason why I invested in life coaching is because my growth and happiness is important to me. It what makes me more productive at work, happier among my friends, a better employee, a kinder friend, a more active athlete…it’s my everything. Without joy, I don’t know how I’d ever get through life.

the expert was once a beginner affirmation

I had the opportunity to try a beta version of e-life coaching. That is, emails are sent out regarding questions to answer every few weeks, and my coach and I correspond this way. I thought this was quite intriguing, and as a student it allows me to the flexibility to respond whenever convenient and get a gist of if this type of platform is something that works for me. If so, I’d continue with it and implement it among my own clients.

These questions were much like journal prompts–and I’m a huge journaler. I’d be happy to share with you what I’m currently working on, so here are the raw coaching sessions thus far. Answering these prompts and sharing them with you makes me vulnerable; so your respect and kindness is sacred.


Session 1:

Do you find it difficult or easy to ask for help / accept help from others?

         I find it relatively easy to ask for help, although sometimes I feel that I should look for ways to give rather than take. I know that givers tend to be the best getters!  I’m always looking for help in tasks, but at the same time I feel that certain things are better off done by myself because I know how to get it done my way. I find it hard to find the right help too because it’s hard to find someone who’s willing to take on the task or interested.


Do you find it difficult or easy to say no to people?

         It can be difficult for me to say no sometimes. I spend a lot of time analyzing and calculating, and sometimes in decision paralysis! Whenever presented with a opportunity, I consult my life planner—always before I commit to anything. When I commit to something, I really commit. I don’t dabble. I want to take it seriously both for myself and that other person. It’s easier to say yes when I have more time on my hands and harder when I’m boggled down with other tasks. On top of that, I need time to ground myself. If I don’t I feel crazy and out of control!


If you needed someone to come and get you from the hospital after a minor accident, who would you call and why?

         I would most likely call a friend that drove, mom, or just uber home. I don’t have a good relationship with my mom and I absolutely do not want her getting all up in my sh*t, frantically berating/worrying/stressed out about me because when that happens, she hovers over me forever. I don’t need that negative, frantic, concerned energy. It stresses me out. In fact, one of the things about living away from parents is that being away from that allowed me to blossom and allowed mistakes—beautiful mistakes that I don’t even call mistakes. They were experiences.

A friend would be more understanding; after all, we all get into accidents here and there and it’s totally common to visit the hospital after a minor accident. They’d be chill with it and much more inviting. I’d be much more comfortable in the presence of someone optimistic and loving and kind—those positive vibes are what fosters my own growth and calm.

Otherwise, I just may uber home—I don’t have a lot of friends (and nevermind friends that drive!). I’ve grown up on my own, alone, solo—I know I can pull up my big girl panties and get along with life, even though it may be hard at the moment since the company of a friend is always comforting, I know I won’t be given anything I can’t handle.


“I have a gift – not a burden” — Can you tell me a bit more about your gift? How would you describe it and how does it positively impact your life and the lives of others?

         I’m an empath. I take things to heart. I am sensitive to other people’s energies. In this way, I am able to get a sense of the nature of other people without their words directly. I have a huge heart and I see everyone with compassion and empathy. At the same time, I attribute all negative outcomes to myself. If someone didn’t call me back or canceled on my last minute, I blamed myself and not the circumstances, or them. I blamed myself for not being entertaining enough or deserving of them. Feeling too much can be a blessing, or a curse, but only you have the choice to make it so. This past year I’ve crawled out of the self-sabotaging thoughts through spiritual affirmations, like “What’s meant for me will not pass me.”, and “Some people are meant to be in your life for a lifetime, a season, or even a brief second.” And those that have not stuck by me were not meant to. I will attract the right people in my life, and weeding on those that aren’t on the same vibration is actually nurturing my growth!


Homework: VIA Inventory of Signature Strengths

This assessment will take about 30 minutes. Go to https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/ and create a username and password. Then go to the Questionnaire Centre, which you will find under the ‘Questionnaires’ tab at the top. From there, choose the The VIA Inventory of Signature Strengths. Once you’ve finished the VIA, take a look at your Top 5 strengths.


Results: (Dec 27 2018)

Your Top Strength

Perspective wisdom –

Although you may not think of yourself as wise, your friends hold this view of you. They value your perspective on matters and turn to you for advice. You have a way of looking at the world that makes sense to others and to yourself.

Your Second Strength

Gratitude –

You are aware of the good things that happen to you, and you never take them for granted. Your friends and family members know that you are a grateful person because you always take the time to express your thanks.

Strength #3

Hope, optimism, and future-mindedness –

You expect the best in the future, and you work to achieve it. You believe that the future is something that you can control.

Strength #4

Kindness and generosity –

You are kind and generous to others, and you are never too busy to do a favor. You enjoy doing good deeds for others, even if you do not know them well.

Strength #5

Fairness, equity, and justice –

Treating all people fairly is one of your abiding principles. You do not let your personal feelings bias your decisions about other people. You give everyone a chance.


Interesting—because i’ve taken it back in the past (Feb 23 2018) and this is what I got:


Your Top Strength

Judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness –

Thinking things through and examining them from all sides are important aspects of who you are. You do not jump to conclusions, and you rely only on solid evidence to make your decisions. You are able to change your mind.

Your Second Strength

Citizenship, teamwork, and loyalty –

You excel as a member of a group. You are a loyal and dedicated teammate, you always do your share, and you work hard for the success of your group.

Strength #3

Caution, prudence, and discretion –

You are a careful person, and your choices are consistently prudent ones. You do not say or do things that you might later regret.

Strength #4

Fairness, equity, and justice –

Treating all people fairly is one of your abiding principles. You do not let your personal feelings bias your decisions about other people. You give everyone a chance.

Strength #5

Love of learning –

You love learning new things, whether in a class or on your own. You have always loved school, reading, and museums-anywhere and everywhere there is an opportunity to learn.


         I love that in my life I am becoming more and more grateful. This year in particular I’ve become less critical through practicing spirituality. I’ve invested in manifestation/law of attraction and also a life coach and have grown so much! Gratitude is the propelling force for me to do anything in life—to have zest for the things I do, to take time to say hello to strangers and hold doors open to them—to see the goodness in even the worst depressions. I think with gratitude, you can elevate all of the other characteristics/strengths (fairness and equality, love of learning, etc etc).


Homework: How does / has fear motivated you to accomplish things in life? Give this a think a write a bit about the role of fear and what it has given you in terms of getting s**t done 🙂

         Fear leads to guilt and shame, and those three emotions ring high in my life. They’ve been the cause of every anxious and depressive feelings in the past. It reminds me to get things done or deal with a certain task and it won’t go away until I “solve” the problem. Even though it acts as a constant reminder, it also takes me away from the present moment, and giving 100% to my current task. I can’t focus on other things. I can’t be at peace with myself. I feel tight in my mind and also in my muscles. I’m irritated and distant. I cry at the drop of a hat. This year more than anything, I am working on inspired motivation instead of fear-driven motivation.



What are a few specific (no more than 5) goals or habits you’re working on in your life right now? For example, do you have mini fitness goals or are you trying to wake up at a certain time or meditate more often or make new friends or whatever?

  • Manifesting $ and friends/Positive thinking
  • Finding a video editor
  • Finding a fulltime job in April that I resonate with and that pays $20/hour or more
  • Becoming more mindful in my eating
  • Finding my soul tribe

Session 2

(Coach V wrote me a response to my answers; some of which I’ll leave out. The text is red will always be her words and the text in black, my responses):


Hi, V!

I’m glad to hear that you’re doing well and welcome back from Vaycay!

In response to your observations:

  1. I try not to give with the expectation of getting anything back as much as possible. Releasing attachment to ANY outcome in life is what i’m working on. I can only focus on my actions and not the results. This is something I’d like help on when it comes to the SMART goals. I meditate releasing of outcomes when I find myself getting way too stressed. 
  2. Do I get analysis paralysis? HECK TO THE YES. I keep going over and over repetitive thoughts; hot or cold shower? Should I do this or that? Should I do the BEFORE that or that BEFORE this? Sometimes it’s ridiculous but I just want the best results. At the end of the day, deep in my heart I know that no matter which path I go I will not be lead astray and I am safe, what’s meant for me will not pass me and I can make anything I want happen, happen. But still–I worry and think obsessively. I think my mind just likes something to chew on…
  3. My boundaries with mom are wonky. I had an epiphany moment this week that she is the physical manifestation of my inner darkness and insecurities. If I can face her, I can overcome my inner obstacles. What a blessing I have someone tangible to practice on! She’s 100% triggering to me and I need to set boundaries with her, but she doesn’t respect those boundaries, doesn’t keep her promises, and especially when she’s not in the brightest mood (and sometimes she is not), she hits all my sore points and it crushes any self-confidence I’ve built in the time I haven’t seen her face. I then hate myself, hate her, and just want to hurt myself. I can’t tell you how painful it is and how frustrating it is. I’ve rarely ever been so hurt in my life by her. I know in my heart I have everything I need to overcome that mountain. I have a light in my heart that I refuse to let her or anyone dim. She is my inner Goddess and I feel her presence on my runs, when I wear fancy new outfits, when I meditate, when I act, when I see something beautiful, and in the genuine smile of an innocent child.
  4. I like to set goals and have an accountability system, like reporting to a coach or friend. I love having a cheerleader and being reminded of my strengths as I often forget how awesome I actually am. I’m successfully making inspired-motivation rather than fear-based motivation.


This is a great list of wonderful things you’d like to see happen in your life. But I’m going to be annoying and say that some them aren’t really goals since they aren’t SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely). Finding a full time job in April that pays $20+ / hour checks all the boxes. The others need a bit more refining.    

  • Manifesting $ and friends/Positive thinking
  • Finding a video editor
  • Finding a fulltime job in April that I resonate with and that pays $20/hour or more
  • Becoming more mindful in my eating
  • Finding my soul tribe

Example: Becoming more mindful in my eating.

Are you wanting to eat more slowly, eat with fewer distractions, savour / enjoy food more, or all of the above? Any of those can be broken down into individual actions, which is how you change a behaviour in a way that sticks, leading to goal attainment.

Good point. When I made those lofty goals, I honest to God didn’t exactly have the answers myself, but just felt it was something I wanted.

Becoming more mindful in my eating: Chewing my food until it’s liquid before I swallow it at the minimum, and when I’m not busy at work/in class then, no electronics or distractions for at least 20 minutes! Also, I want to take 3 breaths in and out and say, “I love my food and my food loves me.”. But again, my minimum is to chew my food thoroughly before swallowing–I think that is a fantastic start.

myself eating

Finding a job in wellness with a pay of $20/hour or more: Yup–still keeping this one. I’m busy with school at the moment so I’m not actively job searching, but I am scripting it in my journal as if it’ll happen for sure 🙂 Manifestation/law of attraction work.

Finding a video editor: I’ve made it a point to reach out to 1-2 people a week to see if they’re interested in taking on the project and I’ve gotten a few responses so far. This is the action I’m taking, and I’m releasing the attachment to the outcome of getting a video editor hired. But I know with the action I’m time, I will in time.

Finding my soul tribe: Okay, I’m stumped on this one. I don’t know how. I’m preoccupied with school and work and there’s so many events I would attend if I wasn’t so busy. What I can do is continue to express my gratitude to my coworkers and during event-planning, keep an open channel to everyone who comes by to buy produce (I work event coordination at the farmer’s market once a week). Any advice, V?

Positive thinking: I’m journaling and meditating so this is a good start. My affirmation whenever doubt or fear comes up is, “I deeply and sincerely trust myself.” For now, I want to focus on the other goals as I’m sure they will contivate more confidence in myself and raise my positive thinking skills. 🙂


Analysis Paralysis: Okay! Sounds like a juicy area to work on 🙂 You sound like a maximizer (If you want to know more about that: https://gretchenrubin.com/2006/06/are_you_a_satis/) For homework, practice making any decision, quickly, and just going with it. Practice first with safe-to-fail situations, like if there are two ways you can walk somewhere, just pick one and go. You’ll end up at the same place no matter what. Or, when you’re getting dressed and you need “a shirt” – just get one. Even if you’re unhappy with your choice, research shows people are happier having made a choice rather than being stuck in indecision.

This sounds like a fantastic idea! Often, I guilt myself for not doing something; I like that I can reframe it as, “I made a decision instead of wasting time procrastinating the action part just because I want to maximize a situation. That book by Gretchin Rubin I’ve read in the past and it’s one of the best books I’ve read! I definitely am a maximizer. I’m letting go of the notion of a “perfect” choice.

I’ve taken initiative in setting up a date with someone off of social media and local to my city that I admire. I like that we both have the commonality of being passionate about mental wellbeing, so we’re meeting for coffee soon! I also host yoga and walks on Mondays and 2 select Fridays so I’m excited to see the turnout. I’m involved with a bunch of clubs and events on campus like the Farmers Market and Show Choir. All these aspects of me reflect the type of people i want to connect with in my soul tribe; people that have creativity, are kind hearted, and/or passionate about physical and mental wellbeing. I’m taking all the aligned actions and it’s only a matter of time before a soul sister appears! I’m trusting the process.

Mindful eating has been going well thus far! I make it a point to chew my food thoroughly before I swallow and it’s not always the easiest thing, but my digestion has been feeling so much better. I don’t always get to eat without electronic distractions, but I sure make an effort and when I do, I feel so much more at ease; it’s like the outside noise disappears in my head. I’m going to continue to do this! I’ll be honest; I keep checking my watch to see if 20 minutes are up because I get excited about wanted to turn on a TV show or podcast to listen to while consuming my food but I’m okay with that progress so far. 20 minutes to a happier me. 🙂  This is something I’m happy to continue to do! I distinctly remember one particular day where I ate in a different environmental setting and I didn’t even WANT to turn on a youtube video after 20 minutes. Wow, did that ever surprise me. It’s all about releasing the expectation of an outcome and just doing the action–I love it when I surprise myself and end up going above and beyond.


There are days when I don’t meditate, eat mindfully, or journal due to life’s busyness and I feel incredibly guilty and neurotic the entire day, ruminating and shaming myself. How can I let go of these expectations of perfection? These habits were meant to improve my life; they’re healthy; but I’m feeling that I’m beginning to clutch onto them like they’re obligatory and if I don’t have them on as a lifesaver, I’ll drown. Hallpppp!”


Session 3:

First, let’s check in:

How is the Satisficing going? Have you found opportunities to practice making easier choices?

I have been practising just choosing and going with it; but I’ve also been really stressed out especially the past few weeks because of culminating rehearsals, shows, exams, and work. I notice that I start to binge-eat during times like these to numb out and procrastinate! I have given the option of doing a task two ways and often overcomplicate things, so I’m starting small with the smaller decisions, like whether or not to eat my packed lunch or just go impromptu the day of (usually it’s the former!). Something that I try to tell myself is, “I trust myself. No second thinking. I’ve already decided and there’s no room for opening up this case again.” This saves me so much time and energy and MENTAL RESOURCES for things more worth my time–like homework!


How is the Mindful eating going? It sounds like you have some pretty solid habits started and have noticed improvements with digestion. Really good self-awareness about eating in a different environment… it’s a good idea to keep working on those tweaks. Have you read Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard by Dan and Chip Heath? It’s one of my fave books, and their approach has three parts – one of the parts is ‘shape the path’ which is all about changing your environment to make change more conducive.

My gosh, no! But that’s now on my TO READ LIST. The mindful eating has taken a bit of a back seat. I don’t always have the mental strength to want to do everything on my “to do list for mindful eating” but I haven’t compromised the chewing thoroughly part; making an effort to breathe 3 times and also say that I love my food, and also have it without electronic distractions has been on and off but I give myself the most immense grace for this and I’m excited to add it back to my routine when I get some other things off my plate (pun intended!)


“There are days when I don’t meditate, eat mindfully, or journal due to life’s busyness and I feel incredibly guilty and neurotic the entire day, ruminating and shaming myself. How can I let go of these expectations of perfection? These habits were meant to improve my life; they’re healthy; but I’m feeling that I’m beginning to clutch onto them like they’re obligatory and if I don’t have them on as a lifesaver, I’ll drown. Hallpppp!” 

I will hallppp! Yes, this is a real problem, that many people find themselves in. As I’m sure you know, the Buddhists are very suspicious of any clinging, as it makes everything harder.

How do you approach the time management piece with meditation and journaling? I know as a student your schedule must be all over the place, but the reason I ask is because:

  1. Scheduled things get done more often and,
  2. Anything that’s personally important (i.e. the stuff that can easily get swept away by life’s busyness) is usually more successful if done earlier in the day. That doesn’t mean you need to do it at the ass crack of dawn, but perhaps shifting things (if you can) so that those important self-care bits come first might help ensure they get done.

How can you let go of your expectations? By managing your expectations, of course! Tell me, how many days per week are you trying to get this stuff done? Daily (i.e. 7 days per week)? I find it really helps my clients to think about goals in ranges like this:

  • Optimal:
  •  7 days per week
  • Good:
  •  5 days per week
  • Okay:
  •  3 days per week

This way, you’ve acknowledged, in advance, that shit can happen. Maybe it’s that you’re too busy, or something unexpected happens, like you wake up sick that day and need to reclaim time for sleep. Giving yourself permission in advance not to be perfect can help a lot.

I try to get all my stuff done earlier in the day! All that exercise, journaling and meditation, for example on a daily basis. I want to let go of my expectations. I know I can and I will. I don’t really rate my week; I usually rate my days. I suppose if I were to rate my week, Optimal would be 7 days, good would be 5, and OKAY would 3–just as you put it in the point forms. I can easily keep track of this (and I do!) in my life planner. IN fact, looking back on the weeks previous, I did everything I’ve planned for about 4/5 days out of the week, which puts me at a GOOD! I think it’s important for me to look at the bigger picture (the whole week) instead of the smaller pieces (day by day). I know this is something I’ll be in constant need of reminding when my ego steps in to guilt me.


Do you notice yourself saying things like “I should meditate” or “I have to journal”? If so, switch up your self-talk to “I choose to meditate” or “I journal because it helps me” The more you can focus on the fact that it’s a choice, and it benefits you, the less opportunity for guilt to take over. I’m not saying you won’t feel guilt, in fact you probably will, but it’s about turning it into something constructive instead of having it take over.

I definitely have days I SHOULD myself! And on those days I tend to be more grumpy because of something that’s happened, or stressed out. Then everything that i enjoy becomes a should instead of a “get to.” This is something I’m totally conscious of! During those times, I want to realign myself by getting into a happier mood; that way I will WANT to do anything and everything. 


Piggy backing on something for last time that could help here is process goals. Of course, we do self-care things for outcomes (feeling better, being less crazy, etc) but you could also start giving yourself props for making the choice to do the thing, regardless of the outcome. Like maybe you sit down to meditate for 20 minutes, and you feel super unsettled, and then give up after 5 minutes to do homework instead… you can be annoyed with yourself for all that, or you could say “I tried, I made the effort, and even though it wasn’t what I wanted I still got 5 minutes done.” So, look hard for opportunities to focus on what IS working with these habits, instead of how they aren’t perfect.

Good point! Showing up is doing the work itself. I never feel like I’ve done it enough or I’m cheating myself because I don’t get the results I’m looking for and it’s a waste of time (“why bother at all?!”) but I also firmly believe that the more I show up, the more likely I am to eventually get it done, and showing up is a habit that can become ingrained in me. I will use the same scale for mindful eating ? Using the same scale! For now I’ll focus more on the chewing, the saying and the breathing and even if I’m not in a “state of total bliss” when I put the fork in my mouth, I’ve shown up.



Stay tuned for upcoming sessions! Will I eat mindfully, or find my soul tribe? OOooohhhh…

Who do you consider a mentor in your life? What grade was your favourite grade growing up and why?