How I Became a Life Coach

Sep 7, 2018

Many of you have followed along with me on every journey, job, and business venture, but for some of you, you’re new around here and have no idea who I am. So, I thought I’d write a little about me so you’ll know who you’re following and potentially working with. In addition, I hope this encourages you that if you’ve tried and failed at businesses and various ventures, have worked or are still working multiple jobs to fund your dreams, that you’re not alone.

Okay, let’s do this.

How I became a life coach.

I was raised on a farm in Danielsville, GA – a few miles north of Athens – and I’m the oldest of five children. Both of my parents have been or currently are entrepreneurs so I never knew the “9 to 5 life”. Entrepreneurship was normal for me and because of that, I think I intuitively knew I’d be working for myself one day.

When I was in high school I toggled between various career path options, which included hair stylist/salon owner, nurse, and fashion designer. I had this instinctual desire to serve other people but I also found my groove in art classes. We had one art class in high school. It was basic art and the “bad kids” got put in there when they had nowhere else to put them. That might give you an idea of how highly my high school valued art. Ha! I took art class twice because I absolutely loved it and wanted to keep building my portfolio to apply for colleges. During my senior year of high school, I made my prom dress for that year. I LOVED fashion and loved being as unique as possible. I got the “best dressed” award if that tells you how into it I was. I now wear all black or neutral colors every day and believe that simpler is better. People change.

My creative days.

Fast forward to college. I started out at the Savannah College of Art and Design studying Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing. And I didn’t love it. I thought it must be the city of Savannah. It wasn’t. I love Savannah. But I moved from Savannah to Atlanta anyway. Still didn’t love it. While I loved learning about art, fashion, art history, and being in the studio, of course, I realized that SCAD wasn’t for me. To be honest, the amount of student loan debt was adding up quickly and I did noooot want that life. I ended up with it anyway, but more on that later. After breaking down in my Sunday School class one morning, I knew what I needed to do. I transferred to the University of Georgia and moved back home with my parents. I began studying Fabric Design at UGA and I felt right at home. We learned screenprinting, hand-dyeing, weaving, and so many more hands-on techniques and it was wonderful.

I graduated with a degree in Fabric Design and then quickly realized that I not only didn’t have the money to move to New York or California to get a job in my industry – thanks student loan debt – but I also didn’t want to. However, I did want to move out of my parents’ house and live on my own. I got a job in customer service at a t-shirt printing company in Athens and found a house for rent on Best Drive. My very first home all by myself. To go from a home full of seven people to a home to yourself is a glorious thing if you love alone time. After a few months at the new job, I missed the studio. To deal with that internal struggle, I set up shop in my spare bedroom to fulfill my creative side again and Alanah Textiles was born.

Alanah Textiles

Alanah Textiles started out as a line of naturally dyed, hand screenprinted home goods including tea towels, napkin sets, and table runners. It eventually became an event rental business where I rented out napkins and table runners to weddings and special events.

My creative side was being nurtured, but the part of me that desired to serve others was lacking. I discovered yoga in college, thanks to my roommate, and fell in love. I decided, with the encouragement of my sister, to go through yoga teacher training, and that’s when I was introduced to life coaching. One of my teachers was a life coach. While I was super impacted by being coached, I didn’t think then that I wanted to be a coach. I did start thinking about massage therapy, though, as the other teacher had been a massage therapist and it seemed like something I’d enjoy. The serving side of me was finding fulfillment.

Yoga Teacher Training

In the middle of starting up AT, doing my YTT, and interning at a kid and craft store, I quit my full-time job. I was feeling pretty sick of being cussed at by customers over a t-shirt and sitting at a desk is not for me. So, I worked multiple part-time jobs including kid and craft store sales associate and class teacher, front desk receptionist at a salon, dishwasher for a local restaurant, King of Pops popsicle sales lady – not all at once but at least two at once – while finishing the YTT and doing AT.

Love Story

At the end of that year, I met my husband – turns out, we went to high school together and never spoke a single word to each other then. We dated for a year before moving to Greenville, SC for his job, which was managing King of Pops in Athens and starting it up in GVL. Because I had helped him with KoP while in Athens, I ended up helping a lot in Greenville. The textiles biz was pushed to the side a bit during that time. I was still working on it some and doing a few projects but not consistently. I was also teaching yoga at a local studio at this point as well.

We got engaged a month after we moved to GVL and while continuing to help him start up a new business in a new city, teaching yoga, dyeing textiles occasionally and participating in craft shows, I planned our wedding. You might notice a theme here: doing waayyy too many things at once.

Needing to let go.

Later that year I felt that my textiles biz might not be working anymore. It was a gut feeling and I knew I needed to acknowledge it but I didn’t want to. There’s a lot of ego wrapped up in a business you started. In addition to the guilt you feel knowing how much you’re in debt for that education and choosing not to use it. Realizing that I didn’t want to work for my husband forever, and needing to do my own thing, I chose to go to massage therapy school.

A side note:

Let’s keep a very important thing in mind here. I’m still several thousand dollars in the hole at this point in time and that’s a big reason why:

  1. I’ve always had to have lots of other jobs,
  2. I realized that textiles ain’t payin’ those bills so I gotta have some other income coming in, and
  3. My husband’s job didn’t pay for both of us AND all of that debt so I needed to figure out a better financial plan.

Hmm…let me go further into debt to get a job that (hopefully) pays more than I’ve made previously. So I did. And it paid off, but I tend to go more into debt before getting out. That’s a bit of a pattern for me.

Massage Therapy

In August of 2016, I started working as a massage therapist. I found it incredibly fulfilling and incredibly difficult on my body. I’d never been in more pain in my life than when I was helping people get out of pain. Ha! What a contrast! In realizing that I’ll cap out at some point, only able to make so much money, and my body will be in more pain as time goes on, I started highly considering life coaching. While still working full-time at the spa I had been at, I did online training to become a life coach and I’ve finally found my purpose. It took quiiiite awhile to get here.

Two years later, I quit my job, at a time when my husband was also in between jobs. Makes zero sense, right? But I believed without a doubt that this was God’s plan for my life, and that gut feeling wouldn’t go away, so I made the jump, and by God’s grace, it has worked out so far. A slow start, for sure, but I have 100% certainty that this is my path and I’m trusting in God every single day. It’s the most terrifying and most peaceful feeling all at the same time.

Where I am now.

I’ve officially wrapped up everything with textiles (closed the business, sold my inventory, and taught all final classes). I now have peace about letting it go that I hadn’t had before. I think I needed to keep trying it to make sure before finally giving it up. More on that story in another post.

Now I spend my days coaching creative entrepreneurs. I take them from frazzled and overwhelmed (something I’m obviously very familiar with) to calm and intentional. I help them take their big dreams from just that, dreams, to reality. I help them accomplish projects they’ve been wanting to complete for months. I help them get organized and not feel so crazy and all over the place. And I help them shift their mindsets to make their lives the best they can possibly be.

Becoming debt free.

In addition, I’m on a serious plan to pay off my remaining debt. Even after adding more, I’ve chipped away quite a bit and will have that completely paid off by the time I’m 30 – or 29 if I can swing it. That’s the dream.

So that’s me. It’s been a wild ride and lots and LOTS of ups and downs. If you thought you were the only one, know that is not the case. If you thought your path was all over the place, know that it’s okay to throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks. It’s all okay. You’re right where you are meant to be. Keep going. Don’t give up now.

“You didn’t come this far to only come this far.” – Rachel Hollis

If you want to share your own wild ride or if you have any thoughts or questions about mine, I’d love to hear them!

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