how i became a goal coach
July 24th marks the one year anniversary of in a sequoia. To mark the occasion, I'm sharing the hows, whys and whats behind this business with intention every Friday leading up to the big event. To start, I'm sharing the story of how I became a goal coach, going way back to 2012.
If you're in the Vancouver area, be sure to celebrate in person at Growing Taller.
It was the start of my third year at Simon Fraser University. At this point, I had found my groove in school, enjoyed what I was learning and saw myself heading towards a career in the non-profit world. Ideally examining issues of poverty and homelessness, because I wanted to make a difference in the world and thought NPO's were the only way.
I was young, don't blame me.
That November I attended Beyond Pink, a two day conference jam-packed with inspiring keynotes, hands-on workshops and thought-provoking development sessions. I don't even remember registering for the goal setting workshop but it was on my schedule of events when I arrived and sounded interesting enough. Walking into that workshop was the first time I met Chloe Gow-Jarrett. As the go-to goal woman at lululemon, she lead a group of us through their traditional goal setting practice. Safe to say, it was a moment that drastically changed the path I was on. I loved every minute of her workshop. I don't think I had ever felt more connected to who I was and what I ultimately wanted to do with my life. Though at this point what I wanted to do had nothing to do with goals, yet.
I became goal hungry from that day on. Not only to work towards achieving the goals I set that day but to learn more about the idea of 'goal coaching'. I began to read every lululemon blog post with a goal tag and online "stalked" another one of their go-to coaches, Jacki Carr. I'd revisit my goals every four months or so. I read my vision at least once a week and when I started slipping in that habit, I stuck it right where I did my hair and make up so I'd be forced to read it when I got ready. The more I got into it, the more I began to adapt my own methods, such as the day I realized I needed to look at my values alongside my goals.
In 2013 the next life-altering shift happened: I landed the internship at lululemon. Though I was on the Communications team (because the plan had changed from NPO's to Public Relations), I connected myself with members of the Learning & Development team (aka, goal central) very quickly. I got to chat with Chloe again, and on a more personal level (the day I met Jacki Carr in person, I completely fan-girl'd out and embarrassed myself horribly). No goal coaching session or goal chat was turned down by me. I took advantage of the lululemon library and read book after book even remotely related goals. Those around me began to notice just how much vision and goals lit me up. Near the end of my internship, I began to entertain the idea of infusing goals into my career. But in my head, the only possibility I saw was a path that began and ended with lululemon. I couldn't see how a goal career would be feasible outside the already established culture.
When the internship ended and I returned to school, I suffered major goal withdrawal. In fact, out of all my amazing experiences that summer being able to chat about goals was honestly the thing I missed the most. I set up a coffee date with Chloe within a month of leaving lululemon. Not only because I needed goal talk, but I wanted to explore the idea of working on the Learning & Development team further.
This is the third moment of my life I am eternally grateful for. I loved the idea of coaching others on goals, but I was letting fear hold me back from even believing in the possibility. Again, my thinking was wrong. I couldn't see how I would be able to become a coach so I didn't think there was a way. After all, there's no "goal coaching university" or a step-by-step guide on how you could justify labeling yourself a coach. So how would it possibly happen? I expressed my feelings to Chloe that rainy afternoon in a noisy Bean Around The World. The four word answer she gave me was the clarity I desperately needed:
"You just do it."
It was simple and I was already on the right path. She told me to start by learning from what you can: books, blogs, other coaches. Be coached by as many people as possible to get a sense of their different style and ideas. Then coach as many people as possible. Never stop practicing and never stop learning.
So that's what I did.
For a year, I offered free coaching to all my friends. Or really, anyone who would take it. I'd devise exercises and tips so that they would feel confident and excited about the goals they set. I partnered with an organization called Trade School to lead a workshop on a barter instead of cash. I kept attending goal setting workshops. I kept reading. I discovered other names in the world of goals, such as Danielle LaPorte, and found great value in the teachings of Marie Forleo. It took me a while, but I realized that my work was leading to something of value and I slowly began to feel confidence in my ideas and practices.
It had now been two years since I took part in that first goal setting workshop at Beyond Pink. Two years of investing in goals. The thought of being paid for my coaching was no longer a dream, but a goal. In fact, I was beginning to practice calling myself a goal coach. Believe me, that took some getting used to. But I did it. I gave myself the label. So what next?
I was confident in the idea of 'Megan as Coach', but had no clue how to turn it into a career. The idea for the business and brand of in a sequoia hadn't began to form at this stage on my journey. But we'll get there.