“Inspiration or desperation?” Two women take a midlife leap of fate
No one is more aware of this than Jewel Diamond Taylor.
In 1985, she walked away from a lucrative career working in human resources in the aerospace industry to pursue a calling: Happiness.
It was definitely a leap of faith. At the time, Taylor had no plan, no road map for what she planned to do, only the desire to do things differently, motivated by a man named Jim Rohn.
Rohn, for those who are unfamiliar with him, passed away in 2009, but continues to motivate people through videos, books and quotes via a website and fan page on Facebook. He made his first fortune in his early thirties and is considered a trailblazer in the personal development business, having begun giving seminars in the 1960s. Taylor was moved by his message and by the words of others, such as Tony Robbins. She recognized a lack of fulfillment in her own life, and something else: a lack of African American women in supportive roles similar to Robbins and Rohn.
There is a Rohn quote, “We generally change ourselves for one of two reasons: inspiration or desperation.”
Jewel felt both. She needed a change. She got it.
It’s still happening.
Taylor spoke recently at Sacramento’s Underground Books, sharing her story — and her book, “Shift Happens: The Main Thing is to Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing.” She spoke to a room full of women and a handful of men, most of whom were eager to believe they, too, could change their own lives; many of whom were concerned that they would be alone, and unsupported in the quest.
It was not the first time Taylor had addressed that issue, and it had long been a personal point of concern for her. She says she toured for many years with a supremely gifted and giving group of women, including Maya Angelou, and considers the kinship of women essential. She agrees that it isn’t always available, which is something she addresses in another of her books, “Sisterfriends.”
Before the afternoon’s event concluded there was discussion of Taylor returning to Sacramento to lead a women’s empowerment retreat. The store’s proprietor, Mother Rose, created an impromptu signup sheet for those who might be interested. Many books were purchased and signed, but Taylor gave far more hugs than signatures.
Support is at the heart of what a life coach provides. While Taylor spends much of her time writing and attending speaking engagements, she also works with individual clients over the phone and via email.
Pauline Haynes is a life coach based in Sacramento. I asked her to define what she did as a coach, as opposed to, say, a counselor, or therapist.
A good analogy for the moment might be to think of it like the Olympics, “Like having someone in your corner, an advocate,” Haynes explained.
Sometimes it can seem as though there is a fine line between counseling and coaching, but they are not the same.
Haynes said the best way to explain it was that “therapy looks at something as broken, and having to clean up the past. Coaching, essentially, is looking at where you are now and where you want to go, rather than things to clean up. A whole person with things they want to do.”
Haynes, too, found herself at a crossroads in life after sixteen years with the Sacramento Bee. She struck out on a journey of self-discovery that included literal world travel and led eventually back to Sacramento and a new career as a life coach.
Interestingly enough, becoming a life coach seems to benefit the coach as much as they, eventually, come to benefit their clients.
Sessions are typically conducted over the phone or via email, and involve commitment to a number of sessions agreed upon, and frequently paid for, in advance. The commitment may be limited to weekly conversations, or may include prompting in specific areas, such as a daily reminder to do something – the proverbial, “kick in the butt,” an author struggling to establish a daily writing routine, for example.
Life coaches aren’t babysitters, Haynes is quick to point out.
“Coaching isn’t for people who aren’t good at what they do, but for people who know what they want to do, but need tools to do it well. It helps people to break down barriers.”
And it isn’t a quick fix, much like a traditional coaching relationship.
“I think of people as a perfect gem. We peel back the layers until they get to where they really want to be,” Haynes elaborates, “It’s like learning to walk: the steps are often very tiny, [but] when a baby falls down, they don’t stay down, they get up and try again. You can’t be lazy.”
Underground Books, 2814 35th Street Sacramento, CA 95817 (916) 737-3333
Certified Life Coach, Pauline Haynes, can be reached at www.paulinehaynes.com
Jewel Diamond Taylor can be found through www.donotgiveup.net