In college, I can remember my friends encouraging me to pursue a career as a Life Coach. Life coach??? Is that even a thing? I had plans on becoming a doctor and didn’t give it much thought as I pushed along on my way to a career in medicine.
20 years later, one medical degree, 2 board certifications, and a national medical director title - I am perhaps most proud of my role as a life coach that helps overcommitted women professionals.
But why? Was medicine not enough? I get this question frequently. The answer is, medicine is absolutely enough. But, I learned that life coaching allows me to enrich lives in a way that medicine has failed.
As a doctor, I practice neonatology and help sick newborns sustain life. On the other hand, as a life coach, I help adults do more than sustain – I help them optimize functioning and satisfaction by helping individuals to realize that they can create any result that they desire.
It was through my own battle with post-partum depression that I learned first-hand how a shift in my thinking could help me feel better. The game changer was a treatment called Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT was so powerful for me that without medication, I was able to not only heal, but to come out of the darkness stronger than ever. What an amazing transformation. It was a gift that I needed to share with so many others.
As a life coach, I build upon the Cognitive Behavioral model in my work to enrich the lives of professional women. My job is to guide my clients to understand how their thoughts control everything. Thoughts directly impact our feelings. Our feelings drive how we act; our actions ultimately give us our results.
Our automatic negative thoughts are often the thoughts that first pop into our heads when a situation arises. Often they are intimately tied to self-doubt, insecurity, and can reflexively lead to uncomfortable feelings. Sometimes these feelings are difficult to process, so we don’t. By not processing our feelings, we often develop bad habits to temporarily make ourselves feel good.
Most of us were never taught that it is OK to feel both negative and positive emotions! The extensive ability to feel and process the range of these emotions sets human beings apart from other lifeforms. I teach my clients how to process and manage the range of emotions while still living a happy life. In fact, if we allow ourselves to feel anything- we have all the power in the world. We no longer allow negative emotions to dictate avoidant behaviors.
How Could Cognitive behavioral coaching help me?
Cognitive Behavioral Coaching will help you to identify your automatic negative thoughts and the feelings that they give you. You will learn the tools to evaluate your thoughts and use evidence to decide if they are facts or not. This process then allows you the head space to generate an alternative thought. An alternative thought that will give you the feeling that you want. The alternative thought has to be one that the you believe.
Here are some things to consider to better understand how CBC is life changing. Problems in our life are often based on errored thinking. These problems are also based on learned patterns of unhelpful behavior called bad habits. We can learn better ways of coping with problems, so that we can live happier and more effective lives.
A common example is emotional eating. An individual may be overweight because she eats more than needed. Often, she is eating to numb an uncomfortable feeling that she is not willing to feel. Neuroplasticity of the brain is then patterned to crave food when an uncomfortable feeling comes up.
CBC would have the client recognize the feeling she is experiencing that is making her want to eat. From that feeling, the thoughts that are creating the feeling are identified. Perhaps she is thinking, I have nothing to do tonight. This makes her feel bored. The feeling of bored is overwhelming and she chooses to eat a pound of candy for a nice quick dopamine hit to make her feel good.
Strategies for CBC include:
· Recognizing thought distortions
· Generating alternative thoughts
· Understanding feelings
· Learning to process feelings
· Eliminating bad habits by being willing to feel any feeling
· Reframing past experiences that are keeping one stagnant
· Challenging current beliefs to live a fuller existence
· Developing new life enhancing habits
· Understanding relationships to get better satisfaction from them all
· Promoting self worth by developing a better relationship with yourself
CBC is the perfect solution for the person who believes she is destined for more…but can’t get past the roadblock. The satisfaction I get just by helping others to recognize their own thoughts is so powerful. We are all faced with problems. Having a fail proof system to handle any problem is available. I am hopeful that life will continue to get better for so many just by being open to identifying thoughts and processing feelings.
If you are a busy professional woman who can relate, please be encouraged. You can live the exact life you desire. If you need a little help along the way, consider hiring a life coach who specializes in cognitive behavioral coaching. Take advantage of one of my free consults to learn how CBC can truly change your life.