It was January 2020. I was rocking my child to sleep for the 100th time that night. In the last month he had two ear infections and a cold. I was at the end of my patience, of my resources and I was contemplating the end of my life.
What could I have possible done wrong in this life to deserve this suffering? What on Earth could I do more so I can end this horrible pain? The best response that came into my mind was to basically end my life. I could not go another day. Not like this.
But somehow, I managed to pull myself together and survive another night.
One year later, I am hosting workshops for moms, on how to master self confidence, I coach on a daily basis, and I just passed my first two exams with PCC scores.
The feedback for my last exam had unexpected feedback: “amazing” I think is the word Deanna used. It turns out that I passed my second exam with one of the biggest scores in CoachVille history. What? What is this? What happened in the last year that from suicide I became this good coach with this amazing environment? Let’s go back to January 2020.
A few days later, the ear infection subsided, and life was beginning to look normal. Our normal.
But then my son fell on the floor and hit his head really hard. He started chocking and for a split second I thought I was watching him die. We called the ambulance, got admitted into the hospital. Fortunately, it was just a concussion and he was fine.
I was shaken to my core. He was ok. He was alive. I was alive, but not ok.
Something clicked inside of me and my perspective shifted. I suddenly had this urge to live and to do something with my life. But what?
I wasn’t particular good at anything, I was your average person who had done some things in her life, but nothing exceptional. I was living in the shadows for most of the time, I hated being seen, but somehow I craved that from my inside.
I started this Positive Psychology specialization and things started to move a little. I understood that optimism is a skill that you can gain, and that became my little goal.
I was doing therapy for the last 4 years and it helped a lot with my anxiety, but it was still a very heavy thing for me to carry around, along with the horrible lack of sleep and suicidal post partum depression.
So I did the next best thing, and the thing that ultimately saved my life: I hired a coach. What else did I have to lose?
She sent me a video with a guy talking about play prior to our first session. What the hell had play anything to do with coaching? (oh, my innocent child, Irina, you will be amazed)
I burst into laughing, thinking how foolish everything sounded. But then, it started to make sense. Little by little I stopped laughing and I started really listening to this man. What do you mean Industrial Age? What do you mean Connected Age? What the hell do you mean that failure is the foundation of success? I would later come to know this amazing man. You may know him as Coach Dave, I know him as the man who taught me that all human being are creative and playful. I love him with all my heart, and I think everybody needs a Coach Dave in their lives.
I had my first coaching session where I launched into this “Ted Talk” about how life is hard, about how everybody seems to be good at something and I can’t even be a good mother to my child, something that was supposed to be natural. What do I have to give to this world? And then something shifted when she started talking.
It felt so powerful that 2 hours later I was researching coaching schools online, because I again started to feel this urge to do something with my life. What if I could take this massive pain of mine and transform it into something good? What if I could bring to other people what this woman brought me? It was too time consuming to go into college again to study Psychology, but also, I wanted to work with people on building their future and their life, not on their past.
I was introduced to CoachVille, sent them an e-mail, and after a 9 minute call with Deanna, she told me “Welcome to CoachVille” . What just happened? I hated being tested about anything, but she did not test me. We just talked. Why would she give me this scholarship? She didn’t even knew me. But somehow she saw something in me. Could it be?
No. My mind was running 100mph with reasons with why she needed to give me that scholarship. But no matter how, I was in.
Classes started on April 2020 and before my first class I was literally in a horrible panic attack. That’s how much school terrified me. But then it started and I heard his voice: “Hi, Coach Dave here”, my heart pounded. I started listening to him about play, about failure, about influence and I had AHA moments after AHA moments.
Basic things like listening (do you think you know how to listen? Sounds easy. It’s not.), communication skills, fears, beliefs, everything was reframed. Everything I knew about myself, about other people, about what drives us and what stops us, has been reframed with each CoachVille class.
I was in tears. I had been living in my own head for my whole life, and all these amazing things were out here. But now I found them, and damn me if I let anything slip.
Very soon I started coaching my friends, and every coaching session was like a meditation for me. I was so in flow with what was happening, but I could also see my own triggers, my fears and my limiting beliefs.
I made this decision to forget everything I knew. My mind was like a blank page now, ready for a new story to be written.
With every class Dave and Deanna gave me insights, gave me purpose and brought ideas to life that I didn’t even knew I had.
After 2 months I had my first paying client. After 4 months I had only paid clients.
How? Most of the coaching schools tell you to wait until you finish classes, until you have coached pro bono and have some experience.
No. CoachVille sends you into the world TO PLAY. To have the courage to suck at something new. To have the courage TO TRY.
Because then you can at least say you tried. Waiting to have the perfect amount of experience it’s just stalling. And for a person who was a control freak all her life, this was hard to take in. Not being fully prepared, not being perfect.
It was hard to step into the unknown. But with every step I took, I gained more confidence and I started to see myself as a person who takes action, who accepts her fears and let them guide her.
I surrendered myself to the process, and one year later, I am a whole different person.
Best part of it? My chronic anxiety is gone. POOF! Because I no longer have the need to control things. I just let things flow, and I try my best to live from the inside out, to shape my own reality.
As any human being I have my challenges. But now I have a purpose. I put my life and knowledge in the service of the world. My mission now is to help people find their best selves and to transform their life. To help them build real, long lasting confidence, that only comes from the inside. To own their value.
Coaching is not a job, it’s not even a domain. Coaching is a lifestyle. Coaching transformed my relationship with my son, with my friends, with my husband, with my parents, with my brother.
I belong now. I am heard. I am seen. I am valued and appreciated.
I passed my first ever coaching exam with a freaking PCC score. I passed my 2nd exam with an amazing 44 PCC score (take that, imposter syndrome!).
In only 10 months.
Ok, I must have a skill set that helps me a lot. But I do not think that I could have reached the place in which I find myself now without this amazing support.
Without this judgement free awareness. And most important, without this school that does not give you the SCHOOL feeling.
Do you know what mistakes and failures are called in a Practicum (exam) here? Freaking GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES. Talking about reframing mindsets.
I realise that everything that happened in my life led me to this moment, but I do think that
CoachVille was the perfect environment that supported this amazing transformation.
I wouldn’t trade it for anything, and now, with my final 6 weeks class coming, I find myself heavily nostalgic.
I look back to where I was a year ago, and if I could say something to my “last year self” is: “Don’t try to control it. Don’t fight it. Accept it. Take it. Grow from it”.
I dedicate this post to Andreea Hanescu for opening this new world for me and having the patience to guide me through the process. You are one of the most powerful women I ever met.
Deanna Stull, you are an amazing human being. You are brave, you are kind, you are such a badass!! and your support means the world to me. I would love to meet you in person and to give you the biggest hug that you ever received.
Dave Buck. Dear Coach Dave. You are a ray of light in this world that seems so dark right now. I am forever grateful that I had the chance to even speak to you, and I hope that someday, when I come to visit the US, we can have a coffee and talk about play. And also, to hug you and cry on your shoulder, because I love you voice so much, LOL :))
And last, but not least, Linda Drake. The kindness that you give to people is beyond anything I could ever imagine. You are a beautiful soul. I would love to see you, to talk to you in person, and to thank you for everything by looking into your eyes.
I love you all, and I thank you for everything that you brought into my life. If ever you have doubts about what you are doing, please return to this text and understand that you basically saved a human being’s life.