Building Life Skills with a Life Coach
Long after I had been cured of a panic disorder and agoraphobia by an Indigenous Medicine Man from the Pala Indian Reservation and I was well into uncovering what my triggers were, helped by my then therapist, I had realized that I had no life skills. I had no self-esteem, self-confidence, and zero self-worth. The whole ordeal left me both emotionally and spiritually bankrupt.
I did all this beautiful spiritual work with the Medicine Man, attending sweat lodge ceremonies weekly for a couple of years after the initial ceremony with him. I learned a lot about my spiritual wellness and restoring my faith. My sessions with my therapist at the time were focused on trapped emotions related to past traumas, losses, and abandonment issues, which were all factors in figuring out what my triggers were. My work with both my therapist and the Medicine Man focused on my current wellness and healing the past, but what about building my self-worth and confidence? It was then that I realized that I had no life skills or tools to help me navigate through life.
A therapist’s job is to help the person uncover and deal with their mental struggles and issues, not to necessarily build your self-esteem, but what can someone like me or anyone else out there do to build or re-build a good healthy foundation within themselves if they were never given one? Let’s face it, if we had self-confidence or self-worth prior to these conditions, a panic or mental disorder would do a good job to shatter it quickly.
So, I had an opportunity to sit down with Life and Wellness Coach, Victoria Marie, to discuss what a life coach is, what they actually offer their clients and how it can help give us life tools and build our sense of self-worth and self-esteem.
Shawna: Hi Victoria. Thank you for spending time with us today. What is a Life Coach, and why would someone hire a Life Coach?
Victoria: I would actually like to explain a bit about both a Life Coach & a Wellness Coach. A Life Coach is a “wellness” professional. A professional who assists people in making their desired progress in their lives to attain greater fulfillment and/or reach a specific goal. A Life Coach creates a personal strategy that targets the client’s unique skills & gifts.
A Wellness Coach helps a client develop personal strategies for improving their overall health mindset, including movement/exercise, identifying ways to improve eating and intake as well as a healthy emotional mindset.
Depending on what is going on in a person’s life and what they want to achieve will determine which type of coach they select.
Why hire your specified Coach?
A Coach is a trained, certified &/or credentialed professional who assists in identifying the blocks, challenges and opportunities the client has not been able to move through. Many Coaches are accomplished in their own lives and are keen at asking key questions to unlock the client’s potential. We are very good listeners to not only the verbal cues but the non-verbal as well. If someone wants more in their life than they are getting, a Coach will strategize the action steps and keep the client accountable to themselves.
What I do is a combination. My business is Life & Wellness Coaching by Victoria Marie. And what & why it is important, I am a trained professional who utilizes an integrative approach to healthy lifestyle changes to elevate the full spectrum of a person’s life. I believe that a person’s business, love life, or any type of relationship cannot thrive in longevity if the person is not in a well-balanced state of being. And that also includes the aspect of spirituality.
Shawna: What would you say is the biggest thing that holds people back from pursuing their goals or dreams?
Victoria: Most people who hold back are doing so usually because of an idea or statement someone once said to them. They do not feel confident or empowered. So many of the issues that hold us back are based on trauma of one form or another from childhood or young adult experiences.
Shawna: How do you think that FEAR can play into this?
Victoria: Fear is the age-old enemy of unfulfilled dreams. Fear keeps us frozen and doesn’t even allow for
1st step action. It is the self-fulfilling prophecy based on any of the following:
Fear of failure – “Success is only for others.”
Fear of rejection – “What if they don’t like me?”
Fear of ridicule – and that usually comes from a past experience or trauma.
Fear of disappointment – we put so much into the outcome, and even if we get what we asked for, it may
not have come about the way we envisioned it and we become disappointed.
Another thing that holds people back is a Lack of Focus. This is where a Coach is key. The main responsibility of a Coach is to keep the client focused and accountable.
Other things that hold people back:
Not having a plan
Not taking action
Giving Up to soon
But those are all a result of fear.
Shawna: What benefit would someone suffering from an anxiety or panic disorder gain from working with a Life Coach? How about someone with severe depression?
Victoria: Someone suffering from anxiety or a panic disorder can learn tools to utilize each day, create a new mindset and be empowered as part of the work with a Life Coach.
For depression, that can be a more serious and potentially harmful issue and should be worked through with a Therapist. People can get depressed from time to time, and I do work with clients who might have had that happen and it is why they choose to work with a Coach -- to move their life, career and/or relationship forward. For severe medical depression, I always refer to a Therapist. It is my duty to ensure a client is getting any treatment they may need that is outside of my training.
Shawna: What are some of the benefits that a person suffering from a mental disorder may gain from a Life Coach that may differ from what they would get from a Therapist?
Victoria: Mental Disorders should 1st be treated by a Specialist.
Once the client has been treated, and with the Specialist’s confirmation, when the client is ready for action steps for specific tasks, agendas &/or foreword movement, then I come in.
I have worked in tandem with the Specialist as the client is in the final sessions, and made aware of the progress, so we can streamline the client into Coaching.
Shawna: Can you give us a few tips on what we can do if we suffer from a panic or anxiety disorder? Some mantra or daily practice we can use as a guide.
Victoria: First, I would recommend taking a mindful step to deep breathing. Learn how to pay attention to breathing. Dynamic breathing is purposeful. Take a long deep breath in through the nose. Hold for a 3 count. Then breathe out through the mouth.
Once the breathing is in a mindful and cooperative pattern, get in a comfortable position of sitting to help the calm. Then remind yourself that you are safe. Safety is a key human need. Physiological needs are the 1st and primary-food, shelter & clothing. After that is safety. Remind yourself you are secure and stable.
Now that you have both of those underway, it can take as little as 30 seconds and as long as need be for you to get those 2 as part of your practice. Find a mantra that resonates with you and what you believe in. Your mantra should bring inner peace matching up with the 2 previous steps.
“Within me is a peacefulness that I embrace and protects me.”
“Breathing in, I calm my body. Exhaling out, I create peace with a smile.”
“Don’t let your mind take you where your body is not.”
“I am safe, stable and confident.”
“Every breath I take in calms me, every breath I exhale out releases the (stressor).”
“I love myself. I trust that I am caring and protecting myself here and now.”
Remind yourself, even before an anxiety attack, you are all right. Allow your nervous system to get acquainted with the knowledge that anxiety is not dangerous, it is just uncomfortable.
Shawna: What are some self-esteem builders that you can recommend for someone who has hit rock-bottom? Is there hope?
Victoria: I want to start first with YES, there is always hope. It is never too late and never “just for others.” We are all created the same, yes, we have different experiences and opportunities, but we are created as this human vessel as all other humans.
If you feel you have hit rock bottom, contact someone who wants to invest in showing you the truth of your divine existence. Your soul is the truth of who you are, not the body and the experiences you have.
Know that is a key to belief and hope.
I work from the Authentic Source. Every person has authenticity. When you can genuinely express who you are and pursue the things that make your heart smile, that is golden. That is something no one can take from you. When you have that, how can you believe the doubt put upon you from others? I work with aligning with that core of authenticity. When you have these, you create a sense of certainty and maintain your integrity, which also fuels your confidence in all areas of your life. That full spectrum I spoke about earlier.
I know this to be true. As a young girl, I was shy. It almost became debilitating. Doing this work as a Coach has stemmed from that little girl without a voice or the vocabulary to articulate this fear.
This does come with vulnerability. But, if you are suffering from anxiety or panic, you are already uncomfortable. Vulnerability is not more severe than anxiety or panic, so allow it and watch its grace assist your growth.
And last, INVEST in your competence level. To increase your confidence and therefore build self-esteem, increase your knowledge, increase your skills and increase your abilities. These empower you to join in on the conversation, be comfortable and confident…and maybe the fearful little girl becomes a Life and Wellness Coach. :)
As someone who suffered from a panic disorder, depression, addiction, and depression, I will admit this can all be overwhelming. The costs of therapists, medication, gym memberships, trainers, and life coaches can be hard on someone financially who has hit rock bottom. If you were like me and didn’t leave your house for a year, I couldn’t even afford the almost free – sliding scale therapy. Over two decades, I spent the equivalent of a doctorate degree in self-help and wellness, but ultimately I worth it and so are you. If you can’t afford a life coach, Victoria’s advice on mantras are free, and if you practice them every day, I promise you that if you keep working at it, you will change your belief system. When I was learning to overcome the fear of getting panic attacks, I wrote cue cards filled with positive affirmations on index cards. I carried them everywhere, even long after I memorized them. They do work.
There are also YouTube channels filled with content like Victoria has created for us. I wish to thank all the Life Coaches out there and Mental Health Providers and Light Workers. I have so much gratitude to you for all the work you do to help others achieve their most authentic selves.
For more information how to get in touch with Victoria Marie: