Julie wrestled with canceling her personal discovery session. The mental commentary in her brain went something like this: ‘I don’t really need support. It’s probably best that I work through this on my own. I can manage my life with asking for help’.The truth is, Julie was deeply anxious about sharing her private story and struggles with a stranger.
When she registered for her appointment, she clearly stated that she was struggling to find meaning and purpose in her personal and professional life. She hoped to receive support from someone, who’s lived through the ‘how low can you go’ limbo and the uncertainty that shows up during the first stage of a life-altering transformation.
This self-sabotage scenario happens a lot in the counseling and coaching world. It’s perfectly natural to get cold feet and want to bail on a first session. Anxiety makes an entrance when we choose to step outside of our comfort zone. Frankly, anybody who wants to change, grow and transform their life is going to feel a bit apprehensive at first. I often hear, “I almost cancelled our call today,” from my new coaching clients.
Here are some examples of the self-sabotage pre-call thought process:
‘If I cancel now there is no harm since I don’t have an established relationship with this person.‘ ‘If I run now, I don’t have to face what I’m up against.’
‘What was I thinking? I’m FINE. I don’t need any support.’
‘I can’t make this kind of personal investment in myself right now.’
If you choose to reach out to a coach, counselor or mentor for accountability, an unbiased opinion, or simply to be heard; your soul is nudging you to get some perspective from a professional who is trained to support you. There is a reason you were attracted to their work and scheduled an appointment. Asking for support does not make you weak.
You owe it yourself to follow through on your original instincts and show up for your appointment. If you don’t click with the person, you never have to talk with them again. If you come away feeling supported, recharged and hopeful about the days ahead, you’ve found a good match. New clients regularly tell me how happy they are that they didn’t bail on our call after our first session.
I recommend the following steps if you think you may be ready to work with a mentor, life coach or counselor.
- Get clear about what you wish to change in your life.
- Find an expert who resonates with you and read client testimonials.
- Ask for a referral from a trusted friend or family member.
- Reach out to two or three professionals for a low-cost, or free discovery session to see if you are a good energetic match.
Julie did follow through on her discovery session after canceling the first appointment. I’m happy to report that she has moved beyond the discomfort of the first stage of transition and is loving herself up with lots of compassionate self-care before moving into the exploration stage of her new life.
If you are in the throes of what feels like a significant life-changing transition, have the courage to ask for help. Then show up and see what unfolds for you! You’ll be glad you did.
Kim Openo says
As a professional counselor, Shann, I can’t agree more with your article. Too many people will make an initial appointment & then cancel it. I typically don’t try to talk anyone out of it (unless I think the client is dangerous to him/herself or others, obviously) because a person must be READY for change. But, while it is an easy concept, it can be most frightening.
What I like most about your article is that it focuses on letting people know that counselors are here for growth – not to point a finger and label a mental illness. In doing some pro bono outreach to my community in the form of free workshops, I am shocked at how many people say they would never go to a counselor because “people might think they are crazy”. It is articles like this that show people that it CAN be helpful for most everyone to do a little self-discovery and growth! THANKS!
Kim Openo, LAPC C-MFT NCC
A Place for Me Counseling
Shann Vander Leek says
Hi Kim, Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you resonate with this post. I agree that personal growth and self-discovery are supportive for everyone who is ready to transform their lives.
We will never move past any stage in life that we don’t need a mentor, coach, a guide. Not having a support system in place leads to self-sabotage, especially when our biggest fears are being open with others. This is a wonderful column and resource for everyone, especially me! Thank you Shann.
Shann Vander Leek says
Thank you for your kindness. I whole-heartedly agree! We all deserve a support system to move through life with as much grace and ease as possible. We weren’t meant to do everything on our own.