The acorn does not become an oak tree overnight. ~ Me*
(*Not sure where I got it from, but have adopted it as my own; here is the video I made talking about it as well.)
On August 4, I got a message via LinkedIn from a client I had worked with over a decade ago and hadn’t heard from in about six years. It was like the Universe was giving me an early anniversary present, since August 17 marks my 15th year as a professional coach. Here’s what she said:
I’ve been thinking about you recently because I just launched my own law firm (with a partner) focusing on renewable energy and real estate. … I’ve been working exclusively in renewables for the last 10 years and I think about you often because so much of it is because of you and the positive seeds you planted in my head that I could do it if I set my mind to it!
I just got an email from a client congratulating me on the launch of the firm and saying I deserved it because I was one of the best renewable energy attorneys she’s ever worked with. I was so chuffed! [FYI “chuffed” is British slang for pleased/delighted, I had to Google it.] Anyway — just wanted to thank you again for being such an amazing support back in the dark days of me having no idea how to get where I wanted to get! You are incredible at what you do :)
Whenever I get messages like these, I feel like a proud Mama! And her story perfectly illustrates three of my working principles and theories in how I help my clients as a holistic career coach and personal growth expert:
- Do what you love, what you are passionate about; it’s in your heart and spirit for a reason. Take whatever steps necessary that feel right inside your gut and know they are bringing you one step closer to your ideal. And keep in mind that what you love doesn’t have to be your career, but in that case don’t choose a job that prevents you from doing what you love!
- The perfect job for you might not even exist today. For example, 10 years ago the whole renewable/clean energy world was much smaller and very niche with limited opportunities. Things are obviously very different today …
- Patience is a virtue. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and is often more important than the destination. Trust the process; as long as you are aligned with who you are and your own organic unfoldment, the right opportunities will show up — in time and on time. And yes, an acorn doesn’t become an oak tree overnight.
I have lived that exact advice in my own career path and journey, since I can only practice what I preach! When I started working with clients back in August 2007, coaching wasn’t really a thing — I didn’t even really know what to call myself, since my perception of what a “coach” was at the time didn’t seem to fit me.
I just talked to people and did what I did naturally and intuitively to get to the root of people’s stuckness — using what I like to call my “x-ray vision and supersonic hearing” combined with my exposure to many different industries, cultures and philosophies — and was able to provide a variety of perspectives, tools and resources to help them get on track and find clarity, balance and direction in work and life.
Fifteen years later I still do this. I have no idea what other coaches do — nor do I have any training or certifications — and I’m not a therapist, although people have told me I’ve saved them thousands of dollars in therapy!
But the proof is in the pudding (yes, this essay is filled with clichés and truisms …). Because of the feedback I received, I just kept doing it and learning by doing, honing my skills working with an incredibly diverse clientele. And it was somewhat an initiation by fire, since not long after I began we had the Great Recession, but because I started when I did, I was at least set up to start helping all those folks who felt lost over those next couple of years. #divinetiming
Walking a truly authentic, aligned path is the road less traveled for a reason, though. There are a lot of unknowns, risks, twists and turns, and like anything else, it ain’t always easy! It is a commitment to personal growth on the daily that requires building self-confidence, self-worth, and deep trust in oneself and something greater than oneself. We all have the areas we succeed in and others that are more challenging and are opportunities for even bigger growth. I am finally starting to address some of mine in a deeper way because for whatever the reason, now is the time and you can’t always do everything at once!
I wrote about another client at my 11th anniversary here, who since then now has a second child, was promoted to director level, and just made a big move to his dream location! There are many more stories from the hundreds (probably over a thousand, actually) clients I’ve worked with over the years, some I know of and others I don’t — I would love to hear yours, so please feel free to reach out and/or connect on LinkedIn to let me know how my coaching has helped get you where you are today.
If you are interested in learning more about my coaching journey, here are some essays that talk about my 10-year anniversary, connecting the dots of my journey, my 10,000 hours, testimonials, my style. And you can see some recent fun Client Love on the highlight reel on my IG.
Thanks for indulging me. If you’ve been here awhile, you know this is not a typical essay for me, but as an act of self-love I wanted to take some time to reflect and celebrate myself! Let it serve as inspiration to stay the course, have patience and make your dreams a reality. And of course be sure to give me a buzz if you need help in any way ;)
August is my Anniversary month! Use coupon code KL15 for 15% off all my services.
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Kristina Leonardi is a nationally recognized career and life coach, speaker and author who for over 14 years has empowered individuals to make lasting professional and personal changes aligned with their true passions and talents while fulfilling their role in the world at large.With a holistic and personal growth-oriented approach, she has helped hundreds of men and women over the past decade improve their job performance, enter or re-enter the job force, change careers, better manage their time and stress, and live happier, more meaningful, balanced lives. Her specialty is working with people who feel stuck or are in transition and can help you clarify exactly what you want to do, identify blocks, issues, and patterns in your way, and offer proven ideas, resources, and action steps to get you there.
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All Roads, Same Place | And Now, A Word from Our Sponsor | Strong Medicine | 10,000 Hours | A Decade of Doing What I Do | Express Yourself