31 May 2018
They say you create your own reality, but sometimes it’s hard to know what that reality looks like. It's difficult to know what we actually want out of life.
In Spring 2018 I was feeling very frustrated with my life and completely stuck, when I heard about life coaching. When I arranged an initial session with Georgina I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I knew I wasn’t happy and I was running out of ideas of what to do about it. A life coach sounded like someone who could help me sort out my life and since l was getting nowhere on my own, l thought I’d give it a go.
In our first session Georgina gave me an exercise called Wheel of Life, which was a chart divided in eight different areas such as money, career, romance, personal development etc and asked me to rate each area by degree of satisfaction. To my surprise I scored 3 areas very high, but also I had some which were very low. It was helpful to look at a visual graph of all the areas in my life, because very quickly it became clear to me which ones were neglected and needed work. Georgina asked me which area l wanted to focus on, and even though there are areas in my life that are suffering much more, l felt that career should be a priority. I had a feeling that if I could fix that one the rest would fall into place, so we decided that for the next six sessions we could focus on career.
I am an actor, and it’s very difficult to set goals in terms of career progression because I have very little control over outcomes. Ever since I graduated from drama school I’ve been trying to think of the perfect side job to see me through the quiet times with no acting work, and for a very long time now, l’ve been toying with the idea of developing another career alongside acting. As I am turning 30 this year it felt like it was now or never.
By the time l met with Georgina l’d already been doing a lot of brainstorming, trying to find a job that would be profitable and somewhat fulfilling, but also flexible. Through a string of fortunate coincidences l had discovered copywriting, and thought it might be a career l wanted to pursue.
I told Georgina that for the next six months my goal was to get set up as a copywriter. She suggested that the goal needed to be more specific so we decided the goal would be ‘in six months’ time half my income should come from copywriting work.’ We wrote that down as the ultimate goal, but the minute it was on paper l suddenly had a terrible feeling. I felt that because l was focusing all my energies on this new career, l was cheating on acting. Georgina helped me to break that down. Why was l suddenly feeling so guilty about setting down this goal?
I remembered this teacher in drama school who used to say there were 4 types of actors. Type 1 got lucky and became celebrities. Type 2 do every kind of work related to acting, like teaching and directing. Type 3 call themselves actors, but mainly do another job completely unrelated to acting, and type 4 quit the industry all together.
I told Georgina my aim had been to become the type 2 actor, but in the 3 years I’ve been in the industry it just hadn't worked out. Being financially independent is important to me, but actively pursuing that through a non-acting related career felt like l was accepting defeat. Georgina did some digging into where these feelings were coming from, and l realised what l really want is to get paid to do creative work such as acting/writing/directing. Even though copywriting is writing, it didn't feel creative in the same way, but setting a goal to pay rent doing creative work exclusively, in six months’ time seemed completely unattainable to me.
Georgina asked if I had friends working in side jobs while acting (I do) and if I considered them less of an actor because of it (I don’t). Georgina gently pointed out that l could perhaps ignore the voice of that teacher in my head and try to find my own way, as becoming more financially stable through copywriting would allow me to be a better actor because I’d be able to relax in terms of booking jobs and have money for career development. She was right and it made perfect sense, but l wasn't completely convinced so we came up with a new goal: ‘In six months’ time half my income will come from copywriting and half my income from creative work’. Georgina suggested I could still think of making a living from creative work as the ultimate goal, allowing copywriting and any other work to facilitate that along the way. I instantly felt better.
Then the difficult bit came, we had to set a task that would get me a little bit closer to my ultimate goal. In life coaching it’s very important that you set tasks to make something happen, otherwise it might not be manageable to get it done, and it will start to feel like a new year’s resolution, all good intention but no action at all.
l had found a few short copywriting courses and told Georgina l would like to complete one by our next session. And that was it, the end of our first session. When we said goodbye l felt motivated and excited for what would come next.