life-coachMany people who seek out a life coach are struggling in some area of their lives. Often, they can’t figure out exactly what’s bothering them, or what to do about it if they do know.

Your emotions can be the best clue that something isn’t right in your life. They’ll signal that you need to make a change. A life coach can be a powerful catalyst for that change, partnering with you as you work toward creating a better life for yourself.

But first you need to pay attention to how you feel. If you’re experiencing one or more of these emotions, you could benefit from working with a life coach:

Continually stressed and worried. Everyone experiences stress from time to time, but prolonged stress can be detrimental to your health. If you’re frequently irritable and short-tempered, or you’re experiencing sleeplessness, headaches, stomach pain and depression, it can be incredibly beneficial to talk to a licensed clinical psychotherapist or hire a life coach who has clinical psychotherapy credentials. He or she can provide you with awareness, insight, tools and techniques — such as cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness and/or biofeedback — to identify, manage and potentially eliminate both the symptoms you’re experiencing and their underlying causes.

Not where you want to be in life. If where you are now isn’t where you want to be, a life coach can help you close that gap. He or she can help you achieve your greatest goals by teaching you life-hacking models and time blocking, by helping you figure out what you’re doing ineffectively (that you’re blind to), and by designing systems that will help you be more effective.

life-coach-3Aimless and unsure of what you want. Maybe you sense that something is missing from your life, but you can’t put your finger on what it is. If you’re feeling directionless, it’s likely that you’re not putting your natural talents to use on a regular basis — which can lead to frustration and a sense of unfulfillment. Aptitude tests are one way to figure out your innate strengths and how to apply them, pointing you toward possible careers, hobbies and other pursuits that will bring you joy. (At Jody Michael Associates, we recommend and administer the Highlands Ability Battery, the gold standard in aptitude testing.) But finding purpose and meaning in your life is often a longer process that’s quite a bit more involved than taking an aptitude test. A life coach can help you take a more holistic approach to creating a life that’s rewarding and meaningful.

Struggling with self-esteem. Your thoughts provide a running commentary on your life. Listen carefully to that narrative — it should be (mostly) positive and empowering, not negative and discouraging. Think about the last time you suffered a disappointment — for example, when a project you initiated and spearheaded at work failed. It was your baby. Perhaps you told yourself, “That was a dumb idea I had anyway,” or “I’m just not a good leader.” Those thoughts damage your self-confidence, more than you might realize. It’s time to put a more positive spin on the narrative. Instead, think about what you learned from the experience and how you might perform better next time. A life coach can help you become more aware of the tone of your thoughts and how it’s affecting your self-esteem, and help you adopt behaviors that will increase your confidence and the contentment you feel being in your own skin.

Just plain unhappy. Here’s the good news: Happiness is something you can cultivate. According to the Mayo Clinic, only around 10 percent of the variations in people’s levels of happiness can be attributed to their circumstances. It turns out that happiness is largely determined by personality (which you can’t help), as well as by thoughts and behaviors (which you can). If you’re not an optimistic person by nature, it can be difficult to develop more positive thoughts and behaviors, but making such a shift can have a profound impact on your happiness and quality of life. A life coach can teach you powerful strategies to do just that.

Many people spend years feeling stagnated and frustrated. Instead, be proactive about recognizing and addressing these emotions. And if you decide to seek out a life coach, remember that it’s important to bring a sense of accountability and commitment to the coaching relationship — and the understanding that, ultimately, you are responsible for creating the life you want.

In what other ways could a life coach help you?

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