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  • Sara Johnson

Who you calling messy?

Nobody told me to write a tagline for my coaching practice.

And yet I wanted some words that would ground humans in who I was as a coach and who might find alignment with me as their coach.

After much thought, I decided my tagline would be: "coaching for motivated, messy, and whole people."

Motivated felt easy to explain: those who thrive in the coaching space tend to be self-directed individuals seeking change. Driven and motivated by their own wants and needs, not the voices of others or a sense of "should."

Whole took a little more explanation: my coaching practice is not just about career or just about life. If someone comes into coaching to talk about work, chances are we are going to talk about a lot of things beyond work. And vice versa. It all belongs in the coaching space, it's all "allowed." Bring your full self to this coaching work, I say!

But messy? What did I mean by messy?

Messy is many things.

  • It is an assertion that the goal is not perfection; that perfection doesn't exist.

  • It's celebrating imperfection!

  • It's a reframing away from failure and fuck-ups and stumbles as purely negative influences on our lives.

  • It's finding how the light comes through even in our "worst" moments.

  • It's going beyond the binary of "good" and "bad" and into the grey spaces that define our lives and selves.

  • It's a declaration that we get to be proud of all the things that made us who we are; that shame and saboteurs don't run our lives.

  • It's the belief that we will never be "finished," we will always be a work in progress. Not in a striving way (see "imperfection" above), but in a way that brings in more kindness, self-love, and self-acceptance.

We are complicated, unique, wonderfully messy beings. And what a relief to proclaim it so! Bless this mess!

I believe people who can look at themselves and not shrink back from the messy bits are primed for coaching work to be truly life-changing. From the messy bits there can be profound expansion and transformation.

Sometimes the changes in coaching are tangible: daily routines, habits, quitting or starting something new, launching a practice that brings joy. And often times the changes are a shift that is only felt inside: a growing confidence, a belief in abundance, a trust that the purposeful path is worth it.

I am curious about what happens when we abandon the notion that in all the change and self-work we are doing, we are aiming for perfection in our lives. What if we embrace the parts of us that were heartbroken, let down, embarrassed, or discouraged? What if all of these parts matter just as much as the wins, accolades, and moments of certainty?

I am curious about what happens when we accept - and even love - our messy parts. Could acceptance at this scale usher in transformation in powerful, surprising ways? Could it lead us to the freedom gained by relaxing into the ways in which we are always a work in progress?

Welcome to coaching for motivated, messy, and whole people!
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