My journey to coaching
Making the commitment to living and working
My Journey To Coaching
I have been a “marketing guy” my whole adult life. It has been my very public professional identity. After a long and successful career working for other agencies in various integrated marketing disciplines, In 2006 I started my own sports / event marketing agency called Engage. We were fortunate to be successful almost immediately. Within 2 months of launching we were named sponsorship Agency of Record for Crocs and the business grew quickly. The entrepreneurial journey can be a roller coaster. Over the course of my time running Engage we had some very good years, some years where we did “just okay” and some years where I made less than I made in my 20’s. But I loved it…until I started not to.
In 2015 I made the hardest decision of my life - I asked my wife for a divorce after 15 years of marriage. The process of unwinding my marriage was a stressful one. One of my core values is the idea that “I don’t quit” and at some level, ending the marriage felt like quitting to me even though I knew it was the right thing to do. While working my way through the divorce process I started to realize that I was losing my connection to my “WHY” – to the reasons that led me to start Engage in the first place. It was difficult (to say the least) to motivate to chase brand-side marketers to do work that was becoming increasingly more tactical and increasingly more commoditized while worrying about where I was going to live, how often I was going to see my daughter and how much money I’d be left with in the aftermath of the divorce. But again, I don’t quit. So I just put my head down and continued to chase the work while working my way through the divorce process.
The divorce was final in the Fall of 2016 and while it was a relief to have that process behind me, things weren’t much better on the professional front. I was largely disconnected from my WHY and just going through the motions at work. I was also starting to become aware of a need to make a difference – to have a more direct impact on making people’s lives better and maybe even to make the world in general a better place. I had been working with a coach for several years and it occurred to me that if I could have the kind of impact on someone’s life that my coach had on mine that would mean more to me than any award or accolade I had ever received in my long career in marketing. But I don’t quit. I mean – I started this company. How could I resign? Who would I hand my resignation letter to? This was my identity. So I put my head down and continued to chase the work. And things got worse. Going through the motions got harder. I started skipping days in the office. And when I went to the office there were days when I would just stare at my inbox, or surf the web, or browse Facebook – anything to avoid having to chase work I didn’t want to catch anymore. I stayed stuck in that unhealthy pattern for more than a year.
In January of 2018 I started to actively contemplate what it would look like if I stepped back from the business and just took a minute to breathe. In April of 2018 I officially put the business on “pause” and went to Nepal for a month as part of an Everest expedition team. Everyone said “you are going to come back so refreshed and ready to dive back into your business.” Quite the opposite turned out to be the case. I came back and the last thing I wanted to do was go back to chasing people who didn’t want to be chased to do work that really didn’t matter. So the 1 month sabbatical turned into 12 months. During those 12 months I didn’t force the process of figuring out what was next for me. I focused as much as I could on my version of “just being”. I got really into my fitness and nutrition, spent a ton of quality time with my dog, went backpacking in Patagonia, took guitar lessons with a guy who used to open for the Allman Brothers, etc. And it was great…until it wasn’t. After a certain amount of time, the sabbatical became a “prison of purposelessness” and I started to feel “STUCK” again. When you have no real reason to get out of bed, it can make for some very long days.
In January of 2019, I decided to dip my pinky toe into coaching. I signed up for the CTI Fundamentals course (my coach was CTI-trained) figuring if it wasn’t for me I’d at least learn some stuff I could apply to my personal life. Needless to say in the first 10 minutes of the first day I was HOOKED. There were 26 of us in the room. Our course leaders randomly chose one of my classmates, called him to the front of the room and began coaching him. Within 10 minutes he was crying. And everyone in the room was crying witnessing this amazing breakthrough he was experiencing in just 10 minutes of coaching! I knew right then and there that this was my path. So I signed up for the next course, and the next one, and the next one after that. And along the way I launched my coaching practice, UNSTUCK. I am lucky enough to work with people from all walks of life and from all over the country to help them connect to their values, articulate their vision for what they want more of in their lives, help them design a plan to move in that direction, help hold them accountable for that plan and help them identify and manage the Saboteurs that sometimes get in the way. I’m preparing to bring these same powerful tools to the professional community I come from – bringing coaching to agencies and brands to help infuse more humanity into the way leaders lead on both the agency and brand side. I also re-launched Engage as a strategy-only high level advisory service to brands that need and value smart consumer engagement strategy work.
It was a LONG and winding road but I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I am living and working on-purpose and it is the great privilege of my life to be able to help others do the same.