I have been coaching men and women in creating greater success, joy, and fulfillment for over fifteen years. My coaching work emerged as a result of the value I received from the Master’s Degree Program in Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica. I was 28 years old when I entered the University, feeling dissatisfied with my work as a sales professional at a graphic design firm, feeling a vague sense of “not enoughness” in my relationships—with myself, with my husband, with my family. I was often frustrated, teary and reactive. I could also be demanding and controlling with those closest to me.
At that time in my life, I had very little spiritual perspective. I was yearning for a deeper connection to my Self, to my purpose. I had begun reading books of a spiritual nature that created a deeper longing. I wanted to know why I was here—what meaning my life had. I wanted to experience in my heart that I mattered to something or someone greater than myself.
The experiential curriculum at USM provided me with an opportunity to answer these questions for myself. The curriculum also provided a framework, a spiritual context for life that resonated deeply and made sense to me. I became aware of the many judgments I carried about myself and others and how these judgments permeated my thoughts and my experience of life. I became aware of the limiting beliefs I had bought into about myself, about life, and the world. I also began to see that these judgments and beliefs were creating a painful existence, one that was not serving me.
As I learned the Principles and Practices of Spiritual Psychology, I began to experiment with the possibility that my life’s experiences were for me, for my learning and growth, and in seeing them from that perspective, I could choose to use them as such. I stopped seeing my life as a series of painful events designed to punish me or validate my feeling of unworthiness. I no longer felt alone, desperate or needy for attention and approval from sources outside of me. I began realizing that my innate goodness, my wholeness, my value was irrevocable. The perceptions and beliefs that my mother, father and two brothers did not love me (or not in the way I thought they should) were slowly dismantled. The pain I carried inside began healing and something new began to emerge—Self-compassion, gentleness and a new way of being with my Self. It was a more loving, open-hearted and supportive way of being.
I began to experience greater joy and fulfillment. And this joy and fulfillment began to inform all areas of my life. My relationships improved significantly—first and foremost with myself and, thankfully, with my husband and family. As a result of my USM education, I had a way of working with myself when challenges occurred. I also had new reference points for loving, joy, peace, and connectedness to my Self and something greater than I.
My Professional Life
Upon graduating from USM, I accepted an offer to serve on staff as the Director of Admissions and Marketing. These were 12 of the most dynamic and growth-filled years of my professional life. I reported directly to Mary Hulnick, USM’s Chief Academic Officer and a pioneer in the field of Spiritual Psychology. She was my first “real” coach—someone who believed in me and who challenged me to grow on every level. She also held me to the highest standards of excellence in my work that I had ever experienced.
In my leadership role in Admissions, I talked to thousands of potential students about their hopes and dreams. I gained a breadth of experience in enrollment and sales—enrollment from a true service perspective. As USM’s Marketing Director, I oversaw all marketing campaigns for the University and was the lead copywriter for all communications, learning to write from a place of connectedness, inspiration, and clarity. I also became an accomplished speaker as the spokesperson for the University, leading all live events.
In addition to my work at the University, I began to coach a few people here and there. It was then that my second coach entered my life—Master Coach Steve Chandler, who has been my coach now for over fifteen years. I loved coaching. It allowed me to use my gifts and skills in a different capacity that was exciting and challenging for me. For some time, coaching was great “side work” in addition to my USM work.
During this time and after many years of reflection, I came to the conclusion that unless I was called from deep inside to have children, I would not try to conceive. My husband, John (also a USM graduate) was onboard with this approach.
In early spring of 2007, I felt that calling. My internal feedback was something like, “I won’t regret not having a child. But I will regret not trying.” My husband and I did some visioning work together, and one month later, I was pregnant.
Lucinda was born in January 2008. To say everything changed is a massive understatement. My relationship to my time changed. I was home on maternity leave for about four months, and I headed back to work at USM with mixed feelings. My love of USM had not changed, yet there was something (someone) that had become a bigger presence in my heart, and being away from her created a lot of different feelings inside.
It was at this time that the nudge to co-create a different kind of work life started to push on me in greater ways. My work at USM made it necessary for me to be in the office, working office hours. Given the nature of serving as the Director of Admissions, this made sense. I continued with my coaching “side work,” and more clients were coming my way. I started to have a vision for what a life of full-time coaching could look like and how it could allow me to have a more flexible schedule where my work time could be built around my daughter’s life - taking her to school in the morning, being there when she arrived home, taking off when she was sick ... all those things that previously simply didn’t even enter my consciousness.
I knew given my USM education, I was being guided to something else—something new, something much “scarier” than the love and comfort of my work at USM. I also knew that while I was getting clear messages inside, it was up to me to honor the messages and follow the flow of guidance I was receiving. Not easy for me, as I had my USM work wound up in old family patterns of betrayal and loyalty (i.e., “If you love me, you wouldn’t leave me”).
Slowly I worked through these patterns, and in November of 2010, I left my full-time role at USM (with the full support of my USM colleagues) and launched my full-time coaching practice. My commitment to myself was that in my first year of full-time coaching, I would earn, at a minimum, what I’d earned during the previous year at USM. By the end of that first year, I’d not only achieved my goal, but my income had increased by over 35 percent.
Soul-Centered Professional Coaching Program at the
University of Santa Monica
I had the privilege of developing the University of Santa Monica’s Soul-Centered Professional Coaching Program with Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick, Steve Chandler, Michelle Bauman, and Stephen McGhee, and I was one of the lead faculty members for the Program. This leading-edge program served over 300 University of Santa Monica graduates who were called to use their USM education in the profession of coaching and was designed to assist students in growing their practice or launching themselves into this exciting profession.
My husband, John and I have been married for over 20 years. One of our favorite things to do is to spend time with our daughter Lucinda, laugh, avoid cleaning the house, travel, and drink coffee.