Sometimes things can happen to us, and we might dismiss them thinking they are not that big of a deal. Or perhaps we dismiss them because we think they should not be a big deal. After all, life is full of the unexpected and it’s easy to tell ourselves that everyone experiences the similar ups and downs of life. However, that doesn’t mean something small can’t unknowingly leave an impact and actually create an invisible roadblock.

Sometimes these roadblocks are built from our remaining belief about that one “small” thing—or the story we tell ourselves about what it meant. I’ve coached many clients, employees or colleagues seeking support, and even within my own life, I’ve seen the “small thing” turn into an internal, invisible roadblock. What makes that roadblock so difficult to confront is the fact we didn’t realize it even left a message behind.

Until we are put into a stress-filled situation where the story left there is activated.

Has that ever happened to you? Has something ever happened to you that affected what you believed from that point on? Well, it happened to me, and it impacted me for a long time.

Until I overcame it through the process of working with a coach.

Every good coach has a coach. I learned this while in my coaching certification program. I am a coach, and I have a coach. It was through working with my own coach last spring that I unearthed something that had left a limiting belief attached to it since I was in the 7th grade! At the time it happened, I told myself it wasn’t that big, yet it had left its mark.

I remember the situation well. I was trying out for cheerleading at the end of 6th grade. At my school you had to try out in front of the whole school, which for our middle school grades 4-8 totaled around 500 people. In the weeks leading up to tryouts, I worked hard with all my friends, learning my cheers, practicing every move with precision. Finally, tryouts day came. It was a big day, with everyone gathered in our gymnasium. I was excited. Coming from a big family, I’d never been afraid to be in front of people, so I wasn’t worried at all.

Until I was.

My older sister had been a cheerleader, and I wanted to be just like her, which meant becoming a cheerleader, just like she had been. I couldn’t wait! During spring tryouts all my friends kept telling me that I would certainly make it. I worked hard, and I felt really good about how I was doing.

Until I felt exposed.

I got up in front of the whole audience, started my cheer, and then halfway through it something happened—my mind went blank. Here I am, standing there in front of the whole world, it felt, and literally nothing is coming back to my mind or out of my mouth. So, what did I do? I walked over to the bleachers, I sat down, and I never spoke about it again, not with anyone. For 40 years. From that day forward, whenever I was to speak in front of a group, or share a presentation, I had stage fright.

Until my coaching session early last spring.

I told my coach, Cheryl, that I had an important speaking engagement coming up and I wanted to work with her on showing up confident and strong. I shared my nervousness with her about getting up in front of people. I explained that though I would always do it anyway, fear would almost overcome me every time. I would feel sick, tremble, and lose my breath, my voice would get high, but I would push through. The fear from that experience never went away. But this upcoming speaking engagement was too important to me to have that happen any longer. I was afraid I would bomb front of our company leadership and all my colleagues.

Until she led me through uncovering the story left behind and deconstructing the message.

Her questions led me through reframing that one awful moment and helped me see how I could create a plan to show up how I really wanted to. Through her coaching, I was able to visualize how I want to show up and I created a plan to manage the fear going forward. It was through being coached, I was able to expose what I believed about myself and speaking, realize the truth, and change how I viewed it. Her leadership and guidance through the questions she asked, the empathy she offered, and the way she acknowledged and validated that traumatic experience when I was an adolescent, provided the keys I needed to unlock this story and write a new one.

I haven’t struggled since. And it has been marvelous! I have become a much more confident speaker. I have even been asked to speak at numerous events since I worked with Cheryl.  I may not win any speaking awards anytime soon, but I am confident that I am powerful, my voice has value and that I am not the sum of one disappointing speaking experience. Maybe you have questioned the value of being coached and whether it is worth the investment. You might continue to question it as well…

Until you experience it.

Working with a coach has been a game changer for me. My very first coach was provided to me by the company I work for as part of a leadership development program. I had such a great experience that I was inspired to pursue certification as a coach. If you’re committed to your own professional development, working with a coach can be the secret ingredient that propels you to the next level. It only takes a conversation to explore if you’re ready to level up!

You may have more questions about the value of a coach, and they deserve to be answered! I look forward to supporting your journey. Until we meet…!