After working in print and digital for more than 25 years, I did what I always wanted to do: create my own media company. I launched Ambermag.com in 2007 with a portion of my 401k, after Suede, the magazine I helped launched at Essence, folded. I had no fear when ideas flowed, doors opened and funding was raised. At the time, I was working at a digital agency four days a week and making more money than I ever did as an editor, working five days and 60-plus hours. It was a doable schedule that I thought would continue for at least two years until my online magazine became profitable. Then the economy died. The year was 2008, and my sweet, six-figure part-time agency job (doesn’t that have a nice ring to it?) disappeared. Wall Street was shaken and stirred as the mortgage fraud toppled one of the oldest big banks, Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme gutted the wealthy, magazines folded daily, and, even lawyers, the bastion of solid careers, were unemployed. Suddenly, at the age of 40, I was without a steady check. And with a two-page resume, I was, by all accounts, unemployable.
Never without a job from the age of 15, it took five months before I found something—at a $30k pay cut (ouch!). With a mortgage to pay, no husband, boyfriend (I broke up with him shortly after turning 40), or “benefactor” to help shoulder me or my start-up media company, life became dire. And that stung. Hard. Prior to this, I knew what to do 90% of the time, and I was definitely in a flow. But I cannot deny that the perceived drought of opportunities shook my confidence and tapped into some deep-buried negative beliefs about my capacity to manifest the life that I imagined as an entrepreneur.
Now, to the outside world, I functioned. I landed partnerships, deals and secured sponsors, but I was not the same. I was producing despite the deep level of fear that took up residence at every attempt to level up. And that diminished my joy about the journey and produced financial gains in drips. I needed help to get back to the me that I was before: the me that enjoyed ideation, expected and got a yes, and then executed. But I didn’t know how to request support from the people who were near to me. Fear of being judged loomed large. So I continued doing life by myself, living in my head, and winning some, but not being able to maintain steadiness.
I chose to shutter my online magazine at the height of mean-girl reality television. I felt pieces of my soul die when I had to watch those shows. I felt that if I had to keep covering these women and those shows to make my site, which focused on beauty, fashion and entertainment, more relevant, this was were I got off.
It was when I burned out physically and emotionally, one of my partners became MIA, and funding had truly dried up that I took the steps to end the company. I had accumulated case studies from consulting and realized I could launch an agency with my body of work. I also was sure about one thing: I did not want to do any of this on my own. I realized that I had some deeply hidden fears and beliefs and guilt around failure, coupled with a fear around success on a grander scale that I needed to unravel if I was ever going to grow fully into my capacity—no matter what business I was in. I was hitting similar mental—and spiritual—roadblocks and needed someone else to help me break through them. I needed a coach. But not just any coach.
I needed someone who understood me as a creative with visionary ideas. I needed someone who wasn’t intimidated by what I did previously (published author, media executive, etc.), and who was detached enough from those tangible results that they would push me through my pain to progress. I needed someone who could give me techniques and tools to thrive.
One thing I know for sure is that no one great has ever moved to the next level of their lives without coaching. Serena Williams, after all, didn’t become the G.O.A.T. by herself. She had coaches. She has coaches. No one gets to greatness without having a coach. Not Michael Jordan. Not Beyonce. Heck, not even Jesus (cue Holy Spirit and Mary Magdalene)! So in 2015, for four months, I went through a transformational life coaching program at Momentum Education. It was everything. It opened my mind, my heart and provided me with exponential self-awareness.
It showed me how to see my big and small blind spots, and, more importantly, how to tap into my power and be courageous enough to push through those blindspots when all does not go well. I learned, for the very first time, how fear manifested in my mind and in my actions. I evolved. And so did my agency, Ivy Digital. Game. Changed.
I continued my journey to connect more with myself spiritually, to ground myself spiritually, to heal what was embedded on a cellular level, and to hear more clearly my intuition/spirit. I took the time to stop, look and listen. This was not financially beneficial. But it was desperately needed. Taking the time to dig deeper after my coaching program was essential to being able to trust myself again, about every next step.
I searched for a coach for business. But what coaching uncovered for me were the areas that I was not paying attention to most in my life. It uncovered the areas that I put on the back burner in pursuit of my career and business to pay the bills. And they were the areas essential to who I am at my core. When I started paying more intentional attention toward those areas: me first, my immediate family, my friends and relationships in general, business blossomed automatically. I blossomed—mentally and spiritually (and I really thought I was good in the latter). I began to accept the full range of my personal power and regained my voice. And I used it. I gave back in a different way. I started volunteering as an assistant coach to help others see their highest possibilities. And in doing so I found what truly makes my soul sing. I became a certified life coach to help other people figure out their what’s next and uncover hidden beliefs driving their results. And, I now bring coaching into homeless shelters through my nonprofit called Passion Meets Purpose.
I coach because it’s my purpose. I coach because it’s my passion. And when passion meets purpose, worlds change. Game. On!