This past December, I had the pleasure of having a coaching call with Sara, a vibrant twenty-something on the brink of graduating from college in South Florida. From the first few moments of our conversation, I knew Sara was one of those bubbly personalities others are drawn to, with a genuine sweetness that really captures you. It was a delight to coach her and we ended up uncovering challenges that apply to many women in the same stage of life: perfectionism, drive for career success, and the desire to carve out a fulfilling lifestyle to name a few.
If you’re a twenty-something who’s facing similar challenges, or just interested in learning more about how a life coaching session works – keep reading for both my behind the scenes moments, and how our call unfolded.
Sara and I connected with each other via Twitter in November of 2017 when I put out a call for twenty-somethings who were interested in being interviewed for this blog series. There was an instant spark with her and I eagerly signed her up to be the first interview in this series.
Before the call, I sent Sara an overview of how coaching works as well as a list of Ultimate Outcomes my clients often find helpful. For more information on these outcomes – check out my post on Ultimate Outcomes.
I started our conversation by asking Sara what would be most meaningful to explore during our 45 minute call. We didn’t have a huge amount of time, and we had never spoken before, so I wanted to nail down what was significant for her – and identify how I could help.
Sara gave me a snapshot of where she is in life right now. She has secured a public relations internship but expressed concerns about how to line up a full time job after graduation, having minimal experience in her field of Brand Consulting and PR. Sara knew that the ultimate outcomes she wants in life are a fulfilling lifestyle and career success, but how to get to there was unclear. As we chatted about this, Sara went back and forth between focusing on securing a full time position in PR and making an impact with her blog, which is her true passion.
After some discussion we were able to identify three outcomes for Sara to work toward between now and her graduation in May. They all support the big goal that we co-created for her, which is crafting a blog that she can use as a portfolio in her job search. Often, it seems like you have to make a decision between one thing or another but there maybe a way to combine the two, which we were able to do in Sara’s case.
Below is the Action Plan we co-created and the summary I sent Sara after our call. I like to focus on identifying Ultimate Outcomes and putting the client’s Big Goal into words. As soon as you can articulate those two things, a lot of the little pieces will fall into place. It’s amazing how hard that can be but the results are significantly freeing.
After identifying the Ultimate Outcome(s) and Big Goal, I ask the client a lot of questions to help them identify between two and three main outcomes for the next three months. These are the big elements that will combine into an Ultimate Outcome over time. For Sara, her Ultimate Outcome is Career Success so we needed to see outcomes around her blog growing, expanding her network and generating opportunities.
Once we have the outcomes identified, we move into solidifying the results we need to see in order to produce each outcome. For Sara, that was a combination of traffic to her blog, creating a greater connection with her community and increasing the amount of engagement she sees in her work.
The final steps are to identify the actions that are required on a regular basis in order to see the desired results. Once you have those documented – it’s just a matter of doing the work!
Here’s the action plan we put together for Sara:
- Design a fulfilling lifestyle
- Career Success
Big Goal: Curate a successful blog that serves as a portfolio during the post-graduation job search, reflecting Sara’s abilities to engage, market and deliver impactful content.
Outcome #1: Increase Blog Traffic
- Result: 2,000 page views between Dec 1 – May 1 (about 334 views a month, or 83 a week)
- Post weekly
- Engage other bloggers through guest posts
- Increase interactions with readers
- Explore the option of helping others in your field on their journey
Outcome #2: Work with Brands to Build Credibility
- Result: make an impact with bloggers in the community and their brands
- Engage with bloggers at the Lifestyle & Fashion Blogger Event for work, through networking.
- Follow up with new connections, emailing them a photo documenting your meeting at the event and thank them for attending. Welcome them to contact you if they would be willing to meet to discuss what they do in more detail.
- Look into affiliate marketing and what role this plays with the blog
Outcome #3: Generate More Interaction on the Blog
- Result: Increase the number of comments, shares and ties to the blogging community
- Market to the right people, including women in the same position as you.
- Offer to provide guidance and share perspective (without prescribing answers).
Themes From the Session:
There were a few themes that popped up during our session that I think relate to most (if not all) twenty-somethings at some point. Take a look through the themes below and see if they pop up in your life as well.
- Transitioning into New Roles
As twenty somethings, we often feel like we aren’t in a position to teach or share because we don’t “know it all” and we might not been seen as an experts in our field. Sara expressed these concerns in regards to content on her blog. She has a lovely helping energy and is relatable, positive and open but she wasn’t comfortable stepping into a teaching role as she feels there’s so much left for her to learn. We discussed how she could use these assets to help others in similar positions which was an exciting prospect for her. It eliminated the need to be seen as an expert, still allowing her to explore the option of helping others from her current place, knowing there is value in that.
- Self Doubt
Self doubt is a huge factor for twenty-somethings, which came up during my call with Sara. Self doubt can disguise itself in feelings of being not ready “yet”, or by hiding as confusion. Sara doesn’t feel like she is in a position to offer content on her subject matter until after she graduates and has learned more. I challenged her to explore this framework and how it affects her growth trajectory.
Perfectionism is the biggest stumbling block I see for twenty-something women, including myself. We can get so caught up in making it perfect that we either don’t make it at all, or we cause ourselves unnecessary stress as we try to avoid rejection at all costs. Sara and I had a great discussion about where perfectionism presents itself in Sara’s life, and we explored how it might be holding her back. Sara mentioned she “waits until things are perfect before releasing them” and she noted that she has “stayed up until 4am making something the way (she) wants it”. This is the case for so many – possibly you can relate! We talked about how this might be holding her back as it drains her time and energy, limiting her capacity to help others. We discussed how experimentation might be a way to overcome perfectionism, as control of the outcome is limited and commitment to change is minimal.
My recommendations for Sara (and anyone else in a similar boat!)
I had a few recommendations for areas Sara might want to play with as she is pursuing her goals.
- Examine your current environment for resources that might not be utilized to their full potential. For Sara, this could be her current job. It’s a great way to network and practice many of the skills she is hoping to develop.
- Focus on areas that bring you joy. Sara’s voice really changed when she started talking about helping people – she was excited, energized and ready to dive in. Bringing more of this energy to the day-to-day is a great way to stay motivated and inspired.
- Examine perfectionism, fear and self-doubt. This recommendation was the biggest challenge I presented to Sara. Anyone can do this by being present with their emotions, seeing if they can locate the source. Do you fear being rejected? Do you fear not having enough _____? What would happen if you believed in yourself beyond reason? In Sara’s case, I think if she can find some tools to help her stop perfectionism moderating her results, she will exceed her own expectations and gain the confidence necessary to break that cycle. Everyone can benefit from looking into ways to experiment and climb out of their comfort zone, whatever that may be. Once you know the root of what is blocking you – you can start to modify the habits and behaviors that have been developed as a result. Conditioning yourself for success by eliminating these barriers while surrounding yourself with people who inspire and motivate you to up your own game, is a great place to focus for personal evolution.
I like to send my clients away with resources to help them explore the factors that popped up for them, at their own pace. Here are the two I suggested for Sara:
- Smart Twenties: Sam Brown is a twenty-something living in Australia who has a successful blog around personal development in your twenties. She has some great free resources on spotting perfectionism in your life – and making a plan to diminish it.
- The Life Coach School Podcast This is a personal favorite of mine, and I tune in every week. Brooke (a renowned Life Coach in Texas and the US) breaks down topics that are relatable to everyone, providing foundational thinking and actionable steps to make real changes in your everyday life.
It was such a joy to coach Sara and I appreciate her willingness to let me share the experience with my readers. When I asked Sara about her big takeaway from our call, she said the clarity she got around what to do next was huge for her. She mentioned there were so many ideas swirling around in her head before the call but talking through each element, while being prompted with questions, helped guide her to some clear, actionable items. She was inspired and excited with her plan when we finished our call – which makes me a very happy life coach.
I would personally like to help Sara achieve the outcome of increasing her blog traffic – so please take a moment to check out her blog at www.saraarbelaez.com
Wishing you all the best Sara!
P.S. If you are struggling with Perfectionism – take a peek at my upcoming Free Course: