Giving Up the Name Game
“What inspired you to be a health coach?”
I think the universe knows when I’m going through moments of questioning and self-doubt around what I’m setting out to create in this life, as someone ALWAYS, without fail, will innocently ask me this during these times. And truly, that’s the only question I should be coming back to. My why.
I honestly struggle to really define what I do, or if I even want to call myself a health coach or not. Truth be told, the term “coach” doesn’t really align with me and what I feel my value is. It kinda makes me cringe. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a coach— we need them! It’s a term that works beautifully for some, but just not for me. And that’s ok.
So then what am I? What is my thing?
When I was most recently asked the question of what inspired my becoming a health coach (because that’s been my default title so far), I answered: “What inspired me was my own health journey (that I’m still on) and realizing I have a unique level of passion, curiosity and, resultantly, a wealth of knowledge around holistic health that relatively few other people have, and those are gifts I should share!”
I’m also by nature a good listener and observer. People often tell me their first impression when meeting me in-person is that I was judging them, because I’m reserved and quiet and my resting bitch face doesn’t help (it’s just my face!).
On the contrary, I rarely judge anyone or anything— be it a person, place, thing or situation—unless given reason to, and even then it’s not so much a judgement as it is a momentary observation. Much of what I do is encouraging my “clients” (because that’s the default title for those I work with) to try and approach life in this same way.
I take in everything that I see and I tend to remain very impartial; regarding everything, concluding nothing except that everything is changing.
I gain energy from problem-solving with others, and holding space for them to think and feel through their emotions. I can help them draw connections they didn’t see before, and understand themselves on greater levels.
I’m not telling you all this to convince you of my abilities; as my latest mantra du jour goes, I have nothing to prove. But, from my perspective, all that just simply isn’t captured by calling myself a “coach.” And I’ve spent way too much brain power trying to conjure up a label that does fit the bill (and that also fits into a 160-character social media bio).
Along my own journey of self-understanding, I’ve also discovered I have similar passions and curiosities around such things as manifestation, creative writing, minimalism, yoga, anatomy, natural beauty products, sustainable fashion, psychology of the Self— to name a few. And I like to factor these passions into the work that I do with others. But to call myself a proper coach, by society’s definition, in any of these things would be misleading. I’m always a student, always chasing what I don’t know. But perpetually existing somewhere between a student and an expert shouldn’t prevent me from being able to pass along my learnings and interpretations to others.
So maybe that’s it. Maybe I’m an interpreter of sorts.
Maybe I’m a funnel through which all these different passions and curiosities come together. I draw connections and create deeper levels of meaning and understanding to pass along to those who may not have my same level of vested interest in the subjects, but could still no doubt benefit from my dissemination of the principles in a more readily digestible format. Like an enzyme, I help to break things down so people can extract the max amount of nutrients possible from all this mind-body nourishment.
But I can’t very well just slap “Disseminator” or “Enzyme” on a business card and call it a day.
Society begs me to label myself in a commonly understood way so as to justify any level of compensation for what I do.
But what’s in a name? Why does what I call myself determine what I’m able to earn or create? I don’t believe it should.
I may not know what to call what I do, but I know that it has value. I know that I have value. I know that I can help people, and I know that I have a natural ability to do what doesn’t come easily to others. I know that just because there isn’t yet a name for what I do, doesn’t mean I need to give it up and do something that is already well-defined to earn my place and my right to prosperity.
I know these are my talents, and I will spend the rest of my life sharing them with the world in anyway I can, in all the various shapes and forms and labels I will take on. Because at the end of the day, my only job— our only job as individuals— is to create value that benefits the world around us. The only way I could fail at my job is to fail to provide value, and the only way I could fail to provide value would be failing to share my unique abilities. So long as I do that, I will be supported and guided.
So for now, and especially while I’m still traveling, I’m giving up this name game. It’s not serving me, and it’s not bringing me clarity— only greater confusion. For now, I’m simply continuing to learn, to study, to interpret, to funnel, to break down, to digest, to disseminate and to share. If anyone has a good professional title for this, by all means enlighten me.
But I refuse to put my talents on hold in the meantime, and if you relate to this in any way, nor should you.