In 2011, the Harvard Business Review reported that Life Coaching was a $1 billion-a-year industry. In two years time, that figure had doubled.
Not bad for a term that wasn’t even added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary until 2012.
Just last month, it was reported that pop star Ariana Grande’s Life Coach, who was responsible for keeping the 21 year old singer “centered and healthy,” was so incensed by Grande’s pompous personality that he quit.
Over my lifetime, I have been blessed with many relationships that have kept me centered and healthy: loving family, skilled professional mentors and the very best of friends.
I have also gained incredible strength and perspective through the relationship I share with my Life Coach. Our bond dates back to 1981. Our weekly encounters happen most often on Sunday, but with crazy schedules, sometimes I have to postpone gaining this insight until Monday.
No, it’s not exclusively religious in nature, although I have been fortunate to receive weekend inspiration and spiritual guidance from compassionate Catholic pastors and an exceptional Orthodox Jewish Rabbi.
My Life Coach brings perspective to every relationship in my life and has helped me build my bucket list, count my blessings and face my fears…all in less than 20 minutes each week.
Not surprising when you consider that my Life Coach is….
The Sunday New York Times Obituary column.
Believe me when I tell you there is much to learn within these poignant lines of text.
I’ve invested a few moments every week honoring the legacies of people I will never know by carefully reading the final summation of the lives they lived. As a result, I now believe that every single person who crosses my path has a fascinating story to tell.
We may not all be natural storytellers, and maybe we don’t even appreciate the beauty of the tale we have to tell, but if the right questions are asked, I find the story comes together in a dramatic and unforgettable way. And so, I ask.
It’s how I came to know my Orkin man was actively involved in prison ministry following his daughter’s incarceration for a white-collar crime. He kills bugs by day, saves souls by night and every other weekend. He should write a book.
In the last few Sundays alone, I read about a woman who, at the age of 12, was responsible for shepherding her mother and five siblings from China to Hawaii to avoid the threat of kidnapping of families of high-ranking government officials.
I read about a woman who was involved in the final modification of combat aircraft for US Naval forces in the Pacific Theatre.
And, I read about a Fulbright Scholar turned physician-scientist who made major contributions regarding human skin conditions such as cutaneous porphyria.
I looked it up, and I suggest you don’t.
Very often my Life Coach expands my horizons through trips to the dictionary. One fella was graphically described as an oenophile, which looks like it would be something super naughty, but actually is something that I aspire to be someday.
A couple weeks ago, two different people were acknowledged for their unique and elaborate gift giving, noting in particular their distinctive gift-wrapping abilities. I assume that means they weren’t as excited as I was when Hallmark debuted the convenient gift bag/tissue paper/curly ribbon combo package. Food for thought.
Each Sunday, I define the things I pray will be considered for my obit and the things I pray will be excluded.
For example, I would be happy with “Friends and family will miss (her) intelligence, sharp wit and internal clock which always knew when it was 5pm,” but would be fine avoiding “a courageous battle with ocular melanoma.”
I’d be good with “remained active, involved and engaged until (her) death,” but would like to steer clear of “complications related to Alzheimer’s.”
I really hope my life never dissolves into “she had a strong affection for cats and especially appreciated their company in the later years of her life,” but I’ll jump at the opportunity if it means forever avoiding “predeceased by her daughter.”
Each week, my Life Coach impresses upon me a very important point…tomorrow is promised to no one.
As a result, each morning when my eyes open up to a new day, I recognize it as an incredible gift.
And now, if you will excuse me, it is suddenly important for me to find a kick-ass way to wrap this gift I have once again been given.