Home Careers Perspectives from a Life Coach: Understanding the 'Shifts of Seasons' in Your Life
Perspectives from a Life Coach: Understanding the 'Shifts of Seasons' in Your Life

Perspectives from a Life Coach: Understanding the 'Shifts of Seasons' in Your Life

Start a management degree at American Public University.

By Dr. Marie Gould Harper
Program Director, Management at American Public University

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to coach individuals through life’s transitions. I must say it can be one of the most time-consuming processes in people’s lives as they seek to find out what their next step should be.

As a coach or a mentor, you have to take the role of the parent. You assist when necessary and you learn when to stand down.

It’s not your life. It’s another person attempting to find his or her place in society. Given everyone’s uniqueness, your role is to encourage their internal voice to rise and take action for their next journey.

I have called people out on the carpet, and I have wiped away tears. I have propped them up when they felt they could not go on, and I have shed a light of hope during periods of despair.

However, the most rewarding part of the process has been to see individuals “come out on the other side.” I’ve watched them when the light bulb goes on and they emerge from what seemed like a long season of uncertainty.

Listening to the Voice Inside

A popular catchphrase from the 1960s “Lost in Space” TV show was “Danger, Will Robinson!” All of us have an internal voice that will speak to us when it is time to shift. Some of us will go forth and make the shift, while others will ignore it.

Regardless of your initial reaction to that inner voice, if you don’t act on that voice, you will experience all types of emotions, especially frustration, until you do respond.

Recognize Your Place in the World

Each person is born with a unique set of gifts and talents. These skills are yours to keep, and no one can take them away from you unless you allow that to happen. Take time to hone and develop those positive attributes that sometimes seem to jump out of you.

Explore new thoughts to see where they lead. Never believe you are too old or not smart enough to learn something new. Discern what your role in life should be at any given time.

Be Open to Change

Have you ever been in your car, traveling to a destination on cruise control? That’s how some people live. They program in a destination, sit back and watch as someone else drives.

The car is your life, and you should have some control of its direction. As you go past many stops, there may be opportunities to veer left or right and to change your final destination.

Take Another Path When You Get to a Fork in the Road

Some people wait passively to learn their final destination. I am going to give it to you now. As a fellow human being, I give you permission to get off at the next exit. Enjoy the adventure and see where the change of direction leads you. You may find an important key to understanding the puzzle of your life.

Don’t Give Up on Your Life

After observing people over the years, I have seen people who gave up all hope. They held to a belief that they had a pre-determined destination and they had failed to stay on course.

My job has always been to challenge them to believe that life is a journey with many choices. All of life’s events should not be put into categories of right or wrong.

Our experiences will not always be black or white. Sometimes, we have to be willing to see the gray and step out based on faith.

Put your trust, hopes and aspirations into the thought that:

  • You have a place at the table we call the walk of life.
  • Your journey is your own, so own it and explore all of life’s possibilities.
  • You have been internally wired with gifts and talents that you need to develop.

Without sounding morbid, the final destination is death, the last transition. Until that time, explore, learn and appreciate all the opportunities and experiences that you will be given. You have a choice in determining how your final story will be written, so don’t be afraid of starting to write the next chapter.

Start a management degree at American Public University.

About the Author

Dr. Marie Gould Harper is the Program Director of Management at American Public University. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Wellesley College, a master’s degree in instructional systems from Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate in business from Capella University. She is a progressive coach, facilitator, writer, strategist and human resources/organizational development professional with more than 30 years of leadership, project management, and administrative experience. Dr. Gould Harper has worked in both corporate and academic environments.

Dr. Gould Harper is an innovative thinker and strong leader, manifesting people skills, a methodical approach to problems, organizational vision and ability to inspire followers. She is committed to continuous improvement in organizational effectiveness and human capital development, customer service and the development of future leaders.