Check out the interview I had with Veronica Thai with the Curious Monki Podcast.
The Interview Transcription
Veronica: Hi everybody thank you so much for tuning in. Before we start todays episode I wanted to drop a message and let you know that Christopher Lawrence, does provide us with a promo code for free life coaching session with him, near the end of the episode. I wanted to give you a heads up because I definitely do not want you to miss out. Alright here we go. Hello beautiful souls you are listening to the Curious Monki Podcast, where you are invited to join me a curious nugget, as I go on a journey to dive deep and learn about the world of yoga, as well as everything in and around it. Poses, teacher training, super cool topics like energy healing, and crystal balls, you’ll hear it all. I’m your host Veronica Thai, welcome to the conversation. Hi everybody thank you so much for joining me for today’s episode. Today we are having a conversation with Christopher Lawrence life coach, entrepreneur, and Reiki master. As a life coach he pours his heart into helping people discover their dream jobs. He was deep into the corporate world I think about 15 years, and it wasn’t until he took a life coaching course for his own personal growth, that he found his calling. Chris welcome to the show, thank you so much for joining me today.
Chris: Thank you very much for having me.
Veronica: For sure. I’ll let you fill in the rest of your bio. You have such a vibrant life.
Chris: Oh thank you very much. Yeah so I got into coaching formally about 5 years ago. I did it because I was actually quite dissatisfied with where I was in my life, and I know that you share similar experiences.
Veronica: I’ve been there. I’m sure a lot of other people have too.
Chris: That’s right yes. So I took a life coaching course just as part of my own personal improvement, and I did a little mini practicum at the end which it was informal, but I took it formally and fell in love with it. I never looked back.
Veronica: That’s awesome, well tell me more. What had to transpire for you to seek help life coaching?
Chris: Oh I’m so glad you asked that question, because I think sometimes when you get on the other side of and I’m going to use this word very loosely, but when you get on the other side of success. People say that and they don’t really know what that means, so when you have an achievement, people look at you. So where I am now in my life, people look and me and they think look at this guy who’s made something of himself, but what they don’t realise is that it came just like everybody else, through trials and tribulations and turmoil. So for me I was working in Corporate Calgary. I worked for like really amazing organizations, and I did very, very well and moved up the corporate ladder quickly, but I did not enjoy what I was doing and I couldn’t quite figure it out. When you’re in that state you start to get the hitch, and then the hitch starts to turn into a rash and the rash all of a sudden turns into like a disease.
Veronica: I like that analogy, it’s so true yeah.
Chris: So that’s what happened to me as I was super unfulfilled, and as it does for so many people. It actually took a couple of deaths for me in my life at one period, to sort of shake things up. And so what I had started doing was, I started receiving Reiki because I couldn’t find any western medicine that would help me sort of resolve what was happening. So I started taking Reiki sessions.
Veronica: First I want to speak to your point about death, which is always a painful and hard time to go through. At the same time sometimes its situations like that, that makes us grateful for life realise how short it is, and that goodness gracious we better wake up.
Chris: That’s exactly what it was. It was literally wake up Christopher, wake up.
Veronica: What are you waiting for!
Chris: Exactly yeah. So it was an opportunity for reflection, and I think after death we often ask that question. What is truly important in my life? And then we take some steps.
Veronica: Yeah and you almost in a way put yourself in a position, where you’re like well if I were to leave this earth, what do I want to leave with, and what do I want to leave the earth with.
Chris: That was exactly it.
Veronica: Deep questions.
Chris: Exactly yeah. And realising you hear this phrase, money doesn’t bring you happiness. And we hear this, and we hear it and it’s a very intellectual thing, but until you’ve actually had money to the point where you experience financial satisfaction, you don’t really get that money does not bring happiness. You have to get to a point where you’ve hit financial satisfaction. I think not for everybody, I certainly had to. I certainly had to go and make the 6 figures, and do this kind of thing where it’s like wow I’m here this is the dream. On paper I look great going back to my 10 year high school reunion. It was like I checked all the boxes.
Veronica: Yeah you’re the bomb. Yeah, yeah cool.
Chris: On the inside felt completely miserable.
Veronica: Yeah that’s very interesting. And I would say for survival reasons, you can’t live month to month in poverty, and not think that money can’t buy you happiness because it can buy you survival. But don’t they say that after a certain salary, your happiness for money goes down significantly.
Chris: Yes I have heard that statistics as well, and I can’t remember the exact number. It’s either $62,000 or $82,000, or it may even be $52,000. It probably depends on the economy that you’re in, but actually yeah satisfaction can go down based off of the kind of salary that you make. Or satisfaction stops going up. So one of things I like to say is having money doesn’t make you happy, but not having money can sure make you unhappy.
Veronica: Yeah, yeah.
Chris: Cause it’s still our system of things right. We still have to live in this system which is a currency based system.
Veronica: It is yeah. If only we could do trades all over the place right.
Chris: Right. I like the idea of Star Trek. You do a job not because you’re paid to, but because you find eternal fulfilment, and then all of your needs are taken care of.
Veronica: Oh my gosh I’ve watched Start Trek twice and I didn’t get that.
Chris: You didn’t?
Veronica: Oh my gosh.
Chris: Totally honestly it’s a very socialist type of concept, and probably not achievable in our lifetime.
Chris: It doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying.
Veronica: That’s really, really cool. The way that I think of the concept is actually eating a pizza when you’re hungry. So when you’re hungry and someone gives you a pizza the first slice is delicious, so is the second, and on third you’ve kind of had enough, by the 4th, 5th, 6th, you’re starting to feel crappy.
Chris: Yeah that’s like it.
Veronica: Yeah it doesn’t mean what it meant to have slice one.
Andrew: Yeah but for some reason we keep eating it.
Veronica: Exactly because it’s there.
Chris: And that’s like the money situation I think.
Chris: I think that’s a great analogy.
Veronica: Thank you.
Chris: But we keep eating it.
Veronica: Well I don’t want to get too far off track, we just started the conversation here.
So we were talking about how a couple of difficult moments in your life, a couple of deaths had brought you kind of back to reality, kind of got you to wake up a little bit, and then you sought Reiki. Which I find very intriguing because I think most people who do have a difficult time, don’t jump straight Reiki.
Chris: Yeah well you’re right; I didn’t jump straight to Reiki. I had done a number of things before but, and of course talk therapy being one of them, and I think talk therapy is so beneficial. But I had worked with naturopaths and doctors and this kind of thing. I think there is an emotional level of healing, that I wasn’t able to experience through things like talk therapy. There’s a book called “The Biology of Belief” it’s written by Bruce Lipton. It talks about the science behind the power of belief, and he’s a neuro scientist. So really fascinating read, very difficult read. I had to listen to it on audio because it’s very, very technical. But there’s a point and talk therapy usually fairly early on, where the perceived benefits are no longer taking place, because it’s just like listening to a tape recorder.
Veronica: Yeah, yeah.
Chris: So you have to do something else to change the sub conscious right. You have to do something outside of the words to change.
Veronica: Rewire the synapsis.
Chris: Exactly right. So I thought I would try Reiki, and after my first session it was like I don’t think I had ever felt like that in my life.
Chris: So by the end of my second session I tend to be an all or nothing guy, which is one of my greatest super powers, and one of my greatest down falls. So I decided to take Reiki training.
Chris: And this was all before the coaching started, so I fell in love with it actually and so I achieved my master teacher level, and I have taught a number Reiki courses, teaching students to their master teacher level.
Chris: And it has been so incredibly. While I was on this path, I was introduced to something called life coaching and I was like, I wonder what this is.
Chris: So instead of working with a coach, I found a life coaching course and I decided to take it for myself.
Veronica: All or nothing, there we go, there we go.
Chris: All or nothing right.
Veronica: I do want to stay on the Reiki for a little bit here.
Veronica: I find it intriguing. It’s the world that I love to be immersed in, and I myself actually took Reiki level one training just out of curiosity. I believe that there is energy around us, and everything that we need is around us. It’s just whether we decide to see it or not. That is a lesson that I want to believe, but I don’t know yet. So I always say that there are pieces of wisdom that you believe, and like yeah that must be true. That makes sense, I like it. And there are pieces of wisdom that you know deep down inside, because you learned it. I’m still trying to learn that. That everything that we need is just around. That there is energy and things beyond what our eyes, and ears, and other sensory can perceive beyond our knowing. It’s just something bigger right.
Veronica: So I took level one just to see and that was such a cool experience. Now how in your entire all 3 Reiki sessions to become a Reiki master, change your perception?
Chris: Oh wow I was pretty sceptical about anything actually, and so my friend who is a Reiki master teacher encouraged me to come in and try. Like we went for coffee and I was so questioning, not even sure if I believed in God, like I’m a pretty pragmatic guy.
Chris: When it comes to that kind of stuff. And she open up this whole world to me, so by the time I had finished my master teacher level, I had seen with my own eyes the impact that this can have on people. And there’s still a part of me that goes, is it happening that way because they believe its happening, or its happening that way because the energy.
Veronica: Oh my gosh.
Chris: Right does that sound familiar?
Veronica: That’s so me yes. I do that all the time.
Chris: And do you know what I realised?
Chris: I realised it doesn’t matter.
Veronica: It doesn’t, doesn’t yeah.
Chris: It doesn’t. Now I have a friend who’s far more pragmatic than I am, and he says well it’s a waste of money. If it’s something that is just a belief and it’s completely placebo, but actually the research behind placebo, and the research behind belief is so rock solid now. And they continue to do more that actually sometimes belief is a better prescription, than the prescription itself. So what I realised is or the little faith I had at the time, where I would place that faith is in that if I believe something to be true, and something to work, then it can and it will.
Veronica: Yeah that’s one thing that I do know our thoughts make up our reality.
Chris: They do.
Chris: It’s like driving a car. So if you’re driving a car and you’re looking off at the animals on the side of the road, where does your car start to go?
Veronica: Towards the animal’s right.
Chris: Towards the animals. So if we’re like I’m not going to pass this thing, or this won’t work, what happens to your actions and your behaviours, it follows in suit. So people who tend to believe in these kind of things, and have unquestioning faith. And all of a sudden you seem them have these interesting realisations, or these interesting responses, or they start getting results. It’s because they’ve steered their car in the direction that they want to go.
Veronica: Yeah. There’s a point in time where you just have to go, and once you set your sights on it you don’t look back. Because if you’re about to jump into a pool and you just keep looking back, you keep looking back, you’re not quite going to get right in there.
Chris: That’s right yeah.
Veronica: Yeah that’s cool. So you’ve devilled in kind of that mystical side, but really now you’re focus life coaching. Because you starting with Reiki, and after your Reiki you ended up doing some life coaching. You heard about the course, that was the path though, that was the path. You did Reiki that’s how you learned about life coaching, maybe that’s what made you open to it. Took the entire course and then you decided that this is it.
Chris: I thought this is it, right. So I had taken the course and the time I finished the course, things were still pretty bad at work. So I was 35 pounds heavier than I am now.
Veronica: Okay I think you look great.
Chris: Thank you. On anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications.
Veronica: Because of work?
Chris: Largely because of work. I think there is something to be said about genetic make-up and self-care too. If I had been in a position where I was able to care for myself differently, I would have made different decisions. But you don’t even have the foresight when the fog is so thick.
Chris: You know. So took this Reiki course and I finished it, sorry this life coaching course and I finished it, and I was doing a little practicum for myself. I wanted to see what it would be like to actually coach, and at that time that’s when I also hired my own life coach. And I was doing this little practicum, and oh man it was right in the middle of that. We hit a crux at work things were not going well, and then a couple more deaths.
Veronica: Oh my goodness.
Chris: It was a crazy couple of years.
Chris: Even though I was making more money financially. Do you know EIlana? I can’t remember how to say her name; she’s on Oprah all the time.
Chris: She’s the one that talks about in the meantime, and she’s got her show.
Veronica: She has that short hair.
Chris: Yeah, yeah.
Veronica: Okay I do. I’ll look up the name and post it in the show notes.
Chris: Yeah. Sorry I can’t pronounce her name, and every time I hear it I try but my tongue just isn’t there yet. There’s an interesting quote that I just read the other day, where she says something to the effect of, when life wants something from you, if you are not listening it will jerk you in the direction, that you need to go.
Veronica: Oh yeah I believe in that. If you don’t take the subtle hints it will whack you upside the head.
Chris: Yeah. The knock on the dark starts to turn into somebody pounding the gorgon.
Chris: So this was what I felt like was happening for me. I basically hit like financially even it was interesting, I was making more money than I ever had. But I was in a situation where they found asbestos in a condo that I owned.
Veronica: Oh boy.
Chris: And was living in, so went from making less money but total financial destitution. The only reason why I had this condo was because I had the job, and so I started to get the message. I took some time off work. I took probably about 4 or 5 months off work, and I thought well this is good. This will be a vacation. I’ll decide what I’m going to do with my life. That is not what happens. All of a sudden your body relaxes and it starts to freak out saying, are you going to listen to me now, and so recovery takes a long time. I think for about 3 weeks I was sleeping maybe 16-18 hours a day.
Veronica: You were so tired. You were so tired, oh my goodness.
Chris: Yeah. So the body now says okay we are going to change. Now that we have the opportunity we are going to change your habits, so it was interesting. After a few months I went back to work for about 4 weeks. During that time off I needed something creative to do right. So I would maybe work on a logo for my business, because I knew that I was going to go into consulting of some kind, and I thought maybe I would throw life coaching in. And I thought maybe just as a part time; a couple Saturdays a month I would take some clients make a little bit of extra money, and do something that I loved.
Veronica: Yeah. Start small dip a toe in yeah.
Chris: Exactly. So I went back to work after about 4 months, and I was there for 4 weeks and there was another death in my family.
Veronica: Oh my gosh.
Chris: It was crazy and so I thought, I’m not listening. There’s something happening and I’m not listening.
Veronica: Well can I just crank it up a little bit here. You were talking about how it all seem like your body took the opportunity to kind of reset itself, and kind of nudge you and ask you, okay are you going to listen to me now. So what else did you notice in those 4, 5 months that you took off within your body?
Chris: Yeah. So physiologically lots of issues. I’d like to tell you in that 4 months, that I was able to lose the weight and come off medication. Actually I would say it got worse.
Veronica: Got worse.
Chris: Because now you’re faced with it, you can’t hide behind email, you can’t hide behind the work right.
Veronica: Yeah that’s so true.
Chris: So lots of physiological changes.
Veronica: Because you haven’t made a change yet that actually makes sense. Because in your mind you’re thinking that you’re going back to work, so while you took the time off not that much had changed in your perception or belief.
Chris: I would agree with that.
Veronica: Okay, okay I get it.
Chris: It was more just trying to work through the day to day, calm the anxiety down, and really trying to come to terms with my own mortality.
Veronica: Oh I’m sure that would have. 4 deaths then that would shock you that would shock someone. Yeah that’s a lot.
Chris: So it was pretty significant, and just trying to deal with the day to day, and calm your energy down, and it was so challenging. Because we were heading into spring and into summer during my time off, so I thought oh wow this is going to be like a vacation and it was nothing like a vacation. Recovery takes a long time.
Veronica: Yeah. You’re recovering, probably deep questions you had to consider. Were you questioning your own mortality prior to theses happenings? Did you wonder?
Chris: Yes but avoid it. I always wondered but it was sort of avoidance. It was like oh that’s interesting, oh well I’m going to go do something else now.
Veronica: Oh well I’m here now yeah.
Veronica: Do you think life coaching changed that?
Chris: I think it was a combination of things, and a large part of it was life coaching. And to be honest I do have to give credit to talk therapy as well, having some of those conversations, but it wasn’t just one thing.
Chris: It’s like sometimes we need a village and I needed a village.
Veronica: Yeah. I agree that’s a really good point. Sometimes it’s not just one, not just Reiki is going to get you out of it, not just talk therapy, not that one course, but altogether there could be power in that variety.
Chris: That’s it. I think sometimes too when we are in that place we all have mentalities. We have like a villain mentality or victim mentality, and mine was certainly victim mentality. So when you’re victim mentality you want somebody to come and rescue you, right. And what’s interesting is that what I realised was, all of these people were here to rescue me, but I had to make myself available to them.
Chris: So while we wait for the village to come and raise us up, I had to create my village to raise me up. And so I had this practitioner, that practitioner right, had this friend, that friend, that acquaintance, this mentor, that mentor, right and sort of created my own personal village and healing network , and some of it very, very practical and hands on. And some of it very, very spiritual, and woo, woo, which I had not experienced, but it opened my mind.
Veronica: Yeah there’s only 22:25. I really like the way you put that. Alright so the 4, 5 months that you took off not much had changed, in fact it went downhill a little bit. Then you went back to work and there was another traumatic event, another death, and then.
Chris: And then so I ended up off work again for another 4 weeks, to sort of process that death. I got back to work 4 weeks later, and it was the night before I was supposed to go back, and I was like I’m not listening, I’m not listening, right.
Veronica: Yeah you caught on.
Chris: It’s like okay, okay, wake up, wake up Christopher right. And so I typed out my resignation.
Veronica: That night?
Chris: The day before.
Veronica: Oh how did you feel?
Chris: Scared. There’s supposed to be a sense of relief that comes, and there was relief. I’m not going to lie, but there’s also this. I literally went from making 6 figures down to I think I had one paying client a month, $80 a month that’s what I was charging them for one Reiki session a month, and that was basically…
Veronica: Back to humble beginnings.
Chris: Oh back to humble beginning. It’s like how am I going to make this work. So I walked in and I walked in with my parking pass, and my ID card and my corporate credit card, and my laptop, and my resignation letter. And I said, you guys have been so amazing but I can’t do this. I feel like I’m selling myself.
Veronica: Yeah. It’s always the one thing is in addition to the fear that comes with just taking a leap, getting up and leaving your job, it’s always hard to say goodbye. In your situation you had a wonderful job and you did like the people, even though you didn’t actually like the work. It sounded like it was a good environment, you sounded very happy when you’re kind of thinking back on it.
Chris: It checked the boxes of happiness. So I had a decent employer, it was a good job.
Veronica: Yeah. So that I would say corporate wise best of times. Even in the worst of times if you dislike the company you’re with, dislike your boss maybe at the time, and maybe you don’t really get along with your team, still hard to say goodbye.
Veronica: It’s still hard to say goodbye, because it’s hard to change routine.
Chris: With all change comes a sense of loss, no matter how good the change is.
Veronica: There you go, yeah there you go. Words right out of my mouth exactly. So that’s really interesting, and yes so I get how it would be scary, even though there was much relief after, yeah.
Chris: Yeah there was some relief and then it was like, okay now what.
Veronica: Yeah now what. So you didn’t have a plan B yet?
Chris: My plan was to go into coaching and consulting of some kind, that’s what I knew.
Chris: And Reiki was going to be part of it, like it was pretty loose. It was like I’ll do some Reiki. I’ll sell some essential oils. I’ll coach some clients.
Veronica: We’ll see yeah.
Chris: It’s like let’s see what happens. I’ll do some change management, consulting back in Corporate Calgary.
Veronica: Yeah oh holy cow. The funny thing is though and I’m saying tis funny because you’ve been 5 years into this business.
Veronica: And for me it’s exactly what you said at the beginning. People come in and they see just a huge success you are, and no one sees the struggles. Tony Robbins says that right. What people get praise for in public, they’ve done a million times in private.
Veronica: So you’ve had practice, you’ve stumbled along the way. Then I come along and I see you with this successful coaching business, and all the coaches and all the pieces that you’ve put together. And I’m like wow that’s amazing, how one person even gets there. So looking back it was a scary move for you, but gosh be without all this change my life coaching, without you taking that leap there. What would you say to your prior self, the Christopher who is just about to take that leap?
Chris: I would say get comfortable with hearing the word no, redefine what failure means, and expand your definition of success.
Veronica: So those last two. Redefine what failure means, what’s your redefinition.
Chris: So I have two depending on the circumstance I work with. One is that I choose not to define what failure is because if I don’t define it, then there’s no such thing as failure.
Veronica: I love it.
Chris: That’s the first one. The second one is just not doing something, just not trying is failure. We tend to look at success as a single thing, a single point in time. If I lose this much weight, if I get this much in my revenue.
Veronica: A goal, a tangible goal.
Chris: A tangible goal which seems to have a single point, either a single point in time, or a single defined achievement. Then we look at failure as everything, but that single goal. I reverse that and I say what if failure was the single point, what if it was just not trying to do something.
What if it was giving up without having even tried in the first place, what if that was failure? But success was everything in between including hearing no, maybe in the last 5 years a hundred thousand times.
Veronica: Wow that’s powerful.
Chris: So it feels powerful.
Veronica: I love it yeah. I love it. It’s powerful because there are probably many great ideas floating out there. What did I read once; I can’t even credit this correctly because I don’t know where I got it. But just because you have a great idea, doesn’t means it’s yours until you take action. So that’s a thing. I think there are plenty of good ideas out there, these amazing aspirations, but it’s not until you take that first step toward it right. And that first step toward it can be scary, you can be thinking about failure. But if we define it your way, not taking the step is already failure. And then taking the step is already success, feels pretty good.
Chris: It does.
Veronica: I could sit with that.
Chris: If you can totally. And if you can’t get your head there, often I think there’s even a third way that you could look at this which is make your definition of success, include failure along the way.
Veronica: So if you succeed and it’s smooth going, and there is no failure then is it really success.
Chris: Do you ever know anybody that succeeds without failure?
Chris: Me either.
Veronica: Of course not. I love that.
Chris: So maybe its hope for smooth success, but expect failure along the way.
Chris: Right. And then get up and keep going.
Veronica: Just trust in your own wings, you can just figure it out, brush yourself off.
Chris: Yeah that’s right.
Veronica: So thanks for that. I think you also answered the second question, really was which was you redefining success. So you really kind of consolidate the two together, they do go hand in hand. It’s not like ones terrible and ones the best.
Chris: And making that definition of success as broad as you can.
Chris: So if I had to close my business today and I don’t know why we would do that, because we are not in a position to, but should something happen. If I had to close my business today, would I say that it was a failure? I couldn’t possibly. I couldn’t possibly say it’s a failure. And have there been trials along the way? Absolutely but this is also about expanding that definition.
Veronica: Yeah oh I love this so much. I love this so much. You’ve clearly gone through your fair share of trials and tribulations, in starting this movement, in starting this passion of yours. What would you say was your greatest challenge along the way?
Chris: Oh you probably hear this from everybody but myself, so let me define what that means.
Veronica: I’ve been there too.
Chris: It’s just gremlins the voices inside. I can tell you for the first 3 ½ maybe even 4 years of doing this, there was almost not a single day that I didn’t want to give up.
Chris: So imagine that. Every day for 4 years saying oh god should I quit, should I go back and get a regular quote and quote job with a steady pay check.
Veronica: What were the pressures that made you feel that way?
Chris: Oh geese I think not knowing was the biggest thing. So not knowing financially.
Chris: Uncertainty right was probably one of the biggest challenges. Just not knowing pay check, food on your table. But even beyond that not knowing if you’re doing the right things, from a business stand point. I could see with my clients so I think anybody can learn anything, right. However I think there is something to be said about natural talent too, so you have to look at both. You have to look at learn skill, and you have to look at natural talent. So right from day one I could see that I could get results with clients that was never any question for me.
Veronica: I love that.
Chris: After my practicum. I had to do the practicum first but it was like after 2 or 3 weeks, you come with this expertise and you start to coach people through a circumstance or a situation. So my practicum was 3 months I used 3 clients, and I coached them twice a month for 3 months during my practicum, and the results that we got in 3 months for some of these people were tremendous. And so I never had doubt in my ability to coach, I shouldn’t say never. I rarely had doubt in my ability to coach.
Veronica: Yeah okay.
Chris: Then you get that client where it’s like; oh you’re going to help me grow as a coach. But it was the doubt around am I making the right business decisions, and no matter how many books you read, no matter how many courses you take, you have to just go through it yourself.
Veronica: Some days it’s just trial by fire.
Chris: And more often than not. More often than not, its trial by fire.
Veronica: So is the business side of things that was difficult.
Chris: It really was.
Veronica: But you knew because the coaching side you said you rarely doubted yourself. So you just knew, like you had to. Is that what kept you going?
Chris: It was what kept me going. It was about seeing the clients, meeting the clients, and seeing their results. I can’t promise results for anybody, but I can tell you we are so results driven. We want to make sure that they are achieving something, or accomplishing something, or feeling something new, cause sometimes that is the achievement, is a new feeling right. So that is what kept me going absolutely.
Veronica: And following that same line there, in all this what gives you the greatest sense of fulfilment?
Chris: It is seeing my client’s results, there’s no question and it’s also the thing that keeps me up at night. If there is a client who’s like, are they getting what they want from this that will keep me up at nights. I’m thinking about ways, maybe I need to try this approach or that approach, but that is the greatest. My fulfilment comes from trying to impact the lives of those I meet every single day, and so coaching is a really natural fit.
Veronica: That is awesome. And since we are going down this path already, I can’t wait to dive into this life coaching world. I just love this world, but I’ve never met a life coach before.
Chris: Is that right? I’m glad to be your first.
Veronica: Yeah. So tell me what life coaching is all about. Who goes to you for life coaching? What do you personally coach on or your favourite?
Chris: Sure. So life coaching is really broad actually. This is interesting because I’ve hired a number of different coaches in the beginning to help me, and then later on to help me be a better coach. Meaning I wanted to experience different styles, so I’ve hired a coach that was completely focused spiritually. So she really believes and I think for many people who she coaches, she can help them run their businesses better and create abundance in their business, through things like breathing and meditation which I think is really incredible. Then I’ve gone to the really hard edge type of coach where it’s like, here’s how your calendar is set up and do not veer from this.
So I’ve experienced both sides of it and deliberately to challenge myself, and expand myself. So coaching is really broad. The idea behind life coaching is that you’re in your as it states. So what is happening right now, what state are you in right now, where you at in your life or your business, or your career, or your relationship, doesn’t matter. And there’s this desired end state or the to be state, this is the state you wish to be in. So our goal as coaches is to help you get absolutely clear on what that to be state is, and then we want to move you from where you are now into that to be state. We might do that by adding perspective or perception shifts. We might do that by changing habits. We might do that through conversation or holding accountability, sometimes we do it. I had one client she lost like 30 pounds, because she was very, very spiritual. She wanted to use crystals to heal herself, and so she kept a crystal in her pocket, but we also use that as a mindfulness technique. So when you are in the grocery store I want you to tell me what this crystal means when you’re in the grocery store. What will you need to be reminded of? What’s the message? So I use where she was and the tools that she was comfortable with, to help her get to the next level in her information weight loss journey. Do you see what I’m saying?
Chris: So it’s pretty broad, but the idea is that we are future focused. So present focused to future focused. Where am I now and where do I need to be? And then we work through the path together.
Veronica: Oh that’s so cool.
Chris: It’s neat.
Veronica: Yeah. Do you have another example of a client that just a really unique story to share?
Chris: One of my clients and this is probably not typical result. But she worked with me for 2 ½ years, which is a long coaching relationship.
Veronica: Yeah I was going to ask how long typically?
Chris: Usually between 6 and 12 months is how long your clients work with you, but it depends some clients want more. Usually 6 and 12, 12 months is really where we start to see permanent sustainable change. At 6 months we might still be just grazing the surface, but it depends on the client.
Chris: But one client I remember it was so interesting, she coached with me for 7 months and I’m like I didn’t see her getting any results, and I couldn’t hear her saying she was getting results. And I didn’t get the sense or the intuitive feeling that she was getting results, so I kept checking in because this is the kind of thing that I like to do, is make sure that a client is getting value.
So I kept checking in with her, like are you sure you’re getting what you want from this? Are you sure you’re getting what you want? She says yeah I need this, this is what I need. We were focused on the career stuff but we jump around. We might talk about friends; we might talk about her home. We would talk about all sorts of things, but I couldn’t quite get her to focus. Then all of a sudden 7 months hit and it was like snap, in an instant she started gaining momentum. It was just liked she was sort of sitting on top of the mountain waiting, and then all of a sudden the snow ball started rolling, and it was a really beautiful thing. We actually started with her physical health, and so myself in conjunction with a personal trainer that she sought out. We worked very heavily on creating accountability for her, in terms of physical fitness and nutrition.
Chris: She was a diabetic, she is a diabetic still. But she did come down 80 units on her insulin which is massive. Then we start to focus on friendships, because she felt like she didn’t have a social life. So even though she had come to me for her job, the obstacles in the way had nothing to do with the job itself. It had to do with everything else in her life. So we started to focus on friendships, and we started to run into obstacles there. I’m like what is preventing you, and so it came out that she was in a home that basically from the outside looking in, it was a hoarder home. I’m not diagnosing her as a hoarder, that’s not what we do as coaches. And she didn’t have the psychological makeup of a hoarder, in her mind she was just lazy and didn’t take personal pride. So there was no obsession like you might get with a hoarder, it was more just “I don’t care”. So over the next year and a half, she ended up pulling probably close to 3 tons of garbage out of her home.
Veronica: Oh man!
Chris: Yeah. And during that time she increased her social life, she got some friends, because she had pride in her home. Again eventually she got rid of that home and moved into another situation, and then the job thing came snap almost overnight. She was like now that all of that stuff I’m free and clear from, I’m starting to see what I want to do. So she is a certified personal trainer and she does very well for herself.
Veronica: Oh my gosh that’s such a cool story.
Chris: Yeah. So not a typical case but really interesting.
Veronica: Yeah, yeah. Well and that’s probably with the help of life coaching helping you change perception.
Veronica: Yeah. On that note you’ve probably seen tons of clients by now.
Veronica: Have you noticed any commonalities in the tendencies between people? So whether they’re coming for you for their job, friends, social life, weight, relationships, what are some of the commonalities that holds us back?
Chris: Yeah what a great question, there is always patterns. I would say one of the first things is the funny thing that we call self-confidence. But I’m always really weary about talking about self-confidence, because self-confidence comes from taking action. So it’s like somebody is like well I’ll do it if I believe that I can do it. That’s like you’ll only believe you can do it, if you do it.
Veronica: Chicken or the eggs.
Chris: Its chicken or the egg right. So the biggest commonality that I would say that gets in the way from people is that they think too much about what might happen, without actually answering the question. We say what if this, what if that. And I always say actually you should answer the what ifs, answer them. So what if that happens. What if I decide to quit my job to start a knitting company? So what if I decide to do that, and what if it fails? What if it fails, then what? Answer the question. Well then maybe I would have to go back to work, okay and if you have to go back to work then what? Well I’ll be really sad and devastated. Okay and then what, are you going to stay down forever? Are you going to let this ruin your life? Are you going to do something?
Veronica: Well if you put it that way.
Chris: Exactly. And they’re like oh it seems so simple, and I hear that a lot. When you put it that way, it doesn’t seem so bad and that’s the point. It’s to show you that it is never that bad, as long as you continue to answer the question. So the pattern is that we stop at the first what if question and we wait for this ambiguous thing called self-confidence to come. Rather than realising that self-confidence will come when we show our self that we can do it.
Veronica: Oh yeah holy cow that’s so true too. What if right. You have to try and then just again, trust in your own wings.
Veronica: And if you fall on your face, dust it off.
Veronica: Go figure it out yeah.
Chris: One of things that we really try to push here is when you feel disappointment, because something hasn’t worked out the way you wanted it to. When you feel disappointment we strongly encourage our staff, our clients, ourselves, because we still at the senior leadership level experience disappointment too.
Veronica: Oh yeah.
Chris: We try to allow disappointment to drive us. So when you experience disappointment, allow that feeling to be the trigger to go back and do it again.
Chris: Try something else, ask better questions, get better answers.
Veronica: Yeah. How do you do that? How do you make that shift?
Chris: I’ll tell you it takes practice because even our thinking is habitual. We don’t have a lot of new thoughts from one day to the next, our thinking is habitual too. So the idea is that you have to get in there and start to become aware, so the first step is to become aware of how am I thinking. This where things like mindfulness are so life changing. Because if you can become aware of the thoughts you’re having, and the physiological response it’s having on your body, then you’re going to be in a much better place to address it. Address what’s happening, but you have to be aware. Thinking this and feeling this because this happened. Is there another thing that I could be thinking or feeling right now? And then you start to create a new habit for that thing.
Veronica: Is there another thing that I can be thinking or feeling right now? Yeah that’s a great question to add into it. I’m disappointed and I am so sad, and this all sucks. But is there another thing that I can be thinking of now. Yeah I like that.
Veronica: Yeah you’ve already given us a couple of nuggets over here. But I do wonder if there was a single most impactful tool, from your life coaching tool kit to help people better their lives, what would it be?
Chris: Single most impactful tool from the tool kit. To be honest with you and it sounds a little bit cliché, but write down your goals.
Veronica: Write down your goals.
Chris: And go beyond writing them down.
Chris: I want you to write down the goal, and some people think they have to be time based.
I’m always weary with time based, because sometimes if you miss that deadline you feel like a failure, even though you’ve had progress. So I say be sparing with time base goals, but write down your goals. Then come up with why do you want that goal, why is it so important to you that you couldn’t possible not think of achieving it, create an emotional connection to it. Write that down too. Then I want you to write down what are some of the steps that you’re going to take, including the steps that you’re going to take today after this podcast. What is the action you’re going to take today to start achieving this goal? Then write down all of the obstacles that you can possible think of, that are going to get in the way.
Veronica: All of them.
Chris: All of them
Veronica: Ever. Yeah
Chris: That you can think of that are going to get in the way of achieving this goal. Then come up with a plan for every single one of those obstacles, so that you can see how resourceful you are as a human being on this earth, and that you can overcome anything that you’re put in front of. Where we stop is that we hit obstacles, and so we lose momentum and then we lose motivation.
Chris: And so the idea is to remind yourself that overcoming obstacles is actually part of the momentum. This is why people do obstacle course racing, OCR they call it now, Obstacle course racing. The reason why they do this is because they want to overcome the obstacles. So think of it like an obstacle course race, you look forward to the obstacle; it’s one of the fun things. You don’t know if it’s a balance beam, or climbing a rope, or climbing over a wall. I can tell you its coming; the question is what are you going to do. So come up with a plan.
Veronica: That’s cool.
Chris: Of course you might hit obstacles that seem insurmountable, then find another way.
Veronica: Yeah. And is there a common obstacle that most people hit, where it usually trips them up?
Chris: You know this is a really big buzz word right now, but it’s actually lack of grit.
Veronica: Lack of grit.
Veronica: You just don’t want to try that hard.
Chris: Yeah. Grit is about having fortitude no matter what is coming at you.
Veronica: I like that word.
Chris: Just keep going through. Wasn’t it Winston Churchill who said when you’re going through hell, your job is to just keep going. That’s the idea, is that if you have grit you keep going. When I think of grit I always think of like an army soldier who’s literally going through hell, and maybe World War 1, or World War 2 and you just keep going. It doesn’t matter how dirty you are, it doesn’t matter if you’re hungry. You just get up and you do it again, and again, and again.
Veronica: Yeah that’s cool.
Chris: Yeah. Hard to do when you’re in it though.
Veronica: Yeah. So you fall down max amount of times. You just need to muster up that grit to just get up again.
Chris: And this is where community comes in play, and community can be two people. Like a coach and a client, it doesn’t have to be but it can be two people, like a coach and a client. If one of those people has achieved something that the other person wants to achieve, their chance of being successful is increased significantly, and this is where the whole coaching realm comes in. And it really plays nicely on the chemical response that the body has, when you’re in that sense of community.
Veronica: And that’s true you could always use a friend. I could always use a work out buddy.
Chris: I know. Once to do with working out yeah.
Veronica: I could always use a work out buddy, although I have to say with your previous advice of think of all the obstacles. I actually like working out, so I’m pretty much good to go. But I always make sure whether or not I plan to actually work out that day, to have my gym clothes with me. I never want it to be an excuse that I didn’t bring my gym clothes with me. I’m lucky I have a gym in my company. I’ve been there 5 years, there hasn’t once where I’ve said I can’t work out because I don’t have my clothes. So you’re setting yourself up for success.
Chris: So you’ve planned it, and this is what the science shows too. The people, who have the most detailed plans, are usually the ones who have the best success.
Because they thought about how to overcome. There are some really interesting research on this in the book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.
Charles: Totally worth the read.
Veronica: Okay well that’s on my book list then.
Chris: Yeah awesome.
Veronica: That’s awesome thank you, and thank you for all your wisdom. I can’t believe. How did that happen? I can’t believe we are almost out of time. So let me ask you one more question before close here, two more questions.
Veronica: Before we close here, just because one kind of relates to the other. So the first is when we had been talking earlier, and when you sent me your bio you talked about your mission. One of them being able to help people find their dream jobs, and that was your whole dream right?
You were in corporate for 15 years and you had to get such strong signs, before you were able to make a change. So how would you define dream job?
Chris: Oh so the dream job. It’s interesting my approach to this is not a traditional approach. Okay so a traditional approach to career discovery is that you go and do something like a Myers Briggs type assessment, super useful tool. Then your career coach or your career councillor will give you a list of job titles that are related to your personality type. But now the world we live in I feel like that is a huge disservice, and I’m quite passionate about it actually.
Chris: I’ve got a blog coming out in the next few weeks, and might be a couple months now exactly on this topic. The reason why it’s a disservice is because there’s something called the National Occupation registry, and there are over 40,000 job titles listed in that registry. When we pull job titles for these types of assessment, we are pulling form there. So I did my Myers Briggs recently just to prove a point, and I looked on the first 3 websites saying typical jobs for my personality type.
Veronica: Yeah and what’s yours?
Chris: Mine is ENFP.
Chris: Extroverted Intuitive, sorry ENFJ. So extroverted, intuitive, feeling, judging.
Veronica: Perfect we’ve got 2 of us.
Chris: Oh there you go, of course right.
Veronica: And Oprah she’s an ENFJ too.
Chris: I know. I looked it up and in the first 3 websites I found over 100 job titles that I would fit in. Half of them I had done and hated, even though it was for my personality type. The other half I didn’t understand, and the third half I know there’s only two halves, but yeah the last third of it were things I would just never consider as part of my life. And wouldn’t you know that career coaching, life coaching, public speaking, and writing were not on the list. So my approach is we you look at the job itself, what are the tasks that fill you up, because that’s what a job is. It’s what you do day to day. It’s not being the Vice President of Human Resources, that doesn’t mean anything. What are the tasks that that job does, because that’s what you do every day.
Veronica: That’s true.
Chris: So we look at that, we look at your value system. So how do you want to live, what’s important to you? Then we look at your 6 human needs, and that’s a reference back to Tony Robbins work. We want to make sure we look at the 6 human needs.
Veronica: What are the 6 human needs?
Chris: They are certainty, so we have a human need for certainty. We have a human need for variety or uncertainty. We have a human need for love and connection.
Chris: We have a human need for growth. We have a human need to feel significant.
Veronica: Of course.
Chris: And we have a human need for, did I say 5 or 6?
Veronica: You said 6.
Chris: Oh did I? I was counting on my fingers but I missed one. I said 6 but I had 5 fingers. So there’s 6 yeah.
Chris: So we want to make sure as often as possible your job is meeting your value system. It’s giving you tasks that put you in your peak state, and its meeting your 6 human needs.
Chris: As often as possible.
Veronica: Yeah. That’s a really neat way to look at it in terms of the 6 human needs. And the reason why I ask you this is I wanted to dig deeper. I wanted to drill in a little bit, because when we say dream job I think there’s almost a stigma attached to it now. Like dream job that’s what’s going to make me happy and fulfilled.
Chris: And it means I make a lot of money, but won’t have to do anything.
Veronica: Yeah. Or more rather I ask you that question because I’d like to really drill down on what does that really mean. You said the task, what task. Not just the title. Not just the money, what task makes you happy? And then for me the world that I’m in because I’m so immersed in the world of yoga, a little bit of spirituality. I love that mysticism but really I call myself a curios monkey, because I’m in search for truth. I’m in search for finding that unshakeable core of joy within each of us right. And part of it is what we do for 60% of our day in our jobs, but we need to get crystal clear on what that looks likes. So that’s amazing, thanks for answering that.
Veronica: The next one I don’t know if it’s easier or harder, but you’ve been nailing these left right and centre. So I do wonder in taking your life coaching course, just kind of ranking up your leaving your job, so that you could pursue this passion of yours. What was the one question that was posed to you or the one question that you answered that changed everything?
Chris: That is a great question by the way.
Chris: The question that was posed to me during that time in my life, and it showed up certainly in my life coaching program but it actually showed up a couple of other times. The question was because we all want to contribute. If I didn’t say the 6 human needs, that was it by the way. The sense of contribution that was the 6th one.
Veronica: There we go perfect.
Chris: I did say 5.
Veronica: I think you only said 5 yeah.
Chris: Yeah contribution is the 6th one. So it’s interesting that you should ask me a question that would lead back to that. But contribution is a 6th human need, so we need to feel like we are contributing. So one of the best questions that I was ever asked that changed everything was, Christopher tell me and sit down do reflection on this. What problems have you already overcome in your life that you have solutions to today? Because all of the solutions that you come up with to every problem, you’ve overcome in your life is completely transferable to another area of your life.
Chris: And it’s also a way that you can contribute to somebody else’s success.
Veronica: Wow. So do you have an example of what you had come up with?
Chris: Oh geese well there is so much. I always go to the big stuff. I always go to having overcome a drug addiction, and having been a high school dropout.
Veronica: Yeah you write that in your bio.
Chris: It’s in my bio yeah.
Veronica: Yeah you’re so open about it that must have been such big obstacles. You’ve been through a lot.
Chris: Yes but I think we all have right, we all have a story. To us no matter how big or small it is by societal standards, to us it feels big. So I think with all of that though probably one of the biggest things, that I was able to and it’s a non-descript thing, but something that was important to me was the ability to establish new habits. So while that’s non-descript in terms of an example, I’ve seen it in many places in my life. So the tenacity to study was not something that was bred in me at birth, nor through elementary or junior high or high school, but then college came. So that was one of things that I was able to do, was establish a study habit by establishing mindfulness habit, establishing an eating habit.
Cause it’s not just about food, but it’s about food behaviours right. So that’s probably one of the solutions, and it drives to action. So quick wins achieving things, that is something that will be big for me.
Veronica: That is fantastic. Thank you for that. Now you can see the gears rolling in my head. I’ll probably journal and write about that, reflect on that tonight. That’s a really good one. What problems have we overcome that we were able to find solutions to, because that’s transferable.
Chris: It’s transferable.
Veronica: I don’t know that everyone looks at it that way.
Chris: I would agree with that.
Veronica: I love that.
Chris: Yeah I would agree with that and have to give a mentor of mine credit for that, that’s A. Brown. A. Brown was the guy that taught me my very first level of coach training, and he asked that question and he said, take a couple hours but then take a weekend. Take a retreat and sit down, and answer that question, and you’ll realise how powerful you are.
Veronica: I love it thanks A. Brown.
Chris: Yeah A. Brown.
Veronica: Yeah I don’t even know who he is.
Chris: He’s a great guy yeah. He’s with the Certified Coaches Federation, which is where I took my first level of training. So yeah great organization.
Veronica: Thanks. Christopher seriously I don’t know where time has gone with you, but we are at time. And I lied those two were like the two interview questions, but then I do have my closing question that I ask on every episode, which is of everything you’ve learned, and you’ve been through so much, you’ve learned so much. What is the biggest lesson?
Chris: It’s not going to go the way that you want it to. It’s not going to go the way you want it to, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t still be amazing.
Veronica: So true.
Chris: And for me that is the greatest lesson.
Veronica: Yeah making peace with where you are, making the best of it. Alright well thank you again for having this conversation with me, and sharing so much knowledge with us.
Chris: Thank you.
Veronica: If anyone has further questions for you, or wants to contact you a little further. I know you’ve got a treat for us too, and I know you’ll tell us about it. Where can they contact us and tell me what is that treat you’re going to give us?
Chris: Perfect I’m so glad you ask. So part of what we do here, all corporations have a mission, vision, and values. But we also have a corporate question, and our corporate question is how do we help those we serve, achieve even more of their dreams. And so there are lots of ways that we do this, and who we serve aren’t just our clients but it’s also our communities, and it’s our client’s families, and this kind of thing. So we go really broad. If you want to know more go to our website, changemylifecoaching.ca.
Not change your life coaching, changemylifecoaching.ca. And you can reach me in on there, just by filling in our contact form. We’re still small enough that anything that’s for me gets directly to me so you’ll be talking directly to me. But if you want to take advantage of our little treat, so here’s the deal. If you go to our website and this is where your listeners need to grab a pen, and maybe rewind this and listen to this part again.
Go to our website and click on our coaches, and you’re going to find my bio Christopher Lawrence. When you click on that bio, there’s going to be a little box there that says book your first session. For anybody that’s listening I’m offering my session to your listeners complimentary between now and December 31st of 2017. So when they click book your first session, the session is 90 minutes. You’re going to enter the promo code Monki 2017, but its monkey spelled like the name of the podcast Monki 2017. So 2017 the numbers. If they enter that promo code it will bypass the payment, they get a 90 minute session with me. In that session you do motivational maps, so we find out how you’re motivated. We discover your top 3 motivators. We get clarity on the direction you need, or want to be going in. We find out what’s slowing you down, stopping you, or standing in the way, and we leave you with action. So I actually write out unique strategies for every single person. We do this over the phone and in person, whatever works best for the person who’s signing up for the session.
Veronica: Holy moly. Can I sign up for one?
Chris: You can sign up for one.
Veronica: That’s a lot, that’s really impactful. Thank you so much Christopher that is such a generous offer. As always everyone who is listening I’ll post this on my website, you’ll have the code, contact and everything. Well it has been such a pleasure talking to you. Thank you again for being on the show. And for everybody who’s listening thank you for tuning in.
I will post all relevant links and resources on my website, VeronicaThai.com. Let me know what you thought of this episode, by commenting, liking, or subscribing. Catch you on the next episode.
Christopher is the CEO and Founder of Change My Life Coaching — a fast growing whole-life coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind. He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream Job”. Christopher spent 15+ years working in the corporate world with a plethora of industries and companies. His focus was primarily in planning, strategy, and leadership of change management and communication. Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker who truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him at Christopher@ChangeMyLifeCoaching.ca.