On Being a Life Coach

September 7, 2010


If you are going to be a mentor and a life coach, you are required to do at least most of the following things or their equivalent (in no particular order): astronomy, psychology, sociology, physics, chemistry, math, English literature including Shakespeare and French literature including but not limited to Guy de Maupassant, modern and ancient philosophy, Joseph Campbell, art and music…sail a tall ship of at least 192 feet in length, find a lighthouse in a fog bank after dead reckoning a hundred miles, surf a 36 foot sailboat, fly a small plane, drive over 150 mph, sled down a steep hill in a blinding snow storm, hunt ducks and geese when you have to chop ice to get the boat out of the slip, compound a really good Martini, make at least a hundred bottles of wine that a Frenchman will drink,  Catch, clean, and fry the 58 crappie you found 60 feet deep, hook and land smallmouth bass from the middle of submerged trees using two-pound leaders, paint and sell oils on canvas to art snobs, split and stack at least three cords of wood several years running, and write at least fifty good scientific papers.

When you get through with the first list, you might want to build and program advanced computers, design and install system monitors on seagoing tugs, manufacture high precision optics for telescopes, manufacture paint and coatings for oil field pipe, build the recognition of new industries like water jetting, invent enzyme-based corrosion control, and provide the photographic standards for steel surface maintenance.

Along the way, you should have the perseverance to locate and measure the minute amount of light scattered from a few molecules in a drop of liquid and the patience to wait for a tomato to ripen on the vine. You must cultivate the kind of love it takes to see human beings for who they can be as well as who they are, and you must be able to love yourself enough to get by in the face of repeated failure. Finally, you should be able to see the essential conflict between Freud and Jung.

The second part of this requirement is that you must have overcome significant failures in learning to do each one in the list above. I never even approached being proficient in French, I lost a hundred hooks to limbs and stumps, I missed several lighthouses and found one sandbar, never could locate the bug in one of my programs that was supposed to measure the size distribution of onions on a conveyor belt, I ran out of Band Aids at the bottom of the snowy slope, I’ve eaten many of my tomatoes when they were still on the green side, and I haven’t always found any potential in some folks who insist on doing really dumb things.

In short, if experience means anything, I’m a pretty damn good life coach and mentor. I’ve been practicing for fifty years, and there are at least a few people who will be willing to testify that I’ve done a good job with them.

I’ve got my own ways of doing business. I never charge my friends, and I am blessed, seemingly, with hordes of friends. Stop by our Coffee Club any morning during the week and you can join in the fray. You’ll start your day with alarming acceleration and exxcesss energy.

A few people are clients. Perhaps you haven’t received my bill for $300/hour, payable in advance, fully refundable in case you are not completely satisfied. Note: I’ve never had to give a refund. I’ve got a really good lawyer who is a former footballer.

I’ve decided to give some constructive consistency to what my readers often describe as bewildering variety. To that end, I’ll offer chapters of practical advice on the subject of Life Coaching. The first topic will be: Develop your Empathy not your Sympathy. See you next time.

About charles frenzel

I've been writing all my life. I've also painted, composed, sculpted, contributed to molecular research, advanced some mathematical concepts, lived on a sailboat, and worked for a Nobel Prize winner. Nothing in my life has pleased me more than to share my life with my wife and friend of over forty years.

View all posts by charles frenzel

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