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The saying “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath ” is sounding in my head as I think about my growing negative reactivity to the Self Help industry that I am very much a part of. I am a Life Coach after all. Gulp, I feel a lump in my throat sharing this because there are so many coaches out there in the world right now. Maybe lawyers feel this way too!


I love what I do helping women create deep positive changes in their lives. And my clients are some of my most favorite people in the world to be with. Their courage and humility is astounding. These extraordinary women come to me because they want to finally tune in to the song of their heart.  I am talking about that amazing rhythm we feel when we are in the groove of our being because that frequent white noise of self-doubt, fear, and negative self thinking are gone. Vanished just like that!


So yes, I help women find that song inside themselves and in doing so get to be in my own magical groove. I LOVE what I do.


BUT – Yes there is a BUT.


Which is this: I can’t stop pondering the dichotomy of loving what I do but not liking the growing generic image of my profession. An image that reminds me sadly of the growing landscape of strip malls in this country that leave me feeling I could be anywhere because the stretch of road I am on in North Carolina is the same as where I was two days earlier in upstate New York, or last month driving through New Jersey.


Honestly, if I read the word “juicy” or “goodies” again in one more self-help marketing campaign I will scream!


It’s not just the homogeneity of the self-help industry that bothers me. It’s also the inundation of marketing promises that mysteriously find their way to my email inbox. I am sure you have received a few of these; “the key to happiness”, “the secret to success”,  “the no fail system to triple your income”, or “the guaranteed steps to create a life of total freedom.”


Last week I was invited to an evening of listening to a “crew” of coaches who each specialized in a different area of a woman’s life. (At least women living in a first world nation!) The “crew’ consisted of: a break-up coach, a health coach, a money coach, a relationship coach, a speaking coach.  For some reason the clairvoyant energy healer did not have the title coach next to her name although I suspect she was doing some version of coaching given the event was called “The Coaches Panel 2015.”


On one hand it’s wonderful that we have the privilege today to choose so precisely the area of our life we want support. I mean a “Break- Up Coach” wow! I never knew such a service existed. The cynic in me however is also laughing and shaking her head!  As if time management was not already a big enough issue for most of us. Now we get to try to figure out how to juggle our; careers, health, families, and social life with all these new coaching opportunities!


I am noticing I have to be really careful about this reactivity of mine. If I am not, I could lose touch with what makes my heart sing which happens when I am coaching women. I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath and stop doing the work I love just because I have some opinions (and I’ll own it; judgements) about the Self-Help industry.  I suspect my reactivity will never go away completely. However the antidote to “soften” my opinions and judgements is simple albeit not always easy; stay true to my love of being of service and my commitment to making a difference to others. Yes, keep listening for that heart song. I suspect this may inspire other women to not throw the baby out with the bath so they too will come to know their song. Women similar to me who are at risk of not pursuing what they know they love, or even checking out something they are curious about because they are letting their reactivity stop them. It’s a big world out there with all kinds of opportunities. I am certain we are here to discover what makes us feel most alive and embodied and trust that regardless of what is going on around us, nothing else matters. What matters is our connecting to the deep inner part of ourselves that knows what we want and need and to trust it. Trust it always.


© Susanna Kearney & Creating Space for Women, Inc, 2014. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susanna Kearney & Creating Space for Women with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.