The Case for Coaching

Go Next Generation Jenn!

by Jenn Olayon

June 14, 2010

In June 2008, via the introduction of good friend, Shannan Spisak, I partnered up with Jenny Fenig, certified life/ career coach. Our two-year journey has had a profound impact on me-how I view myself, interact with others, and the world. Digging up my client info sheet, I wrote “My motivation to hire is a coach do is to help me live the life I want and help me execute career and financial goals.  I hope to shed away fears and anxiety. Working with a career coach, I can realize my goals and learn ways be more disciplined, and lead a more fulfilling life.” The ROI has been priceless. This active choice in investing in me, my personal brand, Jenn Olayon, Inc., yielded outcomes that made me a better version of myself each day. While my major life-changing shifts and transformations are powerful, I’m humbled in taking nascent steps on life’s journey viewed with deeper and broader possibilities while committed to continuous improvement to learn, grow, and nourish. Jenny delivered on her promise on her energizing coaching services. It has been an absolute amazing gift, honor, and privilege to work with and alongside with her for two years. This piece is a rich retrospective tapestry documenting our collaborative partnership, key takeaways I’ve learned, and a feast for thought and plan of action for the journey ahead.

Keywords and phrases: meta-awareness, gracefully ambitious, gratitude, power, mindfulness, let it go, detached involvement

METHOD: COLLABORATIVE AND DISCIPLINED

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” – Kahlil Gibran

When I met Jenny at our first meet and greet at Bouchon Bakery in May 2008, I knew I wanted to work with her. At the time, I recently turned 31 years old in search for a radical shift. I wanted to shed anxiety, avoidance, and unnecessary worry and truly find my own voice and move forward with meaning, purpose, and joy. Some specifics: I wanted a better shot at elevating various facets of my life- forge a career in the human capital and diversity and inclusion space, get rid of negative mental chatter, and work towards a NYC-affordable housing opportunity.

Over the course of coaching, I selected three different kinds of packages. The subscription to “Zen Jenny” blog and newsletter was a fantastic compliment and enhancement to coaching as it reinforced what we were working on and also touched on topics that offered fresh approaches. One of my favorite posts was on lessons from video games. The quest to keep eye on the prize and graduate to the next level requires action-oriented commitment.

The Coaching Focus worksheets provided structure to our breakthrough sessions. The format provided space to reflect what I accomplished since our last session, what I didn’t accomplish that I wanted to, current challenges, and focus for session as well as discuss the mini-celebrations that happened since our last session.

Review documentation – Receiving support has improved my writing ability and has trained me to cut the fat and be more direct and clear with my writing.

Exposure to a range of thought leadership books and ideas. The Language of Letting Go by Melanie Beattle, Srikumar Rao’s Are You Ready to Succeed Yoga Journal article, which led me to his Creativity and Personal Mastery class, The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson, Miguel Ruiz’ Mastery of Love; blog posting, Personal Responsibility and Showing Up and Meditative Spaces by Michael Freeman.

Special events: Invitation to 2008 workshop and New Year’s Eve Celebration.

3 Steps to Getting Out of Your Own Way workshop and was the lucky raffle winner of Bruce Schneider’s fascinating book, Energy Leadership: Transforming Your Workplace and Your Life from the Core. In my various communication talking points, I keep in mind Level 7: Total passion.  In addition, another practical takeaway from the workshop, was lion’s breath. The exhaling seemed as awkward as Cheryl Richardson’s mirror work, to practice daily “I love you, Jenn Olayon.”

On the spiritual front, I joined Jenny for Jivamukti’s New Year’s Eve celebration with David Life and Sharon Gannon. It was an amazing way to welcome in the New Year. I practiced the yogic practice of silence and wrote in my journal followed by chanting and elevated messages by David and Sharon. This New Year’s experience was like no other.

RESULTS: ON GOING FOCUSED-EFFORT

“Jenny is a true master in empowering professionals to achieve their career and life goals and enabling them to live the life they want. Through her unique blend of vision exercises, spiritual insights, as well as specific tactical next steps, she has the relentless focus to help her clients accomplish winning results. Partnering up with Jenny has been a life changer for me. Each session is a part of this ongoing journey for continuous improvement and I am always fond of giving her credit for my results that I didn’t even know was possible by saying it was an “AJ” (=after Jenny”) effect.” My testimonial on www.jennyfenig.com

Jenny, as a coach and friend, has served graciously as part of my personal board of directors, a true part of my “brain trust” where I can reach out for support and bounce ideas off of.

My transformation is a work in progress. Over the last two years, my confidence level and self-efficacy has improved dramatically, knowing myself better. I improved my ability think, act and respond thoughtfully. We all fall somewhere on the spectrum and I hope each day I am growing and learning more about myself and how I relate to the world.

Key learning breakthroughs and change in mindset:

  • Know thyself. Claiming one’s power.  Exercising my own voice! Sho sho voice of judgment!
  • Be unafraid of being graciously ambitious, courteously assertive.
  • The power of gratitude- counting blessings and paying it forrward
  • Take the blessing from the lesson and move on. Let it go! Get rid of excess emotional baggage.
  • Broad affinity for diversity. Include diversity of thought and perspective not limited to traditional 6 categories.
  • Introduced new perspective, behavior, language, outlook
  • Growth, shed the excess, learning to say no
  • Challenged old paradigms- It’s possible to respect elders or people with higher titles while being clear on my needs.
  • Diving deep requires commitment and faith.
  • It’s possible to live in a lovingly rich, joy, and robust way.
  • Practice Flow!- Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

This is the product of so many aspects of coaching and much more. In advancing Next Generation Jenn, I put together a daily check-in list for myself.

Mindfully allocate resources to invest daily in NGJ:

  • Be Clear. Power within, power of choice
  • Internal messaging: believe and act on achieving new levels of mastery and discipline
  • Practice extreme self-care (keep in mind poem) and resilience (image of daruma doll)
  • Daily cleansing: Did I effectively execute my day?
  • What mini-celebrations to toast about?

Harnessing My Next Generation Jenn Brand

My unique value proposition- passion, strength, skill set, talent

Professional Statement: I’m Jenn Olayon. I have a broad background in people management with international experience with a focus on diversity management and I would like to parlay my experience in the corporate sector. I’ve had experience in the higher education, non-profit, and for-profit sectors. I look forward to joining a knowledge intensive firm that values diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Personal Statement: I am from the New Haven, Connecticut area and attended the University of Connecticut for my undergraduate degree. I received a B.A. with an Individualized Major in Transnational Perspectives in Design. My demonstrated interest in diversity dates back to my college days at the University of Connecticut.  I passionately advocated for a shift in educational policy that resulted in the incorporation of existing diversity and multicultural courses within the general education requirements. As a result of these efforts, an incoming freshman now can choose from an expanded 125 courses to satisfy their Diversity and Multiculturalism requirement. This key initiative was done at no financial cost to the university and was a significant benefit to all students. Upon graduation, I lived in Japan for 2 years and my current professional work is intertwined with Japan.

Dedication to community: My commitment to international programming is reflected in my leadership and volunteer activities. Under presidency of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme Alumni Association of New York, my participation culminated in achieving official non-profit status as a federally-recognized 501(c)(3) organization.

DISCUSSION

Living a disciplined life with graceful ambition, boosting my career prospects, acting with self-responsibility, cultivating healthy relationships with myself and others.

Believing in a higher plan.

Meditation

Eireen’s message on peace. “There is no need to worry, as everything is working out beautifully. Even though appearances may seem chaotic, I assure you that a higher plan is in action.  This all-loving power is carrying and supporting you completely.  Relax into the arms of Divine love; and breathe away all cares, concerns, and worries.  Put your focus into enjoying and appreciating each blessing.  Your gratitude helps you attract even more blessings into your life.”

Like any endeavor, the wise-old adage holds true, it’s a marathon not a sprint.

SUMMARY

Our coaching relationship was uber excellent. It broadened and deepened my toolkit living an engaging life and making wise choices in my professional or personal life, whether big or small, allocating time and financial resources to a professional coach has served me well. The pay-off has been incredible and help me chart a blueprint for following my true north. I’m confident this investment is an integral part of my near-term and long-term personal and professional development.

As we celebrate the closing of one era and toast to a new one, I am truly grateful for Jenny being a warm, supportive ad stellar coach and friend who shared her gifts with me. The drive to achieve extraordinarily results and get on well during this human predicament will continue.

Over the last two years, I’ve gone on journeys (literally and figuratively) and in my Fall 2009 Creativity and Personal Mastery class, Professor Rao shared and asked: All in life we go on journeys. Is this a journey I want to take? Where do these journeys take you. Does it empower, confident, nourishing to the spirit or to a dark, foreboding place? Closing the knowing and doing gap is at times, overwhelming and challenging, but I’m confident mindfully choosing which journeys to take will take me forward and alter the tenor of my life.

This is the true joy in life –

being used for a purpose recognized

by yourself as a mighty one;

being thoroughly worn out

before you’re thrown on the scrap heap;

being a force of nature instead of a feverish,

selfish little clod of ailments and grievances,

complaining that the world would not devote itself

to making you content.

George Bernard Shaw

May we live in the spirit of living and loving life purposefully! Cheers to the good life and happy journeys onwards and upwards!