In January I published a somewhat incoherent post about being unsure about what I’m doing and where I’m going and how to get there. In response I heard from a reader named Erin who runs Magnolia Workshop, and she offered me one of her personal coaching services to help unravel some of my internal murk and career floundering.

Now, I’m gonna be honest here: “free life coaching session” sounded a lot like “free root canal” to me. As in, I’m sure it’s technically good for you but that’s what they say about kale and that stuff tastes like total bullshit so no thanks, okay?

But Erin was so nice and reassuring in our initial email conversations, I quickly found myself warming to the idea. Even when she said it would involve a couple phone calls, which freaked me out because GAH PHONE CALLS. (I know: a blogger with a self-declared phone phobia. How original.)

Anyway, here’s the deal — I’m going to tell you a little about my experience working with Erin, and I’m going to share the special discounted price she’s offering you guys. I want to be up front that this is technically what you’d call a sponsored post, but it’s really unlike anything I’ve ever done before.

The session we chose to do together is her Ready, Set, Grow! program. She describes it as “for those who want to take a close look at where they are and begin to make a plan for their future,” and it’s essentially a two-hour session that’s intended to help you prioritize your values, assess your current situation, and start building a roadmap.

That’s a crap-ton to get into two hours, right? It actually encompassed a lot more than that on my end. She started by sending over a couple documents for me to fill out, and I dithered over these FOREVER. It’s tough work to be honest about what motivates you, what’s holding you back, and what values are most important to you. It’s even tougher to share this information over the phone — but Erin was incredibly kind, gentle, and astoundingly capable of translating my occasional (frequent?) inarticulate-ness.

We had two different calls, each lasting about an hour. After our first call, I wrote to her,

Did you ever read Stephen King’s Firestarter? In the book the main character has the ability to influence people’s minds (it’s his daughter who can set fires), but when he does so there are these occasional unintended consequences where the victim ends up fixating on certain subjects which sends them into self-destructive feedback loops. He calls it an “ricochet,” I think. Anyway, it’s awful because people end up doing things like sticking their hands down dish disposals because they can’t stop thinking about holes, but my point here is that I thought of the ricochet — uh, in a POSITIVE way — when I kept thinking of certain things we discussed and your gentle suggestions.

Hm. That was a terrible comparison. My point here is that ideas have been bouncing around in my head in a good way, and I thank you for that.

Okay, so what I actually MEANT by that — jesus, I’m a dork — is that many of the things she said to me really made a lasting impact. Erin isn’t about telling you what to do, her skill lies in helping you figure things out for yourself. For instance, in one of our discussions she asked all the right questions to lead me from “I feel invisible, everything I do is impermanent, I worry that I have no impact on anything” to the realization that deep down, what I long for isn’t really recognition or even being praised, it’s feeling ACKNOWLEDGED.

Erin put it like this, “I see you and you see me.” It sounds so simple, and yet that’s exactly it. I want to connect. I want to be heard. I want to know that the things I write mean something to someone. How do I get that? By writing things that mean something to me. By digging deeper to gut out my most real voice, the one I want you to hear. Prioritizing the jobs that allow me to do that. Carving out the space to write here more often, where I can always speak from the heart and I never have to write about Justin Bieber if I don’t want to.

So that was one thing, but we talked about lots of things. About how to improve my work/family balance during these last months while Dylan’s at home with me, ways to get back on the wagon with regards to health and fitness, and some next-step actions for my writing career.

What I would tell you about working with Erin is that there is incredible value in having someone help you completely focus on yourself. I mean, when’s the last time you really did that for more than a distracted minute or two? I feel like we’re so inundated these days with Pinterest-esque life lists and advice for prettifying every superficial aspect of our existence — and in comparison, what Erin offers is a chance to roll up your sleeves, toss out the design blog bullshit, and delve into figuring out what’s really going to make you more fulfilled. Plus, she’s warm, funny, and extremely easy to talk to.

Some of the things we talked about have already made a difference in the choices I’ve made since. Accepting a super-intimidating invitation for the sake of focusing on my value of adventure and getting outside my comfort zone, for instance.

Erin charges $149 for her Ready, Set, Grow! program, and at that price I honestly think it’s a steal. However, for the first five of you that sign up between now and April 15th, Erin’s offering the service at $99. You can contact her at erin@magnoliaworkshop.com to take her up on the special price.

I truly recommend checking out what she does, and I’m enormously grateful that she reached out to me. If you have any questions at all, hit me up in the comments — or if you’d like to email me privately, you can do so at sundry@gmail.com.

Comments

66 Responses to “Magnolia Workshop testimonial (or, why I no longer automatically make an elaborate gagging pantomine at the term “life coach”)”

  1. NancyJ on April 1st, 2013 2:50 pm

    At the end of last year, my husband and I bit the bullet (a huge one) and hired a marketing consultant for our business. Sort of the same thing but for businesses!
    He’s moving us in a different direction, getting us to think about what we’re doing, what we want to do, showing us how to do and really making BOTH of us focus on the marketing and existing clients in our business.
    That sounds like a great program (and if I wasn’t already involved in an HOUR A WEEK on the phone, I’d do it!)

  2. Amy N. on April 1st, 2013 3:25 pm

    This post prompts me to break out of my persistent lurkdom to tell you how much I enjoy your writing on the blog. I know that you are focusing on much more than just this blog, but it feels important at this juncture to say — I hear you, I “see” you and I appreciate being able to come here and visit. So, thank you. And good luck on your continuing adventure.

  3. Suz on April 1st, 2013 4:05 pm

    I am also a long time reader and lurker, and I think your writing is wonderful. Best wishes as you discover and pursue what makes you happy.

  4. Lorri on April 1st, 2013 4:52 pm

    Every time I see a new post from you in my reader, I usually utter an audible of some sort and you are my first click. I see you.

  5. Natalie on April 1st, 2013 5:03 pm

    I too am a long time reader/lurker. I love your blog. It’s one of my favorites. You give a voice to so many of the issues I experience as a mom and a human. I get nervous commenting because I never have anything special or what-not to say, but want you to know you do make an impact. I am glad you had the time to focus on yourself and make some goals. :)

  6. Linda on April 1st, 2013 5:34 pm

    I love you guys. *awkward lunge-hug*

  7. Alice on April 1st, 2013 6:39 pm

    I see you! And I am grateful for you and for your writing. Thank you.

  8. Nicole on April 1st, 2013 8:22 pm

    I ditto Lorrie – whenever my reader shows a new post of yours I usually gasp and smile. We all see you and hear you and care. :)

  9. Victoria on April 1st, 2013 8:26 pm

    Your writing has always always made a difference to me and had an impact on me in many ways.

  10. Rachel on April 1st, 2013 9:06 pm

    I know you totally weren’t fishing for validation or acknowledgement, but I also want to chime in and say that I love your blog. I can’t tell you how many times it has made me laugh out loud or shed a tear (seriously, that whole “it felt like a rainbow was there” post had me weeping for some strange reason), or at least nod my head as you manage to put into words certain aspects of motherhood and life that I recognize and feel, but can’t articulate myself. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  11. Jenny on April 1st, 2013 9:09 pm

    As others have said, I always smile and click with pleasure when I see a new post of yours in my reader. Your authenticity and heart, coupled with your beautiful writing, brings me in every time. This post was particularly heart-warming for me because I LOVE hearing stories of the power of coaching. Reading your description of how Erin worked with you sounded familiar, so I clicked over to her website. Sure enough, she is trained and certified through CTI, the organization through which I just got my certification. I love knowing a colleague is helping one of my favorite bloggers!

  12. Faith on April 1st, 2013 10:46 pm

    This really intrigues me. I’ve had the benefit of talking to a public health nurse periodically as part of a program where I live that focuses on mothers who have or have had postpartum depression, and even just that has been amazing. It’s so weird how talking to someone who isn’t a friend or family member about my goals and dreams and fears makes them so much more real. I can’t dance around any of it, and I feel like I actually have to get up and DO things to make my dreams reality. Consequently, I’ve met at least one major life goal in the last 8 months that I never would have dreamed I’d meet, nevermind with an infant in tow. I feel like with a professional life coach, I could maybe face these career aspirations of mine. This is exciting!

  13. Amanda on April 2nd, 2013 5:31 am

    Wow. The whole idea of a service like Erin’s terrifies me. TERROR, the phone calls especially. But also, I’m intrigued by the result. At 38 I definitely feel my life blowing in the wind waiting for something to happen while I raise my children but I can’t point myself in a direction.

    Also, yours is one of the first blogs I started reading regularly. I remember things you said years ago. I truly appreciated the way you laid it all out there for people who don’t have kids who don’t sleep. It’s not as easy as cry it out, you made that a point and made it funny and lived through it too. Thanks Linda. No matter what else you do, always come back here mmmkay?

  14. Jo Lennick on April 2nd, 2013 6:14 am

    Another very long-time lurker here. I’ve written and deleted this comment several times – I don’t have your way with words.

    But I see you. And the web-world is a better place with you as a part of it. Your writing always lifts me up. I don’t even watch Walking Dead but I read your re-caps because they make me laugh like a loon.

    Keep writing.

  15. Maggie on April 2nd, 2013 6:24 am

    I want to add to the chorus of praises for your blog and writing style. There is something about you that I seem to relate to very much, we are about the same age and I think we were similar in high school, into the alternative scene. I definitely feel that when you write about parenting you put words to things I have felt in such a beautiful way. SO looking forward to more from you.

  16. H on April 2nd, 2013 7:54 am

    I’m going to digress a bit here, but there will be a point at the end. Over the past couple of years, I gradually changed – and not for the better. I recognized it, but was lost in a fog of not knowing what it was and maybe a little fear. In December, it came to a head (anxiety attack at work, with my manager) and I finally sought help. The fog has lifted, I understand myself like I never have before, I am feeling better and the people around me have noticed the changes too. I now realize the seeds of my issues were present years, maybe decades, before I did anything about it – even though I knew deep down that I should.

    My point is – kudos to you for taking action. I am 50 and I wish more than anything that I’d asked for help decades ago. DECADES. Inertia sucks. Time doesn’t stop. Forge ahead, take the leap, embrace change! Go for it, Linda! Congratulations!

  17. emaytee on April 2nd, 2013 8:37 am

    Me too me too! I’m here — have not missed a post since your DLand days, and I continue to find you a source of strength, wisdom and many many chuckles. You are the only blog I still read — eagerly. <3 from MA in MI.

  18. Baddest Mother Ever on April 2nd, 2013 9:29 am

    I see you! I hear you. I appreciate what you do. Your blog is one that inspired me to write for myself. I’ve also been going to therapy for 12 years because I view it like using a trainer at the gym. THANK YOU for writing this! I think the pinteresty noise in my head needs to get the boot.

  19. Andrea on April 2nd, 2013 9:34 am

    Add me to the list of Sundry lovers. You are referred to as “my blog girl” in my house. I think your writing is amazing. And so are you!!

  20. MassHole on April 2nd, 2013 10:09 am

    squirrel logs

    If you ever give up on this blog I’ll probably have an anxiety attack.

  21. Annie on April 2nd, 2013 10:52 am

    Ditto, what they all said. I love your voice, and would love to see more frequent posts. You’re so real.

  22. Scribe75 on April 2nd, 2013 12:29 pm

    I echo with everyone else has said in the comments above. We acknowledge you and we see you and we LIKE you! You tell it like it is, and that is so, so, so refreshing. Your writing is honest, hilarious, and beautiful all at once.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your life here.

  23. Jessica on April 2nd, 2013 3:05 pm

    Thank you for writing on your blog and letting all of us see you and hear you and at the same time recognize bits of ourself. Life coach. Hadn’t even considered that option. And I’ve been struggling. Like a trapped bear. What a thought – a life coach could help…

  24. Annabelle on April 2nd, 2013 4:08 pm

    I am lost and am completely frustrated in my efforts to seek help. I contacted Erin. You’re helping her, you’re helping me and we all hear you.

  25. Julia on April 2nd, 2013 5:22 pm

    I think the thing about blogging (and I could talk your ear off, but everything I try to write is stilted), is that you don’t know the impact you’re having on your readers. I’m sad when you don’t write and love every word you write –so honestly! about what you’re going through. I started seeing a counselor a few weeks ago for a specific problem and now I find she is gently getting me to talk about the real issues – something I had no intention of doing.

  26. Frema on April 2nd, 2013 7:31 pm

    I see you, too. And I will be shocked – SHOCKED – if you don’t have a book published in the next few years. You have one in you. You have a gift. I know you’ll figure out how to use that gift in a way that makes you truly happy.

  27. Jean on April 3rd, 2013 4:13 am

    Linda – I see you and LOVE your blog. You always keep it real – poignant and humorous.

  28. Jo on April 3rd, 2013 5:54 am

    Me too re the awkwardly thanking you for writing because you’re so darn hilarious about the stuff that can be so darn hard.

  29. Kimberly on April 3rd, 2013 2:26 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for years and I LOVE your writing. This may sound creepy but I want to be your friend. Or to make it sound less creepy I want to have a friend like you. (I don’t think that was effective in making it any less creepy). Anyway, I really enjoy your humor, your view on life and relationships and I can’t tell you how many of your recommendations I have followed and how many of your tweets have made me laugh out loud. I contacted Erin too cause I’m stuck. So thank you for sharing your voice with us, and thank you for sharing your experience.

  30. Lindsey on April 3rd, 2013 5:52 pm

    I’m a lurker too. I always read you and love your brutal honest.

  31. säkerhetsdörr stockholm on April 4th, 2013 6:36 am

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  32. bessie.viola on April 4th, 2013 1:08 pm

    I am a lurker who has been reading your site for years – literally, since your pregnancy with Riley. I love your writing and I love your honesty. I am seriously considering trying this coaching because, like you, I am feeling at a loss as to “What’s Next”. I’m 29, just had my second (AND OH SO EMPHATICALLY LAST) child and I’m not sure what’s next. Pretty sure that what I’m doing isn’t it. I just need to make the space to figure it out, and this may be the way.

    Anyway, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I see you, I hear you.

  33. Elissa on April 4th, 2013 3:59 pm

    Echoing what everyone else has said: I love your writing and am thrilled when I see a new post from you–you are so funny, thoughtful, and down-to-earth. I know it must be hard to write on your personal blog when you spend so much time writing other places, but I am always eager to hear what you have to say here.

  34. kat on April 4th, 2013 4:29 pm

    the ‘i see you’ bit made me laugh out loud…we live close to stanford and will go to games or concerts on campus and the students LOVE to say ‘i see you linda’ or whoever when they see someone they know performing. it’s very vocal acknowledgement! so i say i see YOU and your blog and i truly love reading your writing and how honest you are.

  35. Erin Baebler on April 4th, 2013 5:36 pm

    And, I just have to chime in to say thank you for the best testimonial I could have hoped for. I laughed out loud at the title and am overwhelmed–in the best possible way–by the response. I see you and, from your testimonial, I also know that you see me which is, indeed, a great feeling. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  36. Michele on April 4th, 2013 6:48 pm

    I, too, feel the same. Whenever you go a few weeks between posts, I get nervous that you have stopped blogging. You are great at what you do, and I hope you never stop!

  37. Anais on April 4th, 2013 7:36 pm

    I echo what many have posted here. I love your blog and the inspiration you provide. I began reading your blog when I was 18. I’m 28 now. You are someone I look up to even though we have never met. Your writing is amazing, as are your photographs. You have so much to offer the world. I see you.

  38. Tina on April 6th, 2013 3:34 am

    I’m going to pile on the love here! Your posts always do something for me – whether it’s make me nod my head in agreement or wipe a tear – because holy shit that rainbow one made me cry too – I always find something here that makes me feel something. Thank you for that!

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    Just another note of appreciation for your writing. Thank you!

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