Every once in a while you come across someone who really makes you feel at ease. There’s something about their presence that makes you feel like anything is within reach.
One of these people for me is Life Coach Sandra Possing. From the moment I met Sandra, she’s been nothing but a positive beam of light in my life. As a friend, mentor and coach, she has inspired me to wake up to what is possible in my life.
Sandra’s fierce dedication to living a passionate, authentic life inspires me. Every time I spend time with Sandra, I feel like my perspective on any perceived obstacles in my life changes. She has a gift – a way of connecting with you and pushing you outside your comfort zone in the most empowering way.
Working 1:1 with Sandra over this past year through life coaching sessions has been truly transformative for me in so many ways. Her 1:1 coaching has helped me learn how to get out of my own way by taking a more confident role as the leader of my own life.
About 6 months ago, Sandra sent me on a specific leader quest that not only helped me find perspective – it gave me the courage to discover and create something that makes me feel alive: FindPerspective.org the blog.
Ready to meet this inspiring woman? Here she is, in her own words.
How does working with a Life Coach differ from working with a traditional therapist?
I think the simplest way to explain the difference is that therapy focuses on the past and present, whereas coaching focuses on the present and future. It’s “how did you get here?” vs. “where shall we go from here?”
In therapy, you’d likely work on analyzing the origins of emotional issues and healing from past traumas.
In coaching, we typically acknowledge, honor, and learn from the past, but tend not to dwell on it. Instead, we look at what’s here now and get curious about what’s next for the client. Then we take action to move them forward, toward what they are wanting to create in their lives.
Another important distinction is that coaches do not diagnose or treat mental illness and will refer out to a therapist if those issues are present. Some clients choose to work with both a therapist and a coach at the same time.
Describe your journey toward becoming a Life Coach. How did you discover that this is your life’s work?
Oh man. It was a wild ride. I was a big time people pleaser growing up, so it took me a long time to learn how to be honest with myself about what I really wanted. I dabbled in all sorts of things (e.g. finance, technology, startups, the service industry, fitness, and a million odd jobs) before I finally began to admit that what I was most passionate about was personal growth.
Once I realized that, I did some serious soul searching, read a lot of books, attended seminars, talked to people, and eventually embraced the fact that what I most wanted was to be a coach and speaker.
While my path was full of strange detours and fun distractions, I don’t regret any of it. All the random jobs and experiences I had were full of learning opportunities and helped shape who I am today.
We all want to be happy. In your personal and professional experience, what are a few things we can do in our daily lives to feel happier?
Clarity is a good starting point. I believe that when we get more clear about who we are (i.e. self-awareness) we can start to express that in how we live our lives (i.e. authenticity) and then we can get more clear about what we want and start moving toward those goals, dreams, and visions.
Honesty is huge too. It starts with being honest with ourselves, of course, and then extends into our communication with others.
As I gradually let go of being a people pleaser and started to practice authenticity, I also learned to communicate in a more direct way. It’s about saying what you mean and meaning what you say, but still coming from a place of love, respect, and compassion.
Another one is intentionality. Oftentimes, our social conditioning has us trained to react defensively to what the world throws at us. I believe that we always have a choice and that by choosing to respond intentionally to the world around us, we live more consciously and mindfully, which leads to greater happiness.
There are so many other things I want to say here!
But, instead I’ll point you to The Possing Manifesto, if you’d like to read more about my personal philosophy.
In your combined personal training and life coaching sessions, how do you connect with clients and help them move past their fears?
For these sessions, we typically do one of two things. We’ll either have a regular coaching session while doing some form of repetitive physical activity (like hiking or running) OR we’ll do a personal training session followed by a coaching session.
The purpose is to get the client in their body, feeling the surge of energy and endorphins that goes along with vigorous exercise, and to then channel that exhilaration and aliveness into working on their mindset, beliefs, behavior, etc.
I believe we have a lot of wisdom trapped in our bodies and that most of us are out of touch with it. It’s as if we’re walking around with our heads cut off!
Strengthening the mind-body-spirit connection is an important part of tapping into our potential. My intention during these sessions is to create a safe space for them to access some of this wisdom.
Also, physical challenges can be great metaphors for the many mental challenges that we face and if we can take on some of the external ones, that gives us more strength and energy to tackle the internal ones.
What is one of your favorite self-empowerment tools?
Feeling grounded – physically, spiritually, and mentally – is crucial to feeling empowered.
Here is what I usually do to get physically grounded:
I stand tall, with my weight equally distributed between both feet, with my body centered over my hips, knees, and ankles. I relax my shoulders down and back, which opens up my heart and lungs.
To get spiritually grounded, I take several deep slow breaths, filling up my lungs to capacity and then exhaling completely, while quieting my mind and letting go of any thoughts that are not serving me in the moment.
Then to get mentally grounded, I’ll choose a simple affirmation or mantra and repeat that until I feel it’s truth. From there, I remember who I am, what I stand for, and what I want to create. From there, I am ready for anything.
Where do you see your career taking you in the next few years?
In addition to 1-on-1 coaching, I also love facilitating workshops, especially leadership trainings for companies, and doing speaking engagements of all kinds. I am aways looking for creative ways to inspire, empower, and challenge.
I’d love to write a book, give a TED talk, be a guest on Ellen and Oprah, and work with people who have the skills and ideas that can get us a little closer to saving the planet.
I’m drawn to work with change makers, rule breakers, and rebels with a cause. Especially the ones who haven’t yet realized how powerful they actually are. It’s an incredible feeling to wake someone up to their own freedom and aliveness and then see what they go on to create.
Feature photo at top of post taken by Kim Fabbri