I’ve been asked why my blog is called Afterdefeat. I’ve always given a trite answer that it’s because we all face challenges and setbacks. It’s a blog devoted to comebacks after feeling defeated. Blah blah blah.
Well the real reason for the title is I felt incredibly defeated when I was working as a psychotherapist. I LOVED working with my clients, but it became increasingly difficult to work with my supervisor, to sit in an office, to follow so many bureaucratic rules, to put on airs of enjoyment, to get clients, to earn a living. I didn’t feel like ME.
I graduated from a prestigious university and felt a great sense of pressure and lack of accomplishment in life when I compared myself to many of my college roommates and friends. As recently as two years ago, ALL of them had advanced professional degrees and were working as executives in successful corporations, doctors in specialized fields, and law firms with expense accounts that matched their luxury addresses. I felt like an outcast. I felt defeated.
My life in LA was really easy: I was happy, my clients brought me joy (and I helped them through very big challenges), I had great friends, and I had free time. What more could I want? Well, I didn’t make nearly the salaries they all made, I wasn’t married, and I didn’t have the seemingly glamorous lifestyle I thought they had. Concentrating on what I lacked became my operative way of thinking and my mindset was fixed with scarcity and a belief that I couldn’t, wouldn’t or shouldn’t.
This way of thinking was self-defeatist, and I had trouble seeing clients for a spell. I felt fraudulent, like all the processing I was doing as a therapist only led to more talking and little change or action. I was stuck and in a rut, despondent about the choice I’d made to go to graduate school all those years ago. I felt like I didn’t know my “calling.” It was a rough time.
To curb these feelings, I started seeing my own life coach and also joined a small coaching group for women who faced road blocks, self-imposed or otherwise. Digging into my desires, I realized I still loved the client aspect of my work. I just didn’t like the feeling that therapy conversations often felt like we were circling the drain. As part of my “project,” I contemplated leaving therapy all together. It occurred to me that I could still see clients, but didn’t have to be a therapist anymore. It was a big decision to stop working as a therapist and calling myself a therapist and transition into life coaching. Much of my identity was based on being a professional psychotherapist, following the rules, using my degree properly, and showing up as an equal to my college friends when I attended weddings or reunions.
And then I decided to follow my heart. No longer would I care so much what they might think. I’ve come to find out that most people don’t really judge that much, and my friends only want me to feel fulfilled.
I began this blog after I felt defeated, when I was making my own comeback.
The journey has been an interesting one, and I’m a firm believer that we’re never done learning or growing, and thus, again, afterdefeat. I’m proud to work as an effective and thoughtful life coach. I could not have gotten here without the defeat I felt.
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