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Accentuate the Positive...And Pay the Price

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2007-07-23


I saw a classified ad in a local paper for a dating coach. I had to smile. As someone who worked with a life coach for the past few months, I need to warn people about paying for such services.

Bear in mind, I didn’t pay for three months’ worth of life coaching. It was part of a prize package offered by a website sponsoring an essay contest. I really didn’t give a rat’s ass about the life coaching (the theme of the contest was “Help Fix My Love Life” and I believe in the theory that you can’t fix something that doesn’t exist) but I really wanted that $50 Borders gift card. I figured no one would have the story that I would have, and no one would be able to tell it the way I could. I was right, and really wasn’t surprised when I received a phone call on Valentine’s Day saying I’d won.

I had my doubts though. The life coach seemed nice enough, but considering how down in the dumps I was at the time, she expressed serious reservations about working with me. What a wuss, I thought. She was the one who picked me in the first place, and since I’d been taking steps to change my life BEFORE I entered the contest, I figured showing a little initiative would make me the logical choice as the winner. She recommended I read a book, “Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting.” The book pushed the theory that everything that happens in your life, good or bad, is your doing. So if you are a clean-living vegetarian who winds up with colon cancer, you did in fact bring on your illness. You should have bought organic.

Anyway, the book also said just the slightest negative thought would cause all sorts of calamity to come spiraling into your life. It made me so paranoid, I stopped reading the book halfway through. Coincidentally, while I was hunting for this book at the library, I came across “Sham—How the Self-Help and Actualization Movement is Hurting America.” I obsessively read and re-read the book, because it cut through all the B.S. that I suspected fueled the self-help industry.

“Sham” was wildly entertaining, but a strange thing happened while reading that book. I found a job with wacky employees, I sold my first work of fiction, and I met an amazing guy. This last thing is a miracle in itself. My life coach insisted that I lose weight, saying that when I did, the rest of my life would fall into place. When I gave her my vital stats, she made the comment that she could send me out on a dating frenzy, but the fact that I was 60 pounds overweight meant that no one would want to have sex with me. Uh, wait a minute—I entered a contest called “Help Fix My Love Life,” not “Help Me Get Laid Immediately.” As I said, I wasn’t really even interested in the love life part. I just figured a life coach would provide some guidance to my current situation, which was making baby steps in changing how I lived. But her crack about my weight stung. Two of my friends were furious with what my life coach said, and demanded her phone number so they could complain to her personally. These friends, both of whom are studying in the medical field, wanted to know what qualifications this woman had to critique my diet (I chose Atkins, which she didn’t like, but I actually lost 14 pounds on) and to insinuate that hefty people are not worthy of “sexy time,” as Borat would put it. I never gave them my life coach’s number, but you know you’ve got great friends when they are willing to yell at someone on your behalf while paying long-distance fees. This woman was a former lawyer, which I guess explains why she charges $300 an hour for her life coaching services. I guess it also explains why she feels justified in running other people’s lives for them. She used to be a lawyer, so she’s smarter than most people and knows what’s good for them, damn it.

Okay, good things have happened to me since I started working with a life coach, but I chalk it up to God, a Higher Power, or The Force (perhaps all three) saying, “this chick has had a tough time these past two and a half years. Let’s give her a break.” Because I don’t have any logical explanation why I would have all this good stuff happen at once. They say things happen in threes. I didn’t pray or ask for any of this, it just happened. Yes, I showed a little initiative on my part, but my co-workers’ personalities were not of my doing. I wrote down a story idea that had been floating around my head and decided to look for a website that might want to publish it. And I accepted a date with someone who just happened to read my blog and my column.

So what’s the moral here? I don’t know. Look for the good in everything? Keep plugging away? Don’t ever give up? Mr./Ms. Wonderful is probably right around the corner, you just have to be patient? Everyone knows these are corny, tired phrases.

And that will be $300, please.

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