It’s a great question. I’ll start with the short answer, and my back story will follow, if you’re curious for more!
For over twenty years my career focused on restoring and protecting the natural world. My experience has been that many of us have lost our connection to nature. Yet, we are inseparable from nature. So, we are also disconnected from ourselves. I believe the fastest, most powerful way to reestablish and deepen that connection is to embrace nature as a portal to our inner wisdom. My mission is Soul-guided, and in service of both humankind and the natural world. Our Natural Wisdom is about improving our world through re-connection — to ourselves, to each other, and to nature.
And, the back story!
I’m a recovering perfectionist who has struggled with risk aversion, particularly in my career. My career did indeed follow my deep passion — really, an intense need — to protect and restore the natural world. But for years I played it safe, staying far inside my comfort zone. And staying largely in my head.
I accomplished some great things there, even being recognized as an expert in my field (restoring rivers through removing dams). You could say I achieved a certain level of mastery… which only intensified my desire to stay in my box. I told myself that I should be fulfilled even though I increasingly wasn’t. Not in my heart. Not in my Soul. When asked to really stretch myself I resisted. Thing is, I didn’t want to stretch my box. My Soul wanted me to blow up the box. The work wasn’t bringing me joy. Over time, it only felt depleting.
When I did take a leap, and tried to stretch myself, I didn’t blow up the box. I found myself even further from the Earth. Both literally and figuratively. I was working on the 13th floor, feeling completely ungrounded, unhappy and even resentful for what I had become. I beat myself up for not feeling fulfilled. Parts of me kept saying I should suck it up, be an adult and appreciate what I had. But I felt like I was dying inside. And, in a way, I was.
My Soul yearned for a different path. It started guiding me, speaking to me in a number of ways. It kept leading me to reconnect to nature, and to go much deeper than I have before.
You see, my love of nature is not only scientific. It’s at the core of who I am. It’s deeply spiritual for me. I believe I’ve had a very strong relationship with nature over many lifetimes. It makes me cry just writing about it.
As is not uncommon for people on such journeys, I became ill. An environmental illness and an auto-immune disorder – one likely enabled the other. This forced me to get out of my head and be more in my body. The nature of my illness led me to an intensive detoxification process and some major lifestyle changes, which led me to several skilled practitioners, one of whom introduced me to a wonderful coach. With her help I started detoxing my mind as well as my physical body. And I also began nurturing my spirit.
At about the same time, a dear friend witnessed my struggle. She could hear my Soul’s voice and introduced me to some excellent self-coaching resources. That led me to The Coaches Training Institute. It’s not an overstatement to say that taking those courses changed my life. The training gave me tools to understand myself at a deeper level than ever before, to acknowledge my needs, and it reawakened my semi-dormant gift of intuition. A great gift that I cherished in the past, but that I had largely squelched for years.
My training allowed me to see what a powerful impact my style of coaching can have on the lives of others. My first client took radical action in her life within just a couple of months of working together. Action that she’d been exploring and evaluating (and re-evaluating) in therapy for years. This solidified what I had been speculating — the world needs a coach like me.
Coaches need coaches too, and I began work with a second amazing coach. Very quickly she helped me realize that part of my Soul’s medicine is to reconnect people to their inner wisdom using nature as a portal. I began envisioning what that work would look like, and how I would get to that place. I could palpably feel my vibration changing.
The Universe embraced me. And enabled some massive changes in my life.
Becoming pregnant with our second child, at age 44, after years of trying. I firmly believe the work with my first coach was critical to making this happen. Yes, it required fertility treatments but our odds were very low from a scientific perspective. Our success is a perfect example of what can be achieved when science and spirit are aligned!
Releasing me from a job that was not what I was meant to be doing. It is important work, and work that deserves to have someone else doing it.
Relocating our family to a place with a strong sense of community and amazing access to nature. I am filled with gratitude and joy for where we live. And I give thanks each and every day.
So, that’s my long story. There’s more to tell, of course. Life experiences make us who we are today. But one of the many things I love about coaching is the future orientation. And my vision for Our Natural Wisdom is to improve our world through re-connection — to ourselves, to each other, and to nature. It is my honor to serve in this way, and my Soul is singing in celebration!
2 thoughts on “Who Am I To Be A Nature-Based Coach?”
Stephanie, I can relate to this so much – being a perfectionist, being unfulfilled, having health issues, and transitioning from an environmental career to coaching. Thank you for sharing your story. You are an inspiration! ?
Thank you, Liz. It’s so interesting how many of us have traveled a very similar Hero’s Journey!
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