I learned early that we have the power to change what doesn’t serve us. When I complained to my mom that the boys’ middle school gym class got to go to the weight room while the girls had to do gymnastics (I was already on a gymnastics team – I wanted the weight room!), she told me to start a petition.
The girls were in the weight room a couple weeks later.
I’ve drawn on that lesson many times. A decade ago, I was an English teacher at an all-boys high school, content but wanting something more. I left my teaching job to go into administration, earned my Ph.D., picked up a side job as a barre instructor, then left both jobs for a different opportunity, moving my family 1,000 miles away from our support system into a house we bought sight-unseen.
I know about change.
If your circumstances aren’t to your liking – your job, your surroundings, your zip code – you should change them.
What about the changes we don’t want? I certainly didn’t welcome my father’s sudden death from type 1 diabetes at age 59, or my son’s diagnosis with the same disease just a few years later.
When you can’t change your circumstances, you can change your approach to them.
In my case, I used those painful experiences to start a scholarship fund in my dad’s name to benefit other people living with T1D, and I have run three Chicago marathons to raise money and awareness for the disease. In 2020, I donated a kidney to my brother who lives with T1D, and I have since added raising awareness for living organ donation to my list of passions.
Change requires tools and support.
The various training and educational experiences I’ve had along the way have helped me with every change I’ve faced. I’ve taken workshops in Polarity Management that have helped me challenge my either/or tendencies. (Hello, both/and thinking!)
I’ve run workshops as a trained National SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Project Facilitator that have deepened my understanding of the scholarship of the shelves vs. the selves, especially when it comes to DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging).
I’ve participated in Future Problem Solving Program International as both a middle school student and a “future scene writer,” which gives me a process to anticipate different outcomes and plan accordingly. (I use their criteria grids for all major decisions I make!)
I’ve learned the Creative Problem Solving method at the Creative Problem Solving Institute, where I’ve also presented workshops.
And I’m excited to join the first training cohort for Certified Sparketype Advisors, as Sparketype has helped me and some of my clients already.
Helping people face change, especially when the change is unwanted or unexpected, knowing they will come out the other side as better versions of themselves, makes my day.
I’ve loved coaching people for over a decade in my roles as a teacher, school administrator, and fitness instructor. Since 2007, I’ve taught The College Essay, a summer workshop for high school seniors working on their application essays. More than a writing class, though, the content helps them uncover what they value and what impact they want to make on the world.
This theme is the backdrop of most of the professional development sessions I facilitate as a school administrator, too. Wearing my fitness instructor hat, I started running summer wellness challenges for women a few years ago, with the 8 Pillars of Wellness as our framework.
In 2021, I decided to pursue formal training and certification and start my own coaching practice. In my practice, I’ve helped people:
· land their dream jobs,
· improve their relationships,
· navigate toxic work situations,
· rebuild their lives after a great loss,
· reignite their passions in retirement, and
· identify what it is they really want to do with their lives.
The best piece of praise I ever got from a client was: “Working with Kirstin came at a time when I was feeling fragile and quite lost. Now I'm working on new and exciting projects, and I'm looking at some of my past but languishing interests with new eyes. I am happier than I have been in a long time.” Another told me, “I wish you had a time machine to help me sort these things out years ago.”
I don't have a time machine, but if you need some help in writing your next chapter, I’d love to work with you! Schedule a free consult call to see if I’m the change coach you need.