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One aspect of DWYL is finding like-minded support: Each course has its own online community. This year, Kempton will be launching a membership site to make the social aspect even bigger. She has also added more courses with names like Make Art That Sells and Business Soul Sessions, on how to start a soulful business—some of which she teaches herself and others that she produces behind the scenes. In April, Kempton will publish a book, Freedom Seeker: Live More. Worry Less. Do What You Love(Hay House), available for preorder on Amazon. "We want to show that it's okay to take your dreams seriously," she says. Naysayers will sometimes ask, "Isn't it selfish?" The guy who chooses to play music on Fridays—what about his wife? "But what we often discover is that the people who live with the person who's going through this process get really inspired by association," says Kempton. "They see this person coming alive, and they become curious. They start talking about how we can make changes together. Also, if you have a talent, you're inspiring and helping people through the expression of your talent. Quite the opposite of being selfish, it's an amazing way to express love in the world."
A Revolution of the Spirit
There's much to be said for a supportive network that will lift you up and ignite your spark. But for many people, it's a one-on-one connection with a coach or mentor that fans a small passion into a flame. "You can certainly help someone lose weight or stop smoking or change a habit or reach goals. I do all that, but that's not where the action is for me," says David Basch, a strategic coach based in West Hurley. "What I hope to do is open the door to transformation in some manner. I'm not going to tell them what the door is—they have to discover it. Coaching is always about the client's agenda. However, many people might come to coaching with a small agenda. Even if it's getting a new job, which they consider to be big, I consider that a small agenda. What I'm interested in is them discovering who their best self is, so that the job reflects who they really are."
Perhaps the biggest misconception about coaching is the idea that you're going to get advice from your coach, or that your coach is going to put together some kind of blueprint for you. "That's not what coaching is about," says Marybeth Cale, a life coach based in Rhinebeck. "It's designed to promote self-discovery for the client. The design of their lives moving forward is driven by them. The coach is making observations and providing support, accountability, and motivation. Coaching is really about becoming more mindful of what makes you feel alive, what makes you feel connected, joyful, and productive."
Basch adds that successful coaching is the ability to ask powerful questions—a kind of drilling down that goes deeper into the person's wants and dreams, which are sometimes hidden even from themselves. It is also a kind of deep listening, and a mirroring back of what you're saying so you can see yourself. "When I'm working with somebody I'm really listening for what's being said, for what's not being said, for the unspoken—for the person behind the voice."
When coaching works, people get empowered, and they arrive at places they could never have anticipated finding at the beginning of the process. Sandra Sellani, a former marketing executive based in Newport Beach, California, came to Basch with a gnawing feeling of discontent. A high-paying, all-consuming career, which she had built over nearly 30 years, was no longer working for her. "My values were not coinciding with the values of the company I was working for," says Sellani. "So it created a kind of crisis for me. You want to feel like you're living a life that's in alignment." In the process of working with Basch, she found validation to do something that seemed to defy logic: She left her very lucrative job and took a part-time consulting position that paid much less but gave her time to think, run on the beach, and just be. As far as she knew, she had taken the big step just by quitting her job—yet her true transformation would begin a few months later.