Deep Sea Coaching wasn’t founded overnight; the roots of it started many years before. In 2006, at 24 years old I met my now-husband Justin, a young adult Chronic Myeloid Leukemia survivor.
Our journey was like most cancer journeys, filled with pitfalls, fear, and isolation. One long night, I was awake next to a peacefully-sleeping Justin and I thought to myself “once we’re done here, I’m going to dedicate my life to making the cancer experience easier for everyone coming behind us.”
We left treatment a couple months later and I moved professionally into oncology as a social worker and navigator, where I’ve been for almost 10 years.
I’ve loved serving in this role – I’ve gotten to develop and implement research, facilitate support groups, navigate complex psychosocial patients cases, build behavioral health programs for a large multihospital healthcare system, speak all over the nation and meet so many people dedicating their lives to the cancer space. I’ve learned so much as a caregiver and professional in my varied work.
It wasn’t until 2019, when I started experiencing my own health struggles – infertility and then infertility treatment – that I knew I had deeper work to do in this world. This revelation didn’t come quickly.
In fact, despite two miscarriages and over a year of disappointment, I hadn’t told many people I was struggling.
Then the pandemic hit.
I felt overwhelmed at work. Isolated with my newfound infertility “journey” (as I’ve called my patients’ cancer experiences so many times). I didn’t know how to change my trajectory but got into a coaching program that navigated that path for me. I started doing intense cognitive behavioral therapy – amplifying positive self-thoughts and gatekeeping negative/intrusive ones, spending time truly feeling uncomfortable emotions, cultivating support, organizing my life, and magnifying my sense of worth. Overall, putting in the hard work I never thought I needed.
The night I first thought of life as a deep sea, I was getting ready to share my experience with infertility publicly for the first time. I decided that on Mother’s Day, I would share my yearning to join the awesome tribe of motherhood.
It was a fairly safe, slightly guarded post in hindsight (I didn’t even disclose the miscarriages), but I had a lot of anxiety leading up to the act of posting.
I sat with Justin several times; trying to paint the picture of what it meant to share, and discussing his experiences with sharing the ups and downs of cancer treatment (he has an incredible blog at theozunaverse.com documenting his whole journey).
I eventually came up with an analogy that life is like a sea, the surface and waves being the highly-shareable parts of life – the happy moments and social media-worthy pictures, the small talk, our favorite books and shows, the easy connections with others – everyone gets to see this surface of our life. The uncomfortable parts of our lives loom underneath this shiny surface, in an unknown and ominous space.
I told Justin it felt like I was standing on the edge of this cliff, about to jump off into those deep, dark waters. I knew there was no going back after I jumped, everyone would know my struggle and my depths. I didn’t know if I had the capacity to exist in that level of vulnerability. I couldn’t visualize the ways it would potentially impact my life. I tried to have faith that there were so many others – who have shared and struggled – waiting in the waters to welcome me.
My life changed after that post.
On the other side of that metaphorical cliff dive, I found all the gifts that life’s hard spaces can bring – moments of bravery, opportunities to conquer fears, overwhelming amounts of gratitude and self-love, deeper connections with the people around me, an empowered sense of belonging in the world – gifts I would have never known looking down from the cliff or treading water on the surface.
I learned to live in the depths of my dark seas. To thrive in them. To build the life I always wanted.
Shortly after that, I knew I wanted to navigate others in their own dark seas.
I want to empower my clients, honor their bravery in the depth of their hardest struggles, and celebrate the treasures of growing because of those struggles, not despite them. I hope you will come join me in this deep sea of life.
To set up an assessment and a month of free coaching in either of my two programs – Excited for Monday or The Communication Gateway – fill out the scheduling information below:
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