A Question I Frequently Get
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Is how did I come to segue into coaching and training from a highly fruitful journalism career highlighted by my founding the LA Weekly newspaper, of which I was editor-in-chief and CEO for many years. During my tenure the Weekly grew to be the largest and most successful city weekly in the country and had a profound positive effect in Los Angeles, including forcing reforms that materially cleaned up LA’s once brutal smog and catalyzing substantial cultural and social change in the community.
Friends who know me also as an activist community leader who has started four non-profit organizations (my causes included poverty, human rights, community media and development, and campaign finance reform) particularly have wondered about the path that lead me to become a successful coach/teacher who specializes in skills for life, relationship and conscious leadership that have helped many hundreds of clients and students elevate their lives or their careers/businesses, or improve their relationships, without spending years in therapy or marriage counseling.
Part of the answer is that in youth I was fascinated by the question of: Why we do what we do? Why so much pain, conflict, disappointment, heartbreak and depression in life? How come society could often be so dysfunctional and unjust – and how could it be changed for the better?
As a young journalist I pursued these questions right into significant coverage of the post-Freudian human development movement, attending scores of personal development trainings and workshops. I came to understand that we’re like fish unaware they are in water – that we are mostly blind to the power and effect of the beliefs and assumptions we hold and which we swim around in – and out of which we create culture and society as well as form our relationships to ourselves and others.
A Passion for “Radical Sanity”
I learned from my journalism that the intersection of consciousness and culture meant that if you want a healthier society, you better have “radical sanity” – meaning psychologically healthier people whose lives are based on clearer and saner assumptions, principles and behaviors.
I also got it that you need two kinds of skills to make this happen. (1) skills to transform your own and other’s areas of emotional and mental reactiveness (low self esteem being just one of innumerable subsets of that) , and (2) skills that created a much healthier and more loving way of relating to others in all circumstances.
For me, therefore, there is no split between being a media executive or social activist/community leader and simultaneously being a coach of the means by which we all can alter our lives, relationships, careers and inner game – AND consequently the broader culture – for the better.
What’s more, I seem to have been gifted with a talent to synthesize complex material and communicate it to others. This ability underpinned my journalism and editing success, and I tapped into it again when I segued into the field of evolutionary personal development, doing so with the intent of assisting others into skills and a way of thinking that altered negative mindsets and situations, allowing my clients to elevate to more fully-realized and satisfying lives and careers, whether they were unemployed when we started or running companies. .
The rest of the answer is more ordinarily human. I came into this coaching and teaching practice the hard way, via my own pain and need for change, for healing, for inner and outer-relating development, and for self-knowledge.
In the mid-90s I experienced a serious burnout as a result of driving myself too hard as captain of a new TV network designed to share the values and quality of the alternative journalism for which I was known. My emotional, psychological and physical damage was intense, magnified by the fact that both the TV business and the loving relationship I was in at the time failed, the latter almost solely due to my burnout.
Seeking to regain my balance, I participated in another assortment of human development trainings. The high points for me were a professional education in human development via the Master’s degree psychology program at the University of Santa Monica (USM), and the inner life program from Pathwork Institute.
Suddenly, I Was Coaching 25 People
At USM I discovered I had a truly effective gift for coaching. Word spread, people asked to work with me, and within a year after the program, I had a client base of 25 individuals or couples a week, all referred by word of mouth. Because I was taking a break from media, I just kept saying yes to potential clients.
My coaching drew on my immersion in those many human development trainings; also, on my range of experiences and knowledge of people and society acquired as a journalist, businessman and leader. Hallmarks of my coaching included pragmatic street smarts and my ability to relate to real world situations in most areas of human endeavor, including business.
This all was wedded to strong intuitive and communication gifts and to what I discovered to be my ability to create effective techniques and processes as needed by my clients.
Flash forward eight years and I had developed a method of working with people that was so effective, I decided to incorporate this method in a trial run of a group course – not group therapy – then called Life Mastery Basics, the forerunner to Life Elevation. A couple of hundred happy students later I created this website with its course audios, adding audios on what men and women need to know about each other.
My own sense of why my coaching and classes have been effective in reorienting and elevating people’s lives from wherever the are, and in advancing their careers, relationships and leadership abilities, is that they allow individuals to learn a system that, in effect, enables you to become your own coach and/or to become leaders, managers, creators or teachers yourself.
Most clients became happy change-makers in their enterprises and families, on a path of meaningful and fulfilling lives in which they are having a positive affect on everyone around them.
The Life Issues We All Encounter
All coaching ultimately is about mastery – including mastery of inner emotional and mental demons as well as of career and financial matters and relationships. Done well, you get to dive right into and transform the pain and challenges of life in every facet you may live it. As in my life, this might embrace both success and heartbreak along with the difficulties of navigating a variety of human relations and experiences.
Coaching also accepts as a basic reality the strange dynamic of our inner lives that contain an assortment of voices and inner critics (an inner sense of not good enough, for example, turns out to be a significant issue among successful CEOs). These voices compete with our latent and often untapped wisdom, which seeks clarity and effectiveness in the labyrinth that is human affairs.
What I prize (and focus on in my coaching and teaching, as in my life) is the experience of finding your way into that sweet safe alignment of your authentic inner life with the outer relational and social order. That’s where you are enthusiastically engaged in your life as life itself, able to handle any traumas, and where you are in service both to your best self and – in subtle if not obvious ways – to others, to the common good and to the evolution of human affairs from destructive to constructive.
My clients and students report learning skills, tools and a way of thinking which give them more confidence in nearly every situation, making them better able to cope when challenged, and which open their lives to the potential of being leaders in their field.
In sum, as a client you up your life game while gaining a sophisticated education in the realities of human inter-reaction and self-hood that the culture fails to provide to us en mass. With that, you may find yourself being one of those individuals who show the way into an elevated (and saner) way of being, with all its rich possibilities in the world.
If you choose to gift yourself the opportunity to experience my unique work directly, it would be my privilege to be of service to you.
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