The Catalyst Life Coaching Podcast, featuring JRNI Coaching founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux is a deep dive into the experience and business of being a life coach. This transcript of Episode 42 of the Catalyst Life Coaching Podcast is all about a year in review and talks about looking forward to the New Year.
John: So 2018 is coming to an end.
John: How was this year for you and what are you looking forward to in 2019 as far as changes you want to make personally?
Noelle: That’s such a loaded question John on so many different fronts.
John: Is it too early for this?
Noelle: Let’s get into it.
John: Well people want to know.
Noelle: Okay, well let’s see.
John: Was 2018 long for you? It felt very very long for me.
Noelle: It was 10 years. It was 10 years long.
John: Yeah, so much has happened. So much of the last 10 years was squeezed into 2018.
Noelle: Just think about it—so I drove cross country and then landed in L.A. in January, moved in with you in February, trekked back across country in March, and that began the season of getting my ass kicked until today.
John: Yeah, it’s been a long journey, I mean as I sit here and think about it and play back the movie, so much has happened.
Noelle: Right, and I don’t think that either one of us are alone, I have felt that many people have echoed the fact that this year was a really long, hard one, with lots and lots of twists and turns.
John: Yeah, lots of ups and downs emotionally, all of that stuff.
John: All the colors.
Noelle: And my takeaway from it is that I am now a different species of human.
John: Mmm, in what way? Because that’s exciting.
Noelle: I am humbled in ways that I have not experienced before, because I’ve learned that I can get flattened and then stand back up again, and not many people in life—well let me go back. So, for me, I was actually reflecting on it this morning—a friend texted me and asked how I was and I said, “I’m not great, quite honestly I’m not great, for a lot of different reasons”. I now have such humility and such compassion for people who suffer and struggle in life whereas if I had never had any of these experiences, I would still be cloaked in a very high level of privilege—not that I’m not—but it blinds you, privilege blinds you to what true struggle feels like, and true anxiety, and true fear, and to have had the experience of 2018, I have been brought to my knees, and I will never ever ever again in my life look at somebody whose going through a hard time and say “shake it off”. I will say “I’ve been there, how can I help pull you up?”.
John: What a beautiful, courageous, vulnerable thing to say. You always surprise me in how honest you are. I think people listening, especially our Catalyst life coaches, really look up to you because of that, the way that you show up without the veneer.
Noelle: Thank you. Well the veneer is such bullshit and the veneer keeps you stuck quite honestly. It keeps you stuck because you’re still trying to project your "pseudoself”, and it’s not okay. How about you? What was 2018 for you?
John: 2018 was, like you, definitely humbling, so much has happened—everything from personal relationships, to almost having a baby, to moving, still learning how to ride this bike called business and startup and entrepreneurship. Something I’m learning about myself is that—and you know I might try to be a better one but it’s just not in my blood—I’m not a good businessman, and I’ve never been a good businessman. I don’t thrive on numbers and scaling and all that, and I think where I’m the happiest is where I’m just kind of getting lost in the madness of creation. And so 2018 kind of forced me to grow up, being tugged and trying to be an adult with business and all that, and of course lots of resistance and anxiety and stress. And then going with you on some of the emotional stuff, but I think that when it comes to the startup we have, you take most of it, unfortunately. I’m sorry. You become my umbrella I guess. Lots of learning, lots of being humbled, and hoping to go back to simplifying and the basics.
Noelle: Yeah, I started reading a book again—I read it many years ago and I never really did it—it’s a 12 week workshop book and it’s called The Artist’s Way.
John: Oh yeah, I haven’t read that yet but it’s famous.
Noelle: It’s famous. The concept is that when you lean into creativity, when you lean into the part of yourself that creates, you’re really tapping into God.
John: I like that.
Noelle: And you’re letting your life force, the same life force that shoots green into the budding springs of flowers, into the world, and that you have an ordained purpose to create. And even though I create in the business sense, it really resonated with me, because at some point, you just have to get to a place where you say “I need to let go and I need to let everything flow through and around me and I need to stop trying to control because it’s futile”. And that’s really what I’m going into 2019 with—I’m doing the workbook and I’m focusing it actually on the work of our company, and the work of our company that I believe to be really sacred is a new way of working—without fear, without threat, without micromanagement, without all of the things that people say makes their life miserable. I’m like we don’t have to do that, and we can empower people along the way, and we can teach them life skills, and we can help them pull your neighbor up in life, and to have that opportunity—well fuck, I’ll fight to the death to keep it.
John: Yeah, I think that’s the new way and I think that if our company is the vehicle that takes many on this journey of looking inward, being creative, a little bit of self actualization, also helping other people, then that company itself becomes accountable.
Noelle: It is and it’s art as well.
John: And it’s art. It’s not just about business and money but it becomes its own thing.
Noelle: It becomes a beacon for other people to say, “wow I’m ready to jump out of the machine, I’m ready to jump out of the matrix”.
John: Well now let’s talk about 2019.
John: What are you excited about? What are you doing for the holidays? What’s your ritual for the New Year? Do you have a list or do you have resolutions?
Noelle: So I love the holidays, it’s my favorite time of year.
John: Yeah, me too.
Noelle: I love decorating, I love gifting people. This year I’m not doing any of my regular traditions, for good reason. So, my regular traditions are going to my parents’ house on Christmas Eve, where they invite—I grew up on the beach in New Jersey, it’s a tiny little beach town. My mom makes fresh seafood and invites all the neighbors, and there’s candles lit throughout the front yard, and it’s really just spectacularly special. And then on the 21st, I always throw a solstice party, a huge party.
John: For those of us who don’t know, what is a solstice party?
Noelle: A solstice is the shortest day of the year and the longest night of the year, and the southern hemisphere it’s the opposite, it’s the summer solstice. For the winter solstice—why I like it, why I throw a party—is when I got divorced, many years ago, I was actually really physically sick, and I was physically weak, and I had a lot of people who actually helped me—like helped me, like came to my house and cleaned things, cooked food for me, let me sleep on their couch if I was just too emotionally decimated—and I wanted to give back, so I threw a party so all the people who helped me, who I loved, could meet each other and make new friends, and it grew and grew and grew, and at one point I think there was like 150 people at my house, it was ridiculous, it was crazy. Thank god all the neighbors were there too.
Noelle: And I’ve since sold that house and moved on in my life, and it’s remained a tradition that I throw a gratitude party every year for the people in my life.
John: Ooh, I love that—a gratitude party. What an amazing idea.
Noelle: Yeah, and this year I’m not doing it, and I’m not going to my parents, I’m not doing any of the things, and the reason why is because I’m tired.
John: That’s fair.
Noelle: And I don’t have the bandwidth, and I don’t have the energy, and for one of the first times in my life, I’m telling everybody, “sorry, I just want to be in my house, with my husband and my dog, and I wanna wake up in the morning and make pancakes, and hang out in my pajamas, and drink eggnog, and actually rest”.
John: So, what I’m hearing is self care for Christmas.
Noelle: Yeah, self care for Christmas.
John: Yeah, ooh I love that. What a great reminder. I think a lot of us, because of the spirit of Christmas, and giving gifts, and running around, and hanging out with family, we could easily lose track of our own needs, and suddenly the holidays are exhausting, and we actually don’t enjoy them, and spend quality time and really soak in the moments.
Noelle: Yep. How about you? What’s your holiday ritual?
John: So growing up, I guess maybe because of cultural—my parents never really celebrated the holidays, it stopped very early, so I’ve always been the Korean kid that was adopted into either friends or later, as I grew up, my girlfriends, went to their families. So, Christmas has always been very big in that way, where I kind of—I’m the orphan in someone’s family. So, that hasn’t stopped, and so this year I’m going to New York, and I’m going to experience snow for the first time—I mean I’ve been in snow, but I’ve never been in snow where like you open your door and it’s snowing. So, going to Syracuse for about a week, and I think I’m gonna do the same, where I’m craving very simple things, like hot chocolate, and slippers, and a fireplace—I don’t wanna run around and do things, I need to rest.
Noelle: Yes, we both do. We both need to rest. It’s been wild. But I’m glad that we’re both resting, because then we can kind of pick up the pieces and carry the ones that we want to keep with us into the New Year, with intention.
John: Yeah, what are your goals for the New Year? Do you have any resolutions? Or do you not like that word?
Noelle: So, from a positive psychology perspective, New Years’ resolutions are really effective, and the reason for it is when you state goals publicly, you’re more likely to adhere to them. Even though it can be seen as cliché, it’s a really effective time for goal setting. And it’s kind of like a natural point in the year too, so I’m down with New Years’ resolutions. I really have to think about it a little bit more, I’m still kind of in 2018 still, so I can’t really let my brain get too far ahead. For me, there’s my fitness goal that I’ve been dragging around with me without really accomplishing it, and I guess sorting out the future in a productive way is my goal.
John: One of the things I learned that was pretty big for 2018 was the power of redefining things. So, being a student to things like whether we’re talking about love, business, friendships, family—and then shaking the tree a little bit and redefining it, and seeing what that feels like to you, because I think so many of us have these concrete definitions, and those definitions are based on our story, and our “shoulds”, and all the stuff up until now that has formed them. And if we can’t pour life into those definitions, or if life doesn’t match, it instantly brings anxiety—and the thing is, I don’t feel like we could change life, life is like the ocean, it’s like this majestic thing that’s always happening, you cant wrestle the universe, but what you can change is your definitions. And I’ve learned that in 2018, if you make the choice to start to redefine things, or at least be open to them, it lowers anxiety.
Noelle: Yes, yes.
John: It’s almost like the effect of letting go—
Noelle: It is, and I love the analogy of water, and you actually just stimulated something for me that I want to put forth as one of my New Years’ resolutions. So, in the samurai tradition, you tattoo the image of the warrior, or the god, or the goddess that you want to embody during your lifetime, on your back, which is, for those of us who are tattooed, prime real estate, right?
Noelle: And the samurai tradition also loves the image of the cherry blossom, because cherry blossoms bloom for a very short period of time, and samurai life is often filled with honor, violent and brief, so the cherry blossom is symbolic of living your life to the fullest and embodying the beauty of the moment. And so for me, what I would want to tattoo my back to honor the samurai tradition is the ocean.
John: Ooh, I love it. Well you’ve always been drawn to the water.
Noelle: If I’m thinking about the characteristics that I want to embody is water.
John: Yeah, and the visual I see is when we are open, and fluid, and open to new definitions, and looking inward, I see an ocean, and I see the beauty, and the vastness of the ocean, and the freedom of the ocean. When we hold onto old definitions, and especially when we try to control people—because that’s something that I struggle with—or try to get people to do something in the way that you see it, then the ocean turns into a lake. It’s like stale, and gross, and you don’t feel movement, you have anxiety, it’s lined with worry and dread—and then you’re in survival mode. So to actually redefine, or be open to a new way of loving someone, a new way of entering friendships, or a new way of creating, a new way of doing business, a new way of—all of that stuff—I think is, I think it’s a game changer. So for 2019, again I want to shake the Etch-a-Sketch, create new definitions, I think people should do this every year.
Noelle: Tattoo their body with symbolism?
John: Yeah, starting with that, and then be open to the new.
Noelle: Yeah, and I think one of the really beautiful things about this time of year is that everybody is reflective in this way, because it’s been so ingrained in us culturally, and it’s primal—it’s so primal and central to being human—that at this time of year, we all need to rest, we all need to literally, physically move inward, to move indoors because it gets cold out, we need to eat the food that we harvested in the fall, and then we look towards the future when we plant the seeds and start sowing the Earth again to produce new bounty. So, it’s so set in the phases of nature.
John: Yes, so as we—and Noelle, I need to borrow your left brain—can you take this little mirage we created verbally and pull out the themes so we can remind anyone who’s listening, tips and things to do for the New Year?
Noelle: Sure, starting with 2018 was hard.
John: Yes, and that’s okay.
Noelle: And that’s okay, and it’s not over yet, so everybody just hang tight a little bit longer. 2018 was hard, it’s good to be reflective and take stock of what you have and what you want. Given that 2018 was hard, it’s okay to rest and it’s necessary. I love the metaphor of the ocean and the lake, where the ocean is expansive and the lake is contained, and when you dip into your internal forrest, you have the choice whether you want to perceive your waters as an ocean or a lake.
John: I love it. So poetic. And also, get a tattoo on your back, you forgot that one.
Noelle: I mean I have a lot of tattoos on my back, but I’m gonna do the ocean.
John: I love it. Alright guys, hopefully Happy Holidays and I’m excited about the New Year and thank you for listening.
Noelle: Take care John.