The Everything 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. In this episode, we explore the science behind why we delay, and how it relates to the question of when to become a coach. Subscribe to get new episodes weekly!
To do, or not to do. That is the question!
Many people think about becoming a life coach, but the truth of the matter is that only a fraction of them will actually do it. Let’s take a closer look at why that is, and what you can do to turn your dreams into reality.
The Science of Delay
Our orientation towards work, making choices, and attending to the myriad of things that call for our attention ultimately comes down to value. Or more specifically, the value that we assign to whatever it is we hope to accomplish - in the moment that we are considering taking action.
This phenomenon even has a fancy name that hails from the field of economics: The Subjective Theory of Value.
When we put things off, it’s often a result of our having made a subjective valuation. If our mental process were expressed mathematically, it might look something like this:
What I want in the future < Doing what feels good right now
What this means in everyday terms is that when we procrastinate, we’ve decided that the value of doing something else outweighs the task in front of us that will lead to some future value.
One way to get out from underneath the pressure of the "now" versus the payoff of the future is to spend time reviewing and assessing the value judgments you are assigning in the moment.
Example: Yes, scrolling through social media may hold a high value in the moment as an escape... but does it truly offer me dividends long term?
Likewise, if you have a long term goal that you want to achieve which will require numerous action steps and some heavy lifting along the way, you might take some time to build motivation first. Explore what kind of value you can add in this moment to bolster your ambition versus the comfort of inaction or stalling out.
FACT: Human beings often get value wrong based on proximity to satisfaction.
It’s simple, really. The further off a reward for our action is perceived to be, the less likely we are to take that action. Case in point: most folks would rather accept roughly $80 dollars now than wait 3 months to get $100!
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that scientists have coined a term for this as well: Delay Discounting. As a species, we start to devalue our time and money based on immediate reward.
Suffice it to say, this is a very real factor in why we procrastinate! Getting something done is a delayed reward, so its value in the present is reduced. The further away the deadline is, the less attractive it seems to work on something right now.
So what’s the antidote?
One simple way to increase the value of completing a task is to make the finish line seem closer. For example, vividly imagining a future reward will actually help to reduce delay discounting.
Coaching Tip: Future visioning and vision board exercises are great for this, and are further supported by the science of priming. Want to learn more about how to do it? Check out our blog on Crafting A Future Vision.
Deciding WHEN To Become A Coach
Now let’s bring this back around to career decisions, and how we know when it’s “the right time" to become a coach. Let's start with a question:
How long have you been thinking about becoming a coach?
On average, our students think about joining the JRNI life coach training program somewhere between one month and one year. That’s a pretty big spread!
While all roads eventually lead to the same place, the distinction here is that the folks who dive in right away experience the immediate reward of having taken action in life. Those people begin building their practice a whole year ahead of those who circle our front door, waiting for a sign to get started.
We know from coaching theory that one of the quickest ways to alleviate the anxiety that comes from putting things off is to take a concrete action step towards your goal. There are many immediate unanticipated rewards that come from making the decision to get trained as a life coach. Here’s just a few:
- Connection. Excitement is contagious, and joining a group of people who are also fired up about learning and transformation quickly outweighs the value of rumination and procrastination.
- Exploration. Another immediate benefit is the application of new skills. As you apply what you're learning in real life, you begin to see the immediate rewards because the knowledge you're gaining in coach training is tangible.
- Relief. A huge reward from taking action is that you break out of stagnation or feeling stuck. Instead of wishing for a different future, you're building it. And as you do, previously unforeseen pathways begin to open up for you.
Once a student joins coach training, new possibilities begin firing right away. They begin to think about the kind of business they want to launch, start to see job opportunities they had never considered before, and get excited about building new partnerships and experiences.
The truth is, there is never a definitive “right time” for anything.
Time is linear and will pass.
Whether you are considering a change in career, relationship, or a move, the weight of a dream deferred eases with action. When nothing changes - we experience decay. When we force change by assigning future value to the NOW, we engender growth and vitality.
Need a few more inputs before taking the leap?
These resources can help:
Ready to Get Started?
Launch your coaching practice right with JRNI Life Coach Training - a program that's every bit as unique as you are. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, business instruction to prepare you for liftoff as an entrepreneur, and fellow students dedicated to becoming a collective force for good.