This is a paraphrased synopsis of the questions and my answers….

What do you need most from me? 

What I likely need most would be help focusing my thoughts towards each other to help narrow down my ideal career, and input/advice/suggestions (from your companies experience) as to possible fields I’d not consider or find on my own if my vision is too narrow.

What would be the best way to focus your attention?

Ooh, that’s a good one. Like a safe word? I actually respond better and improve myself more when people are blunt with me. If I’m being a flake or whining or avoiding (and can’t give a clear explanation instead of an excuse) I’m okay with sharp slaps to the side of the head (verbally) to remind me why I’m doing this, followed by a nice reminder that I do have potential and will be happy in the end. so…basically what you likely already do.

What are your favorite things?

I want to do so many things equally…. Reading, writing and psychology. Thinking. Coming up with solutions or creative ways to overcome obstacles or make life more efficient (for example I have ideas daily for better patient education displays at work, rather than the standard posters or written announcements, and am continually suggesting new education presentations or activities for coworkers making them as innovative as possible to maintain their interest/attention). Fitness, travel, inventing and website ideas (if I could work in a think tank I’d be in heaven).

What confuses you in life?

When I can see others perspectives but they don’t see or accept mine.

I don’t understand adults my age partying like college students, and they don’t understand why I “don’t like to have fun.” Neither is entirely fair.

I do well as a leader, but it’s rare I’m allowed into that position. I do equally well as a follower. Provided I’m ethically and fairly led and feel safe and respected, I’ll do whatever is asked of me. I don’t do well with leaders who conform, expect conformation and resist change.

In the Marines 20 years ago (and 1000x more now) the idea of “we’ve always done it this way” or “we can’t do that because..” is a constant obstacle to innovation, change (and simply happiness, for me). I feel like they see me as argumentative, while I experience even the first time I point out a flaw or a better way to do something I’m ignored because of entrenched defensiveness of how things have always been. I also think people conform far too strictly to what society expects, in areas where they should be trying to change the world. I’m tired of being told I can’t change the world. (and that life isn’t fair)

One of my biggest flaws is that I expect others to mostly know what they’re doing and how to do things, especially their own jobs if they’re adults. I’m terrible about not confronting people directly about things (fear, not wanting retaliation, feeling sorry for them) but I retain anger and gripe about them because I feel like I/we shouldn’t have to tell someone what they should already know.

Another semi-flaw.. I understand the point of “evidenced based” decisions, like in medicine, however I’m frustrated by people who block or avoid changes or making decisions because they’re hobbled by blind dependence on being told what they should do, rather than using their own common sense. I think society is handicapped, to an extent, by reliance on evidence based decisions, forgetting that studies are often biased, and that their own level of knowledge and experience should already tell them what to do, rather than avoiding decision making and hindering progress because they’re afraid to assert themselves.

Also (this list goes on forever….) the hyper-positive thinking movement, especially in the US, is difficult for me to work with. I prefer reality, where what’s good is good and what’s not isn’t ignored or avoided. I’ve worked with people who considered me negative, when what I saw was that they refused to deal with reality and avoided things by focusing only on what they liked. It causes more obstacles than it avoids.

AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT. List five areas where you think you need to improve. Think about those areas that tend to get you in the most trouble.
1. Focus
2. Follow through
3. Not being afraid of confrontation (talking to a person directly, immediately, about problems rather than complaining to others)
4. Procrastination
5. Soft persuasion (people don’t listen to me when I speak plainly, diplomatic or not, or when I bluntly state things…I do not know how to persuade a person to see my point before I get aggravated that I even have to – hence the reason I’m unmarried)

What do you need?

Ideas. Perspective. A boost, psychologically or literally, out of what I’m doing that makes me unhappy.

What are the top 3 things you want from Stacy as your coach?

Chocolate. But since you’re so far away, I’d like input/ideas/perspective, reality checks and your interest. I say the last because I know how hard it is, in a service field, maintaining interest in self-absorbed customer after customer when some customers make work a dream, and some just make it work. I understand that, so I want to know what is really valuable, from your perspective, as opposed to what I’m wasting time on. Even if what really is interesting about what I share is only 1% of what I share. I want to know what that is.

What are you excited for?

  • Most: New ideas.
  • Least: Confronting my own procrastination and avoidance of activities I might not want to do.

What big changes do you want soon?

  • To feel less hopeless and overwhelmed by thinking I have no options.
  • To collate and focus all the ideas swirling in my head into a concrete idea or plan.
  • To approach my hunt for a new life more aggressively once I know what I want.

My basic career goals now?

Right now my job-and the only goal I’m privileged to have-is the overwhelming effort to keep up with and pay my (debts). Having a career I LOVE, within parameters that aren’t daily torture, and that is fulfilling and lucrative, would be my basic goal.

What are your current challenges in your career? 

Too much financial baggage, and not suited to my temperament, talents or likes. What’s missing (right now) isn’t stability, it’s contentment, fulfillment and autonomy. In the US stability was starkly missing, but I was at least autonomous and felt more engaged. What missing is connection. I am almost entirely mentally disconnected from my life/career.

I keep ending up in a financially unsustainable position, doing something that bores me or damages me. I FINALLY have a job with a reasonable paycheck, but I have to send 80% of it home for bills because the education that got me this job takes that money in return. Couldn’t afford rent or a car with this same job in the US so I’m basically a hamster on a wheel.

Do you read for fun? What?

I read constantly. I read blogs on WordPress, read Oxygen, National Geographic, Dwell & Psychology Today. I prefer to read history and historical biographies (pre 20th Century, especially Russian Imperial history). I love Harry Potter and have read Gone with the Wind over 20 times to new insights each time. I listen to NPR podcasts, all topics, as well as TED lectures on youtube/app whenever I can and a podcast by Christina Pratt on shamanism, and many books on shamanism (Imagery in Healing is the best) as well as other alternative medicines. My kindle has smoke coming from it’s buttons, I use it so much. 50 Shades of Grey was the worst writing I’ve ever subjected myself to, and I will never read pop-lit without pre-screening it, again. Love popular psychology and social anthropology (Predicably Irrational, Sway:, Mistakes Were Made, On Being Certain, Quiet, 1493, and Situations Matter) I read anything Diana Gabaldon puts out, as well as Malcolm Gladwell. Last week I bought a book on learning Web Design visually. I had read most of my parents encyclopedia volumes, and every coffee table book (we had many books) as well as, most of the classics, at least twice, before I was 16.

Any health issues? 

When I started college I was 125 lbs, weight lifter, very fit and healthly. I gained about 40 lbs in Chiro college, followed by another 40 since, with many of the health issues that come along with doing a physical/manual labor job while being overweight and understrength. In hindsight I should have known that my weight gain was caused by cortisol from stress and being in the wrong school/profession, and being deeply unhappy, but I didn’t see it.

I cannot seem to focus on my own body/health as much as I should with my current situation and location (which seems like it wouldn’t make sense, doing what I do). I want a profession where my own well being is as important as those I serve or work for. (in hindsight, change profession to job/workplace). Aside from that, the vast majority of my obstacles are financial.

What things affect your choices?

$$ and my own fears. Location. Here is more geographically convenient for world travel, but I do miss the familiar. I would need to be more certain that I will have stability and not regret my choice.

What would you do with no limits?

Honestly…? Lately, and possibly it’s just from frustration, I dream of being a vigilante, to hunt down and quietly destroy people who hurt others (Syria’s Bashar, fundamentalists who destroy historical sites because of ignorance, people who abuse women or children, systems that advocate for less knowledge instead of more). I feel angry at the ugly in the world, and angry frustration whenever I read US political news. Deeply angry.

Romantically? I’d like to start a retreat where people can go to re-tool their lives. Somewhere to retreat to to reboot their sleep, eating, thinking, physical, mental and emotional selves and learn to be better selves. Free or affordable, not strictly for the privileged, but instead for those who NEED it, whoever they are.  I planned this in Chiro college, but…

Barring that, I’d love to be a small scale personal travel guide/companion or personal shop/antique hunt for people who aren’t sure what they want, or own a small shop (books, or something beautiful). Fantasy job? I’d live and work in a huge palace or house, wearing period clothing and teaching people about history (full on geek, yes),

An extension of this is that I think American kids are pathetically unaware of history and the rest of the world and I’ve thought it would be interesting to have a service where I take maybe 2-4 kids at a time on extended trips to a few places around the world, and help them learn to experience the world and learn educational principles, in places they could never imagine. (I’d be interested in working anywhere that increased peoples knowledge, advocated for their talents and improved the world.)

Perfection would be independent wealth where I could spend my life traveling to every possible place and experiencing as much as possible, then retire to a small farm.

I guess being hired as a vigilante isn’t realistic. I’ve looked into (college) History, English, Writing, Healthcare Management (booooring, but lucrative), Graphic and Web Design (I don’t have the means to return to school). I’d be great as a secret shopper since I can find flaws and inconsistencies in flow and systems very easily and am able to come up with creative solutions just as quickly.

I don’t know. That’s why I’m doing this. ;/

Strengths? Creativity & critical thinking. Honesty & fairness. Intelligence & wide scope of knowledge. Adaptability (although not so much in Saudi).  Self awareness; I’m not afraid to be wrong, admit I’m wrong or change myself if I’m wrong (although I might be defensive at first).

An extraordinary day? 

Wake early (~5:00) feeling healthy and alert. Time to work out (I’d be thinner, of course), time for tea and breakfast and nature without rushing. Work around 9:00 with autonomy, surrounded by plants and daylight, flexible hours, NOT in an artificially lit cell. Alone, or with other people if they’re open minded, creative (or respect creativity) and are forward thinking (not stagnant or static). No hyper aggressive networking or frantic social demands, but definitely chill meetings of the minds with like thinkers. No tolerance for hate or ignorance. Natural food. Mid-day time to recharge or nap. Done with work by 4 or 5 most days. A REAL home with a garden and privacy and nature all around. A man and a dog (this is fantasy after all). I would be happy for once. Not burdened by any systems (like Medicare or Saudi) that cause conflict and suffering. Inspired and motivated by what I do, and satisfied with its outcomes… I’d actually want to be around people again, instead of feeling burdened by them.

What would it take? 

It’s been said that an unhappy life is lived with regrets on one side and anticipation on the other, but no joy in the present. That’s me, literally. I can’t forget or let go of all my mistakes and missed steps, and I spend vast amounts of time day dreaming about what should or could be because what IS is so unsatisfactory and tiresome.

I need (not want) to TRAVEL. See the world, thoroughly, not on brief frantic-speed overpriced escapes from work. I need to experience the things I’ve read about voraciously since I could read. I need a garden and home base (not surrounded by pollution and traffic) that is mine, without fear of losing it or not affording it, or somebody else telling me what to do with it. I want to be somewhere where I can settle and have my things around me (instead of in boxes) in a position where I don’t have to worry about packing it all back up again because I’m so unhappy at work there that I must move around the world to work. A man who is super intelligent and honorable would be a bonus, but let’s not get crazy. I need to get a grip on how I handle money. I’ve started investing and saving, but I’m still too spendthrift and a life well lived would end with me being happy because of what I’ve done, instead of still relying on what stuff I own.


I can’t be specific, because I really don’t know what is ideal for me to do. My 5 year goal would be regaining my fitness from before Chiro college, saving decent money, and being out from under debt/obligation-based life and doing something I love maybe with someone I love.

Why coaching? 

I’m a moron and I need objective input. 🙂


Yikes..are you sure you want to know that? I hope this isn’t offensive… I’ve developed a moderately strong dislike for organized religion. I was raised Catholic (controlled) and I live in Saudi (controlled part 2) and from my perspective – having educated myself on world religions thoroughly even before highschool, and with experience on both sides of the world – “religion” destroys more than it loves. It’s self-righteous more often than righteous. That being said, I have difficulty with atheists, and dislike when people (even me) disrespect or deride other people’s beliefs (which happens constantly now in the US and in the Middle East and is nauseating to watch). To each his own. I consider myself somewhere between agnostic and Pandeistic Animism (for lack of a better encyclopedia and more time to be sure) in that I know that I don’t know, but I think God is in all things (which satisfies me scientifically as well, since energy is the same everywhere and we’re all made of the same atoms) and that respecting a tree is just as important as respecting a child or the world as a whole. The view from the top of a mountain is a better church than any building ever could be. There is a central core of something that started it all, animates the universe and creates consciousness, and whatever that is it qualifies as “God” and I think this God is the same in every religion in every country and every philosophy and every atom. Native Americans used to thank the animals they had killed, for giving up their soul and being their food. THAT, is civilized. From first hand observation, every modern religions core beliefs are the same but people refuse to face that. Its our buildings/leaders that tell us to tear each other apart trying to win the battle of who’s right. Religion doesn’t make one a good person, doing good and being a good person does.

Yes, blog readers, I did say “paraphrased.” 😉 I really want this coaching to work out and help me find the ideal place for me, and the only way to do that is with honesty.  – A

9 Responses to Homework – Welcome Packet

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    Ah, there’s that evidence-based medicine issue again. But I’m open-minded remember, so I can take it. 😉

    • Andrea says:

      It’s not an indictment of the evidence, or of people who utilize it. I just compiled a huge powerpoint presentation on breast pain and bra fitting, for which I used TONS of lit. I read more, saw more and learned more about boobs since early December than I ever really thought I could. It’s just my frustration with people who literally WON’T make a step without verification from multiple sources that it’s okay, even if the step is simple, and well within feasibility and their range of knowledge. It frustrates me.

      • Carrie Rubin says:

        I understand. It’s interesting; look how quickly Viagra came out after discovering that the medication–initially intended to treat a different condition–had the side effect of erections. Not so sure they used much evidenced-based medicine before getting that puppy out there. Bet they moved as quickly as possible. 😉

  2. jmmcdowell says:

    I think your answers show an honest approach to the questions, which is probably the most critical step in making changes and finding your best place. I’m no expert in this area, but it looks to me like you’ve made a good start!

  3. This is really fascinating and congrats on this journey! You might be a good researcher?? Depending on the type of research, carrying out the projects requires innovative problem-solving but also ability to follow rules to maintain validity. Designing projects requires your knowledge of importance of the evidence base, and knowing where the “holes” in knowledge are and figuring out how to fill the holes with new knowledge. Lots of reading and critical thinking — satisfying for people who like to exercise their brains. And obviously you’re surrounded by like-minded colleagues. (but careful, some types of research are rigid, others more creative) There can be autonomy in the right place. There’s plenty of opportunity to contribute to good for the world. May be opportunities to forgive some education loans if you’re able/interested to serve in places around the world where it’s hard to get more conventional people to go. Sounds like debt is a big issue so that’s why I wondered about combining a job with a loan forgiveness program? I have a story for another day about a business failure we had and being under enormous debt — it IS possible to get out from under it! There was a time I thought I was doomed forever and had serious problems with that. My neighbors were too kind to not let on what they must have heard me screaming through our shared walls! Yeah you think you worked hard and deserve a certain life! It’s tough pill to take. But one year later that ship was turned around, by looking at life in a completely different way then making the needed changes. It was not easy because I’m impulsive and have hard time with discipline over the long haul. It actually took me, the “communications person” who’s bad at math, to look at our finances completely differently and make Excel spreadsheets to convince my Finance MBA husband of what we should do! The plan was counter-intuitive to everything we’d thought we needed to do, and it was a bit scary and it involved the death of a dream, but it worked. You also seem like you like to think outside the existing way of seeing things, so you WILL find the answer for you!

    I think self-awareness is enormously important to finding the right work. So definitely you’re on a great path to draw it up to the surface so you can see it!! Looking forward to seeing what happens next! Deb

    • Andrea says:

      Wow, Deb. Thank you! It sounds silly but its enormously helpful for me to hear that other people have failed. 😉 It seems like everyone has a success story about how great they did at this or that and I’m convinced most of it is posturing because many people cannot deal with the little ego-death that comes with admitting they screwed up. Sometimes I hear comments when this topic comes up that are derogatory towards people who struggle or don’t succeed or want to do things differently because it just doesn’t WORK for them the way it works for others. And the comment comes from people who simply have little imagination or can’t see any perspective but their own. Our system is so screwed up, and not designed for good mental health. I feel your pain, screaming through walls. I once spent a week long Christmas break in my office alone sitting on the floor crying in panic because I simply had NO idea what to do to appease my captors (Medicare, in that instance). I’ll definitely look into research as well, yes! Thank you for the ideas 🙂 – Andrea

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