When I met Hannah, she was freshly graduated from college, living at home with her family in Texas, and looking toward an internship at Disney World. Big things were on her horizon!
Hannah’s a whiz at accounting, and she has this infectiously joyful personality. But like many young adults launching into their first job (and maybe like you) Hannah felt intimidated by all the unknowns.
Before Coaching: “I was really struggling to find myself.”
Since Hannah commuted to college, she had never lived away from home. She was worried about how her family would respond to her living states away, and she felt afraid of losing her connection to them.
“Before working with Ali, I didn’t know how to exist on my own. I was really struggling to find myself. I didn’t know how to make decisions. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I didn’t feel confident. I didn’t have the reassurance about what would make my family happy. I didn’t know how I was going to survive.”
At the suggestion of her therapist, Hannah decided it was time to find a life coach. And that’s where I came in!
After hitting it off during our first free session, we started coaching work in November of 2022. Since she had just moved to central Florida (where I live!) we met up at Panera every week. She dished the latest intern gossip; we fangirled over 5 Seconds of Summer and Taylor Swift. Oh, and we worked through making big decisions, making career moves, and setting boundaries with family.
During the Coaching Partnership: “Ali helped build my self-assurance.”
Learning to make big decisions
Many of my coaching clients have experienced indecision and anxiety as they step out on their own.
How do I know the decision I’m making is right?
How do I make a decision without my parents?
Am I qualified to make big decisions like this?
What the heck do I even want?
These thoughts were kicking around in Hannah’s head as she settled into her new life.
Over our cozy soups and sandwiches, Hannah had a realization: She was struggling to make decisions because she didn’t know what she wanted. And what she wanted was hidden behind other people’s expectations of her! She realized she had subconsciously prioritized what other people wanted her whole life.
It dawned on her that only she had all of the information she needed to make a choice.
“No one else knows every single piece of the puzzle,” Hannah says.
As we pulled back the layers, we uncovered what Hannah actually wanted. Her big, exciting dream for her life: To become a forensic accountant for the FBI. (Is that badass or what?!)
Because she was so used to making decisions based on others, she sat with that dream without telling anyone for a few weeks. She noticed how it sat with her and how it felt.
“It was so freeing but it was so scary,” she remembers.
Naming the voices.
Speaking of scary, Hannah had fears to work through as she claimed what she wanted. She and I used Voice Dialogue as a tool to find out where those fears were coming from and parse out the voices in her head. Then, talked out what each voice was saying.
Hannah named the voice of anxiety Deborah. (If your name is Deborah, it’s nothing personal.)
“Deborah was the little anxiety gremlin that says you should just stick with what you are doing,” Hannah says. “We would isolate how much control Deborah has now. Then we asked what we could lower her control just a little bit.”
Voice dialogue helped Hannah to figure out whether anxious thoughts were her true self or Deborah. Spoiler alert: They were usually Deborah!
Starting with your goals.
Once Hannah got clear on what she wanted, we set some big life goals. We worked on a vision statement that served as her anchor for making conscious decisions. We outlined her career plan beyond her internship at Disney. And when a decision felt overwhelming, we ran every option through her vision statement.
“Ali helped build my self-assurance…I have goals, and I’m determined to meet them. I was able to communicate to my parents that this is the path I want to follow. I know how to logic out my decisions so that I can start putting what I want first and what’s gonna be the most beneficial for me,” Hannah says.
Making a switch from what your family expects of you to what you want requires new boundaries. Hannah cares deeply about the people in her life. She cares about being a good employee. And like all good things, if we don’t set boundaries, they can gain too much control over our lives.
Deciding on your boundaries is one thing. But having the conversations to set them without burning bridges is another!
“I didn’t know how to express myself without anxiety and crushing fear that my family was going to hate me.”
So, Hannah and I worked through conversation scripting: Articulating what she needed, imagining how certain family members might react, and creating a response for each reaction.
As Hannah started setting boundaries, something amazing happened: She found she could apply the same tactics to tricky relationships across the board.
“If I can do this with my boss who I’m scared is going to fire me, I can do this with my parents. I can do this with my aunt. It clicked."
Taking it step-by-step.
Once Hannah’s boundaries were in place, it was time to turn goals into action steps. She decided to pursue a Master of Accounting graduate degree. (Woo!) But deciding where to go felt big. (Ahh!)
“I get overwhelmed with a lot of options and a lot of decisions, so we made little milestones for everything."
“We set dates to pick at least graduate school options and dates to research each of those schools. We also talked through a budget to make going back to school feel financially manageable.”
Now: “I have a direction that I'm moving in.”
Since coaching together, Hannah has made huge decisions, had hard conversations, set boundaries, and moved toward her goals. She even got a tattoo she’s always wanted!
“It’s so weird to think back to who I was a year ago. It’s like, ‘Oh my god, she didn’t know anything. She was a baby. She wasn’t sure of herself. She didn’t know what she wanted,’” Hannah says.
She created boundaries with her family that allow her to honor herself. She decided to end her contract with Disney after finishing her internship. She just moved back home to Texas to pursue a graduate degree in accounting.
She’s living out her mission and vision in real time! And she’s relying on her boundaries daily now that she’s living at home again. She’s come full circle. Here’s what she has to say:
“Without Ali, I know I would have been a lot more anxious. I wouldn't have had the structure to figure out what my end goals are. I have a direction that I'm moving in. Working with Ali has helped me to figure out what I want to do for me as opposed to doing what is expected of me.”
As Hannah’s career counselor, I have to agree: Her transformation is tangible! I feel honored to have guided her as she launched into her first job and her first big move—and most importantly, as she found herself.
Ali Goodin Certified Life & Career Coach in Central FL
I'm a former Disney employee, graphic designer turned life coach, and career transition expert. I created Ful Life Coaching to give professionals of all ages & stages a safe space to navigate career transition. My passion is equipping professionals with the tools and confidence they need to transition in their careers – from launch to retirement – so they can live happier, healthier lives.