SONYA MCLACHLAN CASE STUDY
1. Tell me a bit about why you came to coaching initially. How did you find us?
I found you guys on Facebook. It popped up on Facebook, and I think at the time I was just feeling really yuck and just feeling… not fully down, but I was feeling down. I was having trouble shifting my weight. I was trying to do lots and lots of things, but nothing seemed to be working. I saw it and I just signed up for it before I basically had time to think about it. I really just signed up and just went from there.
2. Where are you now? What’s changed for you now in your overall life satisfaction after going through the program?
I feel really confident. I’m doing things that I wouldn’t normally do. Like today, I tried to conquer some fear of heights. I did the Illawarra zipline. That was just something that I would never have done 6, 12 months ago. I just would have been like, “No, that’s not going to happen.” While it was so scary at the same time, I was kind of happy to put myself out there, and I guess just start living life really. Just really start living life again than just sitting on the couch, watching everybody else have a good life.
3. Can you tell us a little bit about the Illawarra zipline, just so people can have a bit of an understanding of what you actually did?
It’s like a flying sock essentially. It’s up in the treetops so it’s up quite high. The guide did give us the height measurements today but I was really shaking. But we were quite high and there were these bridges you had to cross — you can essentially see through it. It’s just like crossing across these bits of wood and there’s nothing underneath it, so you can kind of see down. It’s quite high and it’s essentially terrifying. You are harnessed in and you can’t go anywhere, but it was very high. And I did it!
And scary as it was, I thought about pulling out when I got to the first thing, and the guide looked at me and said, “You’ll be all right.” I kind of didn’t really have time to… had he given me something more than two seconds, I possibly may have bailed, but then I would’ve stood on the bottom and grumbled. So I’ve actually done it. I did it.
I conquered kind of a bit of fear of heights. I don’t know if it’s completely conquered or if it’ll ever go away, but at least I know that I can do it.
4. Tell me what other areas in your life have improved that really stand out to you.
I feel more confident at work, and I’ve just recently put in an application for promotion. I actually feel very confident that I can get myself through the interview process. I don’t feel that doubt towards the interview if I get to that point. I feel like I’m ready to just be very confident. Like I know I can do these things and that I’m very good at my job, but I think I’ve just finally got the faith in myself that I can do it, and I will do it.
5. How is that really different to when you first came to coaching, how you felt about applying for a promotion at work, and how you felt about having that faith in yourself?
I didn’t. I had no belief, I think, was my issue. I don’t think I had any belief in myself. And now I do believe in myself and that I can do things. And I will do it. Whereas before, it was just like, I wanted to do it, and I wanted to be able to do it, but I just didn’t have the tools necessary to carry that off.
6. What kind of tools have really helped you, or what mindset shifts do you feel have helped you in that process?
Just my way of thinking has changed. Whereas before, I’d be just like, “Well, I can’t do it” or “I’m not good enough to do it.” Whereas now, it’s just like, “Well, yeah, I can do it.” I used to look at other people and see them doing it, and I was thinking, “What’s so different about them that they can do it but I can’t?” And I’ve learnt that there’s nothing different. It’s just that now it’s my self-belief, and that yes, I can do it. That’s a big step to me.
7. What other things have really worked for you on your journey in this transformation?
I’m eating better. I’ve always struggled with my weight. It’s always kind of gone up and down. There were a couple of little medical issues that I kind of probably also used as an excuse. Now, it’s kind of like, just because it’s a little bit harder doesn’t mean you can’t do it. I just have to look after myself really, really well. Eat really, really well, and just keep exercising.
Some days it is hard and you don’t want to get out of bed to go exercise, but you just got to do it. And I find that that’s really good for my mental health, my mental well-being, as well as my physical well-being.
8. How often were you exercising before you started the program?
I was one of those all-or-nothing people. I would go hard and fast, and then I’d see no results. Then I’d get dejected. Then I’d stop. Then I’d turn to food. It was this vicious cycle. Whereas now, I get up and I do something every day. Whether it’s my PT sessions, whether I go to my spin classes, or whether it’s to walk around the lake, I do something every day. Even on days when I think, “Oh, I’m going to have a rest day today,” I still do something. I actually really miss it if I don’t.
As far as my food goes… I’ve just been away and we had a really nice dinner last night, and I was just like, “I can have a glass of wine.” I’m not too bothered, and I’m not putting pressure on myself. If I eat something that… not good or bad, because I kind of don’t think like that anymore. But if I’ve eaten something probably not great, it’s okay to have it once every now and then. It’s just that I’m not eating it all the time.
9. How has that attitude changed your life? That thinking process around the food and whether it’s good or bad or just allowing food to just be food.
It’s just food now. It’s not good or bad. I think every time I caught myself there I’d be like, “Oh, that’s bad.” That puts these negative thoughts in your brain, and then you start down a negative track. Then you’re like, “Well, I’ve had that now, might as well be bad for the rest of the day.” Whereas now, if I do have an ice cream or I think I’m going to have a chocolate bar, I don’t look at it now that “Oh God, you just messed up everything.” It’s kind of like, “Yup, you did have it and you enjoyed it, and that’s good,” and then I just keep going on with my day.
10. You were telling me the other day how you’re really caring about yourself now, and that you stopped giving yourself a really hard time like you used to.
Exactly. I don’t even know how to explain how that shifted, but I am just much nicer. I don’t beat myself up. I think it’s kind of like the food thing. If you eat something and then you think, “Oh God, I’ve wrecked the day,” so you have to keep eating. Whereas now it’s like, “Well yeah, you did have that chocolate bar, but there’s nothing wrong with having that.”
I’m just being so much nicer to myself. I’m not giving myself a hard time. It just seems to flow I guess, as opposed to having me stop–start all the time.
11. What did you love most about the program?
When I first started, I first said, “Oh my God, I can’t do this. It’s really hard.” And I thought that I was always wrong. I guess throughout the program, I started to learn that, well no, this is about you, and this is your journey, and this is your end. It’s whatever you put on that paper. There is no right or wrong. I guess I’ve learned now that there is no right or wrong. It’s just about me, and it’s just learning further.
That was actually, probably a really big thing for me because I used to always think, “Oh God, I must do it wrong?” Sometimes you would ask questions, and I’d be like, “Oh, is that the wrong answer?” And now it’s just like, “But there is no wrong answer. This is how it affects you.”
This was probably the biggest thing for me that I learned about myself, is that you’re not wrong.
12. That was my next question I was going to say to you. What’s the one thing that you’ve learned about yourself?
That was the biggest thing. That there is no right or wrong answer. It’s what works for you.
What works for you won’t work for somebody else because they could be having different thoughts than I have about things. Whatever is going on in your mind is your mind. It’s nobody else’s.
13. What qualities have you noticed within yourself that you had never noticed before?
Trying to sell myself. I’ve never been really good at selling myself, but I’m getting used to that. I’m getting used to saying, “Well, yes, you can do this.” And I have confidence. I can see the confidence. I can see what other people see in me — I am caring, I am a very good friend… I’m running out of ideas here.
14. What do you think is the reason for your success?
I’ve gone through the course. I’ve listened to the audio tapes. I think I was in a place where I was just like, “This is kind of it.” You can’t want something but then not do anything about it, if that makes sense. So, at some point, you have to be proactive. Nobody else can do this for yourself. Some days it felt hard, but then other days it doesn’t. At the end of it, it doesn’t feel like it was that hard at all. Once you get your mind past it all, you really can do what you need to do.
15. How did you feel about our coaching sessions together?
They’re fantastic! Often, after our phone calls, I would just feel this enormous weight lifted off my shoulders. And that would just last for quite a long time. It wouldn’t just go back 10 minutes after the conversation. I could actually feel that lightness for quite some time. I guess whenever I started to feel myself going kind of back down again, I’d be like, “Well, no, pick yourself and keep going.” The coaching was fantastic.
16. How has this change and the relationship that you now have with yourself impacted your relationship with other people in your life?
I’m more open. I’m much more trusting. That is probably a big thing for me. I’m kind of letting my guard down a bit more. I’m always open to the possibility of new friendships and new relationships. I don’t look at people with distrust all the time. It’s just kind of like, “You got to give people a chance until they prove you otherwise.” And chances are they won’t prove you otherwise because that wasn’t the issue. It was me that had that issue.
17. How did you feel about being open to relationships before our coaching sessions and before we worked through those limiting beliefs and those barriers that were holding you back from, allowing other people in?
I was totally closed off. I would say that I was open, but I wasn’t. It was just so much easier to be closed off all the time and not to worry. I was self-protecting myself. You can’t get hurt if you don’t let somebody in. Whereas now, I’m very open to letting somebody in, which is a very big thing for me as you know. We’ve gone through this together. I was very closed off to it, and now I’m very open to it. I kind of didn’t think that it would ever happen.
18. The last session that we had, we talked about you being open now to asking for help. How has that impacted your life?
I’m going overseas next year, and I’ve introduced renovations to my house. I’ve finally asked some people to give me a hand, because I realized I can’t do everything on my own. And trying to do everything on your own isn’t fun. That just makes life feel a bit more stressful, trying to get everything done yourself. So, asking people. And people do want to help me.
By being so closed off, I wasn’t giving other people the opportunity to help also.
19. Would you recommend my coaching services to others?
Definitely! I feel really good. I feel really happy and confident where I am. There’s just no way I would’ve got there without our conversations and the course. Even things that you hold onto for so long that until somebody points it out and like, “Yeah, that’s not right.” Sometimes it does take other people to help you see things, and just to work through things. When you’ve got your mind set on something so firmly, it’s very hard to change that even if you want to. And unless somebody shows you how to change it, then you’ll just stay the same. It’s definitely been the best thing I’ve done.
20. If you were to give someone else some advice around working through the course and the impact that the course alone has, what would that be?
Just to do it. It really isn’t hard. Just do it. There is no right or wrong. It’s your answers and you only have to worry about yourself, not what you think other people will be putting down in that. You just do it.