Updated: Mar 30
Currently, I am experiencing the difficulty of choice. I want to share that process with you.
During the past decade, I followed two passions and created my profession out of doing both.
The coaching chef
I love working with people and contributing to their personal growth. Already during my time in the oil and gas industry, I most loved taking new engineers into the field and learning what I knew, talking to them, and bringing the best in them to the surface. Or provide customer training on the equipment we implemented in their installations.
So in 2011, I ended my job and started a company where I supported starting businesses with co-work space, coaching, and connection.
After that adventure ended in 2013 (food for another blog), I started as a WorkLife coach after a three-year intensive training to be an integral coach. I guided people in their work and personal life. Next to numerous pieces of training in different fields, I deepened my experience with a four-year professional training in body psychotherapy. Currently, I have my practice in London, and I work mainly with men and with couples.
Another passion of mine is cooking. I love to create the most beautiful dishes with amazing and fresh ingredients. So in 2015, I started as an apprentice in a professional vegan kitchen of a retreat center to learn how to cook for groups of 100+ people. This is what I do when I am not a therapist. I cook for big retreats and make sure that the participants feel nourished inside while they are working on their personal growth.
I loved the combination of these two activities, but in the past years, I noticed that they also limit me in ways. It limits me in my professional growth as well as the growth of my business. I can see that one takes my focus off the other. So even though I am doing exactly what I want and like, the feeling of needing to choose one direction increases daily.
How does one choose between two things one loves to do? Inside I feel the struggle. I like both things I do, and they each give me something different and bring different aspects of me to the foreground.
For me, this cones down to honesty and finding the willingness to take a risk and letting go; I had to be fully honest with myself and let something go that I love.
During the six cooking jobs I had in the summer of 2022, every day, I was aware of myself being in the kitchen. On these jobs, I watched myself; I tracked my stress levels, and I noticed my routines in the kitchen and how much effort I needed to put into making it all work.
I can say I am an excellent chef. My cooking is delicious, I get lovely feedback from people enjoying my food, and I make a lot of customers delighted with my outcome. Internally though, I was putting so much stress on my system that it interrupted my sleep. I demanded constant perfection and could not find the real flow I saw with the colleague I worked with, who is a full time chef. I started to be snatchy to the people around me, and at home, I didn't enjoy cooking anymore. Especially this last bit caught my interest.
During this ongoing rollercoaster in the kitchens of retreats, I found it challenging to feel the connection to my practice. The summer months were full and hectic, and cooking took all the focus away from my work as a therapist. I realized it was challenging to cook and be dedicated to my practice.
So what was most important to me?
For myself, I want a real focus on building something solid. Call it legacy? Or security for my future?
With regard to my practice, I want to create an environment for my clients where they can count on me to be there for them, where they feel I am dedicated to their growth, and where we experience consistency.
So in the autumn of 2022, I chose to fade out the cooking side of my career. I will dedicate myself to my clients and myself. I want my practice to grow and be sustainable. Next to seeing clients, I want to dedicate my time to keeping myself updated, following more training, and creating wonderful workshops and retreats.
So I started canceling the smaller jobs, and over the next two years, inherent with the growth of my practice, I will fade out the large jobs I have been doing for over ten years.
The pain of choosing
Every day I sit with the pain and the fear of this choice. Did I make the right choice? What if not? Plus, cooking jobs suddenly come my way effortlessly, like the universe continuously tests me.
I feel sadness in my body, saying goodbye to the cooking side. Sitting with that occasionally, I feel that even though the choice hurts, deep down, I know it is the right one. I often asked myself, "if I need to choose, am I a chef or a therapist?" I heartedly feel that I am a therapist.
I also connect to the joy and excitement of fully dedicating myself and my time to my practice. I have such wonderful plans, and I feel so much fulfillment in working with people. I can hear the voice in me: "Give me more!!!"
Focus and dedication
Growing a practice, or a business is like growing as a person. It takes focus and dedication. If I want to help people in their personal growth, I need to walk the talk. If I want to grow myself, I need focus and dedication for my personal growth and stability. If I want to grow my practice, I need the same.
This all feels like an essential step in my life. I am looking forward to the coming time. Even though I have already practiced coaching and therapy for years, it feels like the start of a new adventure. Sometimes life choices are necessary to boost energy, to give an injection into life.
Have you ever made choices like this? How are you dealing with that?