Meet Verna

Hi!  I’m Verna May.  I am a stress relief life & wellness coach.  I help people who are going through major life transitions reduce their stress.    

 

I am an International Coach Federation-credentialed life coach.  I am an alumni of Christian Coach Institute and have earned my Certified Professional Life Coach credential.  I have completed additional stress management consulting and grief counseling certification courses, and additional intensive life coach training programs.  

 

Here is a little bit of my story….

A few years ago, while employed in my former line of work, I had a major wake-up call. 

 

It jolted me right out of any remaining denial I had about which direction my life was heading – if I continued living as I was living.

There I was.  Sitting in my cubicle at work… phone constantly ringing….

 

It was only 20 minutes into the start of my work day - and I was already feeling overwhelmed and frazzled by all the work on my desk. 

 

No different than any other work day.  Then it happened. 

 

My heart started pounding and for a few minutes, it just would not quit. 

 

Sure, I’d had anxiety attacks in the past, and I knew what those felt like.  But this was completely different.  For the first time, I felt a pressure in my chest and I just could not catch my breath.  Taking one very deep but ineffective breath, I told myself, “I have to answer it."  Glancing over to the call display, I noticed there were 6 others calls waiting in the queue. Telling myself to just “pull it together… maybe this is just anxiety," I reached for the phone.  But for the duration of the call, my heart continued to pound and I remained unable to take a full breath.

In those moments, so many things were going through my mind.

 

“What’s wrong with me?  Is there something wrong with my heart?"  

 

"What have I done to myself? Why am I even on this call right now?  Is the client noticing anything?  I have to focus on this call.  What did he just say?"  

 

"What’s wrong with my heart?” 

 

Looking back, I realize how completely ridiculous and self-disrespecting it was for me to have even answered the phone.

As I sat there talking to the client, I found myself recalling a night the week before.... 

 

It was a-running-on-over-drive kind of day.  For some still-unknown reason, I had decided every task and errand just HAD to get done that day. 

 

The fact that I was already exhausted and I had to work the next day did not seem to matter. 

 

Crawling into bed at 1:30 a.m., I proudly thought about all I accomplished that day – even though I had had to maintain a ridiculously revved up pace all day to do it. 

 

“Hurry up and fall asleep,” I ordered myself, “If I can just fall asleep in the next few minutes, I might actually get a good five hours sleep tonight.” 

 

Unexpectedly, my heart started to pound so loudly I could hear it.  

 

And I just laid there - not knowing what to do except to wait for my heart to stop pounding. 

Call with client concluded, I hung up the phone. 

 

“What if there’s something wrong with my heart? 

 

"What if it’s too late to make changes now?” 

 

I felt real fear and anxiety.

But something else too – I felt REGRET. 

 

Regret over spending years too long at this soul-destroying job – one in which I had to literally force myself to make it through each work day. 

 

Working so very hard in a high-pressure work environment where probably only wolves could thrive.

 

Feeling that the mostly busywork I performed daily was of little value and significance.... 

 

Feeling that almost nothing I did all day long felt personally meaningful or satisfying to me....

 

Feeling that despite what I did, none of it was making a real difference to anything or anyone. 

I realized how very much I had settled and resigned myself to overwhelming career stress and chronic exhaustion.

 

To working the equivalent of three full-time jobs.... 

 

To constantly feeling revved up, frazzled and running on over-drive.... 

 

I had chosen to accept and to tolerate the negative impacts this career was having on my health and on other area of my life. 

 

I regularly felt the helplessness and hopelessness that came from believing that this career was all that there was for me.    

A lot of the career had been good - or at least bearable or do-able.  I had also had a full, relatively satisfying and balanced life. 

 

But somewhere in the final few years, the career had begun to consume me, and my general health suffered. 

 

“But I can’t leave this career right now, " I reasoned.  "I've got too much invested.  I’ll make a change someday.  I still have time.”

 

So, I had tried so many things to reduce the extreme stress, and just “stick it out” and make things work.  Maybe things would somehow get better.  I constantly worked out at the gym and did yoga.  I did all I could to still create a balanced life from out of such chaos.  I went for counseling.  I took a ridiculous number of self-development and self-improvement courses, seminars, and training programs.  Somehow, I even spent an additional 15-20 hours/week completing college credit courses.

 

All in attempt to one day leave the career.

 

I knew nothing about self-care.  

 

All I knew how to be a total workaholic and a perfectionist.

In that cubicle, I realized my health was the only thing that mattered.  That this crazy making career had to be over – because there was nothing more I could do, try or change to make things better.   

 

I was so tired of the chronic stress and exhaustion I was experiencing on-the-job.  

 

I had no end of weird physical ailments and pain, and always feeling like I was coming down with a cold or ‘flu. I experienced almost daily headaches, or seeing those eye floaters or white flashes as I worked at my computer.  I had high cortisol levels that my doctor told me were “through the roof.”

 

And I was so tired of experiencing little joy, fulfillment, passion and purpose in my life. 

 

Overall, I felt like my life was falling apart. 

 

I wanted to run away from my life. 

 

I wanted a do-over. 

 

There had to be more to life than this.

I could no longer deny the truth or attempt to postpone the inevitable. 

 

I had reached the end of the line. 

 

I knew this career was over. 

 

And that day, my physical heart did too. 

 

I felt such grief and loss.  I had been in this career for 20+ years – and suddenly I knew it was over. 

 

I was now starting over. 

 

"What would I do now?"

 

"Who would I be now?"

In the months and years that followed, there was a lot I did not know.  I had no end of "What now?" questions.  But with the help of a lot of good people, I completely overhauled my life, worked hard to restore my health - and then I started to work towards achieving the dream I had always had of becoming a professional life coach.

 

The one thing I did know was God could use my struggles to help others. 

 

I would help people reduce the stress in their lives. 

 

I would help them reduce the stress of major life transitions. 

 

And I would be there right alongside them as they moved towards a more meaningful life and satisfying life.

“God often uses our deepest pain as the launching pad of our greatest calling.” - Unknown

“Use your God-given gifts to serve others.” – 1 Peter 4:10

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