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Certified Life Coach
Rob O'Donnell, C.C.
Rob O'Donnell, C.C.
When I first came out to my then-10-year-old daughter, she took a short time to process all the information. A few hours later she turned to me and said "So you're the same Dad, you just 'shifted'." While the word "shift" implies incorrectly that I was in control over my sexual orientation, the point of her comment was that I really had not changed at all; I was still ME. I still think hers is one of the healthiest responses to a coming out that I have ever heard. All too often, parents, family members, and friends lose sight of the fact that a loved one's sexual awakening, realization or admission does not in any way change who that person is at the core. The individual imparting such 'news' is still who he or she was yesterday and will still be that same person tomorrow. So why the seeming epidemic of people exhibiting poor responses and behaviors during a 'coming out'? In my experience coaching parents and families, such reactions are generally a reflection of the person receiving the news - their hopes, perceptions, concerns, and dreams for the child or sibling who has just come out. The negative reactions are often based on ignorant and outdated beliefs and suppositions and it's got to stop. A person's orientation is NOT a choice! It's a reality. The bottom line is that, in a rapidly changing and ever-shrinking world, we need to teach greater tolerance and foster compassion and understanding in the next generation. True change will come with them and, thankfully, it seems like the youth of America "gets" it. And it's through them that we'll see a "shift" in archaic and bigoted notions!their surprise. Well, Life Coaches are human and my joyful mood was immediately replaced by perplexity which was followed by a festering anger. A couple of friends suggested I just move to one of their tables but that's a classless action. I was raised better than that. My anger was taking hold though. During the happy couple's first dance, I vowed to take my leave after the appetizer. I was livid. I took a walk though and, using my best coaching logic, determined that I should make the best of the situation and stick it out. I walked towards a group of guys outside and introduced myself. Two were single! The appetizer was being served so we made our way back inside. Once I settled back in at the table, the conversation turned to careers. Upon hearing I am a Life Coach, two of the ladies lit up and said "We've been looking for a Life Coach!" Wow. It was in that moment that I realized that I was "meant" to be seated at "this" table and at "this" moment in time. I often tell my clients to treat every new situation as an opportunity because "you never know where it may lead." Even the Coach needs to be reminded of this every so often