I remember so many things about that weekend: the horses that roamed the retreat ranch like living artwork. The old pecan and oak trees that circled us like wise grandmothers, and the relief and comfort I found in the guidance of Molly, a master coach in her 60s with life experience and perspective to share.

If a friend hadn’t paid for me to go on the private retreat, I never would have done it. At that point, about 11 years ago, I was super burned out and in a lot of pain in my professional life.

I was wedded to the identity of being a non-profit leader and couldn’t at all see my way forward. Molly explained to me that the most painful relationships I was experiencing in my work — those places where I felt belittled, challenged, and exhausted — were actually my greatest teachers. She helped me realize that everything around me could and would change as I shifted my relationship to myself.

Molly also gave me my first coaching fieldwork: to find something that was a symbol of my vitality. I chose a newly planted tulsi basil plant in our front garden.

Molly reminded me that my top priority was my own thriving. She instructed me to visit my tulsi every day and to use that moment of watering it or snipping a few leaves for tea, as an opportunity to tend to myself. She reassured me I could trust this process of reconnecting to my inner guidance and to expect more clarity to emerge. I would know when/if my commitment to growth and wholeness could no longer take place in that particular work container. All of these things proved to be true.

Over the next several months I discerned, grew and ultimately decided to leave my salaried job and step over an unknown edge. All I knew at the time was that I needed time to restore, that I wanted to feel more present to enjoy my children, and that I wanted to write and go deeper with the Enneagram.

Molly was such a hand to hold for me during this dark and challenging time. I kept working with her off and on throughout that year of healing and transition. I remember the precise moment, on the porch of a favorite restaurant over brunch with the spring sun shining warmly on us both, that she said: “You know this idea you have about starting your own coaching practice? What if you just wrote it all down and made a plan for a new business?”

Something inside me lifted off. I felt a clench of fear and doubt and a simultaneous full body shiver of YES. Now I know to recognize this ‘scarecited’ feeling, in my own life and with my clients:  the hallmark of leaving behind our old identities and walking our growth edge. And so, on the invitation of my first coach, I planted the seeds of this Flourish coaching community and ecosystem of relationships I’ve been nurturing ever since.

A good coach meets you right where you are. It isn’t about them being ahead of you or more evolved than you. It is about them being outside of the painful thoughts in your head. And being integrated people, living congruently with their own life goals and desires.

One of my favorite mantras is “live it to give it.” To coach requires coherence. It is about offering a calm and regenerative space where clients can center THEMSELVES and name those emerging interests and longings that they don’t yet know what to do with.

A good coach has a library of tools that they can offer. One of my FAVORITE things in the whole world is to be a person-to-resource matchmaker. The right resource at the right moment — a book, a podcast, or a framework — can create a huge shift and help you feel supported and safe to say yes to the growth that is beckoning.

If you are looking for a holiday gift, I created five holiday GIFT coaching sessions at special pricing in honor of my friend who started me on my path. You can reserve one here for $100 and give the gift of coaching to a loved one: so much movement can happen, and relief can be found, in just one session!

(After purchase tell your friend or family member to email me at cp@courtneypinkerton.com to schedule their session. They can use the coaching session anytime in 2022.)

Support a small woman-owned business this holiday! Consider gifting a session and/or tucking a copy of Flourish Formula in someone’s stocking.

xo, Courtney 

P.S. I’m taking off TWO weeks starting tomorrow and can’t wait! I’m starting the holidays right by heading on a little solo Winter solstice retreat at a hotel in a viby corner of downtown Asheville, near a combo book store + champagne bar 🥂! I’m hoping these few days alone will help me to feel rested and ready for the weeks of children at home and also give me time and creative space to nurture my new podcast, which will start in the new year. Stay tuned for all the goodness and I hope that you have a delightful holiday season. 

Courtney Pinkerton is a certified life coach and the author of the Amazon bestseller, The Flourish Formula: An Overachiever's Guide to Slowing Down & Accomplishing More.

Courtney is an inner life coach and Enneagram mentor. She helps conscious women (and a few amazing men!) to pursue their most salient creative, professional and quality-of-life dreams and to discover more pleasure in their everyday.

She has dual master’s degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is a certified Wayfinder life coach and has been studying the Enneagram with master teachers for over a decade. After selling their house and all their belongings and spending a year in Nicaragua tutored by their neighbors in the art of slowing down and living more, Courtney and her husband and their three children now make their home in a co-housing community in Asheville, North Carolina.


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