Karina Parikh with life coach Erica Rood. Transcript of the interview on Stick 2 You podcast. Listen on your favorite podcatcher:
A Life Coach Journey
Can you describe your journey to becoming a life coach?
My career began as a teacher. I loved working with young people! About three years into teaching, I started graduate school to earn my Master’s degree. During that time, I noticed a lot of tension with the girls in my class. They were constantly worried about their friends and came to me before and after school asking for help. I saw how these concerns were impacting their academic performance, and I became interested in learning more ways to help them navigate the challenges they were facing. When it came time to choose a topic for my thesis, I decided to study girls and girl relationships. I designed a curriculum that helped girls develop self-awareness, problem-solving skills, and social confidence. I was able to implement these lessons in my class and piloted the entire program at a school in Rancho Santa Fe. But as time went on, the time for character development, as it was called back then, grew less and less.
Fast forward one year, I earned my Masters and enrolled in yoga teacher training (following another passion of mine.) During teacher training, I noticed many parallels between the themes in the yoga classes I was taking and learning to teach and the concepts I included in my curriculum. These included concepts like self-acceptance, perspective, and learning how to stay calm during difficult situations. I thought, How can I share this message with teen girls? It would be such a game-changer!!
I began to share my passion with others, my ideas for using yoga as a vehicle for teaching girls about confidence, acceptance, and handling challenges with perspective. One thing led to another and I began designing and teaching mother-daughter yoga classes and teen yoga classes, where I shared these concepts using yoga and creative activities. Then, I heard about a career called a teen life coach. I thought This is it!
Inspiration From Within
What inspired you to become a life coach and switch from your career as a school teacher? Can you describe what it means to be a life coach and why you specifically wanted to work with teen girls, young adults, and their parents?
Like I said before, my inspiration came largely from my students but also from my own teen years. My parents divorced when I was 14 and I was really lost during high school. I was depressed and didn’t make the best choices. I didn’t have someone who I could turn to who could help, support, guide, and listen to me. I think things would have been so different for me if I had a person outside my family and friend group who I could talk with and gain perspective from. I am grateful to provide that kind of support to girls.
During my teaching career, I became acutely aware of how important it is to have a partnership with parents. After the first couple of years coaching teens, I saw how the teen years brought about a new set of challenges and questions for parents. Since I spent hours upon hours listening to teens, I knew I could help parents understand their teens and provide them support and parenting tools that will help them and their teens.
The Best Part of Being a Coach
What has been the best part of being a life coach?
Oh, there are so many things I love about coaching!! I love it when girls have an Ah-ha moment and really step into their confidence. I deeply value the relationship that forms between me and my girls (my clients) and watching them thrive, even beyond their coaching experience. Recently, I reconnected with a handful of girls who worked with me through most of the high school and hearing where they are now, full of happiness and success but each on their own path, filled me with so much joy. I love knowing that they are still using the coaching tools I taught them and creating a life that is happy and satisfying.
About Self-Confidence And Self-Esteem
What are your general philosophies around teen self-confidence and self-esteem?
I believe they go hand-in-hand and it may help to define each. Self-esteem is all about how we feel about ourselves; it’s how much we love ourselves. Self-confidence is more about how we feel about our abilities; the awareness of our specific strengths and how to use them in life.
I believe that when girls understand themselves and connect with their strengths and values, their self-esteem will improve because they have something tangible to love and appreciate about themselves. When they learn how to use their inner qualities to solve problems and deal with life’s challenges, they become more confident. Both self-esteem and self-confidence can be strengthened through coaching as coaching always focuses on revealing and connecting with inner qualities. There is also a mindset component which I address in coaching. I teach girls how to turn down the volume of their inner-critic, which tends to challenges their self-esteem and self-confidence, and pay attention to the more honest, helpful inner-voice which is grounded in truth.
About Body Image
From your experience, what are some things that you think teens or young adults can do if they are struggling with body image, low self-confidence/self-esteem, or meeting other societal standards?
That’s a big one!! A lot of the girls I work with struggle with poor body image and low self-confidence because they believe they should fit a certain societal standard.
When body image and self-confidence are low, I think one of the most important things is to talk with someone. Identify the people in your corner, your support system. Get a life coach. Find people who can reflect back your goodness and provide you practical tools for shifting your mindset, turning down the voice of the inner-critic, and connecting with the inner-qualities that make you strong, capable, and unique!
Dealing With Pressure
What advice do you have for teens who are feeling overwhelmed or stressed from academic, peer, and/or social pressure?
Again, I think it’s really important to talk about these feelings. When they are left unattended or in our own heads, stress and overwhelm grow like weeds!! A friend, mentor, or coach, can really help tame those overwhelming feelings by providing support and again, practical strategies for managing whatever is stressful or overwhelming.
I am also a big fan of journaling! When we write down the things that are worrying us or stressing us out, we often gain a perspective and sense of calm. Sometimes, it also becomes clear what actions we need to take to move through the stress or challenge, and that provides a sense of control.
Tips For the 2020-2021 School Year
What would be your tips for teens who are feeling disappointed, frustrated, or even anxious about starting school online and how the pandemic will impact their future plans?
It’s been really rough for teens. Their disappointment and frustration are real and they have good reason to feel that way! This year has been crazy! But, I truly believe that every dark cloud has a silver lining, and even now, in a sky full of darkness, there are silver linings and sprinkles of light. I think it’s essential to look for those. For example, ask yourself what is good about learning from home? What are some advantages? How are you growing as a person? What are you learning about yourself as a student, daughter, or friend?
It’s also helpful to use this time to get a clear vision for your future and find small, maybe different, steps toward that vision. This is something that my clients have found extremely helpful, as it brings a sense of control and often, a revelation that while times are really tough right now, there still are endless positive possibilities for the future. This pandemic does not have to ruin future plans.
About Motivation And Productivity
What advice do you have for teens who are struggling to get motivated or to be productive?
One of the ways I help my clients gain motivation is to connect with their “Why.” This means connecting with what’s really important. It could be a future dream or a current goal. When you connect with what you want and why you want it, that can boost motivation to move through even the most disappointing circumstances and help you see that tasks that seem irrelevant are actually stepping stones toward desired outcomes.
Daily Wellness Routine
What do you do for your personal wellness and self-care?
Good question! I have daily routines that really help me. I move my body every day. Whether it’s running, strength training, taking a beach walk, or practicing yoga, I make a commitment to get outside daily. I also always start my day with a short meditation or reflection. I have a gratitude practice with a friend, which we started almost eight years ago! Every day, we text between one and three things we are grateful for. That always helps me stay balanced and brings me up when I’m having a hard day. I believe relationships are also a key to personal wellness and happiness; I have amazing people in my life who I turn to and who turn to me.
Are there any other wellness or self-care tips that you would like to share?
In addition to getting outside and talking through challenges with a trusted person, I think it’s also essential to find a passion and/or dedicate time to doing what you love. Do what brings you joy and aliveness.
H: How long have you been coaching?
E.R.: I started my coaching practice in 2012.
H: Where did you get trained?
E.R.: I completed two training programs, one with Teen Wisdom and the other with The Academy for Family Life Coach Training.
H: What are your favorite self-help books or authors?
E.R.: I love Tara Brach! Her books, talks, and meditations are amazing! I’m also a big fan of Byron Katie and Wayne Dyer.
H: When you’re not coaching, what do you do?
E.R.: I love being active, traveling, cooking, reading, and spending time with friends and family.
H: What’s one of the most memorable travel experiences?
E.R.: I’ve been lucky to see a lot of the world and have so many memories of unique places and people. One of the most memorable, however, was hiking for four days along the Inca Trail to arrive at Machu Picchu at sunrise. The hike was one of the hardest but the entire experience was truly remarkable!
H: Do you have a nickname?
E.R.: I do! My parents still call me E-Bear or Bear. (I have no idea where that came from!)
H: What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
E.R.: Two things come to mind- Skydiving, which I actually did twice and was more scared the second time. And, Caving in Belize. I was with a group and we hiked almost two miles in a cave that at some points was filled with water shoulder high! It was really crazy!
H: What’s your favorite childhood memory?
E.R.: I was very close with my Granny and my favorite childhood memories are visits with her. She always made our time together special and fun.
H: What’s your favorite teen memory?
E.R.: Going on a trip to Europe after I graduated high school. My adventurous mom and I visited Italy, Switzerland, France, and England.
H: What is something most people don’t know about you?
E.R.: I have a British mom and half of my family lives in the UK and France (which makes for a great reason to travel there in the summers.)