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Profile: Karie Lindsay
Story by Andrew Kiraly
First, let’s talk about what life coach Karie Lindsay is not: Not chirpy, syrupy or gratingly enthusiastic. She’s not suspiciously upbeat or, you know, just a little too happy. She doesn’t cheerlead or burble empty, sunny platitudes about tapping your inner warrior or awakening the giant within. Forget those stereotypes about life coaches being saccharine charlatans who are all uplift and no weight. Instead, the preternaturally composed Lindsay talks in a measured way about life coaching that’s less about zingy catchphrases and something more like everyday zen.
“I see life coaching as something that can be helpful to people because it looks at their strengths, the systems they’re involved with in their life, and whether they’re balanced. It’s not about cheerleading affirmations and motivational sound bites, it’s more about looking at their life holistically, and catching a view of some of the strengths they may have forgotten about,” she says. “People think it’s metaphysical or new agey, but it’s actually very much about problem-solving and finding solutions.”
Example: You’re burned out at your job. You’re overworked and your heart’s just not in it anymore. “If we’re talking about a career change, the first step we might take is writing down an inventory of things that interest you, things that are your passion,” Lindsay says. What? A list? If that sounds almost too simple, that’s the point, says Lindsay: cutting through that enervating fog of generalized, dready unfulfillment with actions. “The goals in life-coaching are fairly concrete and specific.”
What qualifies Lindsay to be a life coach? Her training, for one thing: She started her career as a clinical social worker who counseled hospice patients and their loved ones before moving into private practice as a therapist. “It was incredibly fulfilling, but it was also very heavy,” she says. “I wanted to do something with a more positive focus.” She’s also certified by the International Coach Federation. And, of course, she’s racked up some real-life life on her C.V. as well. “I’m in the middle of life,” she says. “I’m a parent, I’ve been through the ending of a relationship, I’ve been through the process of relocating my family. I bring a lot of personal experience to this job, and that makes me very empathetic. At the same time, I see the big picture. I’m not caught up in the emotional minutiae.”
BTW: That not-getting-caught-up concept is called “supportive indifference” — that is, empathy without personal emotional investment. “When we’re caring people, we tend to take on other people’s emotional work, and that gets us stuck,” she says. “Everyone has to take care of their own emotional work. We can’t control other people’s emotional upkeep.”
Random sampling from Lindsay’s book shelf: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz; Feeling Good by David Burns; Buddhism for Beginners by Thubten Chodron; When Panic Attacks by David Burns; and Coming Apart by Daphne Rose Kingma.
Surprise! Vegas is brimming with people who can use a little life coaching. “This is a very stressful place to live,” says Lindsay. “It’s very objectifying, very transient, and there are lot of ways to medicate our emotions. A good part of the population are people who come here to get lost.” That said, Vegas is also renowned as a place for fresh starts and second chances, making it the perfect perch for a life coach interested in helping people get out of their rut. “Not everyone is broken,” says Lindsay. “Most of us just need a little push.”
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