The Courage to Become | Amber Ford Anderson
The Courage to Become a Relationship Coach
As a wedding planner, I’m often asked if I have many bridezillas. My answer is always “more momzillas than anything” and yup, it’s true. The mommas are living vicariously through their daughters and it’s batty. Like get a grip woman. I’m sorry you only had cake and punch in the chapel but no one forced you to save sixty grand for your daughter so just stop. In my opinion, that chapel wedding you had in the 70s was probably darling and perfectly all it needed to be. And even if it was the horrible day of your memories, why make this one so hard on everyone?
There are so many stories I could tell. I’ve started a book actually. It’s so snarky and riddled with my own attitude that I could never publish it under my own name. So for now, it’s just free therapy and a diary that I hope holds me accountable to the way I treat service professionals across other industries.
My overall assessment is that weddings and engagement are so high stress that they bring out the worst in people. Perfection is not just expected, it’s demanded. The mindset of many clients is unrealistic, selfish and sometimes even dangerous. I’ve had two clients insist on things that would have put their guests in harm’s way. Who does that? It’s a little ridiculous that my lawyer had to draft a clause in my contract about minding basic safety. Like lightening. No, we will not conduct your ceremony, by a running creek, under an oak tree in a lightening storm. I’m sorry that’s so hard to imagine.
I spent the first half of my career in weddings being beaten to a pulp by clients that just didn’t get it. Horrible humans that treated me like a door mat. I could have hung the moon or written a step by step guide on how to win the lottery and they would still come back saying I got it wrong….because you know, they only won a million, not two million.
I would give and give and they would take until I had nothing more to give and they still weren’t happy. I neglected my family, I worked more hours than I knew possible and I was so overwhelmed.
Until one day when I had the courage to say “enough!” I put on my #bossbabe pants, put my foot down and took back control of my life and business. My first step was to realize that as a start-up, I’d accepted any joker willing to pay the bills. But that wasn’t going to work anymore. As I started to unpack the nitty gritty about the clients I did love working with, I realized they were all just like me. I mean, I think I’m pretty great so it’s no wonder I was liking those clients.
I made a mental shift when talking to potential clients, I began interviewing them. Because newsflash people: the customer is not always right and sometimes, biz owners get to decide if they want to work with you. It goes both ways. I began interviewing clients for emotional intelligence and everything changed.
To find clients that I enjoyed, I began really putting myself out there. Turns out, not everyone likes me but the ones that do, oh man… we have an awesome time! We are a great fit, things go super well and they sing my praises.
My courage to become meant saying YES to being comfortable with me and who I am.
Simple as it sounds, take me or leave me.
I like you, I’d love to work with you, but I don’t need you unless you need me. I stopped fitting a mold. I stopped batting my eyelashes like I was on a pathetic first date and I broke the rules by turning my website into a reflection of me. Snarky, prophetic, to the point, fun and transparent in my faith. Now, by the time clients contact me, they have me on their short list and have already mapped out a way to afford my services. I don’t have to “convince” them and I’m never asked for discounts anymore. They see my value, because I see my value and I stand confident in it.
I absolutely love my clients now. They get me. I get them. We have fun. We are friends and I genuinely care about their relationships. They are healthy and doing well! I am cheering them on. But sadly, I have no doubt that quite a few of our first clients are surely divorced by now. I sent one bride down the aisle and in no less than five minutes they were clapping and heading to the reception hall. My reaction: Uh, did you give those vows half a brain cell of thought? In my mind, I gave them all of a year before tanking.
And this one time, I experienced such a big blow out over where a cake table would go that it’s etched in my memory forever. It literally didn’t matter, there were so many great choices and they were in a relationship combat zone trying to decide. I would wonder why certain couples were together, they never seemed happy. I knew it wasn’t my place to say anything but gosh it was hard biting my tongue.
As I started to notice this shift in clientele, I realized I was facing some real opportunity. As I began to book more and more healthy clients, I was seeing the stark contrast and it hit me like a ton of bricks that I have an audience desperate to succeed in their relationships.
I never had to bite my tongue, I can see that now. I can blog about relationships and post tips and advice on Instagram and it means something. My only regret is not having realized this opportunity until now.
So for the last few months, I’ve been training to become a relationship coach through a program called SYMBIS (saving your marriage before it starts). Tell me it’s not ironic that every time I sat down to study, my husband and I would get in some tiff and I would be struck with doubt. Who am I to offer “wisdom”? What if I fail at all the things I teach? But then I am reminded of the things our marriage has endured and I ask “who am I to withhold this wisdom?”
As a wedding planner, my focus will obviously be on engaged women. I want to share my stories, relationship tips and create content for women to evaluate the health of their relationship and empower them to be strong equals with their partners.
The content may seem obvious but there are angles that are often overlooked, like how lonely engagement can be. There is no one to talk to when a case of cold feet set in and I’m honored to be that person for my brides when they need it. To normalize those fears and be a sounding board.
I’ve always placed more emphasis on the marriage than the party but what if I had been more available to my old clients? What if I had shared my insight and hope?
I can’t live with “what ifs” but I’m so grateful for a business coach that gave me the courage to be ME. To set myself apart and serve my clients in a unique way. The shift has been life-giving and the possibilities from here are full of light and excitement.
Treat yourself to hope, sisterhood and solidarity by grabbing a copy of
The Courage to Become tonight!
Available on Amazon, Kindle, Audible, iTunes and Barnes and Noble.
"Catia and I have almost nothing in common. She is Hispanic, I am not. She wears regular sized jeans, I wear plus sized jeans. She has dark skin and an olive complexion, I have blotchy, white skin. She is shorter than I am. She is skinnier than I am. But her story mirrors mine in so many ways, it is uncanny! I couldn’t believe how much this girl, who I had known many years before, who I had literally almost nothing in common with, could be so on point with how I felt. It is an awe-inspiring read and I highly recommend it. Courage is something we all have, just like the Cowardly Lion… it just needs to be brought out. I appreciate Catia’s courage to bear her soul more than she knows. " - Review from The Brown Eyed Lady Blog