Fifteen years ago, Susan Delano Swim wasn’t feeling inspired about her life. The Bedford mother of four had worked various jobs, but was struggling to find a career she really enjoyed.
“I knew I liked helping people and thought about going back to school to become a psychologist, but that wasn’t an avenue I could take while raising four children,” says Swim. “I started looking into the coaching industry, and it just seemed like a natural fit for me — although at the time, nobody knew what a life coach was. It was very new.”
Swim traveled to Toronto and California to be trained and certified as a Balanced Life Strategist. She also went on to complete an advanced relationship-building program, because she enjoyed working with clients to help them improve their work and family relationships. Her business — Zelatious Lifestyle Strategies — was born.
Today, Swim has clients from across Canada and the U.S., and does most of her coaching over the phone. She typically meets local clients in person at their home for a couple of hours to get to know them and to understand the changes that they are looking for so they can have the best outcome possible. Once this is completed, they connect over the phone — up to an hour a week for eight weeks, or half an hour a week for 16 weeks.
Swim says her clients are often surprised by how much ground can be covered in just a half-hour session, and she also provides them with “homework” to be completed between sessions.
“A large part of their learning is starting to observe their own lives and see how they’re helping themselves or hurting — sabotaging themselves,” says Swim. “Once you have the tools to learn how to observe who and how you are in your own life — which is a new practice — you can understand it on a different level.”
People have come to Swim because of a relationship in trouble, a career transition, or because their children have grown up and moved out.
“I work with a lot of women who feel completely lost once they become an empty-nester,” says Swim. “They feel like there’s nothing out there for them, and they don’t know where to turn.”
Swim believes everyone has the answer within themselves, but they often don’t see it because of “all of the garbage on top.” She says we can be so programmed to what we think we want — or what we should want — that we ignore our deep intuition, and ignore the signals our body sends us. This causes a heaviness and stress inside your chest, and many of her clients have thanked her for helping them “to breathe again.”
“Most people today are living with huge amount of stress and anxiety, and they think it’s a part of life — to be in the trenches now, and have rainbows and happiness when they’re older,” says Swim. “That’s the reason why I developed a virtual program — so I can reach as many of them as possible, and let them know they can be happy right now.”
Halifax-based supervisor Barb (who did not want her last name used) turned to Swim’s coaching during a recent period of depression.
“My chest hurt all of the time and it was becoming more difficult to cope even with the little things in life,” recalls Barb. “I knew I needed some sort of help, but didn’t know where to turn.”
A friend referred Barb to Swim, and she went on to successfully complete 16 weeks of coaching sessions. The sessions helped her to understand her feelings, determine what she needed to do, and make a plan to move forward.
“I am not only coping with life now, I am looking forward to it,” says Barb. “I have new skills that can help me cope with anything that comes my way.”
Swim says once our personality adopts to having stress and anxiety in our lives all of the time, we convince ourselves that this is normal way of being and can remain stuck in that mode until we make the shift to get out of it.
“Life does not have to be as hard as we make it. Some stress comes and goes, but it’s how we react to stress that makes us anxious,” says Swim. “Life is meant to have meaning and passion and happiness. If you don’t have all of these things, you have to question what you’re doing.”
“Change your story, change your outcome, and live life fully!”
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