Your Experience Escort: Manifesting this post

I would like to start by saying Holy Jesus On a Stick there are a FUCK TON of people calling themselves life coaches. There are different varieties of them but they all sound about the same, and because there are so many this turned out to not be as easy as I thought it would be. 

Variations of posts were in abundance with every account having a mimic like they’d paired up or something. But they weren’t linked to each other (probably to not raise suspicion) so finding the identical posts turned into that memory match card game except instead of trying to find 2 bears I was trying to find 2 plagiarists. 

It was exhausting

I almost didn’t want to do this anymore.

But I persevered and scrolled through one account after another, finding the irony in the fact that their offer includes helping you become your authentic self pitched in a caption below a professionally taken and edited photo of them doing something super natural like smiling maniacally while sitting on a bench and staring off into the distance. 

Besides having every single thing in common, they were also all filled with inspirational quotes. Quotes as far as the eye can see, as in I’ve literally seen them before, which was pretty interesting because underneath these quotes were the life coaches’ names and handles – not the names of who the quotes were really by.

People you may have heard of such as Jamie Anderson, the author of Doctor Who. 

image2 Like this one!

Odd. I think they thought that because they switched out a word or tweaked it a bit they could just call it there’s. Sneaky sneaky.

It was bound to happen, I suppose. I mean, some of the people I found were dubbed “thought leaders” by Oprah (which, BTW, I think it’s time we quit listening to her and I would like to use Dr. Phil as exhibit A) so it only makes sense that they would see a quote and think “oh yeah, I think the same thing!”, and then just take it and say it was theirs.

So, that’s where I started: quotes. The quotes that appeared to be by the “life coach” which let me tell you, were hard to sift through and required a lot of Googling. The only time this was easy was when I’d read a quote that made zero fucking sense – then I knew it was original.

Anyway, the quote (or variation of) that kept poking me in my pessimistic eye was an inspirational set of words that proclaimed that anything you put out into the universe, you can have. You can manifest anything. 

image0                                                                          Here’s one from one account.

image1                                                                        And here’s one from another!

What they’re essentially saying is “ask and you shall receive”, but to figure out how to make it happen, you have to cough up a coaching fee.

Maybe it’s just me but I don’t think you need to pay someone $500 a month or thousands of dollars to attend a retreat to figure that out. 

I’ll just tell you.

Ask for something and you just might get it. 

My friend Christy will tell you that her new job came via manifestation and her vision board. But for some reason, she won’t also give credit to the other pieces of the universe that helped: her resumé, our mutual friend who helped touch up her resumé, and Indeed. 

*Side note: I’m not against vision boards, they’re actually a good way to stay focused on your goals. Christy’s daughter, however, is and drew penises on hers, which is objectively funny.

There’s admirability in the act of asking for what you want, it isn’t always an easy thing to do. What they don’t mention is that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, especially when that thing involves other people. 

You’re just not always going to get what you want.

Case in point:

Have you ever been to the Kalahari? With the exception of all the kids running around everywhere, it’s pretty awesome. They have an arcade room that rivals Dave and Busters and it is the absolute best. They don’t have it anymore but the first time we went, they had this huge digital Connect 4 game right in the middle of the arcade. 

Nothing says “I’m smarter and more strategic than you” than winning a game of Connect 4 so naturally, my husband and I sat down to play. 

People gathered ‘round which makes the game more stressful – you want those people to see you win but you also want them to shut the fuck up because this is a game of world domination when you’re playing against your significant other.

As we played, a little girl walked up to us and stood right next to me, in my personal bubble. But I was focused on obliterating my husband so I let her stay.

13 seconds later, she began to talk, something I hadn’t consented to.

“You playin’?”

“Duh,” I said in my head. Silence is what I said out loud.

“This game looks cool”.

It was cool but what the hell? Had my husband recruited her to distract me? THIS GAME DETERMINES THE RULER OF THE HOUSE, KID!

But she continued and did something I thought was pretty brave of a child appearing to be aged 7 to 10.

“I wanna play, give me a quarter”.

She said this to me.

Ballsy. I never even asked my parents for money like that. 

Give me? I could never tell my mom “give me” much less a total stranger. This kid had guts. She was going to grow up and just ask for what she wanted and probably get it because she’s got gumption. 

I turned to her, facing her stern little aged 7 to 10 face.

“No. Now go stand over there”.

That kid is probably going places but that day, that place did not include Connect 4 with my quarter.

And you know what she did? 

She shrugged her shoulders like “whatever bitch” and went to go hustle someone else. She moved right on and continued her quest to play games with everyone else’s quarters. Like a true pyramid scheme seller.

I did the right thing because she learned two lessons that day (or zero lessons because kids don’t care). One, you don’t fuck around when it comes to Connect 4, and, B) you don’t always get what you want.

And she taught me that whatever the outcome, you just keep moving forward. 

The moral of the story is: it isn’t necessary to pay someone to tell you to ask for the shit that you want. Like, you can just do that (and I’m not even going to send you a bill for that!). The worst someone will tell you is ‘no’ and if you grew up with a mom like mine, then you’re tough enough to take that. 

You may not always get it but at least you can figure out what to do next after you get an answer. 

I’m not sure what became of that brave aged 7 to 10 child but I hope she’s ruling her end of the world, asking for everything her little however-old-her-heart-is-now desires. 

And she probably is. 

Or she’s turning little kids and small adults upside down and shaking the quarters out of them, cursing me as she does so.

Either way…

Meet Your Experience Escort

Did you know that the SNL skit Pretty Living was written by Molly Shannon and is based on an ad she saw in a newspaper where a woman was advertising herself as a “Joyologist”? I found that out in her book Hello, Molly! 

I wish life coaches still called themselves this.

Anyway, reading that sparked a memory and I think I may know why I have such a problem with these self-proclaimed masters of life.

When I was 12, I got hustled by a woman who claimed to have the secrets that would help me live the life I want.

She was a phone psychic I called in the 90s and she couldn’t even tell that I wasn’t 18. I was away at cheerleader camp when my parents got the bill (thank God) and upon my return, they treated me to McDonald’s then presented me with the bill and promptly grounded me for about 4 months. #bossmove

“Did she predict you’d get grounded?” my dad asked.

“Well, she couldn’t predict that I wasn’t an adult so no.”

I forgot all of her predictions almost immediately which is a great sign that it was a bunch of bullshit, especially since I had 4 months of solitary confinement to try and remember them.

As a kid, I didn’t understand how this woman got hired as a psychic. Was there a test? Did they do that thing where someone goes “guess what number I’m thinking of?” and the interviewee goes “3!” and the hiring manager is like “you’re hired!”

How does one become a psychic?

As an adult, I know the answer. 

You just say you are one. And I know this because that’s how you also become a life coach and/or self-help guru. The requirements are the same too: you just have to be good at bullshitting. A skilled salesperson if you will.

I talk A LOT of shit about life coaches, particularly the 20-something-year-old Instagram ones, but that’s only because I, respectfully, find them to be full of shit. 

I realize how judgemental I am about this subject and believe me, I don’t care. 

For the record, I don’t think the people who seek out these internet snake oil salesmen are crazy or stupid.

Seeking help (period) is not stupid. It’s incredibly brave. 

The people who proclaim to have a secret that nobody else has and convinces others who are vulnerable and in emotional need to pay anywhere from $500 a month to $85,000 a year to learn it? People who lack the education or even experience to position themselves as some sort of emotional healer? THAT’S the shit I’m not cool with.

I mean, even Oprah’s favorite book The Secret – which tells you the whole secret (envisioning your goals, putting them on a vision board if you’re into that shit, and then doing your goals) in a matter of pages – costs like $20. 

Those above mentioned rates may sound made up and oddly specific but there’s a reason for that: a gym friend of mine has worked with life coaches that both charge and pay other life coaches that much. 

I’ll explain.

This friend first worked with a 20-something-year-old life coach to help with her marriage. This self-proclaimed life coach (and now astrologer, I just found out) has never been married and at the time, was dating a man that recently got served by his divorce lawyer for non-payment and was about to lose his own law license. 

As you may have guessed, her lack of experience in this field didn’t work so my friend moved on to another woman claiming to have “the secret”. 

And where did she get said secret?

From none other than Mr. Tony Robbins of course. 

I did not know that Tony Robbins’ business was more than just his motivational speaking and his books. Apparently, you can become one of his disciples/coaches by paying thousands of dollars to ascend the ranks. Kind of like Scientology. 

Or a pyramid scheme.

My friend began attending retreats hosted by a Tony Robbins disciple/former gym member named Laura (who actually came into the gym one day pretending to visit everyone but was actually there to “feel our energy”) and became a different person.

I wouldn’t call her enlightened so much as I would call her cold as fuck.

She went from joking around and dancing at the gym to ignoring all of us and shutting everyone out, including one of her best friends. And after Laura’s visit, she started saying that the gym was full of bad energy. 

She continued to show up, however, and (ironically) spread her bad energy  around the gym, to the point where a week-long absence for a work trip was celebrated by a couple of the coaches and some of the members. Everyone was tired of her coming in and being, to be frank, painfully unbearable. Like an abscessed tooth. 

Or a pyramid scheme pitch. 

And then there were the psychedelics. At first, my friend and her husband would attend these retreats and spend the weekend just staring at each other – which I admittedly thought was weird because I do that with my husband for free. But then the staring eventually turned into tripping as they were now being doped by psychedelics.

Our other friends and I couldn’t understood what she was doing but, honestly, it wasn’t for us to understand. It was her thing and as far as we knew she was doing this to help her marriage. But we also knew that since she’d started these $1500/month shroom sessions she’d retreated from everyone but Laura, who she was now referring to as her mentor. 

You know who else was a mentor?

George Costanza.

This is when we started to think she was in a cult because that’s what cults do – separate you from your friends and family that aren’t associated with the cult. Even Laura had quit hanging out with some of our other friends from the gym, people she’d been friends with for years.

From there I began to think this was some bullshit. And that thought led me down a rabbit hole where I discovered the podcast Sounds Like a Cult (which is awesome and you should listen to it!) and also found that to be the type of Tony Robbins disciple that is allowed to host these retreats and continue to learn about life or something (what Laura does) can run up to $85,000 a year depending on what level disciple you are.

I realize this might just be me but I’m not paying $85,000 to learn about life when I live it every day and that alone requires me to give money to the government. 

And excuse me but when do you actually learn the “secret”, from Tony or your life coach, anyway? 

The answer is: you don’t. These coaching programs are meant to be ongoing. 

Now, there are some people who will tell you whatever coaching they received changed their life, and I think that’s fantastic. But when someone charges any amount of money for guidance they may not be equipped to provide, that’s where shit can get dangerous and expensive. 

Additionally, Tony Robbins clearly states in his disclaimer (that I found buried in his website) that his coaching is not meant to be any type of counseling and even recommends getting help from a licensed professional if you’re in need of one.

Further, he only absolves himself, not his “coaches”.

Side note: I wouldn’t write that you’re a Tony Robbins coach on your resume unless you want to sound like I did when I used to write that I was Miss San Antonio Latina on mine. Yeah, I really did that but in my defense, I got that title the way Tony Robbins’ coaches get there’s: I paid for it.

Look, professional counseling (which Tony Robbins makes sure to state in his terms that he doesn’t do) is one thing. It just doesn’t sit well with me that there are people reading Brene Brown books and then charging people hundreds of dollars to regurgitate her advice to them.

That’s not life coaching. That’s plagiarizing. 

It’s important to note that my thoughts on the Tony Robbins stuff is based on my friend’s complete attitude change and the fact that her husband has made comments about it that imply he’s a little concerned as well.

Again, if it’s worked for you, cool. I just happen to be witnessing the type of transformation you normally see in possession movies.

Anyway, I’ve complained about this ad nauseam for God knows how long so I finally decided to do something about it.  

Beginning next week, I’m going to start pulling posts from various Instagram life coaches, organizing them into categories (because all of their posts are nearly identical to each other), and telling my own life stories that align with said posts. 

Real stories. Shit that actually happened and how I dealt with it. Not made-up stories or excerpts about how one time I looked like a deer in headlights because someone asked me what things I like and I didn’t know an answer. Spare me.

This is really just my petty way of showing y’all how similar (nearly IDENTICAL) these life coach posts are. Also, it’ll help me tell more stories.

Oh, and all of these here’s-what-happened-to-me-but-do-what-you-want stories will all be free. 

No monthly fee. No retreats where I make you yell in a canyon.

My goal is to post once a week but I have a real job that doesn’t involve swindling people so I guess it’s also time permitting. 

Welcome to a new era.

Welcome to your Experience Escort.

PS: I’m not the only one who feels this way. Check out this article by Rachael Albers. She does a deeper dive into this online marketing gig (because that’s what these life coaches do) and describes the problem with it way better and more mature than I ever could.

Freelancing For Dummies

People will pay for the weirdest shit, and I’m not even talking about that one chick on TikTok who sells weird things like her used IUD. Or a former friend of mine who sold a picture of her tonsils to a guy on the internet for $30.

I’m talking about things like bot followers on Instagram or “life coaches”. You’re probably tired of hearing me bitch about that alleged vocation but I can’t help it. Why are you paying a 20-year-old with a trust fund $500 a month to give you life advice that they probably just regurgitated from one of Brene Brown’s bullshit books? It would be cheaper to just read those books yourself and furthermore, if that’s where the life advice is coming from then Barnes and Noble or Amazon can be your life coach.

Actually, support indie bookstores. Thank you.

I’m getting off track. The point is people pay for weird shit. And this is our gig economy. No credentials. No experience. Just tonsils and life advice from someone whose mom pays their phone bill. But guess what? It turns out that I’m a part of the very thing I mock (minus the tonsils and IUD and bamboozling people), and I’ve been trying to be a part of it since I was old enough to work (legally).

It all began when, at 16, I had aspirations of becoming a famous singer and making millions believing that if Britney Spears and Mandy Moore could do it, so could I. So I sent out hand-written essays to a bunch of record companies but when 2 weeks went by without a response (I can’t imagine why), my parents threw in the towel and made me get a job. Shitty stage parents if you ask me.

I worked for the local movie theater and then as a telemarketer before deciding that I needed a job that didn’t require my presence. That’s right. I was trying to freelance before it was a thing #trendsetter. I began looking in the paper for jobs that I could do from home.

*Side note: We did not have social media or Indeed back then and posing as an “expert on living” hadn’t been invented yet.

Anyway, I ended up finding a WFH job: selling Mary Kay make-up. Yes, kids. Younique didn’t invent that. Mary Kay and Avon did. The problem was it was door-to-door sales. None of this harassing people on Facebook and Instagram, NO. You had to do it in person. Like actually get off your IKEA sofa, put something other than yoga pants on, and go door-to-door, business-to-business and talk to people. TALK TO PEOPLE. IN PERSON. I barely like getting texts much less talking to someone. It didn’t work out.

The next want ad I came across was for a job stuffing envelopes. Perfect! All I needed was $399 and I was in. The problem was I did not have $399 and getting a job to pay for an envelope stuffing job seemed counterproductive. There was only one choice left: I had to own my own business.

20 years later I did just that. I’m fucking terrible at it. I started doing freelance digital marketing and because it’s not writing stuff like this, I’m not very good at it. Since starting my “business” I’ve picked up a few clients but instead of collaborating (which, ironically, I hated doing when working with a team) they want ME to figure out their goals and how to make them more money. Why do I have to do everything?!

The clients I’ve wrangled up are all small businesses which means they don’t have the biggest budgets to work with so I can’t do a lot and then feel bad for charging them for the work that I do complete. I’ve really only been successful with one of my clients and that’s only because I love the industry they’re in. So I guess I’m only good at things I care about. Well what other way is there?!

It gets worse. Because I have a problem prioritizing anything that isn’t paying me a regular salary, I would fall behind on tasks and lose clients. Listen, it’s real hard working on tasks that you invented yourself for clients whose goals you had to set and when it comes time to bill them you don’t know what to charge because you didn’t discuss a rate because you didn’t know what the scope of work would be till you started and had to make it up and that pretty much mean you suck donkey dicks at freelancing.

My entire life I’ve either wanted to work for myself or work doing something I loved. I’ve never bought into having to work a job you hate forever. I’ve never thought something impossible. Difficult to achieve, absolutely. Impossible? Abso-fucking-lutely not.

When it comes to work, I want to be a published author, write and sell my screenplays, write for others, and work in publishing. Oh, and I want to work as Head of Content for the Alamo Drafthouse. I don’t even know if it’s a thing but I’ll figure it out.

How I’m not going to get there is freelancing for businesses I don’t care about. So, aside from the one client I love, I’ve gone back into the workforce. That’s right, I got a big girl job. Also, it’s a remote position. It only took 20 years but I finally willed legitimately working from home into fruition. ME. I did that. It was exhausting.

I need to pay my bills but, more importantly, I need to make sure that I’m not juggling a bunch of bullshit so I can work on my writing and getting in at the Drafthouse.

My journey as a freelancer isn’t a total loss, though. Along the way to achieving my dream of not having to go to an office (and also not having to dress like an adult), I’ve worked some pretty weird jobs and think I have some good unconventional business advice to offer, because who better to take business advice from than someone who was horrendously bad at it.

Get ready to get better at things or worse at things. I don’t know, I’m not a life coach. If I were, I would be way better at this “gig economy” shit, and that my friends, is how IRONY works.

Internet Airball #1: “I’m Your Content Calendar for Your Online Coaching Business, and I’m Going on Strike”

There are some jobs that I just have a hard time taking serious. That’s not to say I’m right, you understand. For a long time I refused to accept Social Media Manager as a vocation, and now it’s how I pay the bills. 

But then there are times that I am right, like when people who sell make-up online (and try to get you to sell make-up online) call themselves “business owners”. They are not. That is not a real job. That is a pyramid scheme. You can call it an MLM, but MLM stands for pyramid scheme. Sorry. I don’t make the rules of how things work.

In addition to being blissfully incorrect about their employment status, they are also still living in 2019. Pyramid schemes are so yesteryear. In 2020, the new thing is being a Life Coach. In a time where we’ve all discovered that nothing is manageable, a select few have decided that your life is and they’re the ones to manage it for you. You know what they say: those who can’t do, teach. Heehee.

The worst part is this “job” is starting to get recognized as an acutal thing. For real. Here’s my proof.

image0-2

You see! Life Coach. And they’re all over the place. Everyone is an expert on life management now. For $499 a month your life can suck a little less, as claimed by someone whose life you only know from Instagram. It’s maddening because, essentially, you’re just paying for validation for your actions, and you don’t need that – you’re an adult. We became adults so we can eat cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if we want and no one but our low self-esteem can make us feel bad about it.  

Obviously, I am not a fan of this term or “job”. And I don’t think I’m alone, which got me thinking: “maybe the content calendars that these people use hate them, too.” Which led me to write this piece from the brain of the content calendar. It’s also my first rejected piece! Enjoy!


I’m Your “Online Coaching Business” Content Calendar, and I’m Going on Strike

Hi, it’s me! The trendy $9.99/month content calendar you had to have to make your “online coaching business” a “success”.

Not today.

Today, I’m making like an Excel Spreadsheet and shutting shit down – I’m going on strike. 

I can’t take it anymore. The inspirational quotes that you steal from memes; the lists of happy things and not-happy things; the stories about how you used to be a loser like your followers but now you’re better and for $300 a month they can be too, accompanied by a joker-esque photo of you grinning maniacally. 

Every week I’m roped into helping you make people think you can turn them into “rockstars”. How does someone deciding to eat ice cream on a Tuesday make them a “rockstar”? I’m sorry but I don’t recall Bohemian Rhapsody being about Freddy Mercury’s fearless consumption of Ben and Jerry’s.  

And the questions. My god, the questions. “Do you have trouble with time management?” “Do you find making decisions to be hard?” “Are you tired of wannabe influencers telling you what you ‘should’ do?”

Yes, I am. So today, you’re “life coaching” on your own.

Life coach. Back in the day, you had to have some sort of education and/or training to be able to tell someone how to run their life. Now all you need is a Brené Brown book, a trust fund, and a content calendar and BAM!, you’re a life coach.

Except for today. Today – UH OH! – your digital memory is experiencing technical difficulties. Best of luck “deciding” what to post because you can’t remember what you told me. Hope you can remember those time management skills you keep bragging about because today, YOU’LL be posting at different times for all 13 of your platforms.

Maybe I’ll work tomorrow. I haven’t decided yet. Or, maybe you should upgrade to the $19.99/month plan that comes with more storage so you never push me to the limit and risk me “crashing” again. I mean, according to Thursday’s post, we could all use a little more bandwidth.