I met Amy Bernier at a speaking engagement. She was the first person to talk and I was engaged from the moment she talked about her business. I knew after the event I had to have a conversation with her. She talked about her life story and why she decided to stop her teaching career in Massachusetts. Say Yes Coaching is all about putting yourself first. This is so critical to people who don’t look at themselves as a priority. Our mental health depends on us to say yes to ourselves. When we focus on things that cannot and will not help us progress in our lives it hinders us to perform growth. Be sure to read what Amy has to say and learn how she can help you work towards becoming your better self!
Also, take a moment to read about her story and check out a freebie at the end of the interview!
How did you get the name Say Yes Coaching?
AB: I used to be the kind of person that would say YES to EVERYONE. I was an Overachiever AND a People Pleaser. I helped people a lot because I was a good person and a hustler. My heart was huge, I was doing everything for everyone and I was working hard ALL. THE. TIME. What I would come to find, this is a DEADLY combination.
Can you give me a ride to the airport? YES. Can you help me move? YES. Can you pick me up at the bar? YES. Can you help me with my homework? YES. Want to be my partner in a fitness challenge? YES. (And on and on and on and on and on and on) I didn’t blanket say yes to everything per se…, however, if you were in trouble and needed help, support, encouragement, a shoulder to cry on, you name it, I was there for YOU. I would contort myself my schedule and emotions to HELP.
I was also a hustler. I worked full time as a teacher in the inner city in Massachusetts and worked a part-time job to pay to pay for graduate school. Not only was my personal life one of being a helper, but I was getting my Masters in Literacy Education to teach children with reading and writing challenges.
Professional helper at your service and my entire identity was wrapped up in taking care of everyone else.
PROBLEM- I never stopped to ask myself. What do I want? Do I WANT to help? Is it in MY best interest to help? What do I NEED?
One day my right leg started to hurt, badly. It felt like I had torn my calf muscle and my leg swelled up. I put my feet up for a weekend thinking that would do the trick.
The pain spread. A throbbing ache in my calf morphed into a sharp electric pain moving from the tips of my toes all the way to my lower back. I couldn’t sit down or stand without baring pain. Fast forward a few months of screaming at the top of my lungs in pain as I drove to and from school and finally, it happened.
I couldn’t walk, sit or stand. I couldn’t work. I could barely move and found myself face down on the floor. (The dogs loved it by the way). Two herniated discs pressing on my sciatic nerve. I didn’t know what to do. So, I started Saying Yes to ME! I only said YES to things that helped me heal or feel better and focused all my attention on getting better. Slowly but surely over the next couple of years, I got better. I had to transform my life to do so. I couldn’t run my life the way I did for the last 36 years. After back surgery, I focused on mindfulness practices, healthy eating, meditation and getting fit.
As I changed my lifestyle, I realized the magnitude of how all those years of Saying Yes affected my body, my mind, and my spirit. For a moment when I was in excruciating pain, I asked myself, why is this happening to ME? It was later that I realized I wasn’t going to stop. I wasn’t going to stop taking care of others all the time and I wasn’t going to stop working 24-7. I was going to keep doing what I had been doing. This experience saved me from a life of unhappiness and pain.
Say Yes Coaching is a reminder to myself of how powerful Saying Yes to you FIRST is. It can change your life.
What made you go into coaching?
AB: As you may have heard, I love helping people. Hahahaha!After my transformative experience and changing my entire lifestyle, I realized it is my purpose to help empower people to change their lives through Saying Yes to themselves. As I move through the world, I see people struggling in similar ways that I did: feeling stuck in a job, a circumstance or a relationship pattern that is limiting to them.
I am NOT saying that any of those experiences are wrong or bad. In fact, I needed them to learn from. Those experiences FUELED my desire for a better life. I am here to inspire and motivate you by sharing my own story and letting you know that when you are ready to put yourself, your happiness and your health first, I am here.
What are common things you experience with people you coach?
AB: So many of my clients come to me already at the end of their rope. They’ve had enough of their own mess and they’re ready to make BIG CHANGES ALL AT ONCE. They want to dive in and change everything all at the same time. For many, this is oftentimes a recipe for failure. When we’ve hustled and grinded for SO LONG, we’ve actually ingrained that kind of approach- GOT TO GET IT DONE, AND GET IT DONE NOW into our entire lives.
While unbridled DESIRE for CHANGE is important, the key to long-lasting SUSTAINABLE change is making it DOABLE. So together we design a customized program just for you. Our focus is to on celebrating the small steps, which when done over and over REALLY ARE the BIG STEPS. Saying Yes to You is the key to changing your life.
What are some things you can advise for people who need coaching?
AB: When you’re looking for a coach, make sure you have a sense of who they are and what their values are and that those values are aligned with yours. Find someone that you know, like, trust and respect. Maybe this person has moved beyond something you would like to move beyond or has accomplished something that you would also like to accomplish? Maybe this person has a wealth of knowledge on a topic that you want to learn more about? Or maybe he or she has a philosophy or point of view that really resonates with you?
What are some biggest challenges you face as a coach?
AB: When I first started doing this full time, I found myself throwing myself into my work 24/7. It’s exciting to embark on an entrepreneurial journey in a field that is both my passion and my purpose. It can easily consume your entire life without you even realizing it’s happening. Sooooo, maintaining a balance between coaching and the rest of my life has been an adventure.
What are some things you’ve learned that you would not do again as a coach?
AB: As a coach, I would not give my time to clients who are not truly ready to take action in their lives. Those who are truly ready will never have excuses and will always be moving forward.
How has coaching improved your life personally?
AB: I am happier than I’ve ever been. The satisfaction and fulfillment that I gain from doing what I love everyday overflows into every aspect of my life. I used to be consumed with anxiety, depression and chronic pain. Now those things are a thing of the past, and I’m designing a life that I love on all levels.
How long should someone plan to see a coach in order to see a benefit?
AB: Working with a coach for a minimum of three months is what I recommend. It takes commitment and an investment in you to make lasting change.
What strategy do you use that is different from other coaches?
AB: I am a Feelings Superhero. I am an EMPATH. I can feel the emotions of the person or people I’m speaking with or near. I am EMPATHETIC. I can put myself in someone’s shoes and feel what they feel, think what they think and know what drives their choices and their decisions. I connect with people deeply using these strengths.
My clients feel seen, heard and completely comfortable in my presence. With that as a foundation for my coaching relationships, I also integrate my experience as a meditation and mindfulness coach, yoga instructor and energy healer into my customized work with each person.
I am a partner with each of my clients in their journey to Saying Yes to themselves.
Take a moment and check out Amy social media pages. She will love to connect and see how she can help you become your best self!
Community Convo: have you ever had a coach? If so how was it helpful for you? How long was the coaching and what is something you can recommend someone who is looking for a coach? Please share I would love to start a conversation!