Spotlight Series: Meet Life and Career Coach Claire Sellers

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

I’ve always been insanely curious. As a child, I drove my parents crazy relentlessly asking “why” to just about everything. At 18, I proudly moved to Manhattan to pursue theatre, which was the thing everyone told me I was good at in high school. I quickly realized that theatre was just something I enjoyed, not something I wanted to seriously pursue. I pivoted into a business program, certain that I would be better suited to fill the shoes of my entrepreneurial mother and successful lawyer father. Upon graduation, I found myself directionless. I had a brief stint in TV production, followed by an even briefer stint in PR. A friend knew of an admin job at a well-funded startup and it was a salaried position with benefits. I was relentlessly dedicated to the work. I rarely took a vacation. I was known for my rapid email response time and '“grace under fire” demeanor. Within a few years, I found myself in a leadership position.

By year six, with a larger team and more responsibility, I started to crack. I held myself to high standards and became obsessed with increasing titles and salaries. I was a textbook example of a high performer heading straight for burnout. I needed a break. For the first time in years, I decided I would take a real vacation. I booked a solo trip to Thailand and it was there that I remembered my childhood curiosity and love of adventure.

After that trip, I couldn’t pretend anymore. I became less social, numbed myself with work during the day and Netflix at night. Desperate for change, I signed up for the coaching program at The CoActive Training Institute in hopes it would open my mind and give me some clarity on what to do next. I was managing a team and coaching them all the time so I figured why not? One evening, I saw an ad for a professional work-remote program that facilitated travel to a different country every month. Before my coach training, I would have kept scrolling deeming that impossible for me. But I was open and just like that it clicked. I saw a path. Within six months, I convinced my boss to let me work remotely, packed up my life, and I was on a plane to Seoul, South Korea. I spent the next 12 months getting insanely curious about myself, others and the world around me. I found teachers all over the world waiting for me– from healers in Bali to gurus in India to master coaches. My greatest teacher of all was and continues to be myself. It wasn’t easy, but I transformed my very essence of being and redesigned my life on my terms. Now, as a trained Co-Active life and leadership coach, I am on a mission to facilitate this same kind of transformation for others. I currently split my time between Mexico City and New York City.

2. What was your first job and how did you get it?

My first full-time job out of college was a bit of a horror story but was such an incredible learning experience. We were in the middle of the recession and most of my internship experience in digital marketing, blogging and tv production. I got a job at a PR firm that paid $9.40 an hour you would have thought I had won the lottery. After six months, if they liked me, they would hire me full time and I would make a modest salary with benefits. Well from day one I was in over my head. I had never used Excel (much fewer formulas). I had never made pitch calls. I had never done research reports and I had to Google what a PCard was. I was choking back tears every day when I left and was working into the wee hours of the night as I finished what I didn’t have the time to do in the office. They definitely didn’t hire me after six months and I was relieved. I learned two important things in that job. The first was grit. I learned to suck it up and get it done and fake it till you make it. The second thing I learned is that my personality and ability to connect is my superpower. The president of the company adored me and so did most of my colleagues. I learned that skills can be learned, the important thing is to connect, be kind, and show up with a good attitude!

3. How did you decide and get to your career today?

It’s funny because when I signed up for the CoActive Training Institute, it wasn’t to be a coach. When my mentor suggested it, I just did it not knowing it would have such a profound impact on my life. My intention was to get clarity and direction in my life.

In my first week at The CoActive Training Institute, I was chosen to be a demo client. In that demo session, my whole world opened up. For the first time, I had been asked, “what do you want?” And when I shared my vision, the coach believed it was possible. This was a pivotal moment for me. One that led to me working remotely in my corporate job for a year and learning from incredible teachers, coaches and healers all over the world. I also hired my first coach. Through my work with her, I got clarity on what I wanted and started saying no to everything that wasn’t in line with my vision. I totally transformed my mindset from fear and limits into trust and possibilities. It was towards the end of my trip around the world that I remember thinking, “I want to be a coach.” I didn’t know what that would look like exactly, but I just started with what I knew–I wanted to help people who felt stuck like I used to, I wanted to be location independent and I wanted to work for myself.

So I went back to New York, hired and trained my replacement at my old job, while simultaneously launching my coaching business. When I first started, I didn’t have a niche, I just asked everyone I knew if they wanted a coach or knew anyone who could benefit from a coach. To my surprise, my first six clients came to me for the exact same reason–they didn’t like their jobs and had no clue what they wanted to do next. In working with this first group of women, I started to develop a process that is a blend of my personal experience, my coach training, spiritual and mindfulness practices.

4. What advice would you have given your younger self? Or what is the best career advice you have ever received?

The advice I would give my younger self is to not be afraid to take the road less traveled. And I mean really take it. Do the thing that scares you. Invest in yourself. A comfortable salary and ladder to climb is very nice, but if you hear that little voice telling you there is something more or you have an interest you want to follow–follow it! The money will come when you are doing what you love. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Follow your gut. Worry less. Travel as much as you can. Oh and take all your vacation days! You aren’t going to get those back!

5. In 5 years, where do you hope to be professionally and personally?

In five years I want to be an internationally recognized leader in the field of coaching. I want to empower thousands of people through coaching, group programs, workshops and speaking engagements to step into their infinite potential and stop being afraid to do what they were put on this earth to do. We spend 50,000 hours of our lives working. We should NOT be spending that time doing work that we don’t love. Our time and talents are too precious. Imagine if we were all doing work that we actually loved–it would be a very different world, wouldn’t it? This is my mission.

Personally, I hope to be married with a family and a French bulldog living in a beautiful home somewhere warm and magical!

Stay connected with Claire!




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