I bet that more than one person looked at the headline and thought to themselves, “I knew it, I knew that Brownson was an evil-doer and the whole Life Coach thing was a charade”
Well hold on there for a moment because this is actually a guest post from the wonderful and always effervescent Tess Marshall from the Bold Life.
As I mentioned in my post ’5 Easy Ways To Piss Off A Life Coach’ I rarely get involved in affiliate deals, but I am partnering up with Tess and her new course ’30 Days To Bold’
Not let me make one thing clear. I have contributed to the course as have some of the top bloggers in the self development field.
However, I have not gone through the material and I’m putting my faith in Tess to deliver.
Do your due diligence and decide is it’s right for you.
9 Tips That Helped Me Survive A Year In Prison
It took 9 years for me to graduate from college. I was a full time mom and a part time student. Each time I wanted to give up my friend Donna would say, “Don’t quit. You can’t quit.” I listened.
I continued at my own pace and eventually got a master’s degree in psychology. A friend convinced me to get a special certification in substance abuse. He thought it would help me get a job. Believe me—it did.
During my first year as a licensed psychologist I worked in inpatient rehab. It was baptism by fire. The stories I heard were horrendous and at first it was difficult to get them out of my head. The place was a zoo. The pay—lousy!
I made a plan to move on one year from my start date. I also began to imagine myself in private practice, working with the “worried well,” a much easier clientele that could afford my fee.
I was too naive to realize that all substance abuse places are the same. My second year was spent working with men in outpatient rehab and twice a week I was required to do group therapy in prison. Anybody whose crime was related to drugs or alcohol was required to see me.
Baptism Of Fire
Talk about fear!
I believe it was the scariest thing I ever had to do. Their idea of group therapy was 21 men and two women. A guard walked me into the room and when the door slammed I was on my own.
You know that saying, “Never let them see you sweat?” Well—they saw me sweat and took full advantage of it. The first day was total chaos and insanity. I had no control. I hated it. My worst nightmare.
I would cry after work. I would cry after dinner. I would cry when I woke up the next morning. I cry on Sunday nights dreading Mondays. But I kept going because I wasn’t a quitter and I loved a challenge.
I also had a compassionate heart. I was always rooting for the underdog. Hell I was an underdog. I told myself again, “In one year, I would move on.”
I soon learned that I had the power to kick the inmates out of my group if they didn’t follow my rules. The consequences they faced were severe. That helped me gain some sense of order.
It’s impossible to do therapy with a room full of people so I decided to provide edutainment or a mixture of education and entertainment. We played educational games and I laughed at their jokes. I allowed them to laugh at me and at the same time, I laughed at myself.
The Chicken Soup for the Soul series had just been published. One thing I did was read the real life stories about how others got through difficult times. I’d listen to their problems, and helped them create goals.
I taught them how to dream again.
I was also tough on them. I had to be. I reminded them of the high recidivism rate. The chance of them being rearrested after they were released was over 75%. I got in their face about their drug of choice and how it was destroying their lives.
The Badass Therapist
I was known for the first time in my life as a badass but I eventually gained their trust.
Half way through the year it wasn’t difficult anymore. In fact I enjoyed it. I remember thinking if I can do this, I can do anything! I realized I was becoming good at speaking even though I had a captured audience.
In the end I only kicked two people out. One was a young woman that would sleep through class. I hated doing it but I had to command respect. The other was a young man who looked right into my eyes and told me he was going to kill me. I believed him. I was terrified.
I could have easily quit the job. My husband made more than enough money to support us. But that’s not me. No way! I’m the bold one. Recreational shopping and lunches with friends bored me. You don’t grow through life that way.
We always have a choice on how we spend our lives. We always have the option of changing directions and moving on. We’re the only ones who stop ourselves from doing anything.
Two years before my deadline with the prison a opportunity to move into a shared building with nine other therapists in private practice opened up. I jumped at the chance.
I didn’t have a clientele but I obtained the guts, the confidence, and the speaking skills to build one. I was ready.
The experience with the inmates taught me that I was strong, courageous and bold. Even better than that I discovered I was good at what I did.
7 Things That Helped Me Survive My Badass Year In Prison
I used a heart shaped stone that I kept in my pocket to anchor myself when I was afraid. My best friend gave it to me. She said:
“When you are working and you feel afraid, touch this stone and remember how loved you are.”
I did exactly that.
2. The Daily Word
It’s a small monthly spiritual book with quotes, prayers, and inspiration. On a difficult day I would tear the page out and put it in my other pocket. I would read it several times throughout the day.
I had two girlfriends who also worked in rehab. All three of us owned cottages.
We spent several weekends together; laughing, walking, eating and talking together. Emotional bonds and connection are key to getting through anything.
My husband offered me a world of support. He always had my back. He listened when I needed to talk. He reminded me that I didn’t have to work. He also accepted that I did have to work, for my own personal growth.
I was a runner. I participated in road races. The physical relief helped manage the emotional overload of the job.
6. I Gave My Best And Did My Best
I can’t say how many inmates I helped stay out of trouble. I can say that I made them feel like worthwhile human beings. People don’t forget that kind of stuff.
7. We All Laughed
Mark Twain said, “Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand. I was clueless about the diverse cultures, their music, slang—the works. There were so many times they laughed at me and I laughed with them
In prison I became a confident speaker. I also learned how strong the human spirit is.
I taught the inmates the power of self-forgiveness and I managed to see the good in everyone. Today when I see someone stopped on the side of the road by the police, I have difficulty choosing who to empathize with more.
That following summer, I began my private practice. I took those speaking skills on the road. Audience members began my first clients. A few years later, I attended a conference put on by Mark Victor Hansen of The Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and in 2003 I self-published my first book.
I’ve learned in my life that I don’t know what anything is for and I can never see the whole picture. And the only way to get through fear , no matter what the situation, is to keep growing, moving and doing. I do know that I will always continue to push forward.
There is no reason good enough to ever give up. I do know that I can make the best out of any situation. And I do know that there will always be people that will support me on my journey.
That’s just the way the universe works. For me anyway!
If you want to be stronger and braver, if you want to get through your own obstacles, join me in 30 Days to Bold. If you participate fully…your life will never be the same!
Tess Marshall M.A. is a fear-shattering, risk taker, author, and courage coach with a master’s degree in counseling psychology and owner of The Bold Life.
Michael Heppell FREE Webinar
This Thursday at 2.00pm EST, International Best Selling author Michael Heppell will be holding his annual free phone-in, only this time to accommodate more people, it’s a webinar.
I’ve attended the last three and can assure you there are always some greats nuggets of self development wisdom.
It’s genuinely free and I would encourage you to check it out here and get yourself signed up!