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Inspirational Interview: Alaina Greenburg

by Ashley on February 4, 2013 · 0 comments

This is one of our Inspirational Interviews in which we talk to people who have imagined big dreams, made them a reality, and are living a life they love. Today we are talking to Alaina Greenburg about being laid off from her 9-5 and following her dreams of becoming a Relationship Coach.

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1. Tell us a little about yourself!

My name is Alaina Greenberg, and I am Relationship Coach from New York, New York. I have an insatiable appetite for understanding and learning what makes people “tick,” always have. I also wear my heart on my sleeve and genuinely care about helping others, qualities that were not serving me, or enough people, until I found a way to offer what I do naturally as a professional. Now, I get to do what I love and help people who need me at the same time; it just feels right.

2. What does living a “super awesome life” look like for you?

To me, a “super awesome life” is simple, enjoyable and functional as possible.

3. You were unhappy at your 9-5 job for so long. What inspired you to actually take steps forward and follow your dreams to becoming a coach?

Well, inspiration did not do it for me… I was too afraid to hear its call. My work ethic and previous life experience lead me to settle for a well-paying 9 – 5 with a nightmare boss that was “good enough.” Overall, my job was technically “fine” on paper, and I reconciled the lack of job satisfaction by convincing myself that my passion for helping people was my gift to impart, for free, wherever I worked.

Looking back, I am horrified at how far I went to ignore the truth about what I needed to do. I literally willed myself out of bed every morning out of duty, only to crash on the couch after work to just zone out. I was miserable and I knew it… but I chose to continue anyway because, as I told myself often, I was comfortably supporting myself when a down economy was devastating the country; I was lucky to be employed. It never occurred to me that I was not actually taking care of myself at all.

Ironically, the day I was let go, I was euphoric! Immediately, what alarmed me was not that I was jobless, rather, how glad I was about it. I went through the motions to land a new corporate gig, but, with my severance to cushion me, my main objective was really to understand what had kept me locked into a psychological holding pattern rendering me incapable of not only doing what I needed, but also, noticing it happening.

I set out to understand why I remained in a bad situation for so long, figure out how to recognize warning signs, and formulate an action plan to have handy, just in case, before going back to work. In the process, I became fascinated learning how the brain filters, stores, and processes information and eventually admitted to myself what I had always known; Corporate America just would not work for me.

I never set out to become a Professional Coach, supporting and encouraging people was something I loved to do for fun. Nevertheless, my newly acquired neurological insight served to super-charge my natural instincts, encouraged results in others that astonished me, and felt amazing. I found myself taking, even seeking out opportunities to Coach. I finally realized it has never just been what I do, it is actually who I am; now I am lucky enough to honor that all day, everyday, while helping peopleI wouldn’t have otherwise known.

4. What advice do you have for other aspiring entrepreneurs who are pursuing their passions on the side, while maintaining a full-time job?

Starting your business is not the same thing as owning it. The process is a lot like serving your first-ever Thanksgiving Dinner, for forty-five people… in a foreign country.

First, you have to plan the meal, find recipes, compile a shopping list, locate the store, get a parking space, choose ingredients, wait in line, pay, schedule with the oven (who doesn’t care if you’re overwhelmed and on a deadline), then pray its up to the task, set the table, chill the wine, clean the house, shower, look cheerful and presentable, then, entertain the guests that arrive three hours early complaining about traffic with a smile on your face while you scramble to finish on time.

Everything that has to come before you can actually serve your guests dinner, or deliver your good or service to consumers, just has to get done first, with or without a full-time job. Starting, or owning a business is not for the weak or uncommitted, it is challenging, takes time and money to accomplish, and requires you to push beyond your comfort levels to make critical decisions about things you know nothing about. Nonetheless, the process prepares you for the challenges of being a business owner, tests your resolve, and is a completely different experience than actually sharing the product of your efforts with others who want and need it.

When it gets overwhelming, and it does, try to remember how much the joy and privilege of serving your passion, every single day, to paying customers is worth to you to get you through it. Unlike Thanksgiving, which lasts only one day and leaves a pile of dirty dishes in its wake, the effort you expend building a business is an accomplishment to celebrate and sustain you, on an on-going basis, and a vehicle for you to live your dreams.

5. What motivates you to keep moving toward your dreams in the midst of fear, doubt, and comparison?

I remind myself it was not that long ago believing those fears, doubts, and insecurities were real, kept me miserable for longer than I care to remember. I figure, I will never be able to stop, quiet or satiate them, so all I can do to counter their influence is keep on going, sharing and learning anyway. Besides, I am the only one they are real to, nobody else actually knows what they are trying to convince me of, and while based in reality, there is very little truth behind them.

6. What little things in life right now make you you do a happy dance? Big things?

I happy dance all day long doing this work; sometimes for Clients, sometimes for myself, they usually just blend into each other.

7. In the movie of your life, who would you want to play you?

People tell me I look like Sandra Bullock all the time, so she might work… I also like Reese Witherspoon and Jessica Alba for the role.

8. What is one thing you’d like to change about the world?

That is not for me to say, I think there is a reason for things being this way, even when that doesn’t seem possible. What I will say, is I would love to see Government set a much better example for the people to look up to.

9. What quote best represents you or motivates you in your current place in life?

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

10. What inspires you to continue living a life you love each day?

It beats living one I hate… and I’m the only one who has the power to chose.

Thanks so much for sharing, Alaina! Have any of you ever found a lay off to be your golden ticket to freedom?

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