I learned unworthiness young, was taught that God was hard to please, and the only way to receive love was to outperform everyone else.
Thank heavens the story doesn’t end there.
I’ve been an ordained minister since 1986. The ministerial training I’ve received and pastoral care I’ve shared with thousands, combined with a decade plus of experience running the operations, sales and consulting branches of a large region for Ameriprise Financial Advisors® gave me the foundation I needed to begin my coaching business.
In late 2009 I decided I didn’t want to work in the corporate world anymore.
So I quit.
No plan. No backup. No safety net.
And I . . .
I moved to Chicago.
Some of the things I’ve done of which I’m most proud:
- I love public speaking and the largest crowd I’ve taught in front of is 14,000 people.
- At 35, made a decision to leave the religion of my childhood and come out as a gay man. The consequences were losing my immediate family, my friends and my wife. I did it anyway.
- I used hard drugs for one year and recovered – without hitting rock bottom first.
- I was interviewed on the Gayle King After Party Special, following Oprah Winfrey’s final Oprah show here in Chicago. Out of all the guests Oprah has ever interviewed on her show, me and one other woman were chosen to tell our stories.
- I love to sing and was able to sing in front of 20,000+ people at Pritzker Pavillion in Chicago, with a full orchestra backing me. (Oh… and 149 other members of the Chicago Gay Mens Chorus. ha ha)
- Can’t prove it, but at one time, I was the most widely published photographer in the world. (It was for a religious publication and photo credits were not given.) Ahhh, well… at least I know it’s true.
- To support me in my ministry work, I used to own a company cleaning professional medical buildings. One of my favorite things is leaving uniform vacuum marks down a long stretch of carpeted hallway. This was one of the most fulfilling jobs I’ve ever worked.
Since we’re getting all close and stuff, I might as well also tell you that my favorite color is purple. I love chocolate chip cookies. My favorite musical artist is Prince (and Harry Connick, Jr., and Michael Bublé, and George Michael). I don’t have any tattoos, but I’ve always wanted one. I like to hug trees. My favorite flowers are tulips. I sometimes get migraines. When I was little, my Aunt Linda used to call me Sparky Dinkledorf. (<– don’t get any ideas. ha ha)
Why I Coach
Put simply, I coach because I believe in the hearts of people and what we’re capable of contributing to the world.
In my work with over a thousand clients and many thousands of hours of actual one-to-one coaching, I’ve found that what people need and want more than anything is access to skillful guidance that is profoundly compassionate and supports the heart while also offering actionable next steps towards positive change.
For me, there is nothing more powerful than witnessing a client in their experience, without the need to “fix” or change them. To accompany them – shoulder to shoulder – on their journey, in a way that assures them that they are not alone, helps them tap securely into their own innate wisdom, and celebrates their many wins along the way – that, to me, is what I live for.
From the decades I’ve worked in a wide variety of business, I’ve found that business is not all that complicated. Most of what you can learn about business is already out there – all the education you need is available, for free. The complications, challenges and rough spots that we all encounter stem from our humanity. Our “stuff” is what gets in our way. What’s complicated is us… not business.
The most useful support will help you to navigate the landscape of your heart as you apply business wisdom.
That’s what I do. Nothing lights me up more.
Many of my current clients have been working with me for three to six+ years.
This is what I believe in and what I stand for:
Love. It’s everything.
Let your heart lead. Let your mind follow.
Consistent, skilled support and guidance is magic.
Taking consistent action leads to clarity.
A confluence of small steps, taken consistently over time, is the building block of every grand thing.
Curiosity is the anti-venom to attachment.
Everything is about relationships.
More empathy. Not less.
We are all trying to meet our needs.
Love is the answer. All-ways.
Some personal things…
I had a pretty good life growing up. My birth father and mother provided well financially, and I didn’t want for much. I grew up privileged from many perspectives.
I was raised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and lived that way till I was 35 years old. I was a full-time minister, served at the World Headquarters for the JW Organization, was an “elder” in several congregations for over ten years. At 35, I came out as a gay man and my fellow “elders” said, “We believe you are a wicked man,” and they kicked me out (it’s called “disfellowshipping”).
The moment I got kicked out (February 1, 2007), I lost hundreds of my closest friends, my parents and two siblings and grandmother. The spiritual abuse and trauma from that (and the years of indoctrination) was violent and anything but loving. I’m grateful to extended family – especially my Aunt Linda – for remaining a close and dear part of my blood-family.
Also, my ex-wife, who is pictured in one of the photographs above, was surprisingly supportive. We had been married for 13 years. She was devastated when I left, but was so kind to me. She has one of the most pure, tender and caring hearts I have ever encountered. I still love her with all my heart.
Since all of that trauma, I’ve re-built my family – I use the word “framily” (friends + family). I have friends all over the world that I love and care for, and who feel the same about me. I’ve also re-built my connection to the Divine, and despite once again (in 2019) being shunned, shamed, and banned from yet another spiritual (and business) community – I’m able to keep my heart open and my life in integrity – even the parts other people can’t see.
Living in Chicago, I enjoy walking the city, exploring new areas, trying out new restaurants. I live about 350 steps from an amazing beach right on Lake Michigan, which is my happy place.
Much of my non-work time is spent reading non-fiction books – I have 16 books I’m actively reading. I also enjoy doing lots of introspection and exploring philosophy. I enjoy skiing, long driving trips, and going on cruises to warm places.
I’m an INFJ on the Myers-Briggs and a 2 on the Enneagram.
I take great joy in organization, cleaning and simplicity. I love to write and am working on my first book, which I hope to self-publish in 2018.
As introverted as I am, one of the things I hold most precious is deep, intimately connected conversations with others – not surface talk (that’s exhausting to me) – but real, sincere, penetrative dialogue from the depth of our souls. Ahhhhhh.
And lastly, but not least, I want to introduce you to the new love of my life: Connick Alexander Spoon. He came into my life on November 27, 2015 and he’s seven years old. He was a rescue originally, and I adopted him from someone in Denver, Colorado. He is a demure, quiet, playful and sweet little Italian Greyhound. I couldn’t love him any more than I do.
My “Theme Song”
If you would like to say hello, please do. If I can be of service in some way, and what I’ve shared here helps you feel like we could have a connection, please reach out and share a bit about you.
Above all… please take good care of yourself and keep your heart nourished. The world needs more kind-hearted people and business owners in the world.
May the will of Love be done, all-ways. 💜