A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Coach Colene: One year, 52 columns later, I’m even more grateful for chance to write, share


 

By Colene Elridge
KyForward columnist
 
 
One year ago, KyForward published my first column. I’ve written 52 since. It’s crazy for me to think about how quickly this year has passed, and how writing has become a truly transformative experience.
 

I’ve never considered myself a writer because it does not come particularly easy for me. I struggle with syntax, active versus passive voice, and I use way too many commas. Sometimes I stare at a blank screen and think this is the week I will not be able to put a single word on paper. From time to time, I still hear my old English teacher talking about my lack of creativity and poor writing. Which is why I find it all the more humorous that I regularly write this column.
 

I have a love-hate relationship with writing, but it’s starting to lean more toward love. I can chalk that up to this column. When I first started writing for KyForward, I told myself, “Write every week for six months and see what happens.” I did, and I started to feel myself grow. After six months, I made a commitment to myself to write for the full year. So here we are a year later, and I’ve grown not only as a writer but as a person as well.
 

I’ve learned the value of action. The hardest part about writing is getting started. Sometimes I know exactly what I want to say, and other times it feels like I’m pulling teeth just to get two sentences on the page. For me, the best way to write is to set a timer and just start writing. I’ve talked before about action breeding clarity, and I have found that to be particularly true with writing. No joke, I have probably 20 pieces that I have started writing and then decided they just were not going to work. They’re all saved in my Google docs in case I want/need to go back to them. Sometimes, I’ll write a sentence in one piece and that will lead me to a new direction or an entirely new piece. It’s a process, but I think taking action is a key to all areas in life.
 

I also learned to be open to the unexpected. There have been several pieces that I never expected to write and, somehow, they came out anyway. I am the type of person who is always looking and listening to signs for guidance. Sometimes, the pieces I write are for myself, and other times they are for someone else (sometimes I don’t know who). The piece I wrote about my father’s death and forgiveness (see here) struck a chord with so many readers, and I was blown away by the response. Truly blown away! Learning to be open to the signs and guidance that present themselves to you is really important to living a life you find worthy. You just have to listen.
 

Have you ever read the book, The Five People You Meet In Heaven? I remember reading the book and feeling this unusual feeling about the interactions we have with strangers. It was odd to me because I never gave much thought to the role I may have played in someone else’s life. I mention this book because the role you all have played in my life thus far has been far more than what I expected.
 

When I write, I write not knowing who will read or what they might be going through in life. A few weeks after I started writing this column, my friend Andrea’s father passed away. I wrote about the miracles of friendship, life and death (see here). It’s still one of my favorite columns.
 

A few weeks later, I was at a social event where a man came up to me with tears in his eyes and asked if I was “Coach Colene.” It threw me for a bit because this is not an everyday occurrence in my life. I told him I was and he could just call me Colene. He went on to say that his niece sent him my piece on miracles; it really meant a lot to him because he had recently lost his brother and was having a difficult time dealing with the loss. He just wanted to give me a hug and thank me for writing exactly what he needed to hear. That was the moment my mental game shifted. Writing each week became less about me (or my ego) and more about what you the reader may need to know, hear, see or do.
 

I learned that I may never know who will read, but I hope my message finds its way to the right person. It reminded me to speak my truth, share my insight, share my story and use it all to make a difference in someone else’s life. We all have something to offer to someone, don’t let yourself get in the way of sharing you with the world.
 

Thank you doesn’t seem like enough to say to you all the readers, to KyForward, and my PR woman extraordinaire for the opportunity to share with you each week. You have been a significant part in shaping the narrative of who I am, and who I will become. I’m truly honored to write and be a small part of your lives each week. It’s an opportunity I do not take for granted.
 

Here’s to the next year!
 

Colene (3) mug

Colene Elridge is a trainer and success coach who offers an interactive approach to learning and development. She works with individuals and organizations that aspire to “Be More.” Colene is also a human resources professional and certified mediator. She has a bachelor’s degree from Transylvania University and a master’s from Sullivan University. More details on Coach Colene are available at CoachColene.com.

 

To read more from Coach Colene, click here.


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