Cotton Candy Brain: Wall Street Coach Invades Greenpoint (and my brain)

As I sat on my couch staring at my navy blue wall, I began my career coaching session with Kim Ann Curtin, who is known as The Wall Street Coach. We didn’t meet in person because an early March blizzard kept us home, and that was a good thing.

I had sat in the same position and stared at the same blue wall the day before, when I felt what Kim would help me comes to terms with: my cotton candy brain.

Kim, a Greenpointer, is the Wall Street Coach because back in 2008 during the financial meltdown, she sat on a bench outside of the stock exchange with a homemade sign and offered free coaching, or as CNN put it an “emotional bailout,” to anyone who passed by.

Like all Greenpoint connections, it’s the great community here that brought Kim and I together. While kicking my ass, trainer and friend Dishan of [email protected] heard me complaining about how I want to quit my job and work on Greenpointers full-time (even though I already do) – so she put me in touch with Kim.

The timing was right. I really had been yearning for some advice and direction and thought many times about seeking the expertise of a career coach.

Kim is an Executive Coach, which is a career and life coach wrapped up into one super human, lovely, intelligent, empathetic but won’t take a lot of shit – blond bombshell. As Kim puts it, she coaches “those that are simply wanting a neutral sounding board, an advisor on how they are managing their life, professionally and personally as like a cobweb they are all interconnected.”

She’s got that right. For a while I’d been trying to keep everything separate, the personal and the professional, but it was impossible. There were certainly some very practical steps to take before making the jump – namely getting the website and my personal finances in the right place. But there is also a very strong emotional component to decisions like this. I started this website because of my strong love for Greenpoint, and I would be going against all that I’d been raised to believe is practical: money, benefits and stability – in order to take on this beast full-time.

When we began our discussion I explained how ironic it is that I am the biggest promoter of all the talented people in my life but am the worst at being my own fan. Greenpointers is a manifestation of this – a platform for all the local businesses, artists, chefs, musicians and amazing community projects that I believe in. At the same time – I have a hard time believing in myself.

I am the first to run a friend through all the reasons why she is good enough to quit her day job and take on her dream job, but I can’t seem to talk myself into it. Instead I just work two full-time jobs and exhaust myself.

Kim asked me to list all of my positive attributes and those that seem to get in the way of my goals. She is uber-intuitive and got “stuck” on one thing I kept coming back to, which is my fear of depression, the feeling that I had felt the day before, my cotton candy brain.

I’m scared that if I just give up the day job I will feel useless with no sense direction. This will send me into a depression, the same depression I felt after college, when I had finished taking 21 credits per semester while working 30 hour per week. Yes, I’m crazy. No, I don’t know how I do it.

Emptiness, pointlessness, a fog. If I stay busy, I can keep these feelings at bay.

The very reason why I began blogging was because the day to day lifelessness of my day job was remedied with by a creative outlet. At the time, I wrote Morta Di Fame, which was Sicilian cooking with a side of crazy Sicilian family  – blog. I was dedicated. I wrote everyday.

When I moved to Greenpoint, without my family to make fun of nearby, I asked the universe for a Greenpoint blog and it answered. I’ve never in my life felt so useful, to have a tool that brings together a community to make a big impact, one that I could never make on my own. This blog is a gift – not an investment.

As I write this, I am thinking DUH!- you know what you want, just do it, Jen! But it’s not that simple. I’m shit balls scared. When the depression sneaks up on me – I’m paralyzed. It can take me 2 hours to even leave the house, walking around in circles, unable to get myself dressed.

Kim’s technique was to get in there and face it. She made me literally climb into my cotton candy brain. At first I was a little skeptical, but she made me feel very relaxed and held my hand over the phone as she had me visualize this place in my own brain, the place of my depression, that I had just felt yesterday.

Since I am such a visual person, this technique was extremely powerful. I saw myself inside my own mind and I was surrounded by a thick fuzzy material like insulation or cotton candy. It was clogging up everything. I saw no path, no future and couldn’t figure out how to get out of there. But since I had chosen to put myself there, I could very objectively analyze this place and step outside of the bad feelings to confront and understand them.

Kim believes that in order to reach my goals I need to visit this place often and work through the fog. Depression will always be there, but if I have the tools to help me visualize it then I don’t have to live in fear of it or have it dictate my decisions.

Since our talk, I have made a lot of progress toward my goal. I found an actual object that represents this state – it’s a giant spool of yellow yarn. When I look at it, I’m not so scared of my depression. I haven’t jumped from the ship yet, but I am planning and plotting and feel very optimistic that very soon I will make it happen. A few more sessions with Kim might do the trick, too. Just writing and sharing this has been huge!

And when I do, you know I’m going to make a big stink about it on here; you will be the first to know!

It was a great privilege to receive a coaching session session from Kim, because she is so dedicated to her calling, which she simply describes as “my bliss.” Aside from the comfort and strength she provides, it’s inspiring to work with someone who is doing what she loves, a living testament to what she believes she can help her clients achieve.

About Jen G

After living in NYC my entire life, I found the strongest sense of community in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Running this blog is truly an honor and the best part is meeting its readers in real life. Everyday I am energized by smiles and inspiring conversations with fellow Greenpointers who tirelessly do and create incredible things that are good for our community and share the same love I have for life here. If you see me walking with my little dog "D" - please say hi!

9 Comments

  1. Victoria says:

    So happy to have read this 🙂

    Reply
  2. Lacy says:

    Keep doing what you do. You make Greenpoint feel like a community.

    Reply
  3. Sherry says:

    Writing for even fifteen minutes relieves anxiety: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/sian-beilock.html

    Reply
  4. Your willingness to share your experience with me so candidly is truly inspiring. Thank you for your willingness to be so honest and forthright with this amazing audience.

    I’m honored to have worked with you Jen. Thank you for writing this article! (And for calling me a blond bombshell!)

    Reply
  5. Gloria says:

    Wow, Jen, you are to be commended, sharing your story here. I, too, go through a lot of what you mentioned (example: taking two hours to get out of the house) and so I know what you say is true, you hit the nail on the head with symptoms and feelings. You are so brave to tell your story and I really admire you!
    Best,
    Gloria

    Reply
  6. Gloria says:

    p.s. I just read above how you raised over $11,000 for NY’ers who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy. What a coup! Again, you are to be commended, good for you!!
    gv

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *