Emma is a Certified Life Coach (CLC) and Certified Spiritual Coach (CSC) through Life Purpose Institute, a program accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), “the Gold Standard in Coaching.” Additionally, She holds an Integrative Wellness Coaching certificate through the Integrative Wellness Academy. She earned her BA in Sociology from Kenyon College and minored in Visual Arts. Currently, she is working towards her Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential from the ICF and is a student of Somatic Experiencing®, training to become a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP).
A Part of My Story
A couple years later, when my class sat down to take a test, my teacher kneeled next to me, gently explaining that I would take the test in another room. I feared everyone would judge me as I walked by to leave. But when I arrived at the other room, I found others already seated. Suddenly I realized I wasn’t the only one and began to own what set me apart. While I worked hard to prove my capacity, it came at the cost of adhering to a tightly wired perfectionism that continues to take a toll on my body and well-being.
As an only child of working parents and lacking close-knit community, I spent a lot of time alone. Friends filled the silence, but I had a hard time building lasting relationships and often struggled to feel valued or seen. I recall thinking, “if something happened to me, would any of my friends notice?” Pained by the loneliness and having existential thoughts, I learned to fear solitude.
I turned to basketball for the camaraderie. Teamwork gave me connection and purpose, but the game didn’t come naturally. My learning style made it hard to quickly grasp new plays and my perfectionism never allowed me to feel good enough.
Along the way, I decided that if I could be perfect and please others, people would have no reason to desert me. I would no longer be alone. Observing people closely, I learned what behaviors lead to connection. I learned to listen carefully, but I also learned to internalize my anxiety because I saw how those who externalized it sometimes repelled the very community they needed. Striving for perfectionism tied my digestive system into knots, and I began obsessively picking my lip, only to have developed chronic constipation and dermatillomania—skin-picking disorder.
My Inner Process & Learnings
And yet, my years of solitude gifted me the opportunity to ask big questions. A few months after graduating from college, I hit rock bottom. Desperately, I asked myself, “Do I have to keep living like this—constrained by unworthiness, anxious from perfectionism, and dependent on others to feel alive?” In exploring my options, I found compassion for my sadness and tuned deeper into my intuition for guidance. I moved to a new community, began journaling, and found comfort in the wilderness. I created the space I needed to further explore my patterns and limiting beliefs.
Through this process—of asking questions, listening to my intuition, and nurturing my needs—I’ve created a life I’m excited to wake up to. This self-reflective, empowering work has given me a newfound ease with myself. I’ve cultivated unconditional friendships that I used to long for, and I’ve even found an unexpected peace in solitude. I continue to meet myself with compassion, notice my limiting patterns as they arise, and seek support when needed. When faced with conflict and obstacles, asking myself questions and listening to my intuition helps me move through them and shift what isn’t working.
A few years ago, I began responding to others with powerful open-ended questions like the ones I ask myself. I realize I may seem young to be offering guidance, but I’ve watched these people, of all ages, find their own answers and radically shift their limiting patterns to uncover joy, purpose, and belonging.
My story continues to teach me that feeling worthy, living meaningfully, and connecting deeply are not static destinations. They happen by creating a regular practice of noticing, learning, nurturing, and shifting. And this process is what we will work on cultivating together.