“Wake up, sissy!” a large, visored man yells, as he splashes cold water on my bed.  It’s 7 a.m., which means it’s time to start my day, and the man here to kick it off is my life coach, Coach. After having served as the Kent State football program’s special teams coordinator (and been disgraced for mysterious reasons), he now helps clients like me improve relationships, build confidence, and realize our full potential.

Coach has access to every part of my life, including my phone, bank account, and apartment, where he frequently sleeps and helps himself to my fridge. We start each day on the rope he installed in my kitchen. To “shape my character” and “make me a tougher man,”’ Coach hired twelve schoolchildren to make mean comments about my climbing ability while I go up. When I asked Coach why he incorporates physical fitness into his coaching, he explained, “You know what they say—happy body, happy life.”  I replied:

“I think it’s ‘happy wife, happy life,’ since that rhymes and makes sense.”

He scowled. “Wife? You don’t want one of those. Trust me.”

One of the reasons I hired Coach was to help me professionally. On the day we met, he said, “Lawyer? My buddy’s kid is one of those. Weird guy.” Now he just updates me about the custody battle he’s in and continually asks me for legal advice about it. It’s this symbiotic relationship that really allows us both to thrive.

Coach is great at strategizing and re-strategizing to help me reach my career goals. Last month, I worked an extra hour on top of my 10-hour work day every day and still failed to get promoted. Coach said: “You’re not giving 110%.” When I explained that I literally was doing just that, he responded, “But you’re not playing to win, you’re playing not to lose. And your wings aren’t filling the lanes to protect the punter.” When I asked how I can get my metaphorical wings to fill the metaphorical lanes, he said, “Just take it one play at a time.” I’ve been focusing on that recently.

Coach is also an expert when it comes to dating. Last week, I went on a first date. Coach called the shots from one table over and gave helpful advice, like, “Don’t order the spaghetti, that’s girl food,” or, “Ask her if she’s open to a threesome, just like we ran in practice.”  If I hadn’t done it as we had ran in practice, he would’ve gotten angry and thrown his headset. 

Unfortunately, I’m still single, yet I pay for two (Coach orders the surf and turf). But as Coach always says, I have to trust the process.

—J. Gustaferro