Tell us about your background
I’m 46 and live in New York City. I have a B.A. in Economics from UCLA, was in the U.S. Navy for 10 years, and have been a pilot for a major US airline for 14 years. I love travel, visits with family and friends, surfing, reading, guitar, and live music.
Are or have you been married, and what’s your view on marriage?
I was married for over 18 years to an extraordinary woman. I did and always will love her from the core of my soul. It was the most harrowing challenge of my life to finally accept that our best selves simply were not well-suited to flourishing together as husband and wife. Divorce tore me to pieces emotionally, and then allowed me to put myself back together in a much more authentic and full form.
I believe committed partnership can be a uniquely life-enriching gift, or a crutch for our saddest insecurities, depending on how we design and live into it each moment. Marriage is one possible structure in that design. I feel we should champion devoted love in all forms, but never burden couples with an expectation that marriage is some kind of cure-all, end game or societal “stamp of approval” in and of itself.
What brought you to coaching?
The end of my marriage shook up many stuck habits and latent dreams, and also a ton of pain and fear. Sitting on the couch one gorgeous spring day in my cool new Georgetown bachelor pad, I was shocked to suddenly realize I had no absolutely no idea what mattered to me! I knew that I loved my family and friends dearly, but that was about all I was clear on. What was my purpose? My contribution to the world? Did it matter at all what I did, or even what I thought? My lack of answers scared the heck out of me.
Airline flying was what I did, but had never been who I was. People, relationships and creative possibility captivated my imagination. In spite of the “doing” stuff I had filled my life with, my heart always ached for richer experience, more meaningful happiness, and deeper understanding of why we’re all here. My brain recognized this calling–fulfillment–as the ultimate end goal of everything we humans do, but I had only the foggiest dreams of what it could look like in my real life.
As I know now, a foggy dream is a good enough place to start.
I was told I needed to write, I needed to speak before groups–those were my clearest gifts. Lovingly worn and notated books on psychology, spirit and self-development filled my home, fueling my dreams while silently chiding my stagnation. But it wasn’t until I worked with a skilled and perceptive career coach that these inklings crystallized into a clear vision and a concrete conduit for my gifts and values. I soon found myself enrolled in over a year of intensive coach training and certification. Since then, Mike Halsey Coaching has grown into the centerpiece of my inward and outward life purpose.
I best serve those who feel a deep sense of some important calling–even if they can’t yet name it–and who hunger to answer it.
What is your mission as a coach?
My mission is helping people to live the really cool lives of their dreams. I believe this is important in the grandest sense imaginable.
I believe happiness is more than a selfish indulgence with transient rewards. To the contrary, it seems that if we have any purpose at all in this universe, it is naturally steered and motivated by the spark which shapes our deepest wants and curiosities. In my estimation, the clearest sign that we are “doing what we are supposed to” is when life feels thrilling, juicy and deeply satisfying. Why else would Nature wire us this way?
The path to fulfillment looks different to each of us, of course, but its rewards are shared by all. Joyful and purposeful living is contagious, and I would like to see it become epidemic. My commitment–what thrills and motivates me–is to help others access the vision and energy already inside them, to blow past or straight through useless fears, and then transform life into an experience even greater than they could have imagined.
Are there any particular life experiences which inform your coaching?
My childhood spent “in the middle” between two wonderful sisters, divorced parents and step parents, gave me an appreciation of how good people can vary so widely in their perspectives and struggles. This shakes up any tendency (in myself or with my clients) to buy into any reflexive judgement or rigid world view, thus opening up a playground of possibility in which to experiment.
Flying Navy jets from aircraft carriers and then instructing the next generation of tactical aviators taught me a ton about shattering self-limiting beliefs, and what amazing stuff lies on the other side of fear. The incredible sailors and Marines I led and followed opened my eyes to the unique capacities we each have, and how a spark of motivation can be nurtured into miracles of performance. I’ve learned this to be true of individuals and teams of any size or complexity.
My richest lessons of all, though, have come from a goldmine of personal and family relationships which continuously point me toward life’s highest meaning.
What famous women do you most admire?
Rock stars come to mind: Janis Joplin, Joan Jett, Madonna, Lady Gaga. These ladies hung their inspiration, sexuality and wild creativity way out there, with no guarantee at all of approval or acceptance, and virtual certainty that many would judge and chastise them. Fearless, genuine and vividly alive!
How do women most sabotage themselves?
My gut answer is easy: Women sabotage their greatness by looking outside themselves for the rules of how to be, for validation, and for love. Strong, brilliant women commonly waste valuable energy looking to society, romantic partners, mothers–anyone but themselves–to let them know they are getting it right, that they are simply OK.
As a coach, the most important thing I can do is help my clients move away from such pointless habits as wholly and rapidly as possible. They resist, of course. (There is a certain comfort in hiding from choice, right?) Fortunately, the thrill of finding and following one’s own internal compass is irresistible once tasted, so my prodding role usually morph’s quickly into one of smiling support and applause.
What kind of client do you most enjoy working with?
I best serve those who feel a deep sense of some important calling–even if they can’t yet name it–and who hunger to answer it. Whether in career, relationships or self/spiritual development, this usually appears as a nagging little voice which whispers (or screams) something like, “There is untapped richness here. Life could be so much better. Make it happen!” Eagerness to explore non-linear solutions and powerful, creative shifts in perspective is a major plus, too.
While I’ve chosen not to limit my practice to a specific topical or demographic niche, the vast majority of my clients are women who are either contemplating or in the middle of major life transitions. They are often torn between a knowing heart thrilled by life’s potential, and a mix of fear, guilt and obligations to others.
I simply love helping these wonderful ladies to transform what may have seemed like selfish, unrealistic or downright crazy dreams into wholesome and utterly fulfilling new realities.
Where and how often do you meet with your clients?
Almost all of my coaching is done via phone or Skype with great clients around the world, but I am also available for in-person sessions in New York City. We generally meet for three 40-50 minute sessions per month, or two longer sessions of 60-75 minutes each, depending upon your situation and preferences.
Tell us about your workshops and presentations.
This is a great new adventure for me, a natural extension of both my personal journey and professional mission. Unlike individual coaching, which requires that I constantly clean my slate of personal opinions, priorities or expectations, keynotes and workshops allow me to create fun and valuable learning from all that this rich life has provided — bloopers, heartaches and “greatest hits” included.
Whether in a high-impact talk of 15 to 60 minutes or an interactive workshop of a few hours or days, my goal in group work is to jumpstart big, positive and lasting change. I tailor my message to the unique makeup and priorities of each new audience, leveraging the most powerful themes which have shown up time and time again in my own life and through my clients’ shared journeys.
I’m not big on scripts, lectures or one-way preaching; but I do have great fun smashing false mental barriers. So if you invite me to work with your group, expect to be shaken (with a smile, promise), awakened, and challenged to play well outside of any comfy confines or boxed paradigms.
What is the most important thing a new client should know about you as their coach?
That I love them. Seriously. We may never meet in person, but when you invite me to partner with you in the most important venture of all–your life–I consider it a great honor and responsibility. You enter the fabric of my thoughts 24/7. During and between sessions, I challenge myself to abandon comfort zones and constantly reevaluate what is possible in the service of your.
Since I may often hold you in higher regard than you do yourself, I will ask you to try ideas and actions you might never ask of yourself. When you stumble, I will champion your courage and effort. When you succeed, we will celebrate. I will support your vision of what your best life, and I will never judge.
It thrills me to witness a life transformed, and I’m well aware that such a shift sends positive ripples far out into the world we all share.