black dotI didn’t want to go.

Every part of me screamed “Stay home!”

It was the 2nd year of investing in my business and her group coaching program. This year I amped it with a private VIP day: she is my business coach. I trust her. She knows better. Surrender the fear. Don’t quit.

Yet four months after our VIP day my business is stalled with little or no energy to create more.

The pitch for her next event came at the end of our monthly mastermind call. “Exciting news! Something highly innovative is happening at the event”; she was kicking it up a notch and expected us to kick it up a notch too. It’s a HAVE to be there experience. If YOU ARE committed to your business, you’ll buy your event ticket now.

My body screamed “Stay home!”

I bought the ticket.

Two months later I arrive at the hotel, it’s good to see a lot of friends and familiar faces. At registration I’m handed the paper badge with a barcode on it.


Barcodes. First time.

Each time we complete an action the barcode badge is scanned by iPhone or iPad. Badge around my neck from sign-in I’m directed to three stations….

Station 1) hair and make-up, getting glamorous. Up since 4 am after getting off the plane I want to get through the gauntlet, no thanks. Barcode Scanned.

Station 2) Video. Get in line. Go in a small room and read the prepared script off the teleprompter. Wow okay I’ll play. Barcode Scanned.

Station 3) One of her rock star clients, a BIG Sponsor, is positioned by the exit… have to stop by and talk about what she offers. I’m a woman of weight; empathic and psychic. I can tell she wants nothing to do with me.  Wait a minute let me scan you. Barcode Scanned. Okay then…off to my room.

Day 1 and day 2) Teachings by a celebrity speaker…my coaches mentor. Our big speech. Walking on stage I watch The Mentor’s energy- he works the room with NO eye contact. As a shamanic practitioner I don’t like what I was seeing and feeling. Day 2) evening we break down into groups, tasked to give a 3-minute presentation. Two judges on coach’s team evaluate our mini talks. Barcode Scanned. Got to “keep track of us.”

Black Dot Moment.

Day 3) Ballroom doors open; wait we have to scan you before you go in. Person at the door puts a dot on your name badge.

Pink Dots. Black Dots.

You know one of those dot tags you use for items in a garage sale.

“What’s this?” I ask.

“You’ll find out soon enough.”

Woman on the Verge:

On break that morning wandering about the sponsor’s booths I’m in the middle of something… can’t tell if I want to cry or scream, my anxiety is kicking up big time. I need help! Reach out ask for support, you’re paying them. What the fuck is going on?

I head over to the coach’s area to speak with the head coach; she’s worked 1:1 with me for the past 6 months. Listening and finishes with “it’ll be okay.” Walking away from her table I still feel wonky.

Time for lunch. At the ballroom door staff is directing traffic with iPad’s in hand. Scanning our id barcode badges Black dots head into the room. “Follow me Pink dots we’re going in a different direction.”

I’m in the Black Dot room.

Picking up the brown bag lunch off the back table I find my seat, coach takes the stage… I hear her say “Michele can you go to the mic!” It’s an impromptu riff with her about being in her mastermind. Laughing and talking about coaching with her and the mastermind- it’s a fun back and forth exchange. She calls up a couple more mastermind friends to the mic.

After lunch the “pink dot” people return to the room. The truth is finally revealed from the stage.

“Wasn’t this fun fuckingtastic! From the moment you stepped onto the property two days ago we were judging you. We scanned your tags and evaluated your ability to speak. Those selected have what it takes to continue on in our speaker training program with a $20K price tag; mentored by the celebrity speaker and me. Get your book written and signature speech done. Stand up and let’s recognize all of you who are going for your dreams. Black dots you’re invited into my 10Kmastermind.”

Whoa!!! WTF. I’m worthy to be the poster child for getting people to sign up for your program making the leap into the mastermind.

Choice. I attend an event expecting to make a choice whether I want to invest in the next level of my business.

When did attending an event turn into sorority rush? My ability to choose was fucked over.

I’m on double secret probation.

By the time I get to the airport I’m in a state of shock, something is shaking off. I feel the energy release the moment I get into the cab at the hotel. Anger washes through me.

How dare you judge me this way? I’m fine to speak by getting up to the mic and pitch your program, but not worthy to be invited to the next level? Judged. I decide where I want to go and when. What the fuck happened?

Using the power of my presence to promote your business, without asking.

That’s not acceptable.

The haves and the have nots.

Somebodies and nobodies.

The fog lifts. Miasma collapsing.

Take back my power. Two days later I fly in for the group mastermind; I step up to the mic, shaking and quaking inside.

“I resent being used to pitch without my permission.”

“I resent being herded like cattle with barcodes.”

“I resent having a black dot put on my name badge and

tracked without my approval.”

How dare you!

I walk away from the mic. No one speaks to me. One mastermind colleague tells me “You’re overreacting and too sensitive that’s not what it was about.” I walk away from her and her bullshit.

Later I write a letter and quit my coach. You violated my trust. I want out of the sponsorship agreement, because I will not invite anyone to your BIG event.

On the call I honor my money agreement, but I want out of her world. I tell her my truth and how I discounted my knowing- how I knew NOT to go to this event, and didn’t listen to me. I’m done from being undone. We’re through.

“Barcodes are the way events are going to be managed- get use to it. I’m sorry you feel this way. I’ll refund you the $500 you paid to come to the event.” We negotiate a settlement.

Next day there’s a knock at the door; a lovely bouquet of flowers. Her assistant tells me she loves me and feels hurt by all this.

We both are.

I walk away.

The investment. $27,000.

My run for the stage is a gift that keeps on giving. It doesn’t matter whether its $50 or $100,000. I wanted the promise. When people are treated like cattle and herded into rooms…something feels horribly wrong. I want nothing to do with the coaching world as it now stands. It’s a soul sucking entity that shreds people’s lives for money.

Took me three months to course correct in my business.

Three years to pay off the credit card debt.

Immediately after the breakup I receive bodywork and shamanic healing to clear my field. Many in the mastermind group reached out for shamanic healing to help them heal. They too couldn’t get traction in their business that got worse after they left the business coach.

Skittish. I am coach shy. Took a long time to trust myself to make decisions on hiring. A process of leaning in and trusting again.

I love going to big events yet can’t believe I made so many mistakes.

I’m not a business newbie. I started my first business at 24 with a dream, a drafting table and no money. Grew two companies into half a million dollars working on international design projects. Sat on the board for five years and became chapter President of NAWBO. Inducted into the Woman’s Hall of Fame for my NAWBO work in our community.

I’ve never been through anything like it.

“It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.” -Marianne Williamson, Return to Love

You invest in your business and hire a coach with a dream and a promise to yourself. You commit. It’s an experiment. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Stop beating yourself up over it. Right now choose differently.

When you leave a program, it’s more than an investment. You may lose friends. You may feel cast aside. Some lose their ability to make their way in the world. Fraud, failure and shame = you fucked up big time. There’s silence too because on the other side you remember the voice of the coach saying you’re a quitter, you didn’t do things the right way.

I made these choices. I own my decisions. Some would say I was conned. That’s a cop out. Makes me a victim. I had to figure out my part in the drama/trauma and own every fucking thing. What I know today that your journey and story needs to be shared and understood and distilled. I hear so many stories. You are not alone.

This experience is still learning me. Today I’m a better mentor and teacher for it. I trust myself. While I miss going to events and the lovely connections I will not support the coaching machine as it now stands with my time, energy or dollars.

Truth I knew when the experience was going off the rails and chose not to listen to my inner knowing. I bet you did too. Because I work in the world of woo I thought I needed a coach who understands the business side.

What I discovered is a self-hatred of the intuitive for the practical.

When that coach or mentor hates the woo in their soul, they discount your woo and all your actions and abilities to work your magic. A battle ensues. What does it say about the coaching world when you look at people as commodity, when you brand them with barcodes and don’t take the time to listen to what they need?  That’s what’s driving the coaching world over the cliff.

Everyone is making a choice.