Anna Maria Locke

Using coaching as activism ...and facing my own white privilege

2017Anna Locke

I need to share something with you.

I don’t even know where to start so I’ll start from where I’m at right now.

I pride myself on "keeping it real" and sharing posts straight from the heart, in the messy trenches of life, and I've written lots of vulnerable posts that have stretched my comfort zone but this one makes me feel the most uncomfortable and is probably the hardest post I’ve ever written because in writing it I’m claiming my privilege and the fact that even though I want to change the world, I have an extremely limited, sheltered and narrow personal experience of the world.

At the same time, I can’t not write it, so here we go! Let’s get uncomfy together.

This is not necessarily a response to what happened in Charlottesville this week, although that definitely was a trigger. It’s a response to everything that’s happened not just in the last year, but my life up to this point, and our place in the bigger trajectory of human history.

I'm struggling to figure out what to say. I don't want to be one of those white female coaches who hides inside my privilege spouting platitudes like "choose love over fear!" or “good vibes only!”

I also don’t want to post random guilt-driven responses to the latest tragedy du jour in this carousel of horror and fear we’ve been riding just to make sure everyone on Facebook knows I’m a good person.

I refuse to stay silent BUT I don’t want to simply contribute to the noise.

I want my words and actions to feel aligned, empowered, and from my heart.

So here’s my heart today.

I have to start by releasing the elephant in the room: white privilege.

I'm a straight highly educated middle class white woman. We can't use labels to build walls between each other, but we also can't just ignore them and pretend everything is ok.

To me, white privilege means that I get to choose when and where to engage in the conversation and debate around social justice, race, inequality, etc. And I can’t lie. I LOVE reaping the benefits of my white privilege. I take it for granted. I surround myself with people who look like me, act like me, set goals like me, and were raised like me.


I know that's the question we're all asking ourselves.

When I get stuck in the labels, it’s easy to feel helpless, like my words and actions and story don’t count because compared to most people, I’ve had a sheltered and privileged life.

I’m not into protests or marches or signing petitions or calling my representatives or being on the front lines or being a social worker or volunteering at soup kitchens or the normal forms of activism. It’s not that I WON’T participate in these things, but as a sensitive introvert they just don’t feel like “me.” I feel guilty about this, like I’m a bad person...but honestly if I want to truly make a change I have to be that change on my own terms because I truly believe that the energy we bring to what we do matters just as much as the action itself.

But I’m also a woman living in a world where patriarchy has been the norm for thousands of years, and I feel like I was born at this time for a reason.

I strongly believe that life coaching is my ministry, my personal form of activism.

You can’t spread love until you love yourself, and I'm passionate about empowering other women to heal themselves from the inside out so they can feel whole and complete, because when we heal ourselves, we heal the world.

And as we're healing ourselves we also have to shine our light into the world and recognize we’re all part of a bigger collective movement.

Three and a half years ago, I was called to coaching.

The door randomly happened to open through Beachbody, but underneath the health and fitness I was attracted to something deeper and bigger that I didn't even understand at the time.

My sister, uncle, and mother in law were called into ministry so I've heard a lot of ministers talk about what it was like to hear their "call" and I knew exactly what they were talking about because I felt it too.

It's this deep, spiritual and visceral compulsion that you can't NOT follow because it feels so right, even if you have no idea where it’s leading.

It made everything in my life start to click. It gave me a sense of purpose and validation.

Over the last 3.5 years I've worked with hundreds of women, have deepened my own personal development, became a life coach, and have been exploring my personal faith and spirituality.

I’ve immersed myself in learning about the rising feminine energy that's occurring in our world even as the darkness seems overpowering (because light and dark go together and the more powerful one is, so will the other be), and it's all starting to make more sense.

I’m starting to realize why I’m here, and why I’m doing this work.

And it freaking terrifies me. I'm literally shaking writing this.

I'm also on my period, which means physically my hormones are at their lowest, I have the most connection between my left/right brain (and masculine/feminine energy), and I have a level of detached unemotional clarity as I view my life and purpose in this world.

So these words are not an emotional rant, but are coming from my deepest heart.

I can't tell where my work will lead me, but I know for a fact I'm here .... we are here ... to serve a bigger purpose.

We're part of a collective movement of female empowerment that is rising to dismantle the patriarchy that’s controlled us all for the past thousands of years, to bring more balance and peace to the world.

I see the ideal future as a world where people of all genders, identities, races, cultures, and belief systems are integrated and regarded as equal.

Yeah this is prob unrealistic because our humanity dooms us to war and power struggles, but we can still elevate our collective consciousness.

And I see all the chaos and horrible stuff happening not as a sign that the world is going to shit, but as a sign that deep shifts are happening. As we refuse to stay silent, as we refuse to accept and perpetuate the status quo of inequality, the power structures that have been holding this inequality in place are naturally going to rise up and stage a final battle.

It might get worse before it gets better, but it’s not going to last.

And in the meantime, we have to be strong and endure and face ourselves where we stand.

And it's so so so so so so freaking important that I don’t let my white privilege keep me silent and small in in warm fuzzy bubble. I hate negativity and politics but I can't keep ignoring the realities that are happening in our world to "protect my energy.”

Yes, I have a sheltered one sided perspective, but don't we all? We ALL need to share our stories.

What I can do

I'm going to continue to explore my own thoughts and feelings on my mission and purpose, and how I can share my truth and use coaching as a platform for activism.

I’m going to keep messing up and falling short and failing over and over, but we have to keep going even when we feel scared and small and guilty.

I’m going to keep sharing my TRUTH on social media, instead of hiding inside my excuses and fears and comfort zone.

I’m going to continue to figure out what I believe, what I stand for, and then share that from a place of alignment and empowerment.

I can keep talking about all of this hard stuff.

I will keep exploring my personal beliefs and opening my eyes to hearing stories and experiences of other people who are different from me.

I will engage with the homeless people on the street instead of avoiding eye contact and feeling ashamed.

I will reach out to say hi to new people at church who are not white 30 somethings.

I'll continue to protect my energy and putting my self care first, but also staying engaged with what’s happening in the world.

I will commit to healing myself so I can be a source of positivity and light in my work and online.

My mom always says "to whom much is given, much is expected" and I have been given so much.

But for the first time I can take advantage of that instead of feeling guilty, powerless, and overwhelmed.

Through coaching I have a platform I can use to create a ripple of positive change while still honoring my own self care first, and I get to teach other women how to do the same.

If all of this triggers you or makes you feel uncomfortable, GOOD.

Let's lean into the discomfort and turn it into something beautiful, even if it's messy and imperfect.

Let’s force ourselves to engage with our privilege, go out of our comfort zone, amd see everyone with an open heart regardless of their race//gender identity//class//economic status//nationality.

Let's spread COMPASSION and love, beginning with the relationship we have with ourselves.

xo Anna

p.s. If you’re also a white woman in the coaching world, here is a great article to read if you've been feeling all the feels and are wondering what to do.

photo by Artistrie Co