The importance of living your own story
A great way to live a happier life is to identify and work towards goals with a personal change coach.
Greg Kiernan is a personal change (or life) coach and happiness guru, who works with the LGBTI community and specialises in helping same-sex attracted men find their paths in life.
“The term ‘personal change coaching’ makes sure that the word change is front and centre. It’s all about making a change,” he explains to Star Observer.
“There are so often certain issues and struggles for same-sex attracted people so it’s about being happier and more comfortable in our own skin. We know there are many factors that influence that, from judgements early in life to homophobic messages that people live with from family or the media.”
Greg’s work is all about looking at each person’s individual “story”. People come to him with all kinds of issues, but he finds many LGBTI folks are unhappy because they’re living out the story they think they have to, instead of what works for them personally.
“It so often comes down to the fact that people are living out a collective story,” he says.
“There’s a lot of identifying with the ‘gay’ label. You live a gay life, in the gay community, in the gay scene, and it’s a collective story that people are living out.
“It doesn’t work necessarily, because one size does not fit all. So the work is moving from a collective story and finding the individual’s personal story. It’s about reflecting on that story, and it’s about exploring it and owning it. That’s so important because owning our own individual personal story is probably the scariest and bravest thing that anyone can do.
“In coaching we’re all about nutting out your personal story, your particular needs, and what works for you. We can build from there habits that really work for that person.”
Greg relates happiness back to habits. He says anything from smoking to watching too much TV can be a negative habit, affecting how happy you are in your own life.
“We talk about the habits of happiness,” he says. “That means listing things in your day or your life that bring you comfort, calm and happiness. People can describe a story of lots of clubbing, lots of substances, lots of quick sex, things that they believe are their life, and what we all do.
“We look at the individual’s needs and what they want in their day, if they weren’t a part of that story. There’s a lot of visualising, a lot of mindfulness and getting calm and quiet. Letting everything drop away and seeing the real story is important.
“It’s about getting back to what’s deeply there, not what you’ve learned, not what habits you’ve picked up, not what you’re practising necessarily. Coaching is about challenging the habits and building the replacement behaviours.”
Greg has a long-standing interest in working with same-sex attracted guys who want to live a different life to the stereotypes. He runs popular men’s support and activity groups in Melbourne and Sydney for guys with different stories who don’t necessarily want to be “scene”.
His professional background is in teaching and managing difficult behaviours. He spent many years working with young people to challenge their habits and make changes to their behaviour.
“The behaviour replacement and mindfulness grew from my previous work,” he says.
Greg launched his personal change coaching service Integreatness to work closely with people in the LGBTI community who want to make changes in their own lives.
As part of coaching, Greg runs weekend retreats for people to intensely focus on what they want and how to change their lives to achieve it.
“People will come away from the weekend with a rewritten and re-clarified story, and their new habits of happiness,” he says.
Greg is also working on a self-help book called Closets are for Clothes, Labels are for Jam Jars.
“As a same-sex attracted person, you can build any life you want. You can look any way you want,” he says.
“Your life is not your wardrobe, or what clubs you go to, or how many partners you have. Love who you love, but build the life that allows your self-love.”
You can see more about Greg’s work at www.integreatness.com, or contact him on 0451 482 976.