“I felt stuck, overworked and under-utilized, and realized that something had to change. In reflection, every time I’ve ever felt unfulfilled I lost my sight and my insight.”
LFY Consulting is based in Chicago, IL, and was founded in 2016 by Dr. Benjamin Ritter - this is his story:
Part I: Coaching Myself
During my undergraduate degree I was personally, professionally, and socially lost. If I was to pick one thing that caused this time of my life, it would be that I decided to live a life toward one goal. I found my “purpose” and went for it, but in the process of going for it I didn’t care about anything or anyone else, and then I failed. My tunnel vision led me down a path that ignored my personal and professional health. I missed out on creating positive and strong relationships, on learning how to be social in different situations, on how to choose the right partners, and how to make the right choices for my life overall. This truly low point highlighted how important mindset and harmony were in just feeling “good” and fulfilled with yourself, and motivated me to dive into the fields of interpersonal development, mental health, social psychology, and work towards self-improvement. I had enough of feeling the way I did, and it needed to change, I needed to change.
The next four years of my life were a journey focused on crafting the life I desired for myself personally and professionally. I needed to be better, to become a different person. There’s one really great side of being achievement oriented, and that’s you get things done. I decided that I needed to learn and grow and that consisted of complete dedication, and countless hours researching, graduate studies, introspection, and practice. When I say practice, I literally mean altering my behavior in personal and professional situations, from everything to how I would dress, to how I would speak to people, to the environments I would force myself to experience.
I worked odd jobs that would test my social comfort zones and full-time professional jobs, on average 60-80 hours a week, and tried anything and everything that came my way. I was basically my own dating coach, life coach, business coach, success coach, leadership coach, you name it. Up to this point, coaching was something I did for myself, not for others.
Part II: Turning Points
I just finished graduate school for the first time and I was very passionate about creating a positive social change in the world through working in health policy. I found a full-time job working for the IDPH, but then they lost funding. I found three other jobs working in policy, which all lost funding. This ended up becoming a two and a half year long process of finding a job, being hired for a job, and then having that job cancelled.
During this time a few important things happened.
1) In a serendipitous like moment when I was out in Chicago one evening I was recruited and hired to run a nation-wide dating coaching program. Eventually this turned into co-founding a coaching company and building a business out of necessity and opportunity.
2) I applied for and received a grant for 6-months of life coaching for public health professionals. Coaching started to influence my life in a variety of ways.
3) While I was working in hospitality to make ends meet I met someone who would eventually get me an interview and then hired for a full-time position working at an acute care hospital. I also never planned or wanted to work in hospital administration.
The professional career path that I was now on wasn’t one that I planned. It also wasn’t one that I truly wanted, but it was what I had at the moment.
Part III: My Eureka Moment
Fast forward, past countless lessons and moments of growth, life coaching programs and leadership development programs, and another four years, being dedicated and busy led me to building a part-time dating and relationship coaching company, and also a position in healthcare working in quality improvement, which made me feel like I was really making a difference. But then two major things happened. I was promoted into an executive level position which was a great career move, but once the dust settled I realized I didn’t really like my job. I didn’t feel it was meaningful. At the same time I realized that the coaching company I was investing in also didn’t feel right. Nothing felt aligned. I was successful professionally but didn’t feel successful personally. Something was off. I had grown tremendously. I was more confident, social, and successful than ever before but I was stuck. I didn’t really feel that I was at the right job or building the right business. I started to withdraw and eventually became a disengaged employee and also started pulling back from investing more in my business. I was going through the motions to get through the day, questioning what I was doing and searching for more.
Then one day when I was walking to my full-time job in healthcare (yes, I could walk to work), I can remember being weighed down by the thought of having to go into a job that I didn’t enjoy. For some reason I can remember glancing at each person that passed me on the sidewalk, and they all seemed to be feeling the same way. Unhappy. Burdened. Resentful. Defeated.
This wasn’t what I wanted. I remember I had dreams for my career and myself. What happened to them? Why was work like this? What was going on? Then it hit me. I realized that I never truly had a chance to pick what I WANTED for myself and career.
I spent too many years of my life dedicated to things that weren’t really benefiting me or where I really found meaning. This led to a lot of over investing, stress, being overworked, and unfulfilled. And ultimately though, the hard truth is, I was responsible for it, I sorta gave up. That bothered me, and I saw the same thing happening to a lot of other people. So I decided to make a change, to lead myself, make a HUGE pivot, and hopefully help others in the end.
Part IV: The Conclusion and New Beginning
It was time I lived a life and worked in a way that was for myself, based on my values and what I truly cared about. I knew I wanted to help people grow past their own limits, to truly lead themselves in a way that mattered, and help them avoid the paths that I decided to take in the past. Now I just needed to make that happen. I started pursuing options at my current employer but they were moving too slow, and my past experiences only qualified me for positions that wouldn’t lead to the lifestyle I wanted. So while still working full-time as a disengaged healthcare executive, pulling out of my current coaching practice and re-branding, working part-time on weekend nights for extra funds, I decided to go back to school to get my doctorate in Organizational Leadership.
I learned how people learned, how leaders were developed, and how to create a curriculum that would encompass both of those areas. Where was this meaning I felt I lost after my promotion? If meaning is an emotion, how can we create an environment to trigger it? How can we create it within ourselves? Also, how can this be a systematic process that works and is sustainable so that I can teach others? And how does this relate to my values, and the career I want to create for myself?
Then I sat back and really questioned everything I learned and experienced and that’s when Live for Yourself (LFY) Consulting, The LIVE system©, and The Three C’s of Self-Leadership© were born. The LIVE system© and The Three C’s of Self-Leadership© are unique programs based on doctoral research in the fields of learning theory, and curriculum and leadership development that will guide clients in cultivating personal and professional fulfillment. I focused on creating a systematic and research based program because I still needed a program that could constantly be applied to my life, because life isn’t constant, things change. Systems that can be used whenever it’s needed is coaching that can literally last a lifetime.
LFY Consulting focuses on guiding intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs that have experienced a level of professional success, but don’t feel successful or fulfilled personally. Our clients are seeking more meaning at work and in life. It is my mission to help others cultivate what took me over 8 years to learn on my own, because all I wanted back then in my darkest moments was someone to help me, someone with any answer at all.
I see parts of my journey in each of my clients, and I can feel what they are going through because I’ve gone through it. Our work in one-on-one coaching sessions through Zoom, part video and audio, along with personalized assignments, and follow-up emails, lead them toward building the skills and life that they deserve. Each day I am grateful for the experiences that have led me to the opportunity to work with people that are struggling with issues that are directly related to my past. I represent that things can change. There is more, and it’s within your grasp.
If you want to learn more about how I can help, please click here to fill out a short questionnaire and sign-up for an informational coaching session.
We will touch base on where you’re at, get to know each other more, see if we are a good fit, and discuss potential programs. I’m looking forward to speaking with you soon, my door is always open.