We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Release of Awesome Wellness Content for an Update on Something Really Important…

Well Important to Dave Hellman, Health Coach anyway.

Executive Summary

This post is about events leading up to, during and immediately following the last on-site module of Duke Integrative Health Coach Professional Training. Duke IHCPT.

Website Disaster Averted and You Can Too

In an early post on setting up a coaching business, I discussed my ongoing plans for improving the L4 website. I am only “OK” with its current state so I’m updating my web development skills so I can make the changes I want. The week before heading to my last on-site health coach class, I was playing around with a caching plugin for WordPress as a way to improve my sites response time. Immediately after installing the plug-in (WP Super Cache) my site went blank; white browser of death blank. Even the dashboard became inaccessible so I couldn’t remove the plugin to get back to the previous state.

I started playing around directly with the WordPress config files to see if that would work and in the process accidentally deleted a crap load of critical files. Fortunately, I had a backup of the entire site and database. Unfortunately, restoring the site with said backup would take Davey “the n00b” H hours of error and frustration getting things right.

oDesk to the rescue! I knew about oDesk from a previous life. It is a marketplace that matches freelancers with whatever work you need done. Within 20 minutes of posting my site restore problem, I found someone willing to take on the task immediately. He had good references and his rates were reasonable. He got it restored in far less time than it would take me and the potential opportunity cost if I did it myself would be higher than what I paid.

Lessons Confirmed

  1. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I’m not ashamed to admit my site traffic doesn’t really merit concerns about performance. Site traffic isn’t my concern now, content is.  So I really shouldn’t be wasting my time with caching right now.
  2. Use a backup plugin to secure your content and database. I use BackWPup. It requires technical skills to restore the site, but it’s free. There are turnkey services that cost money. Do the risk benefit calculation.
  3. Don’t try to do everything yourself. At this stage of the business, I want to conserve as much cash as possible. But if someone can get the job done in less time and at a cost that is less than how I value my time, that person gets the job.

 On a Sad Note

Then, right before leaving for class, we had to to put my best four legged friend to sleep. She was fourteen years old and ailing. She was sweet, patient, and low maintenance. My office mate her entire life. We miss you Lucie.

Lucie - She Was A Good Dog
Lucie – She Was A Good Dog

On Site at Duke

The last week of training at Duke was bittersweet. Monday was the night of the NCAA Men’s Final. What a great experience to be in Durham then and watch the “home team” victory at a prototypical college bar alongside two coaching classmates/friends.

The last week of class was primarily focused on practical matters; setting up the business, working within health systems, ethics, etc. We got some time for more coaching practice. It is amazing to see how much our coaching skills have grown since week one.

On the last day, we graduated. We did a closing circle exercise in which we each are expected to pontificate on the week and our future. Of course, me being the stoic that I am, blubbered and rambled incoherently as if I was on a plane watching that emotional departure scene from the Transformers movie (come on guys, you all know you cried!)

 Meanwhile, At Davey H 1.0…

…the proverbial “poo” hit the fan. I got a call on Thursday morning while still at Duke. The company leadership assigned me a dirty, nasty, ugly hellish task. It meant some late nights while still in class, a weekend full of work, and many unpleasant meetings all week. In the end I felt like all three characters from the “Cleaner” scene in Point of No Return. I never did mind about the little things 😕 .


But the Good News is That I’m Home…

…and my anniversary with Mrs. Hellman was here. Now if any couple can be Spock-like in their practicality and honeymoon romantic at the same time, it’s us. On anniversary day we did the usual day job stuff, went to a fabulous meal out and nested at home. We’ll try to make up for not having a true celebration sometime this weekend. We did not do ourselves justice.

And the Other Good News is …

…my classmates really seem to be getting traction in spinning up their own practices. One friend, who is an RN, had an interview this week and was offered a coaching job on the spot for more money than he makes as a nurse. Do you know how astounding that is? Better hours, better pay, less stress, and likely better outcomes for patients/clients. I am very proud.

Another classmate made a cold call to her local newspaper and they want to do a story on our emerging field with her as the centerpiece. No this isn’t some big city paper but it ain’t Mayberry either. It’s a city big enough to host brackets of the NCAA.

And speaking of the NCAA, both of these classmates were the same people who watched the Duke victory with yours truly. Coincidence? I think not!

As For Davey H 2.0

I made some progress in the 2.0 health coach plan too despite the extreme amount of hand holding v1.0 needed. Also competing for time is some other high stress personal business that includes endless time on hold accompanied by reassurances of the importance of my call.

But back to good news. I’ve continued to work with my own GOQii supplied coach as part of the testing I am doing and she is keeping me on track with my business setup to-do list. I’ve transferred my paper based list to an excel spreadsheet that is tracking tasks by difficulty, time required, priority, category, and time on the list. Unfortunately creating that spreadsheet was not on the to do list.

I am making decent traction with an “entity to be named later” that may  open a door of coaching opportunities to my entire Duke cohort.

Finally, I’ve been asked to guest blog on a site about health coaching and technology and am just getting that process started. I’ve aimed to put up about 1½ posts per week on this blog but will cut back a little as I get my act together for the short-term guest gig.


Reviewing this post, I’m feeling good about being able to keep “it” together in the face of turmoil. Much of this is due to the mindfulness practice I’ve taken up since the beginning of the year. Mindfulness practice is a very personal thing that we all experience differently. I’ll do a brief post on the wellness aspects of it in the future and how and why even the most time-constrained cynic should adopt a practice. If you’re not investing the time in a mindfulness practice, you’re actually wasting time. To paraphrase the Dalai Lama, “I have such a busy day I will have to meditate for two hours instead of the usual one.’

And since you were probably expecting the Caddyshack Dalai Lama reference instead, here you go.

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