Friday, July 13, 2012

Are You Looking At Yourself (and Your Love Life) Clearly?...An Interview With Life Coach, Marnie Nir

Marnie Nir of the Handel Group chats with us about her journey to becoming a life coach, commonly asked questions about relationships and what advice she normally tells the women (and men!) who ask them.  This is a great interview for anyone who is struggling with dating, but hesitant if life coaching would ever help.  Marnie offers a great piece of advice which is that if you are having problems in life- it is your fault. I think her "no-excuses, no bullshit" approach is not only fantastic, but eye-opening. (Aside from this interview today, Marnie wrote for us recently: be sure to read "Can't Find Love? Here's Why?" if you haven't already.)

Sarah Davis: What is a life coach?!(For all of our readers who don't know!) 
Marnie Nir: At Handel, a life coach is someone who gets hired to help people uncover, admit, unravel their dreams and get them into the right actions to realize them. Most people mainly listen to negative voices in their head, which we call the “chicken” and the “brat,” instead of dreaming, making promises and keeping them. People get caught up in these other voices. Our method, Personal Integrity®, realigns a person to their dream. Basically, we help people honor their word to themselves, so they can fight the real war: inner peace. The learned skill of honoring your word helps people fight where they normally sell out, excuse and feel bad, so they will fulfill whatever they get brave enough to say they want in their life. And then some ...

SD: How did you get started in the field? 
MN: About ten years ago or so (wow), after I had maternity left Manhattan, I got to thinking, oh sh-t, is this it? I always knew (in theory) I was a lot like my mother, but after I became a mother and moved to the ‘burbs, the evidence was amassing quickly and I was not completely happy filling out the "occupation" question in doctors' offices and having to write "mother." I knew I wanted a career, but I had no idea what I wanted to do; I only knew for sure what I DIDN'T want to do. Then my sister, Lauren Zander (co-founder & chairman of the Handel Group®), started coaching me. She made me write a thorough list of my career interests and then start digging. The one I came up with that felt so far fetched at the time (read: chicken) was a columnist. I thought being a mother was too effing funny not to document it, and I didn't think anyone on TV or in my ‘hood was aptly representing me. I made many mistakes, couldn't believe Elvis Costello loving me was now singing Barney tunes, and that so much of it was too ironic not to cop to in print. So I declared myself a columnist and not long after, I had a column in two local papers on motherhood as I experienced it. From then on, not only did I owe my sister (ha), but as she worked her magic on me, I saw I could go do the same with other people, fellow chickens, if you will. And voila. Several years later, I became a coach for the Handel Group's Life Coaching arm.

SD: I read somewhere that you are a life coach who deals mostly with women and singles. My main question is: is dating as big of a deal for men as it is for women?   
MN: I have both men and women clients. However, I think more women are willing to ask for help than men in this area. But I think finding love, sustaining love (and an erection!) forever is equally a big deal for both. Thus, the divorce and cheating rate. Right?

SD: Okay, let's jump into some questions about relationships. Should dating be fun? How can you keep a relationship fun?  
MN: I think dating should be fun. Personally, I think dating is like shopping or even, like building your own man/woman. It is like finding THE one right house that is so “you.” And, even if during the “shopping” process, you realize this particular “house” isn’t your “home,” you can also see what was close about that one, helping you to keep defining YOUR perfect “home.” Ooh, I want him/her to have those eyelashes, that twinkle, be that happy about his/her career, be loving towards his mother, have that butt, that caring-ness. You get the point. I think you have to make dating a much better sport than most have it right now. What if the sport of dating was proving love is easy, magical and for you? Most people are not busy proving that; they believe it’s difficult and therefore are proving it’s difficult. They believe there is some sort of drought out there, and not noticing that declaring it “difficult” just sneakily excuses dating losers or not dating at all, right?  

How to keep a relationship fun?  Keep designing it. Asking for what you want. Be bold. Speak up. Design who should be in charge of what: If you are better in the romance department, take charge of that. If he cares more about sex than you do, have him in charge of that. You get the drift. Keep being yourself, speaking your truth, not making up anything without asking.

SD: What would you say to someone who insists that all men are bad or someone who insists that they are "broken"/unable to love?
MN: Is this "BS?” (haha!) I think many people have many, many bullshit based theories about men, women, love, marriage, dating, etc. If you have a theory that all men are bad, there are so many things that theory then allots you. You can date shmucks. Not date at all. Keep picking bad men and thinking it's them and not the picker (you!) People are so addicted to their theories and don't know it. The bummer is they’d so much rather prove their theories than disprove them, even if it means being alone. 'Cause, truth is, your theories are designed to keep you "safe" and also, well, truth be told, who the heck likes to be thirty years wrong? I think you are who you say. No? So, for example, if I say "I'm not a morning person," ain't that just a doctor's note for sleeping in or being a jerk in the morning? I'm not saying that some people don't have deep work to do or unresolved issues, many do. But the ones who just stamp themselves “broken” and don't have any desire to unbreak themselves, are the ones you shouldn't date.

SD: Why do you think women care so much? 
MN: I think many women deeply want the whole package. Love. Romance. Trust. Family. And why shouldn't they.  

SD: What is the biggest mistake you see women making with dating or relationships?  
MN: Selling out on their dreams. Stepping over red flags and trying to convince themselves it's okay not to ask everything, say anything and not have to give up on what's important to them for fear that there isn't better around the corner. Some sort of BS about a boat they missed (and invented!) which just isn't so. 

SD: This is probably one of the biggest topics that women need help with (in my opinion): can we change a man?  
MN: First, you'd have to be convinced he's worth the work, because if there is NO drought, then make sure you aren't truly doing the old square peg round hole bit. Then if he's sooooo, great but for this one issue, then I think you'd also have to make sure the man is open to being changed. You'd have to ask. He'd have to agree. But you'd have to be that open as well. It works both ways. 

SD: For example: If a guy tells us something like he never plans on having children, should we listen to that, or is there hope that he will change? 
MN: I think if it's your dream to have children and you are with a man who is saying “no way” and “never,” then, truth is, he's not your man. Your man wants kids. I think, and maybe this is a generalization, if you hang around with a man who doesn't want kids and you say you do, I would question whether YOU really do. Sometimes, we hide behind or blame another so we get to look brave and not have to deal with our own fears.

SD: If you were to go through a list of important things to remember when finding a match, what would be on this list?
MN: Write up your dream. See what's on that list, what deeply matters to you and stick to it. If you want kids, find a man or woman who wants kids. If you want a sweet person who honors family, seek that, but also, in the meantime, make sure you honor your own family. If you want a fit, healthy person who eats well, great, eat well yourself and get your tush to the gym, too. I guess that's also the point: be the person you want to date. Because (even more) truth be told, you are not going to date out of your own league, so make sure you are in the league you want to be in. 

SD: I read a great article by you on the Huff Post where you explain that all of your problems are your fault (i.e. YOUr problems.) Can you just go through this and how it pertains to dating?  
MN: Like I said above, you are whom you date. And by that I mean you attract and date according to your theories. I promise. If you go through your history of relationships, you will see from that long (or short) list, evidence of your theories on love, on you, on marriage, on the opposite sex, on sex itself. It's all in there. Once you start seeing what you’ve been busy proving, it's not that all men are x y and z, it’s just that you have a theory that all men are x y and z, and you have been dating accordingly. If you had a theory that love is great, magical, and easy, would you have dated any of those? If you have a theory that men cheat, and you date cheaters, then is it really that all men cheat, or you like and attract the cheating kind? One of my favorite theories back in my dating days was: men don't appreciate me. They just don't get how special I am. (Shut up). Guess what kind of man I dated? The one who thought I was great? Nah, those, magically, I was not attracted to. I called those friends. The ones I wanted to jump were the ones who needed prodding to go out with me. So, who do you think really had the issue with appreciation? Do you think if I thought myself special that I would date or tolerate a man who didn't? You see how this was sneaky of me? You should all be equally as suspicious of yourselves.

SD: Do you think it's good or bad to make dating mistakes? (Should we spend so much time beating ourselves up or should we just embrace that we've learned a few things along the way and move on?) 
MN: I think we are here on earth to learn. I think we are even here to evolve (more than just upgrade) our own parents' love lineage. I think if you could always translate a date into a great lesson, wouldn't that rock? A richer context for dating would be if you started to view it as constant lessons for you, as the world giving you the perfect lessons. And no, sorry, great lessons don't sound like, “see you shouldn't date,” “see you shouldn't have told him your truth,” “see you should have played the games better,” or that you should have read several more books, or pretended you didn’t want kids when you do; NO, those are not the lessons. I think possibly the greatest lesson I teach people is that you cannot blow it with your man. If it blows up, he wasn't your man. How is your man blowupable? By the very nature of him being your “one,” your “one” gets you, likes you and isn’t a “no” to you. So stop thinking that a "no" was supposed to be a "yes;” it's not even remotely possible. And, yes, it’s sneaky of you to think otherwise.

Visit Marnie's personal blog at:
or connect with HG Life Coaching:

1 comment:

  1. This company is shady. Steer clear. The other sister Lauren Zander is having an affiar with Mark Hyman while her husband stays home and watches their kids.


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