Helping others, helping self


by Joe Sylvester


Christopher Vernon worked as a wine sales rep and as a pharmacy tech. He wrote a self-help memoir.

He's also struggled with his own personal issues and went through therapy. But he always was intrigued with life coaching and decided helping others also would help him.

Now 34, the Scranton resident is launching his life coaching practice.

Below, he answers some questions about how he started and the journey so far.

First of all, explain for the readers what a life coach is.

Well, it is my belief that the term "life coach" is a bit unforgiving in terms of a proper label for this business. People hear life coach and immediately come up with their own assumptions that a coach is going to instruct them what is best for them. So that is the stigma that I personally get most frustrated with. Actually, this field is the complete opposite. A life coach first and foremost listens impartially to what the clients' goals and missions are. We then mentor them with a feasible life-improving action plan to be in complete control of their own future. My sessions are one-on-one and they support personal growth and behavior modification.

Why did you decide to become a life coach?

I was always intrigued by the whole life coach business platform as a whole. I will always endorse working together as opposed to fighting the good fight alone. It's with zero shame I admit I have tried therapy myself in my past, and I have also struggled with my own issues by myself alone. But let's not confuse the two. Therapy and life coaching, while similar in nature, each stand alone and are vastly different animals. I ultimately decided to get my certification to become a qualified coach because helping others in turn helps me. One's goal should always be to evolve and attempt to capitalize on the previous day. Otherwise we become stagnant puddles, and that's not usually healthy.

How do you train for this?

It may sound elementary but training for a life coach career first begins by actually living a life, learning the process organically. Therefore, garnering a few notches of experience in your belt loop is vital. Becoming certified or accredited adds value and trust behind your vision, certainly. There are an estimated 53,300 life coaches worldwide currently active, with roughly 33 percent of that number working in the U.S. alone. It is a growing field as life continuously becomes more complex.

What is the most common obstacle to success or happiness that people seem to face?

The most common obstacle to success or happiness that people seem to face is, without a doubt, themselves. Limiting beliefs is what this whole field is about, and believe me, most of us have them. It is near impossible to make it through this life unscathed, therefore we tend to put up our own walls. It is within these confines and safe spaces that we actually believe our own made up limitations.

Now that is where I come in. I'm the hammer ready start smashing down those walls with you. It is time to start living outside the box. That is where true growth can flourish. See, that is the whole magic of this business. For example, let's say you want to leave your current job because you are tapped out and unhappy. But you have been there for many years and are afraid to move on to something fresh and new. Those feelings of fear are natural, but together we work to uncover the root of why you have grown with your professional unrest, and moving forward we create a clear action plan with the client where I hold them accountable to their said goals. In term, hopefully making them more likely to succeed, as opposed to sitting on the desire alone. There are no limitations within this field, I can work with couples who's love has grown stale, weight loss goals, you name it. There is nothing off the table when working with me.

Are relationships with others a big part of that?

Relationships are a huge factor that come into play in life coaching sessions. The company we keep says so much about our own personal space but serves as a reflection of ourselves. Make no mistake, though, there is no more important relationship you have in your own life than the relationship you hold with yourself. It reveals so very much about who we are in the nitty gritty. People in my personal life have mistaken my self love with something else. It has taken me my entire life to believe in those words "I like myself," and for that I will never apologize. For my life's next chapter, my goal is to want to help other people with their own realizations and be able to say that very same thing. I believe if we don't celebrate and champion our own selves first and foremost, for God's sake, who on earth will?

What is your background?

I grew up in the Pocono Mountains, a Crestwood High School graduate, but the Electric City of Scranton is now where I call my hometown. Previously, I was in wine sales as a rep for Traveling Vineyard. I was also a pharmacy tech at The Prescription Center downtown on Adams Avenue. Additionally, I am an author and just months previous I wrote my debut book, titled "Dancing In A Hurricane." It is a self-help memoir based on my three decades of personal twists and turns.

Just as I have done in my book, the first step is taking a long, hard look in the mirror and calling it out for exactly what it is. That's just what I want my future clients to do in our sessions. Life is flying by all of us at record speed. The time for indecision has passed. I want to help my fellow community uncover the secrets to living a better life, and just as one of our current presidential contenders proclaims, "I've got a plan for that."

Christopher Vernon can be reached at, or on Facebook under the page "Awakenings Life Coaching" to connect with him and learn more.


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