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Meet Paula Fendley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Paula Fendley.

Hi Paula, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
After 36 years in education, I retired from Houston Independent School District. I knew I wanted to continue working, at least part-time and considered what I loved to do and what my next steps might look like. Working high stress jobs, I had never consistently made time to address my health and wellness and longed for a healthy, vibrant life. I knew I loved helping people fulfill their potential and use their gifts to make an impact. I designed a life for myself integrating all that was important including time for exercise, helping people and fun! I started my own coaching business.

As a transformational life coach, I help people design and live a life that is in harmony with their life’s purpose and personal values. For over 37 years I have worked with adults and teens, helping them build their dreams, accelerate their results, and create richer, more fulfilling lives. I have worked in schools as a teacher, counselor, and principal and have also served individuals and groups in my private counseling practice. I have gained national recognition and numerous awards for my leadership. I offer inspiring workshops to audiences around the country as well as transformational in-depth coaching programs that help my clients achieve new heights of success, meaning, and aliveness.

A loyal Cougar supporter, I obtained my Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees at the University of Houston, Central Campus. I have studied human behavior for as long as I can remember, and throughout my life I have experienced challenges and losses and these events have served as my life’s curriculum. These life-altering experiences have caused me to engage in self-reflection and seek new ways of being. Having studied with Mary Morrissey, Tony Robbins, John Demartini, Wayne Dyer and Gay and Katie Hendricks, I continue to integrate my learning to create a life full of passion, purpose, and joy. I utilize an eclectic approach in my coaching practice and personalize the process for each individual assisting them to create a life they love living.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
As we move into yet another month of 2021, life is still far from normal. Feelings of loss are reverberating around the world, and our collective mental health continues to be threatened. Friends, family members, and traditions are all disappearing en masse, and the daily assault of contradicting information from various news sources is emotionally exhausting. I have experienced loss this devastating before, and it came dangerously close to stealing my joy. I hope my “journey back to joy” will inspire your own, so that you too can continue to grow and heal in the face of loss. At some point in our lives, each of us has dealt with loss. Whether a move, divorce, or the death of a family member, loss can be devastating and confusing. Though the pain associated with loss is inevitable, choosing to make meaning from that pain, however difficult, can be life changing. After my daughter died in a snow skiing accident, I plunged into a place of darkness and despair. I knew I needed help, so I began attending a grief support group for parents who had lost children.

One day, I heard a father say that he would never be happy again but hoped to someday be at peace. The resignation in his words awoke something in me, and it was then that I made a conscious decision to take back control of my life. In that precise moment, I decided to actively confront my depression and hopelessness and begin a journey back to joy. While my daughter’s death was not my choice, I realized that my healing was, and I needed to decide whether to let my soul live or die. It was this recognition that allowed me to begin to create a life of purpose, love, and loads of fun! The Ashley Fendley Foundation, formed immediately following Ashley’s death, has awarded over $100,000 to deserving high school students in the Houston area.

This organization helps keep Ashley’s memory alive in a very meaningful way. Loss, again, is unavoidable. What you can avoid, however, is allowing it to consume your life. In my own journey, I began a new adventure discovering practices and activities that brought me peace and happiness. Self-development workshops, guided visualization, art therapy and yoga all helped me transition to a new way of living with loss, one that gave me hope and inspired me to keep going. Karaoke totally saved my life! Music served to calm my mind, heal my soul and lift me up anytime I needed it. Grief is a never-ending process, but it gets better. With time and a commitment to hard work, the painful moments decrease in strength and proximity. As I worked to tackle limiting beliefs and heal old wounds, I became able to remove obstacles that stood in the way of my own growth and happiness.

Today, I live a vibrant, fulfilling life with close family relationships, special friendships, two adorable fur babies that provide much needed pet therapy, and lots of music. I chose to do the work and to remain committed to my healing, and I am so grateful. Without such choice, I would not be living the joyful life I am today. Losing my daughter was a painful reality. Making meaning of that pain, however, led to new and beautiful dreams. Though not immediately and certainly not without hard work, my daughter’s death woke me up to a new way of living, one in which every moment counted. For me, the journey back to joy is about so much more than being “at peace.” It is about allowing yourself to grow and be happy not in spite of the pain—but inspired by it. Thankfully, I chose to live a life of purpose, love, and fun.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Paula Fendley, Ed.D.
My current coaching practice primarily focuses on career counseling and personal coaching. Since the pandemic hit in March of 2020, I have offered reduced rates and a sliding scale to help individuals affected by the challenging and uncertain times. My personalized coaching and willingness to accommodate financial challenges sets me apart from other coaches. Although I offer some standardized programming, I take a personal interest in all my clients and strive to provide individualized coaching and support.

My core values that guide my practice daily are: I believe in the power and potential of each individual, regardless of their circumstances; I interact with people with love and care;  I live what I teach and stand by my commitments; I believe life is meant to be fun; I grow continually and embrace change. I apply these values in my personal life as well and strive to be the best version of myself in all areas of my life.
I offer several types of coaching programs and adjust the curriculum to meet the needs of each client. In the Career Counseling Package, I utilize the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Strong Interest Inventory, along with other informal assessments, to help people develop a personal profile detailing strengths and personality characteristics. We then work collaboratively in-person or virtually as they design and create a career that inspires them and brings them great joy and fulfillment. I work with high school students, college students, and adults planning to change careers to gain clarity and accelerate a plan of action toward a rewarding profession. The Dream Builder Course is offered as a 12-week program to provide the opportunity for optimal success. Personal coaching is offered alongside an audio-based curriculum and workbook to assist clients in generating a clear vision and purpose for their life. Clients are guided through a proven, reliable, repeatable process to manifest the life of their intentions. For those who have specific needs, my Personalized Coaching Program can be extremely valuable. This program is designed based on the individual’s goals, needs and desired results. Personal coaching takes the client from their current state to a more expanded version of themself. These 1-hour sessions may be conducted virtually or in-person, and the length of coaching will be determined after a strategy session and in-depth assessment. I am honored to work with such a diverse set of fascinating, intelligent individuals and find joy and inspiration through our journey together.

What makes you happy?
First and foremost, I am a helper and truly enjoy being of service to others. My coaching practice affords me the opportunity to provide a structure of support for individuals as they create positive changes in their lives. I thoroughly enjoy my clients and the time we share together. I also find fulfillment through my involvement in community organizations and volunteer opportunities. Spending time with family and friends is another top priority and we often engage in fun adventures and events involving music. I long for the day I can attend live concerts on a regular basis. My favorite day of the week is Wednesday because I get to spend time with my adorable grandson, Hank! Being outdoors and spending time with my fur babies also brings me tremendous joy! Nature and music are natural mood lifters!

Community Involvement

Living a purposeful life is important to me and I enjoy making a positive difference in the community. As president and co-founder of the Ashley Fendley Foundation, I fundraise throughout the year and facilitate the selection process and awarding of college scholarships to deserving high school graduates. The foundation’s goal is to reward kindness and excellence through college scholarships granted to humanitarians and artists. This endeavor provides an opportunity for Ashley’s spirit to live on through others, and our family has been deeply inspired by the incredible scholarship recipients and their dedication and service to their communities.
I am also on the board of Blackwood Educational Land Institute, a non-profit, 33-acre teaching farm that hosts educational programs such as summer camps and field trips. Blackwood aims to remind people of humanity’s intrinsic bond with the land, teaching the interconnectivity of all things and suggesting that great things can happen only when we realize that this interdependence extends to our families and communities.  https://blackwoodland.org/
The Pachamama Alliance  inspired me so much that I sought training to become a symposium leader and share ideas about how we can be caring stewards of our environment. Empowered by our partnership with indigenous people, the Alliance is dedicated to bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on this planet.  https://www.pachamama.org/

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Michael Crawley of Come And Take It Photography.

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