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Tools to weather the gales of life

Solon’s Dan Kramer wants to help people find their way
Solon life coach Dan Kramer has developed his own program for helping others through difficult decisions in their lives. “Be the Authentic You and Enrich Your Life Now” helps teach individuals how to captain their own ship through the journey that is life. (contributed photo)

I’m an includer, who values input and individualization.
I gained this insight after taking a strength finder assessment, one of my homework assignments while working with life coach Dan Kramer. Kramer, of Solon, has been guiding clients through some of life’s most difficult transitions for about 10 years. He offered to let me go through his newly-developed program in exchange for offering my insights, real-time critique, and a write-up to let others know how the Dan Kramer Life Coach experience might help them.
It began with identifying some fundamental truths about my personality, natural traits and innate talents. In the world of life coaching, personality assessments are often a starting point to understanding why we feel the things we feel and react the way we do to life’s sticky wickets.
Turns out, I hesitate to make big decisions without asking others for their opinions.
Before the test, I would have sworn I was more independent than that, since I admire those who are imaginative and original… the kind of people you want on your team for party games or at professional workshops when creativity scores the most points. I value freedom and spontaneity and art, and enjoy opportunities that invite thinking– and behaving– outside the box.
Alas, my own strengths lie more in the realm of calculated risk and careful planning. I will find your outside-the-box ideas poignant and worthy of deep introspection before considering a number of possible actions. Purposeful, organized and detail-oriented, I require planning ahead, making a Plan B, and then Plan C for contingencies. I may have a goal in mind, but must first lay out every step before the journey even begins.
I begrudgingly found the results of my strength test were spot-on, as were the results of the other tools Dan used to help me identify the core of my personality. Dan’s other survey-style assessments helped pinpoint the values and talents that would be useful in moving me toward my ultimate goal: determining a possible new career path as I enter the second half of my lifetime.
Career changes are increasingly common in modern times. A recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows the average baby boomer held an average of 11.3 jobs between the ages 18 and 46. On average, the BLS also indicates, people change jobs about every five years. So it’s not unusual for me to have gone from a 17-year career in education to a 10-year position as a news editor and still think there might be yet another chapter to my occupation saga.
Dan’s charge was to help me navigate that exploration. Or, more precisely as part of the Dan Kramer program– “Be the Authentic You and Enrich Your Life Now”– teach me how to captain my own ship through the journey that is life.
Life coaches weave a lot of metaphors into their programs. Metaphors help us put intangible concepts– ethereal things like purpose, passion and authenticity– into human terms we can actually grasp. Would you rather be floating on a sea of uncertainty, tossed about by unexpected storms with no compass, or do you want a map showing your desired destination, be armed with tools to weather the gales, and take control of the vessel that will carry you there? (See how that works?)
Catchy metaphors, personality color wheels and strength-finding surveys aside, the instruments a life coach uses are secondary to the exercises the coach and client will do over the course of their work together that can actually help put the past in perspective, articulate goals for the future, identify potential obstacles and develop strategies for overcoming them while moving forward in a way that aligns with one’s skills, values and dreams.
It’s a very, very tall order, but if anybody feels up to the task, Dan Kramer certainly does.
For starters, Dan’s enthusiasm knows no bounds.
“The treasure I believe we are all part of is that of being fully present. It’s the idea that whatever my role is in life, I’m showing up and being the best I can be,” said Dan. “Wherever we are at today, how are we going to make life a ‘wow’ kind of experience?”
Second, Dan has a goal of helping others embrace time for the precious, irreplaceable resource it is.
He came by that realization himself through personal experience. Dan grew up in a household of 12 children, and in 2011, lost one of this brothers and a close friend suddenly.
His personal losses and well-established Christian faith guided Dan to the life coaching profession. After much introspection about passing from this existence into eternity, his biggest concern was bringing with him a lifetime of regrets.
“Whatever days, weeks, months or years we have left, how are we going to make a positive difference in that time? We all know time is going to go forward and not backward. We have to go from the present into the future. You can stay where you’ve been and not make any changes, or you can be open minded to making the changes that get you on the course you want to be on.”
Further, Dan has made a goal to help others create lives without regret.
“I want to inspire and motivate people to be everything they can be,” said Kramer. “The challenge is to live a balanced, meaningful and fulfilled life, rather than a life of chaos, and being more proactive than reactive.”
Over the course of 10 years, he has developed and re-developed his life coach program to assist people going through major life events– divorce, loss of a loved one, retirement, employment changes, for example– to not just weather the storm, but to look it in the eye, be truthful with themselves in order to gain real insight, and emerge on the other side with reinforced strength, sound goals and renewed commitment to a brighter future.
“This program is about learning the lessons of yesterday’s decisions, and then moving forward, getting connected to the authentic you, and capitalize on the amount of time you have to be alive. It’s really about living a life of passion and purpose. When I put that all together, it’s about creating a life plan package,” Dan said.
He works one-on-one with individuals, and is available for speaking engagements and seminars.
“In the world of coaching, it’s more of an action type of work, to help you clarify and identify where you are currently, where you’ve been in the past and where you want to be in the future,” Dan said. “That’s the exciting part about looking at the bigger picture, rather than just a snapshot, and how it can make a difference in our lives and the lives of those we love. It’s about making sustainable change.”
As a life coach, Dan is not able to change the past, bestow sudden strength or alter a fundamental personality, but he can certainly point you toward the future, help find and fix the chinks in your boat, and push you off with a new set of tools to navigate rough waters.
“I think we can live a life of more joy and happiness and have a more exciting journey if we plan as much as reasonably possible, be wiser and make better choices so we are living a more balanced life,” said Dan. “My job is to help people get there.”