About Nick Redmark
This is the story of how I became (or am going to become) a meaning-centered coach.
From self-development to the desire to help
I have two life-defining passions: psychology and software enginering. My life has been an attempt to integrate these two interests.
Back in 2009, right after high school, I wasn't sure whether to study psychology or computer science. I went for the latter. During my studies I kept reading books about burning spiritual questions, doing self- and social experiments (my friends could tell you). I decided during the second year that I wanted to take my time: I had some sorting to do.
I went to therapy. I worked on overcoming my anxieties around women and the negative image of masculinity imprinted in my childhood (my parents divorced when I was 3, my oldest memory). I pushed my fears again and again. I started to get the hang of it. I wanted to know more. I read books about psychology and self-help and watched hours and hours of talks and lectures about psychology. I learned about the science of self discipline, positive psychology, happiness and mindfulness. Friends asked me for advice. I felt the desire to help other people.
"There must be a way to integrate these two interests, to use my web engineerings skills in the service of human psychological wellbeing." I thought.
In 2015, a year before I got my MSc in Computer Science, I met a psychology student, and together we started building a fully-fledged online program to overcome social anxiety. It was based on science and took one step by step through what was basically an online therapy. It was interactive and adaptive, there was theory, there were challenges and exercises, enough to occupy one for 12 weeks, 5 minutes a day. It was a monumental task, and after 2 years of part-time work it was done. But we were done too. We had lost interest and not even started marketing the product. Even after all that time we weren't convinced about certain aspects of the product. And most importantly: we had 0 clients. Needless to say I learned a lot along the way. Lesson number one: having clients beats having the perfect product every time.
The road to meaning
In early 2016, I wasn't sure whether to give up, ramp up my day job and start a perfectly respectable and profitable career as a a web engineer (not least thanks to the skills acquired with my venture).
Then, Canadian professor of psychology Jordan Peterson rose to popularity. It took my life by storm. His approach to psychology was unique and fascinating. It was affecting thousands of people. There was something there. I had to investigate it. I started reading his recommended books, writing and talking about them. I watched hours of online recordings of his lectures at the University of Toronto. I started programming again, this time a platform for people who wanted to sort their lives out based on Peterson's advice. I had conversations and shared challenges with other people whose life had been affected by Peterson. I felt part of a community. My life had a new direction.
Over the months I started to zero in on Peterson's core message. Peterson often said how suffering is the one thing we can't deny. And then one day he made the remark that meaning was possibly deeper than suffering, because it was able to transcend it. And finally I got it: "Yes, that's it. Meaning is the thing. We need to find a way to help people find meaning. There is nothing more important than that. There is nothing that's better than that."
The road to coaching
I still didn't know exactly how to make a living from this newfound insight. At the beginning of 2018 I finally understood that I had a bad case of déformation professionelle. All this time I had had a hammer and had been looking for nails. Computer science has the immense power to amplify things and make them more efficient. What I always missed was a concrete starting point. My projects had always been somewhat detached from reality. I needed to get my hands dirty and actually start helping people. Personally. On a one-to-one basis. Only then would I see, maybe after months or years of practice, how, if at all, one could make this service more powerful with engineering. I enrolled for a coaching education.
And this is where I'm at right now. While I'm training as a coach, I'm developing a meaning-centered coaching system. I'm going to provide this service for free until I believe it is good enough and enough people are interested.