Brooke Rothman is a Brooklyn-based brand and life strategist who helps clients identify their strengths to achieve results. Rothman helps them uncover the stories behind their business and purpose that help them navigate the challenges they face. Her specialty is building a brand and/or life design based on a solid foundation where clients know what motivates them and how to set themselves apart. Being an authentic brand to the marketplace and living a life with authenticity comes down to knowing and expressing one's truth. For those looking for clarity on either, Brooke is the coach to help tackle both.
What was your journey towards becoming a coach?
I’ve known since I was very young that I’ve wanted to help people and that I had a gift for writing and expressing myself creatively. After college, I went through numerous careers and pursuits in an attempt to get back to the same clarity, power and confidence I had as a young child when I used to dance around the house and write songs about love and longing simply because I wanted to write. I jumped around so much because I thought that if I could just find the right job, role, boss, client … I’d be happy again. But it didn’t happen like that.
The pursuit of happiness is such a lie in my opinion. But I didn’t know that when I was in my 20’s. I didn’t know that happiness is actually within all of us. We have the power to create our own happiness and no person and no thing can do that for you. Not a boss, not a job, not a partner, not your parents … it’s you. It’s your birthright to be happy and to share yourself powerfully with the world. I didn’t discover that on my own though. Everything I’ve ever done and every person that has touched my life taught me that.
After college I worked as a professional actress in Miami Beach. I was young. I didn’t understand that fulfilling and sustainable success takes time. In less than a year, I had several agents and I was going on auditions a lot. Even though I had started to see some success and was cast in an international soap opera and a few regional commercials, it wasn’t enough.
I was very insecure. I used to go on auditions all the time with tall, gorgeous models. Rather than thinking, “Wow maybe I’m beautiful too,” I used to negatively compare myself to them. I wanted to be 5’10” and super skinny like they were. I wanted to be perfect. I thought being those things would mean I was truly special.
For some reason, I got it in my head that moving to Los Angeles or New York made sense and there would be more opportunities for a “non-model” in those places. I wanted to act in film and TV, so I chose LA.
You can read more about my LA experience on my about page, but essentially I completely lost sight of everything that mattered while I lived in Los Angeles. The insecurity I had begun to feel in Miami Beach only increased.
Eventually I hit my breaking point and left Los Angeles for New York City. Hitting the proverbial rock bottom actually positively shook up my world in the sense that it started the process that would bring me back to myself. I started to remember what I loved. I started writing again. Most importantly, I started to really love myself, for everything I am and everything I am not. And that has made all the difference.
How do you see yourself as unique in the coaching market?
First, I’m unique because I’m me, just as you are unique because you are you. We both have our own story, purpose and mission. My story is painful and windy but it’s also full of joy and discovery.
My purpose is to help connect people back to their Lifeforce, that spirit and energy that resides within all of us and pushes us towards greatness. That same Lifeforce is the thing that also connects us to other people with similar desires. It connected me to you and for that I am grateful. I’m sure you have felt that too in your own life from time to time. All of a sudden someone shows up and impacts your world. That’s the Lifeforce at play.
My mission is to inspire and empower people to uncover and share their stories with the world, personally and professionally. It takes a certain level of vulnerability to do that, to share who you are deeply, and there is nothing I love more than watching someone look fear and uncertainty in the face and move forward anyway. I truly believe we are all connected in our stories and our stories are always full of resilience and courage.
Also, I bring pragmatism to my work. That’s the strategist in me. A vision is great and clarity is vital but then you need to have a basic understanding of what are you going to do to make your dream a reality. You have to do the work and most people are quite lazy. I know I am. I want things to drop into my lap. But it really doesn’t work that way. You have to do the work to see an impact, which is what we all want right? We want the reassurance that we matter and that we are important. So clarity, a basic plan and the willingness to do the work are vital. But no matter how enlightened, confident and secure you become, you will still have days when you feel down and disconnected. That’s what it is to be human. As human beings we need people, friends, family or coaches to push us and remind us why doing the work is a necessity. With the right combination of brain and heart support, we allow each other to shine.
Lastly, at this time I offer life coaching and also brand and business coaching. This allows me to work with clients on many aspects of their growth and development and to teach them the same foundational tools I have used with my corporate clients over the past six years. That may change as I grow and evolve my business but for now this is how I’ve designed my offerings. You can choose to work with me to build your life, your brand or both.
Tell me more about your Life Strategy program?
Right now I offer two “Life Focused” programs and two “Brand Focused” programs. I do recommend that most people start with the life focused programs because they set the basis for everything and will automatically alter your brand and business. Break Through Your Blocks Clinic is designed to literally help you break through all of the obstacles that are currently standing in the way of you getting what you want. Now let me clarify that when I say what you want, I mean what you really want. Because people think they want a certain car, outfit, job, boyfriend or whatever, but that’s not what they really want. They want the feeling they think those things give them—confidence, love, importance … So I train people to dig deeper into their desires and uncover the truth. In addition to personal sessions on phone, on Skype or in person, I also have them complete thought provoking homework exercises to ramp up the discovery process.
It doesn’t happen overnight. But we start to see movement almost right away because when someone learns to speak their truth, their whole life starts to transform. It’s pretty magical. Then with that newfound clarity and focus, they take important action steps towards creating what they want. I set up the action plans with my clients and provide ongoing accountability. We talk through everything and adjust accordingly as we go along.
I created my other life focused program, The Story of You, because of the mission I described earlier, to empower people to own their stories and share them with the world, but also because of personal confusion around the question, “What’s Your Story?” Does anyone ever know how to answer this in an interview, or on a first date or whatever? It may be one of the most awkward questions of all time.
So I thought, what if I flipped that question on its head. What if I trained people to answer that question authentically and with authority? What if the answer to that question was so powerful it could change lives? That’s how The Story of You was born.
Through The Story of You, I help people get crystal clear about their past and to see how their “failures” are just as important, if not more important, as their victories. We solidify their unique story up to this point—up to right now. Then we get to work brainstorming their future—the story they have yet to write. This vision gets turned into a blueprint, which lays the foundation for a personal and powerful narrative they will live out in the future. It’s a guide that helps them take focused action towards building the projects, careers, relationships etc. that will forever alter their lives. This process is hugely revealing, full of possibility and inspiring because it helps people get clear about what they really want their story to be and to avoid a victim mentality. Other people don’t tell you how your life will go. You get to say how it goes because you are the creator of your story and your life. So this program gives you the power to write the story of your life as if it were the end of your life. Except it’s not the end of your life and your story is just beginning.
How is your Brand Clinic 101 different?
I took the aspects of my work as a strategist that I love the most and that I believe have the greatest impact for brands then created a program from that. There are certain foundational tools all brands and business should learn and implement because these tools provide focus and create the lens through which future endeavors and marketing materials are created. By the end of the program, my clients are clear on their brand’s purpose, vision and mission, target, personality, position, message and story. These are the things that, when crafted correctly, allow for emotional connection and sustainable success.
I also offer brand audits for those who want an extra eye on their strategy plans and marketing materials.
Long-term, what is your vision for the coaching you want to offer?
My approach has always been to share my stories courageously with the hope that other people will connect with and be inspired by what I share and then tap into their own stories and share through whatever medium they desire. So I will continue to write, speak and teach here in NYC and beyond.
Eventually I will hold a mastermind, which will center largely on courage. I have a very clear vision of a group of like-minded people brought together to support each other, take risks and do the things they’ve always want to do but haven’t because of fear. I’ve started to bring groups of people together to talk about courage and fear and I have to tell you, it’s fascinating. I’ve heard stories that included near death experiences, travels across the world with no money and no plan, and businesses started in the midst of the recession where failure was possible and probable. What I learned was this: We are ALL courageous. We have all done things in life that have frightened us to the core. However, most of us don’t acknowledge the times we've tackled adversity and even less of us talk about it. We forget we have this courageous capacity within us and we give in to the voice in our head that tells us that what we want to say or do is too much of a risk.
I’m also developing a video series with a partner who also happens to be a strategist and coach in the beginning stages of building a business. The series will provide glimpses into our growth, and hopefully some of our clients’ growth, both personally and professionally. We want to show that life coaching goes beyond the gloss, that it’s not just this superficial, shiny trend but rather that coaching is a really important, worthwhile gift people who want to transform their lives can give themselves. It’s not about fixing something that is wrong with you. It’s about getting what you want so that you can give back and make an impact in the world.
I loved your Elephant Journal article on ending friendships, do you have any coaching suggestions for others who have experienced the same?
Thank you! That was a difficult article to write because I still miss those women. I remember shedding quite a few tears as I wrote it. My fear of loss is perhaps my greatest fear along with uncertainty and death, which of course are included in loss, and that’s what that article was really about. I have experienced quite a bit of loss, death and uncertainty in my life. In high school, a friend of mine killed himself. Right after college, my close friend, and probably my first real love, died in a freak accident. This happened about two weeks after my first grandmother passed away. I understand now how much those events completely altered my life and my perspective on the world. I was really sad for a very long time.
I’m still learning how to deal with loss and I realize that my anger and sadness around this stems from a very valid sense of powerlessness. We cannot control other people leaving our lives. We cannot control death. This is very difficult for most of us to accept. When you’re young, you don’t think your friends will go away. But they do.
The truth is our lives are completely uncertain. We have no idea what will happen from day to day. Even if you have a blueprint for your life, which I highly recommend and help people create, you have to understand that it’s not all going to go down like that. That’s why it’s so important to cultivate the ability to love yourself and to be OK when you are alone—for an hour, a day or for longer periods of time. Because someone or something can be a physical part of your life one day and then be gone the next. You are and will always be the only constant in your life. Aspects of you may change as you grow and evolve but you, the real you, will always be there.
What's next for your practice in 2014? Anything we can look forward to?
Yes! It’s exciting to speak to you at this point because I’m really just getting started. Last summer I created the vision for my business, got a website up and wrote a 65 page eBook in less than 3 months. I know a lot of people spend months or even years planning before they launch, but I didn’t do it that way. At the time, it was important to me to take action and get something up. Now I’m learning and refining. It’s scary and also really exciting.
Currently, I offer 1:1 coaching sessions via phone, Skype, or in person in New York City. Later this year I’ll be working on an online course. People will be able to purchase and complete the course at their convenience with the option of adding 1:1 training to their program.
I’ll also be incorporating video into my website and articles. I think this is important because your personality can only be expressed so much in writing and static images.
Are there any events you are hosting so people can experience your style? If so, do you have details you can share?
Yes! I’m creating a workshop here in NYC that will essentially be a mini version of The Story of You program. I’m working on solidifying the agenda and locking down a space, but it will most likely happen the end of June and then as an ongoing workshop. I’ve created a mailing list (click here to sign-up) for anyone who might be interested in attending or receiving more information about it. Once the logistics are set, I’ll send them an email with a discount as a thank you for being patient.
I’m also talking with some of my friends and colleagues about hosting conference calls and webinars together. So I would look out for those starting late summer/early fall and I’ll send out those details to my community (join here now) as I iron them out.
Brooke Rothman is a brand strategist and personal development coach who helps budding entrepreneurs, recent graduates, creative artists and wholehearted businesses find their true power and purpose. She empowers her clients with tools to own their story and share it powerfully with the world. Brooke recently launched her first eBook, Really Learn to Love Your Life, which you can download for free on her website.