It’s been almost a month since Taylor Swift released her newest album, Midnights. I binge-listened to it repeatedly on a drive back to FL from NC after visiting my family there, and as I was listening the second time through, I started thinking, “why does this feel like I’m listening to months’ worth of work with clients in an album?”

I think part of the reason this album grabbed people the way it did is how deeply personal Swift gets. I found myself hearing the lyrics and thinking, “oh my gosh, me too” so many times. For me, the line “Sometimes I feel like everybody is a sexy baby, and I’m a monster on the hill” in “Anti-Hero” really struck me because I spent a lot of my youth feeling that way (if you read my last blog post, this makes more sense). Around the time I started to become very aware of my body was also the time my height really began to make me stand out (no pun intended). I often felt like a towering monster in a crowd of small, cute girls. And this isn’t the only lyric that grabbed me: “He wanted a bride, I was making my own name”, “Everything you lose is a step you take”, and “Didn’t notice you walking all over my peace of mind in the shoes I gave you as a present. Putting someone first only works when you’re in their top five” to name a few. I’m sure there were quite a few lines in the album that made y’all feel the same way.

So, what the heck does this have to do with coaching? Well, a lot actually.

Taylor Swift is very open about her insecurities and flaws in the album. The coaching process asks that level of awareness from anyone who goes through it.

People often tell me that some coaching sessions feel like therapy. And while coaching is definitely NOT therapy (and shouldn’t be treated that way), there is a serious level of self-awareness that is part of the process. You do have to be open about your vulnerabilities, strengths, and behavior patterns in order to understand how to make the changes you’d like to see. Building habits involves a level of deconstruction and un-learning as much as it does learning new things. The way Taylor deconstructs herself throughout the album and takes us through lessons she’s learned in her life really made me feel like I was going through several months’ of client work in one sitting. The highs of gaining confidence, the lows of failure, the struggle of acknowledging things you don’t do well, and the strength and power you gain from confronting it all – it’s all there.

Swift acknowledges quite a few ways she self-sabotages in Midnights, and in the change process this is something that must be confronted.

Ooooo this is a tough one for people to acknowledge at times, but self-sabotage plays a big role in coaching and behavior change. Swift calls her self-sabotaging tendencies out a lot throughout the whole album, but “Anti-Hero” is probably the most notable example. She calls herself out for being “the problem”, and it’s a mix of insecurity and acknowledging a level of self-sabotage in her life. In the coaching process, this is something everyone must balance – where are you self-sabotaging and what’s not in your control. One of the most common examples of self-sabotage is when you’re having a day (or week) where you aren’t hitting your goals perfectly and so you just say “F it, I’ll just pick it back up next week”. There’s no reason to do that – you can course correct at any time without going off the rails, and an “imperfect” week with a few wins is way better than just throwing in the towel. However, for some reason, we often opt to throw in the towel instead. It’s learning to fight against this sabotage that can really help you move forward.

Specifically, in “You’re on Your Own, Kid”, Swift describes a list of things she thought would “fix” her, but ultimately comes to the realization that this list of external things isn’t it.

This song has quickly become one of my favorites on the album because I relate to it SO much – and it’s something I see people work through in coaching all the time. Many people come to coaching because they want to make a change that is generally related to something they are insecure about. By the end of the coaching process, many people realize, however, that releasing insecurities doesn’t always come from physical changes. Most often, it’s from an internal shift. It’s from realizing that all of the things you thought would make you more confident may make you feel a little better, but confidence is not external – it’s internal. It isn’t specifically weight loss, or nailing your gym routine, or crushing your race, or quitting smoking, or knocking out a big professional milestone. It’s the way all of these little successes accumulate to make you see that you have what it takes.

I’ll close this newsletter with the lyrics she uses to close the song:


Everything you lose is a step you take

So make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it

You’ve got no reason to be afraid

You’re on your own, kid

Yeah, you can face this

You’re on your own, kid

You always have been


You have no reason to be afraid, feel down on yourself, or feel less than. You’ve always had everything you need within yourself.

And I’m here rooting for you!