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Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing.

-Helen Keller

Welcome! I’m Joel Readence and I’m a personal development coach dedicated to helping gay men, and others, overcome fear and lead happy, fulfilled and genuine lives. And what exactly does happy, fulfilled and genuine mean? It means unapologetically living your life according to who you are and what you want, plugged into your life purpose and making every day count!

What I believe…

I believe that all gay men can, and should, have genuine, inspired and fulfilling lives. Lives free from the chains of insecurity, the need for external validation and the misguided feelings of self-loathing that many of us in our community grapple with.

So…why do so many gay men feel unsatisfied, unhappy or like something’s missing?

Well…gay men are a unique lot. We spend our childhood feeling different than everybody else…outsiders…even in our own homes. Recognizing our differences and not knowing how to handle them, we become “life contortionists”, bending and molding ourselves into what we think everybody wants us to be. Unfortunately, we often lose sight of who we really are in the process. Our true self gets buried under the multiple personas (nerd, class clown, band geek, mama’s boy, jock, etc.) we take on to elicit approval from the people (parents, teachers, peers) in our young lives. As adults, many of us continue with this circus act (professional overachiever, fashionista, A-Lister socialite, muscle boy etc.) looking for validation and happiness outside of ourselves. If only we had that new car, those cool friends, the attention of that guy in the gym, etc., we would be happier. We would be satisfied. It can be an exhaustive process leaving us with that same empty feeling once the thrill of the latest acquisition wears off and reality sets back in.

Trust me, I know…

Growing up in an Irish Catholic, middle class neighborhood in the Midwest, I know what it’s like to feel like an outsider. My lack of acceptance came from many different sources including an absentee father, ruthless peers and a religious upbringing that told me there was something inherently sinful and shameful with me for simply existing. I spent most of my childhood being made to feel “less than”…constantly ridiculed and unaccepted by my peers, adults and, at times, by my own family. Looking back, I can honestly say I spent a good portion of my childhood and young adult life afraid. Fear is a powerful motivator and it causes us to react in all kinds of irrational and illogical ways. As a result, I spent a good portion of my adult life still trying to find happiness and satisfaction externally. I moved to Manhattan 10 years ago and began the “big city rat race”. I landed a job on Wall Street, went to the cool gay gym, and prided myself on being at the right parties with the right people. And although I felt like I had accomplished some success and happiness in certain areas of my life, those feelings of emptiness and dissatisfaction kept creeping back up.

If any of this sounds familiar…don’t be alarmed. You’re in good company. I have come across countless gay men who resonate with my story…because they have lived similar stories themselves.

My wake up call…

A few short years ago, my best friend, William, committed suicide. His death forced me to recognize my own mortality and question the way in which I was living my life. Losing Will turned me into a different person…and the old manner in which I was living my life didn’t seem to fit any longer. I needed to find a way to take the focus off of a career I had no real passion for, deemphasize the “scene” that I assigned way too much importance to and really figure out, once and for all, what I wanted for myself and out of life.

Where I am now…

Facing my fear head on and taking the time to figure out what I really wanted out of life led to positive changes in my life. I went back to school, started a charity fund, The William Fund, in honor of my lost friend and started my own personal development coaching practice. I’m happier than I’ve ever been before and I created a genuine life based on who I am and what I want.

Now here’s the rub…

If you can relate to my story and you feel there are changes to be made in your life…then you’re going to like what I am going to say next.

You don’t have to live like this any longer. There is a better way. One that will make you happier, healthier and living the genuine life you’ve only dreamed of.

And I can help you…

Whether it’s freeing yourself from the self-doubt and lack of confidence keeping you from being your true self, getting unstuck from a “dead-end job” and identifying a career that makes you feel alive and excited, having more balance in all aspects of your life (spiritual, emotional, mental and physical) or improving your relationship with your partner or boyfriend, the path to your happy life is a personal journey and one I would love to take with you. Through individual and group coaching, I partner with gay men to overcome fear (of failure, of success, of judgment by others, etc.) to help them break down self imposed barriers, reconnect to their true selves, identify their dreams and reach their full, self expressed potential.

Make no mistake…YOU will be the creator of your new and improved life. And I’ll be your guide on this journey helping you figure out next steps and find answers along the way. Remember, every great journey is made up of a series of small steps. If you focus on the small steps, celebrate your achievements along the way and keep your eyes on the road ahead, you can achieve great things!