Recovering addict at peace helping others
With Get Life Coaching, Joe White leads clients to take action on their goals.
Joe White grew up in Sharon Hill, Delaware County, and although his parents were loving and caring, he knew from early on that he was adopted and always felt disconnected. As a youth, he attended parochial school and was picked on. He prayed in vain for a friend. "I knew that God rewarded the good and punished the bad, so I figured I must be bad."
Later in life, he learned the circumstances of his birth. His mother got married at 19. Soon after, her husband deserted her. Returning from the late shift one night, she was gang-raped by five men. That's when White was conceived.
White attended Monsignor Bonner High School and then enrolled at Temple University. In his junior year, a friend of a friend introduced him to fashion photographer Steven Meisel.
Meisel found White's looks intriguing and featured him in a six-page spread in Rolling Stone. White dropped out of Temple and headed for New York City. He continued to pose for Meisel and signed with a modeling agency, but mostly he worked as a busboy, waiter, and VIP concierge at Limelight, a discotheque. It didn't take long for him to begin living "the New York fast life." Drugs were plentiful, and White freely indulged. He became addicted to alcohol, cocaine, and other drugs. One night, he overdosed on cocaine and stopped breathing in the loft of a Colombian drug smuggler. His girlfriend dragged him to the street, where he was revived and rushed to the hospital.
White knew he couldn't go on like this, and blamed New York. So, at age 25, he came back to Delaware County, to a two-room apartment in Lansdowne. He was depressed, taking medication, seeing psychiatrists, and still drinking and taking drugs.
Late one night, in November 1993, while flipping through TV channels, White saw an infomercial for tapes by Tony Robbins, the life coach. White dismissed it as "garbage." But when he saw it a third time, he began to watch. One line stuck: "Your past does not equal your future."
Vowing to quit drinking and taking drugs, he picked an unusual "clean date," St. Patrick's Day, 1994. He has since stayed sober and drug-free, attending 12-step meetings and listening often to the Robbins tapes. In time, he began advising friends, helping them reprogram the way they think. Soon people began seeking him out, and White realized he had a knack for transforming lives.
"I discovered a passion, my calling," he says. "To help people feel better about themselves, to feel more whole and complete."
In 1999, he decided to launch a business. In the basement of his house in Newark, Del., he began with only two clients.
Today, his business, Get Life Coaching, is thriving, and White, 46, has a staff of five, an office in Wilmington, and a training center in Delaware City. Over the last 14 years, through face-to-face coaching, telephone coaching, and seminars, he estimates that he and his colleagues have helped over 13,000 people.
Some of his confidence-building techniques for clients are unorthodox, such as fire-walking, fire-eating, breaking boards and bricks, bending steel bars with the throat, drum circles, and jumping from a plane at 13,500 feet. His philosophy is also unusual.
"I'm a mechanic for people's lives, not a therapist or cheerleader," this exuberant, muscular healer with shaved head and tattoos says. "I'm not a typical life coach in that I don't sit down and help people draft goals. Setting the goals is not the challenge. It's helping people figure out why they're not taking action to achieve their goals. I don't believe in creating a dependency. I want to coach you to coach yourself."
Recently, White gave an intensive three-day seminar about repairing relationships. He emphasized the importance of emotional intimacy, of loving unconditionally, of recognizing that we all harbor a blend of masculine and feminine energy, and that the polarity of these qualities generates sexual chemistry and passion.
Life is too short to be stuck in a lousy transactional relationship based on fear, he declared. Looking back, White says: "Those tapes saved my life. Otherwise, I'd be dead. None of us knows how long we have to live. That's why it's so important to live true and courageous, and especially to love."
For more, see www.getlifecoaching.com or call 302-832-3424.