Basic Info

Laura Young
Contributor Status:
Native AdVantage
Initial Contribution Date:
Primary Location:
Chicago, IL, USA

Career Info

Primary Industry:
Coaching / Training, Health, Wellness and Fitness
Personal Career Headline:
Business Description (One-Liner):


More Career Details:
Experience Timeline:
21-30 years of work experience

My Native AdVert

Career Snapshot:

Laura Young, is a human kaleidoscope of native talents who is too old to pretend otherwise at this point. With PhD training from the University of Notre Dame, she has twenty years’ experience working as a therapist and personal/business coach, having worked with business owners, coaching industry leaders and higher level administrators in Fortune 500 companies. Recently she took a sabbatical to devote herself to caregiving and is now returning, older, wiser and funnier to her coaching practice. Her site, No Safe Distance, sports the tagline, “Coaching for when shit gets real”, aimed at those who are living and/or working “in the trenches”. In addition to coaching, Laura is a photographer, blogger and animal welfare advocate who can also crochet a pretty mean scarf while carrying on intelligent conversations about the Chicago Blackhawks and quoting lines from Tombstone.

What Else To Know

Tell Us More:

How will you become the best?

That is a funny question to me because there is no endpoint of ‘bestness’ to be reached. As long as you don’t let fear run your life and make all your decisions for you, you will continue to evolve. And the natural course of evolution is toward betterment. Thriving in whatever circumstances an organism finds itself in is THE goal of evolution. And THAT is inherent. It’s not like amoebas and frogs and chimpanzees all sit around thinking about how they are going to make their species evolve and map out plans for it and hold species project management meetings about it. It’s not a decision, it’s a life process.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I plan and map out my life continually with a stack of journals and worn out pens to prove it. However, I do it all knowing that with every step I take, new experiences may lead me to uncover more of my own native intelligence and gifts which could then alter my working life plan.

I used to think changing my course was a sign that I was inconsistent but I can see that the same themes have run through my life since childhood. I have the same passions I always did. The same native gifts still come to the fore, no matter what I do, but may express themselves in new ways. It’s like life is a diamond with many facets. I love exploring those facets but I’m also very aware that they are all part of the same whole. It’s all very integrated. I no longer worry about trying to appear to be ‘this’ or ‘that’ just so people can categorize me more comfortably. And in that, you can see the influences of those who came before me as I discussed above.

What fascinates you?

The capacity of animals to forgive. Their resilience when given the chance to heal from trauma. After I came out of my season of caregiving, I had a number of issues to deal with…selling my childhood home, caring for a dog I inherited that later went blind, and just trying to figure out how to relate to the world again after so much loss. My slate was wiped very clean but I hadn’t yet been able to digest everything I had been through so I didn’t feel ready to step back into my coaching practice. I took the opportunity to start volunteering at our local animal shelter, thinking I would maybe walk a couple cute shih tzus one afternoon a week.

The next thing you know, I am running their social media, walking dogs, cleaning cat cages, bring dogs home, taking over as shelter photographer. I discovered that I take excellent guinea pig photos so if anyone tells you that you can’t uncover new talents in your 50’s, it simply isn’t true.

So, I guess the moral of the story is you can take a sabbatical from everything except being yourself. I always jump in with both feet and I’m always a coach. It’s who I am and I’ve finally learned to embrace it.

Well, you can’t get that deep into a shelter and not meet a lot of dogs that have hit hard times and it is pretty common knowledge that pit bulls have it the hardest. But having met many, I never cease to be amazed at their capacity for joy and affection. As far as domestic pets goes, they have, as a breed, seen some of the worst behavior our species is capable of and yet their capacity to bond with and trust people is so evident to anyone who has spent time with them. It’s astonishing and humbling.

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