Yes I can!

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DECISIONS, DECISIONS Life coach Tim Kincaid helps with those needed a-ha moments when gay men can’t figure things out on their own. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

The Gay Coaches Alliance isn’t what it sounds like — members like Tim Kincaid just want to make gay men more fabulous

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

When I first heard of the Gay Coaches Alliance, my mind flashed back to my high school coach’s gloriously thick thighs in tight grey Bike shorts. Man, those were some nice thighs. Alas, this groups isn’t a GSA for queer whistle-wearers. None of these coaches were going to improve my running time. Rather, GCA is an organization of life coaches that want to get gay men on the path to a better self.

And local coach Tim Kincaid had his sights set on me.

First I had to figure out if I needed coaching. I’m pretty relaxed about everything around me. When the office is insane, the boyfriend’s in a mood and the traffic won’t let up, I can Zen myself into a chill zone. I have freakouts, but mostly, I’m good.

Then I discovered that’s not what gay coaching is about; it may even be holding me back. Chill isn’t bad, but it doesn’t put me in motion.

Prior to our laser session (translation: a roughly 20-minute abbreviated rap), Kincaid sent me the Wheel of Life exercise in which I rate key segments of life like career, relationships and personal growth from one to ten on a pie diagram. Then I connect the dots to see how un-round my wheel is. Even cavemen would’ve thought mine was a hot mess.

“That’s not unusual,” Kincaid says. “Let’s take a look at some of these.”

We discussed safe ones like “physical environment” and “career.” I didn’t want to get into specifics about my “erotic fulfillment” or “significant other/romance” channels in just a few minutes. That stuff is too juicy and will wait for my memoirs.

The idea behind coaching works to help people build stronger lives through deep listening, compassion and empathy. Ultimately, the client (here, me) comes with his or her own answers.

“We help them think through situations by asking powerful questions,” Kincaid says. “Coaching is more present- and future-oriented with a bias for action.”

As it turns out, my bias for action involves clearing out the dining room and looking for advice on a potential side business. After moving into the boyfriend’s house, I’ve wanted to make my stamp on the place. My ingrained laziness at moving heavy things and unpacking forgotten boxes is my biggest opponent. Only no longer!  Thanks, Tim Kincaid!

“Part of coaching is to deep dive into your values and see what makes you tick,” he says. “If that value isn’t being honored, we have to get to what will resonate with who you are.”

To make me accountable, he finally asked if I’ll do it. I learned that when a coach asks something, a simple “yes” or “no” suffices, but with a nay comes a counteroffer and I did not have time for that. I mean, Project Runway is back on.

Thus, by Labor Day, that room will be (notice I didn’t say should) edited down to the necessities before making a den out of it. As for the side business, he assigned me to contact a peer I knew in the field to pick their brain and get some basic advice. That was done by the end of the day. Score! Man, progress felt good.

Kincaid discovered his passions have altered over the years. He dreamed of working for American Airlines, which he did for 16 years. At 50, that changed. He took an early retirement package, earned his doctorate, received coach training and now he makes lives better — or gives them direction rather. Although the focus of him and the GCA is geared toward gay men, he’s not opposed to expanding his services to the other letters of the LGBT communities.

“The alliance figured there were a lot of gay men who needed a coach to get past unquestioned beliefs or things told to them by culture and society,” he says. “I would love to see other groups form and coach all people in the community. This is just the starting point.”

I told Kincaid I felt guilty for wanting more since dreams of mine have come true. He told me something I never considered.

“Just dream some more,” he says.

That’s some good Oprah-stuff right there.

For more information, visit KincaidCoaching.com or TheGayCoaches.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

LSR Journal: It’s a lot more than just pedaling

Suzy Smith Team Sabre Flyers
Suzy Smith Team Sabre Flyers

In March of 2008, a friend asked me to join her in riding Tour Dallas, a 30-mile bike rally in and around the Dallas area.

It was my first time on a bike since I owned a pristine pink Huffy as a child, and I was more than just a little intimidated that chilly morning as we headed out of the AAC parking lot with thousands of other riders.

Crazy, maybe, but I convinced myself that riding a bike was just like … well, riding a bike.

Ask anyone that knows me for a description, and a sort of theme always seems to appear.

I am stubborn, determined, and “a little” competitive, and it shows in my work and hobbies.

I began marathon training simply by putting one foot in front of the other, and ran countless miles and several marathons.

Although I’d never been particularly athletic, I found strength in running, seeing the sun and my shadow, and training to reach a goal.

By the time I’d pedaled to the end of the Tour Dallas route, I’d not only fallen in love with cycling, but established a new challenge for myself — I would train for the Hotter than Hell 100, held in Wichita Falls at the end of every scorching Texas summer.

With that goal in mind, I clipped into the pedals of my Trek, started pedaling, and never stopped.

On the best days, cycling is my meditation. With the familiar sound of “clipping in,”  I find mental clarity in pushing my body. I know every inch of the concrete and asphalt around White Rock Lake and delight in the summer heat and breeze coming off the water.

On the worst days, when my legs feel like jelly and even kids with training wheels pass me by, I believe that Beyonce and Lady Gaga on the iPod can be considered a performance-enhancing drug.

In just more than two years of riding, cycling has become such a part of my life that even my vacations include a bike rack and a route map.

I own more bike shorts than jeans, have tan lines that never fade and my friends all roll their eyes at my persistent Facebook posts about cycling.

This year, I will be participating in my third Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, riding two days and 180 miles across the Metroplex with the singular goal of improving the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS.

The Lone Star Ride stands out among all the cycling events in which I participate, and I find it the most motivating and meaningful.

The route of the two-day course is as challenging as any you’ll find in North Texas, but the ample support of crew members — whether directing traffic from motorcycles, refilling Gatorade or providing a much needed laugh — truly makes the LSR experience unique.

When I roll out this September with two hundred plus riders and as many crew members, it will be to make a difference as an athlete, an activist and an educator.

I ride for those who cannot, for those who the AIDS Outreach Center, Resource Center Dallas and AIDS Services Dallas provide much needed support, and to reduce discrimination directed towards people with HIV and AIDS.

I ride for a future of the Lone Star Ride in which, not hundreds, but thousands of cyclists work together to raise awareness and funds.

For two days this fall, I ride because “riding a bike” is a far greater event than just pedaling. Won’t you join me?

Suzy Smith is a member of Team Sabre Flyers. Donate to her online at LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 20, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens