"All my life, I thought my happiness and
well-being had everything to do
what I do, what I have, or with people in my life.
Boy, was I wrong!
But, I'm so glad I was."
I divide my life into two stages: Pre-2011 and post-2011. And, that’s because 2011 turned out to be the most significant and life-changing period in my life. I want to tell you a little bit more about that so you can get a better idea about who I am, what I do and why I do it.
So, pre-2011 I was pursuing my academic career. I was doing my Ph.D. and I was teaching. It was through this experience, that I discovered I was both a natural teacher and a coach, but I would have never thought I'd become a coach myself, one day. I lived in beautiful Scotland. I traveled around the world, and I was even learning to fly a helicopter! (I got to the point when I was able to fly solo and very close to completing my final exams. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to finish the course, so I never got the license. But for what it’s worth, I can fly R22 and R44, in case you were wondering).
On the outside, my life looked great! On the inside, not so much. And, in my mind, there were quite a few reasons why. At the time, I believed that my happiness and my well-being depended on what I did, what I had (or didn’t have), or had something to do with people in my life. In fact, I didn’t see it as a belief. To me, it was a fact. It was how life worked! So, I thought that I had to change my circumstances, get rid of my perceived problems, or change myself in order to feel happier and at peace. Or, reach for self-help books, and seek the answers there. I wasn’t really into self-help books then because (at least in academic circles) they were considered to be “pseudo-psychology for the masses”, and because of that, they were not worth the attention.
But being the rebel that I am, I purchased one of those books! I was going on holiday and I wanted to take some books with me. The book that popped up on my Amazon page was called “You Can Have What You Want” and it was written by Michael Neill. It was December 2010. Little did I know that the very book I’d normally ignore would mark the beginning of a whole new chapter in my life and a massive change in the way I viewed my life and myself.
A couple a months later I was on the phone to Michael talking about his apprenticeship program! Michael (in case you didn’t know) is a world-renowned Transformative Coach and a best-selling Hay House author. Soon after that, I became Michael’s apprentice. I was coached by him and, later on, I studied to become a Transformative Coach myself. I decided to finish my Ph.D., but I was not going to pursue my academic career afterward.
Transformative coaching changed my life. It wasn’t a quick fix that generated a change that would last for a month or two. Because the change came from within, the effects have never gone away. I was no longer feeling like a victim of life, and have not blamed people, problems or circumstances for how I feel, ever since. Which, means that I have been able to experience more peace and well-being than I ever thought was possible. These are only some reasons why it is called Transformative Coaching. I forgot to mention that, in the meantime, I completed my doctorate and became a Doctor of Sociology.
This is why 2011 was so significant! But, it wasn’t the only reason, because in December of the same year I was fortunate enough to join Richard Branson and a bunch of entrepreneurs on a trip to South Africa, organized by Virgin Unite. This experience was special for several reasons. I dreamt of meeting Richard Branson from the age of 14. But, I would keep it to myself. Because being a young girl from a small town, the chances of this ever happening were as likely as my chances of ever flying to Mars! I am not exaggerating one bit! So, I didn’t share it with anyone because I didn’t want to be ridiculed, and allow others to “kill” my dream! I didn’t plan it. I didn’t visualize it. I didn’t pursue it. It was a series of events that led to that moment, and I still cannot believe it happened, in particular, when I recall myself as the young girl dreaming about it. What I learned and observed in the few days, being around and talking to Richard Branson, was invaluable and unforgettable and, I will share it with you at some point in my blog.
But what turned that trip into a life-changing experience was having the opportunity to spend time with people who screw business as usual! Which happens to be the title of Richard’s book. And, we were fortunate to attend its launch in Johannesburg. To hear how they do it and why they do it was incredibly inspiring. I learned that business can go hand in hand with a deeper purpose, and makes a difference in the world! I witnessed the difference Virgin Unite makes in other people’s lives. We got to spend time at Branson’s Centre of Entrepreneurship where we mentored young entrepreneurs. In the meantime, we drunk wine. We danced and went on safaris. I even got to sing, which is what I do by default, after a few glasses of wine. Which, thankfully, doesn’t happen too often!
For the first time in my life, I experienced what it felt like to be among people lit up by their passion and their desire to make the world a better place, and from that moment on I began my new quest! I wanted to explore how and where I could make a difference, myself.
My quest led me to quite a few discoveries.
When I decided to stop pursuing my academic career, it felt as if I gave up on one of my greatest passions - education. Somewhere in between, it occurred to me that perhaps it was possible to combine both - my passion for education and my passion for coaching. I remember thinking how awesome and how valuable it would be, if “coaching” was available to college and university students! So, I embarked on my own research. I wanted to find out what was being done (in those institutions) to help students figure out what they want, help them discover their interests, passions, and talents, or teach them how to navigate through their feelings and emotions, and life itself.
The short answer to my research questions: not much! But, not much isn’t the same as nothing. My very research allowed me to discover amazing people who either encourage or who actually introduced this kind of education where they’re at. Sir Ken Robinson, author of the book “Find Your Element” (and many others), Lara Galinsky, author of the book “Work on Purpose”, Prof William Damon of Stanford University, and author of the book “Path To Purpose”, Bill Burnett, and Dave Evans, also Stanford professors and authors of the book “Designing Your Life” - these are the people who I learned from the most and had the privilege to converse with some of them too (if you visit my blog, you will find links to those conversations there). But, it was the conversation with Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, that ultimately inspired me to create my own course for college and university students, and so far I got to teach it twice - at Imperial College London and at FTP University, in Hanoi, Vietnam.
I already knew what an impact Transformative Coaching has on people’s lives, not just because of my work but the work of other Transformative Coaches! It is a community that continues to grow, and more and more psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists become Transformative Coaches too! But, for some reason, it really “clicked” when I received the feedback from the students on my workshops. It blew me away! And, in that very moment, I knew what I wanted to do next. I decided to write a book and focus my entire work on teaching it’s content and sharing it with anyone who wants to experience more well-being and who is looking for a true transformation in their lives.
So, my book “How To Make Sure Your Life Doesn’t Suck: A Different Kind Of Guide To Navigating The Ups And Downs Of Life” will be available soon, and it is my greatest wish that you find in it a chapter or maybe even a sentence that will resonate with you on a deeper level, and in that way you will see yourself and your life with fresh new eyes, and discover that you are capable of experiencing well-being regardless of where your currently at, and regardless of your circumstances, “good” or “bad”.