Life Coaching: knowing what you want

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“Let me briefly explain my situation and objectives: I have been working for more than five years as an engineer, the job I always wanted to do since I was a child. But although I changed companies and finally arrived at the company that had been my objective from the early days of university, I found myself always uncomfortable and unsatisfied, not sure whether this is really what I want to do the whole day.

Now my personal situation all of a sudden has offered me an opportunity to change track, or at least to reflect about how I want to go on. My partner has got a job offer from Berlin and that’s why we’ll move to Germany in January. I would like to catch this opportunity for understanding what I would really like to do in my professional life. By myself, I have thought this through so many times without coming to results. That is why I would be happy if you could assist me on this way.”

The above email was sent to me by someone who was in his thirties. During the session it because clear that he has an enormous talent, but he wasn’t aware of this up until this conversation. From the moment he walked in I was blown away by his voice. A loud, low and deep voice which filled the hallway. I was flabbergasted and grabbed myself together by introducing myself and showing him the way to the practice. In life he was confronted twice with the impact of his voice. When he was 16 his friends told him he had a magnificent voice. When he was a student he wanted to work as a voice-over, but because of his study he didn’t go through with it.

During the session he was going on and on about wanting to have a passion for something so he could earn his money with his passion or talent. I was listening to a man who had been stuck in his career for years. In his words: “I’m young enough to start something new, but what will I do?”

Sing my friend, sing. Or talk, his voice was his answer.

HSP: I think you are quite sensitive

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Today I received a lovely surprise while I was picking up my daughter from primary school. She’s in her first year and has made lots of friends. One girl walked up to me, looked at me with big expecting eyes and her arms were moving from one side to another in a really enthusiastic manner. What she non-verbally communicated to me was what her mom asked me in a verbal way. If my daughter was allowed to go with them by car for a play date. Later this afternoon her husband could drop her off at our home. This time I wasn’t able to speak.

Different thoughts were running through my mind. While I was still not speaking the lady nicely gave me back all the thoughts I was thinking. She knew exactly what I was thinking. Yes, I wanted to check if my daughter still had the energy to go on a play date. And I felt uncomfortable to send her off to people I hadn’t made acquaintance with yet. Moreover, I knew my daughter wouldn’t feel comfortable being brought home by a man she didn’t know. The lady was so nice. Any way around would be fine. She came across like a warm hearted person so I took some time to decide, but finally decided to invite them at our place for lunch.

Even though my daughter looked tired, which made me doubt to go on this play date in the first place, they had lots of fun together. I am happy there was no screaming or fighting. We, the adults, have gotten to know each other in the meantime. My man was cooking up a lunch for us and surprisingly and may I say “coincidentally” this lady doesn’t eat meat, fish or poultry and neither consumes produce of animals. This was exactly the diet my husband changed to two days ago. When she was five years old she decided not to eat meat anymore, because she felt bad for the animals.

Lunch was super. We had a salad of stir-fried brussels sprouts, mushrooms, grated carrot, sundried tomatoes and avocado along with brown rice. As a treat we served dates. Food wise we had a great click. We shared our experiences with food and at some point the conversation changed to high sensitivity. She mentioned that her family is very sensitive to many foods and in a very careful way she shared with us that she thinks we are very sensitive too. I laughed out loud and added to this that, as a coach, I am specialized in coaching highly sensitive people. It turned out we were talking to a mom who educated herself on this topic, because of her highly sensitive children. She has two daughters, the eldest is six years old and the girl who was playing at our place is four years old. Her husband and herself are highly sensitive too.

Last year, after May holidays, they have changed schools. The eldest was attending a Montessori school near their home, but somehow she wasn’t doing well in school. She didn’t feel like picking a game to play with and from the moment they arrived at the building she turned inwards. In short, she wasn’t happy. They have even consulted a child psychologist, but her daughter wouldn’t share her feelings. They were considering the fact that she might have been bullied, but they are not sure. Before changing schools, which was quite a life changing event for the family, they asked this psychologist if it would be wise to change schools even though they don’t know the cause behind their daughters behavior The psychologist responded that the child’s behavior is leading in every decision they make.

So before definitely changing to this school, which is by the way also a Montessori school, the children were able to attend school for one morning. Afterwards the eldest exclaimed that she wanted to attend this school. Even though the school is further away from their home, the mom is glad to have made this change for her children. She suffered sleepless nights, because her daughter wasn’t happy in school. Now the kids are happy, she is finally able to think ahead. One of the steps she will take is to look around for job opportunities.

Coachee: I managed to say at least once “NO!!!”

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Me, the utmost loser.

This time, I know for sure that my coach will call me nothing but a “LOSER”!! Why all that… I was so much sure in the last session that I am a loser in life. No partner, no job, no future prospects, no family, but in a perfect late age to settle. Feeling betrayed for four years of life – just because a problematic highly complicated boyfriend cheated on me. He pretended long enough to be serious about the relationship. Well, to see, how all your friends seem to be happy with long-term partners, getting children, following a career… and you seem to be the only one who is left, who cannot even manage to start a new phase in life, of founding a family, of simply finding the right guy for it – this is hard. So I basically felt like a lost person in this world.

But being called a “loser” by someone else, not myself…? That seems so strange!! Chungmei’s warning was of course not meant that seriously. I just happened to have been so busy during the week before the session that my homework, an internet research about intercultural training agencies, suffered totally. However, those who did not suffer were my friends… I had always time for them. Now, the problem with living in Berlin is, you can practically socialize 24 hours a day. There are so many interesting people and friends out on the street, and even if they are not, there are still your friends on Skype and Facebook, covering the whole planet from India to Montreal.

With this whole-day-socializing-Me, she was right to say “stop” directly into my face. Yes, I do a lot for my friends – but what do I do for myself, she asked. And my coach mentioned that I am too much ready to accept asymmetries in social relations in the sense of giving much more than others do, up to 200 % and even more. That made me feel like a tissue – cheap to get but of superb value!

Unfortunately, this combination of nice & helpful is truly dangerous because it can be exploited too easily. Therefore, she told me clearly that my next task would be – to take care of myself and practicing saying NO…. Means NO to friends when I don’t feel like going out; NO to people appreciating my services too much. How did I perform then? I managed to say at least once “NO!!!” to a friend who wanted to convince me to go out for dinner, in his area of course, which meant a lot of time to travel for me. But I didn’t manage to say “NO!!” to another friend whose nerve got stuck in his back, and barely being able to move, he called me for a helping hand. That’s why I again write my blog reflection in the last moment, deep in the night, like I write most of my applications. At least I am perfect in working up to the deadline!! My life seems so exciting. Like a soap opera, it contains new episodes full of surprising coincidences each week. Only, that besides this episodic stuff rather few things work out for me with a long-term prospect. Luckily, my coach brings up this painful subject again and again. So no chance to escape but just to work on it. Let’s see how my efforts of NOing will work out in the future…

After the session I felt left behind with some serious tasks forcing me to take care just of my own life. I sensed again motivation inside myself. But before anything else, for a while I just sat and enjoyed the warm sunny day. I thought back of the many smiles I exchanged during the coaching session with my so much positive opposite. Chungmei always has one special sentence for me, and hopefully it might even anchor in my mind: “That what you do, Antje – you do it for yourself!!”

Win & Write: What makes you tick?

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What makes you tick? Tell me in <500 words & you’ll get a Free Skypesession! In Dutch or English. Mail it to orchidoflife@gmail.com before Friday 8th of July. Write ‘What makes you tick?’ in the subject line. Mail me your name and skypename. I will give away 3 skypesessions; so 3 lucky writers will be informed by mail before Thursday 14th of July. All stories may be published on http://lifecoachingdenhaag.wordpress.com/ (Dutch) or this blog. #career #ambition #love #dream #life #passion #food #people #nature

If you repeat an action it becomes true or manifest

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When I met Chungmei again for my first session, we hadn’t seen for years. One wonderful day I added her on Facebook and we got in touch again. The timing was a total coincidence, but it was about the right moment. Between us, there was a distance of 1000 kilometers which we covered easily via Skype. When I started to talk to her I quickly got caught by her positive energy, and her very open attitude towards life and the experiences of people.

To me, that felt like a memory of a long gone time. The negative thoughts were never that strong in me as now, as many annoying things had happened in my life. I think everyone feels down at one time or the other. But what if you feel that much down that you slowly start to forget about the positives, and how it feels to feel positively… I feel completely out of control to successfully organize my future, be it in job, career or partnership. That is the situation in which Chungmei has offered her help to me.

I am curious to see what she would do. I know she has a different approach towards helping people. A very positive one. One of the things she mentions very quickly during the talk is the spiral of negative emotions. “If you repeat an action it becomes true or manifest”, she says. And yes, I am aware how often I came back to the same negative thoughts, not helping me to change even a bit of my situation but finally just ending up in complaining about the conditions I am in. My coach listens to me a lot and gives suggestions what to do. I am kind of empty inside, so there should be a huge amount of space to be filled up. What really annoys me is a good question as it can help me to focus on the real cause to get over.

Chungmei suggests that I should emphasize my positive qualities and skills. I even get a homework for doing this! So I am writing down what comes into my mind, all the qualities I can think of! Slowly the paper is filling… I note down my values… fairness, tolerance, harmony… and surely I will forget some of them, or I won’t realize that some values and features of me are a good quality which can be very helpful in my personal or professional life. If I see them clearly they might become even more true. However, I have the strong impression that other people don’t see or realize it. Perhaps Chungmei might give me some idea in what way I can make them clearer to other people. And how better to use them in my life for myself, focusing on it and making me overcome all the hindrances I am facing now…

Did you find peace of mind?

“Did you find peace of mind?”, one of the participants during the training ‘A Fun Filled Life’ given on the 4th of November asked me this question. My answer was a whole heartedly ‘yes’. Yes, I found peace of mind after the birth of our daughter. Her presence brings us (me and my partner) back to the basics of life. I simply can not stress myself, because the attention has swifted from my wishes and ambitions to taking care of her. Of course I do have my ambitions, but I reach for them in a slower, more thoughtful pace. Yes, in other words, with peace of mind!!

And what is your story? Have you found peace of mind?

Backwards blogging

Sometimes I don’t feel like writing at all. Most of the time this is due lack of energy. Sometimes due lack of inspiration. After weeks and weeks of no writing I suddenly have the urge to write about everything. Everything that happened, is happening or is going to happen. Thinking of my blog I was like ‘blogging is what you do on a daily basis’ and not about something which happened weeks ago. This thought gave me the feeling as if was stuck in a jar and I couldn’t get the lid open. Yuk!!

So to get the lid open to grasp for fresh air I invented ‘backwards blogging’ for myself. I just pick a date from my google agenda and think about the things I did on this particular day. What was so extraordinary about this day? Did I learn something? Did I laugh outloud or was I angry as hell?

Today is Wednesday the 15th of December. Thinking back about the 18th of November I remember going to a workshop organized by Giving Back.

The workshop was about how to choose the right education after highschool. Two teachers of ‘de Haagse Hogeschool’ (a Dutch university) were telling about the criteria you need to take into consideration, internet tools which could help in taking the right decision and how it would be like to study at ‘de Haagse Hogeschool’. The information was really interesting. So much has changed within the educational system since I graduated from my Bachelor Communication at the ‘Hogeschool Inholland’ in Rotterdam in 2004. Nowadays students need to know in a very early stage what they would like to study when the’re like 16,17 or 18 years old. Around the age of 14 they choose for a package of subjects which already defines the studies they could choose from when they make the change from highschool to university.

As a consequence I believe that we need to take more time to guide our children to make the right choices. Choices which reflect there qualities.

More photos of my Giving Back activities, click here!