Leading Parallel Lives: Are A Mother & Daughter Really Walking on Different Paths?

 

FOF Diane Danvers Simmons helps women embrace new chapters in their lives by using three guiding principles: Own your Power, Feel your Spirit, & Live your Life the way you choose, with Wit and Wisdom. She wrote this essay four years ago, upon realizing that she and her 17-year-old daughter weren’t traveling on paths quite so different as we generally think.

She’s in the last stage of puberty; I’m menopausal.
She’s experiencing the throes of first love;
I’ve been thrown by love. She’s finding herself; I’m rediscovering myself. Two perspectives, one special relationship, and, to top it all, she’s stealing my
clothes, shoes, and jewelry.

The differences and similarities are uncanny, and more than enough to test any good woman on either end of the spectrum. While she’s bent over in pain, hugging a hot water bottle and sobbing over her cracked baby eggcup, I’m pulling off my clothes, stepping into a cold shower and weeping over the heel she just broke on my new red stilettos.

Tissues, self-help books, exercise, journals, chick flicks, wine and chocolate are all imperative at this time for both of us, and that’s just the starter kit. Round two: meditation and yoga, both of us lying on our backs with our legs in the air, to get the blood back into our brains, calm the nerves, and give us a whole new perspective on any situation. A cup of tea helps to seal the euphoric moment.

Both of us are coping with a set of new dynamics as women. I’ve had to own up to my choices, respect that she’s becoming a young woman, and she’s now more than just my daughter. She’s learning to respect me as a woman with feelings, desires and dreams, too. Both of us are stepping into uncharted territory, even if my stilettos are more worn out than hers!

She looks to the stars and thinks, “The world is my oyster.” Meanwhile, I’m thinking, ‘Enough of the oyster, now where’s the damn pearl?’ The truth is, I have a treasure chest of pearls, glistening with wisdom, many of which I will pass on to her. But the true beauty of living life now lies in the fact that there are so many more pearls waiting for both of us to discover!

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{Giveaway} 15 Minutes That Could Change Your Life

Maybe you are uneasy about your marriage, or your job, but afraid to face it. So you’ve done nothing and your anxiety just keeps intensifying.

Enter Catharine Ecton, certified life coach, who wants to help you in just 15 minutes. She’s offering powerful (and complimentary) mini-sessions to 20 people. She’ll challenge you with new ideas and action plans to spark positive change in your life.

If you think a session is right for you, send Catharine an email to catharineectoncoaching@gmail.com to sign up!

Meet Coach Carla Beach

Carla Beach

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.
—Pablo Picasso

Tell us about your background.

I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but I’ve also lived on the East Coast, in Central Texas, San Diego and currently in Los Angeles. I’m a wife of 30+ years, mother of three beautiful, grown daughters and proud grandmother of two.

Prior to becoming a coach, I spent 20 years creating dynamic change in the world as a community activist. I addressed issues ranging from environmental protection and public education to teen/youth development, usually taking a leadership role in community or non-profit organizations. I was especially active in forging partnerships between non-profits, local government agencies, churches and businesses to create positive impacts for the communities in which I’ve lived.

What brought you to coaching?

It was a life-changing event that gave me the psychic push that turned me toward coaching. My husband was diagnosed with cancer in early 2008. While I had toyed with the idea of becoming a coach for a few years, this shocking news somehow gave me an imperative to pursue this course. That spring I began my training with Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and immediately continued with their Certification process. By June of the following year I completed my written and oral exams and received my CPCC Certificate.

Over the course of that year and a half my husband recovered from his bout with cancer. However, the irony of the situation was not lost on me when exactly one year after my husband’s diagnosis—as I was mid-way through my Certification training—I, too, was diagnosed with cancer. I finished my last course of chemo just days before my Certification “finals.”

So how do all of those events connect and what are the lessons learned for me? I guess I have a deep “in the bones” understanding of how impactful coaching can be in a person’s life. An essential part of training to become a coach includes being coached yourself; and I had coaching every step of the way through some very dark times. I understand that a coach cannot fix the unfixable, but can be there to witness, support, challenge, encourage, comfort, communicate and celebrate any event—from the most mundane to the terribly tragic. And there’s great value in that.

Are there any particular life experiences which inform your coaching?

Besides the health challenges that I’ve mentioned above, I would have to include all the moves I’ve made as an adult, many of them trans-continental. I’ve helped my daughters through unthinkable transitions—leaving friends behind and struggling to find their places in unfamiliar territory. I’ve learned how to “create community” in each new place that we’ve lived, and how a new perspective can have a positive impact on a place. I think I’ve also learned that no matter how dark the night, there is always a sunrise coming soon and that we gain strength by allowing ourselves to bathe in that new light. All of those lessons are reflected in the manner in which I coach.

I believe we all have had a Lady Godiva in our lives—someone who championed us when we needed it most.

What is your mission as a coach?

My mission is to help my clients:

  • Tap into their courage when they take the leap to make their dreams come true
  • Move fearlessly toward their goals
  • Create clarity around the issues and challenges they face
  • Summon their strength when they stumble
  • Celebrate the successes they achieve

What kind of client do you most enjoy working with?

I enjoy clients who are working toward a dream and willing to take on challenges.

Sometimes that dream is just out of range of their vision—they know it’s there but they just haven’t quite figured out what it is yet. The process of discovery—discerning what is really important and what can be let go of—is exciting to watch.

Sometimes people get stuck in a life situation that they know isn’t working for them, but they haven’t quite figured out how to make a change. It’s that point when they decide that they are ready to leap—but need a little help to take the first step… That’s when I love to coach.

I understand that change doesn’t really happen in one big leap. It’s a process of baby steps that moves us from one place to another. As a coach, I can offer perspective on that process. At the moment when a client thinks they’ve hit a wall and they are never going to achieve their dreams is when I can remind them of all those baby steps that they’ve already taken, and how far they’ve already come. So a moment of frustration can become one of celebration and renewal.

Tell us about your workshops and presentations.

I have developed an inspirational workshop for women entitled The REAL Lady Godiva™. It begins with the life and legend of the 11th century Saxon noblewoman.

As the story goes, the people of Coventry were suffering under the excessive taxes imposed by Lady Godiva’s husband, the Earl of Coventry. She took pity on them, and appealed again and again to her husband to lighten their burden. As with many husbands, he grew tired of her requests, and said he would grant what she asked only if she would strip naked and ride through the town. Of course, she did exactly that. She put her bare bottom on a horse and rode through the marketplace for the benefit of others. The result was that the Earl did abolish the taxes and the impact on the townspeople was profound.

I believe we all have had a Lady Godiva in our lives—someone who championed us when we needed it most. I know I have!

The workshop takes participants on a journey of remembrance and discovery where they reconnect with the powerful influences in their lives. It is an expedition of envisioning a future where they are using their natural gifts, strengths and skills to create positive change in their world. It is brainstorming and action planning to propel them from awareness into activity. And finally, it is a homecoming to the present with a deeper understanding of the legacies we all receive and pass on to others.

Another way to describe this process is The REAL Lady Godiva Principle™:

  • Recognize the person who impacted your life
  • Envision how gratitude for that gift will impact the world
  • Activate your vision
  • Leave a legacy

The workshop is appropriate for groups sized from 15 to 150 participants. It can be presented as a half-day activity (e.g. for an organizational annual meeting) or a full-day retreat—or just about anything in between. The REAL Lady Godiva™ Workshop is an unforgettable event.

Where and how often do you meet with your clients?

I coach by phone or by Skype. The exact arrangements are flexible depending on the clients’ needs and the compatibility of our schedules.

Additionally, I offer complimentary initial consultations.

What is the most important thing a new client should know about you as their coach?

I bring a wealth of life experience to the table when I coach; however, I know that I have not walked in your shoes. Your life is uniquely yours, and as your coach I focus only on what is important to you. I am willing to walk with you on your journey. I consider it an honor to share your confidences and I am humbled by the trust you place in me.

Meet Coach Sue Bock

Sue Bock

Tell us about your background.

I’ve been enjoying my nursing career for the past 20 years, sharing my knowledge, compassion and sense of humor with my patients. My passion for life motivates me to impart my gifts of empathy and courage to others and, as a breast cancer survivor. I have a unique perspective into the vulnerability of life. My experience also has made me love travel adventures, which help me appreciate the differences and similarities among us.

Are or have you been married and what’s your view on marriage?

I was married for 15 years but we parted ways when I discovered he no longer loved me. It was a huge challenge for me. My divorce left me broken emotionally, and then the experience allowed me to put myself back together in a much more authentic and full form. Married now to the love of my life, I know that my journey to get here has made me a better wife and partner. I love being married!

Being married to whom you love means you put your whole heart into the relationship. It binds you to that person in ways you never thought possible. In a healthy marriage you have a partner and friend you collaborate with on common goals. There is love, support, and laughter!

What brought you to coaching?

I had everything I ever wanted, but I felt there was something missing, so I decided to see a coach. The experience was quite different from therapy. It gave me a sense of purpose, confidence and peace. People started telling me I was “different,” but they couldn’t put their finger on it. My coach encouraged me to take a coaching course and I fell in love with it.

I help women re-group, empower themselves and breathe a sigh of relief when peace enters their lives.

What is your mission as a coach?

Life transitions are a challenge for all of us. It can be especially challenging for women, given all the changes in our lives. Kids are leaving home; ailing parents add time in doctor offices. Our kids who are home keep us busier than ever, and all the while work is requiring more and more of our time. Work-life balance disappears from the radar. I help women re-group, empower themselves and breathe a sigh of relief when peace enters their lives.

What famous women do you most admire?

To name a few: Oprah, Brene Brown, Hilary Clinton, Madelyn Albright and Kate Middleton. I admire their strength of character, vulnerability, intelligence and leadership.

How do women most sabotage themselves?

We’re excellent at over analyzing, feeling we’re not good enough, and then try to over compensate for it. I did this all the time, until I found coaching.

What kind of client do you most enjoy?

I enjoy working with clients who are ready for change, searching for change, yearning for change, and know that what they’ve been doing isn’t working anymore. They want answers and are ready to do what it takes to get them.

Where and how often do you meet with your clients?

Almost all of my coaching is done via phone or Skype with great clients around the world. We generally meet for three 40 to 50 minute sessions per month. Our typical coaching sessions are conversations about living courageously, discovering who you want to be, and learning how to use the tools available to get there.

Tell us about your workshops and presentations.

I discovered that I love to speak and conduct workshops. I currently work with two other women in what we call the “Women in Transition Team.” We conduct events that help women see who they are, use that knowledge to brand themselves, and then learn how to show up authentically with style.

What is the most important thing a new client should know about you as their coach?

A client should know that I love her. I stand by her side to support her through rough patches in her current life transition and to help her arrive at a place of peace of mind and happiness.

Being human makes us vulnerable, but also brings us community. When clients feel they share things with others, their sense of hopelessness ebbs. I have the ability to listen and hear past their pain, without trivializing it, and to offer ways for them to manage the process and remain accountable. It makes my heart soar!

Meet Dr. Phil Brown

Dr. Phil Brown

Age: 64

Tell us a bit about your background.

I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, along the front range of the Rocky Mountains in full view of Pikes Peak. I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in history and systems management, a Doctorate of Management, and I am a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from the Coaches Training Institute and certified as an Associate Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation.

I was a pilot most of my career and am now retired from the Air Force. My two daughters and their families live close by so we see each other frequently. I am a travel junkie, and enjoy golf and riding my Harley through the mountains.

Are or have you been married and what’s your view on marriage?

I have been married to my one true love since 1971 and she is the most intelligent, compassionate, and interesting person I’ve ever known. It helps to be married to someone who is your friend and partner in love to get you through the joys and hard work of being a couple, partners, parents and grandparents. I think that marriage is a personal decision for two people that may work in extraordinary fashion or may not work and needs to be appraised.

As many women search for being all things to everyone and helping others all the time, they focus less on themselves as individuals.

What brought you to coaching?

My doctoral studies and dissertation led the way for me to research and deep dive into coaching. Following graduation my dissertation committee urged me to continue my studies and attain certification as an executive, leadership, and personal coach. It made sense for me to pursue coaching since I enjoy the messiness of human contact and I discovered it makes a difference in people’s lives and pursuits.

What is your mission as a coach?

I am a lighthouse that illuminates paths and possibilities in partnership with fascinating people. I enjoy seeing someone’s eyes brighten during those aha moments and assisting with the hard work it takes to get there.

Are there any particular life experiences that inform your coaching?

My marriage, my children, and my grandchildren continually open my eyes to the art of the possible. Plus, my time in the Air Force flying jets, training new pilots, and flying in combat have all shaped and inform who I am and my approach. The doctoral journey and coaching certification process were both transformational and informative.

What famous women do you most admire?

I admire women with intellect and drive, including Golda Meir, Eleanor Roosevelt, Marie Curie, Florence Nightingale, Sally Ride, Cher, and Katharine Hepburn. It would be a treat to listen to this group, sitting around a table and talking from their hearts and minds.

How do women most sabotage themselves?

Each woman approaches her day differently. As many women search for being all things to everyone and helping others all the time, they focus less on themselves as individuals. A search for individual strengths and individual interests requires individual permission to create and take personal time. It often is a challenge to give yourself permission to being in addition to doing.

What kind of client do you most enjoy?

I enjoy the client who wants more, wants to work on her strengths, capitalize on her knowledge, and work hard to get there. I have particular interest in those in transition.

Where and how often do you meet with your clients?

It depends on the client. I can meet in person in my local area, although many of my sessions are on the phone. Sessions are usually two or three times a month, each for 30 to 45 minutes.

What is the most important thing a new client should know about you as her coach?

I will be there and we will get there. I am committed to each client’s success, will act with integrity and honesty, listen without judgment, challenge the stated and unstated words in our conversations, and partner with her every step of the journey. This is a transformative and meaningful journey.

Meet Coach Barbara Korosec

Barbara Korosec

Age: Late Fifties

Tell us about your background.

I left a Fortune 100 company in 2012 to create the life of my choosing, which included coaching. I’ve been fortunate to have had some really cool and enriching experiences, first as a naval officer and then as a Learning and Development Director at the major company. As a leadership instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy, I worked with 1,300 freshmen. I’ve managed a $450 million program for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and I’ve coached new and emerging executives as they transitioned to positions of greater responsibility. I love nature, creating beautiful gardens, and tending the 75 acres that comprise a future retreat center. I have master degrees in Finance, International & Strategic Studies, and Human Performance, as well as certifications in several assessment instruments for individuals and teams.

Are or have you been married, and what’s your view on marriage?

I recently married Kate, my partner of 23 years, because we finally could. My Navy career came to an abrupt and premature end in 1997 when my relationship with Kate came to light. This experience taught me a lot about leaning in and asking for help. It taught me a lot about resilience. I was closeted for years, living in fear of being found out. The real gift of this experience was to shine a light on shame, move beyond it, and to open up my heart to greater connection with others. This adversity, as painful as it was at the time, served to strengthen our relationship.

I view the decision to marry or not as an individual choice, and one that should be available to everyone. Beyond that, my view of marriage (like any relationship that matters) is that it requires ongoing care and attention. Assumptions can come up that benefit from clearing. There’s a need to align with one another on an ongoing basis about expectations, dreams and needs. We’re not only in our own process of life; we’re joined with another in the experience. That creates a need to balance and honor both the “me” and the “we.”

What brought you to coaching?

The constant theme in my life has been around bringing out the best in others. This showed up in early teaching experiences, in leadership, as an internal consultant working with leaders and their teams, and ultimately, in coaching. My introduction to coaching was serendipitous when my former company sought out people to train as internal executive coaches. Going through the coach training changed my life. What an amazing way to be in service of the growth, dreams, and goals of others! What an amazing way to live my life on-purpose. I love the way the universe calls with what we need. We just have to pay attention when the phone rings!

I’m passionate about making a difference & I believe it’s an honor to be with someone who is on a journey to create something vitally important for herself.

What is your mission as a coach?

Fundamentally, I believe that we all want a fulfilling life, with no regrets and no ‘woulda, coulda shoulda’ sentiments. It charges me up to see clients seek this. A friend gave me a block of wood with the inscription, ‘Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.’ This has become my mission—to help people create the life they want and to be the person they want to be as they live it. This is a life of aliveness and choice, a life lived on purpose; a life rich with what matters most.

Are there any particular life experiences that inform your coaching?

Two recent experiences most inform my coaching: The first, a 10-month leadership program through the Coaches Training Institute, fine tuned my listening and gave me much greater range as a leader and a coach. The second experience is a certification program for Equine Facilitated Learning and Coaching. Horses are amazing and wise teachers! This experience is teaching me to open up my perceptive abilities and intuition.

What famous women do you most admire?

I admire women of strong convictions who are fiercely courageous and passionately advocate for what they believe. They are self-determining and plant their own garden. These women include Maya Angelou, for her wisdom, clarity, and grace and her ability to cross lines of race through her elegant prose; Lynn Twist, for challenging our relationship with money, her conscious philanthropy, and her focus on a just and sustainable world; Amelia Earhart, for (literally) flying in the face of conventional feminine behavior in pursuit of her dream, and Oprah Winfrey, for bringing so much to everyday women and bravely demonstrating her humanity.

How do women most sabotage themselves?

Women are more apt to presume they aren’t capable, especially when presented with new challenges. They are more likely to minimize their past experiences and not accept that they are resourceful, capable, and equipped for the challenge. The sabotaging inner talk that comes with this often is further fueled by buying into an image suggested by others; by seeking validation from external sources.

What kind of client do you most enjoy working with?

I love coaching clients who are in key passages of their lives, whether personal or professional. I also love to work with passionate and motivated people who willing to look deeply inside themselves and are keen on making the transformational changes necessary to reach their goals.

Where and how often do you meet with your clients?

Almost all of my coaching is done via phone. I’m open to Skype calls and meeting in person. Logistically, it doesn’t work as well. We generally meet for two 60 minute sessions per month. I find that this session duration and frequency allows time for insight and shifts—both within and between the sessions. That said, if you would like a different arrangement just ask and let’s see what we might design together.

Tell us about your workshops and presentations.

One innovative workshop features horses as teachers/coaches and can be taken individually or in a group. Designed to jump-start insight and change, they include different ground-based individual activities with the horses, typically in a 60-foot round pen.

I’m also certified to deliver workshops on The Bigger Game®, which were created to inspire executives, leaders and individuals to get out of their comfort zones and invent the lives they want. It was designed with the premise that life itself is one big game, so why not play it with excitement, fulfillment and challenge? At its core, The Bigger Game helps people find their compelling purpose. It is an innovative model that guides us to create a set of circumstances that will intentionally design who we want to become.

What is the most important thing new clients should know about you as their coach?

I’m passionate about making a difference and I believe it’s an honor to be with someone who is on a journey to create something vitally important for herself. It’s nothing short of sacred to witness moments of doubt, of truth, and of triumph. One of my signature strengths is that I create safety that permits my clients to step into their full range of humanity—messy, gooey, juicy, and beautiful. I’m likely to hold you bigger and more capable than you’ve ever been held before. Consequently, I’ll challenge you to step out of business as usual and not settle for playing small.

Barb is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (C.P.C.C.) and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership Program. She’s certified by the International Coaching Federation. Reach her by calling (315) 841-8370 or emailing bkorosec@frontier.com.

Meet Coach Gabriella Rattner

Gabriella Rattner

What brought you to life coaching?

I’ve been married for 42 years and have two amazing adult daughters, one a teacher and the other a social worker. Being in a long-term relationship has taught me many things about behavior, responses, reactions and what drives us and if that driver is in our best interest.

I’ve worked in healthcare administration for over 30 years. Throughout my career I’ve had the opportunity to be a ‘safe space’ for people to share their thoughts and become more aware of their habits and what motivates them. My dream was to find a way to take these special sessions and create a coaching opportunity.

I will celebrate your courage and strength. I will never judge you and we will work together towards you not judging you either.

Dreaming, however, wasn’t going to get me to act and live my best life. It wasn’t until I started working with my own life coach, in 2009, that I discovered I really could create the life I always wanted.

My coach offered me a safe, honest and encouraging space in which to have unchartered conversations and to go deep and work with my fears about change and possibilities. Having someone really listen to me and hear the things I could not myself distinguish fueled me ahead. The fulfillment, balance and empowerment most of us crave are attainable. As a Certified Life Coach I can offer this same safe, honest and encouraging space for you to design the life you want to live and to enjoy it.

Live the life you love. I welcome you to www.lifecoachingwithgabriella.com.

Where and how often do you meet with your clients?

Almost all of my coaching is done via phone. My clients and I generally speak for two to three 45-50 minute sessions each month. Within that relationship I also send questions to ponder and am available via email to respond to any questions a client may have. I offer a complimentary, 30-minute introductory session to explore whether we can have a successful partnership.

What is the most important thing a client should know about you?

That I am totally invested in and honor you and your journey. I may never meet you in person, but when you invite me to work with you I take that very seriously and will support and guide you with all that I know and all that I am. I will always remind you of your amazingness and our work will include opportunities to try new approaches, behavior and actions. I will celebrate your courage and strength. I will never judge you and we will work together towards you not judging you either. I am really excited and looking forward to connecting with you and working together.

Meet Coach Sherry Matheson

Sherry Matheson

Age: 46

Tell us about your background.

I am 46 years young, married with a blended family of five girls and one boy, and two dogs. I worked for 17 years as a corporate paralegal at various mid size law firms and then in the legal department at a large corporation. Before becoming a corporate paralegal I worked in the oil and gas industry for 6 years.

Why did you decide to leave your profession and become a coach?

I was working until 11:30 at night and weekends at the big corporation and I burned myself out after three years. I didn’t have the right skills and tools to be in that environment and developed shingles on the backs of my knees to the point where I was sitting in my doctor’s office and she was handing me a prescription for anti-depressants and wanting me to take a leave of absence. I decided I needed to quit my job in order to heal and get better. We are a blended family with six kids and it wasn’t an easy decision.

I accidentally discovered coaching after I quit working as a paralegal and started my training five months later with the Coaches Training Institute at the University of Calgary.

We often put everyone else first. It’s the ‘nice girl syndrome.’

My coaching style has a big focus on positive psychology, so if beating yourself up isn’t working for you and you’re not feeling empowered, I can help.

Explain your approach to health and wellness coaching.

I take a comprehensive approach to health and wellness by looking at how all the areas of your life are connected to your wellbeing. I like to open up the realm of positive possibilities for others. I feel my journey prepared me well to understand and emphasize with my clients and makes me a better coach.

I create action plans to help my clients make the sustainable changes necessary to improve their health and live better quality lives. We tackle issues such as managing stress, increasing energy, achieving more balance, sleeping better, eating healthier, getting into more movement, achieving and maintaining an ideal weight, reducing food cravings, improving self perception, improving relationships, increasing productivity, and enhancing decision making.

Health and wellness coaching combines psychology, behavioral change theory and life coaching. The field is on a swift positive trajectory due to the evidence demonstrating its role in improved client/patient outcomes, medical compliance, employee health and productivity, and lower health care costs. Health and wellness coaching effectively bridges the gap between traditional, organized healthcare and behavioral change.

How do women most sabotage themselves?

We often put everyone else first. It’s the ‘nice girl syndrome.’ My coaching style has a big focus on positive psychology, so if beating yourself up isn’t working for you and you’re not feeling empowered, I can help.

I’d like to share a testimonial from one client, who wrote: ‘I’m never usually at a loss for words, but I find myself hesitating to express my gratitude because words alone can’t convey my emotions. What I originally thought was going to be a simple plan for weight loss and exercise, to my surprise and delight turned into a journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance, of which you were the catalyst. From our first coaching session you had the wisdom and listening skills to pinpoint my needs. The information you forwarded to assist me in working on my goals was invaluable. You will forever hold a place in my heart as the person who helped introduce me to a better version of myself.” —Sharon, Ontario

Why is your company called “Ingredients For A Healthy Lifestyle?”

Each client is unique and so are her ingredients to create a healthy lifestyle. What roles do eating, exercise, work, family, etc. play in her life and how can she balance them to achieve her goals?

Where and how often do you meet with clients?

I coach the majority of my clients over the phone so they can be located anywhere. Our calls are 50 minutes long, twice a month, and we have unlimited email contact.

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Meet Coach Mandasmita Singh

Mandasmita Singh

Age: 39

Tell us about your background.

My family and I live in Vancouver, Canada. I am a graduate in Humanities from Calcutta University, India, and have been a learning and development professional for the last 17 years, as well as a coach for a little over a decade. I love people and diversity. I love reading, traveling, music, laughing, a good cup of coffee and spending time with my family and friends.

Are you or have you been married? What is your view on marriage?

I have been married to an extraordinary man for the last 8 years and together we have two kids.

I believe that marriage is a partnership, and as in every relationship, you get back what you put in. Marriage may not be the answer for all problems and may not be suitable for all.

We have a saying that goes: “Never advise a man to go to war or get married!!”

What brought you to coaching?

I have always loved working with different types of people and I’ve had many opportunities to connect with people, at many levels, as a learning and development professional and management trainer. I have always been curious about who we are and what we’re doing.

A corporation where I once worked gave me an opportunity to train as a business coach. After the training, I began coaching internally. Years later I enrolled in another intensive coaching program and earned certification. Since then I have continued internal business coaching and expanded externally into life coaching.

Coaching gives me the opportunity to connect with people at a level that is most authentic and pure. It is a deep and beautiful connection between my core and my client’s core. Each coaching interaction not only benefits my client and takes her closer to where she wants to be in her life at that moment; it also fulfills me like no other interaction, humbles me and enriches me as a human being.

Coaching resonates with my life purpose to connect with people to discover who we truly are.

What is your mission as a coach?

I believe that we’re all here for a reason. I work together with my clients to discover their life purpose and live the life of their dreams. It is a beautiful journey and immensely rewarding to see others find their precious “aha” moments!

Coaching gives me the opportunity to connect with people at a level that is most authentic and pure.

It is a deep and beautiful connection between my core and my client’s core.

Are there any particular life experiences that inform your coaching?

My parents were not suited to one other and their bitter divorce at first created self- limiting beliefs in me and made me feel socially stigmatized. However, I soon realized that it was I, not society, who was responsible for my own fears and limitations.

Secondly, when I moved to the United Arab Emirates after marrying I was introduced to a culture and society that were far different than what I knew. This change initially made me uncomfortable and grumpy, but I slowly learned to appreciate diversity and the richness it represents.

My clients do not have preconceived notions of who they are, which helps me to embrace them wholeheartedly so we can work together to eradicate their self- limiting beliefs and help them find the magnificent selves they truly are.

The biggest lessons I’ve learned are never to over analyze situations and never to regret, but to make the most out of what life has to offer and move on.

What famous women do you admire?

Every woman is admirable as she juggles her daily life. I admire women who love and respect themselves.

How do women sabotage themselves?

Women try to please everyone and do the right thing by others’ standards. They also try to be superwomen. I think we need to hug ourselves and be kind to ourselves.

What kind of client do you most enjoy working with?

I love clients who are in transitions, whether big or small, such as career or lifestyle changes. My recent work with women leaders has been an enriching experience.

What is the most important thing new clients should know about you as their coach?

I am authentic with them and I love them.

Meet Coach Susan Tolles

Susan Tolles

Age: 57

Tell us about your background.

For most of my adult life, I was a stay-at-home mom, raising my three children and volunteering in the community. I had a few part-time jobs along the way, including women’s ministry at my church and nine years as a school board trustee, serving four as president. Soon after my youngest left for college, it hit me hard: I was an over-50 empty-nester with at least 30 more good years ahead of me, and I had no idea what I was going to do. I was intelligent and energetic, with a degree in finance and experience in banking and accounting. But I was terrified of re-entering the workforce, thinking I had nothing to offer. Who on earth would hire someone like me? How would the “rich life experiences” I’d had over the past 24 years look when comparing me to someone who was younger, had more current skills, and had a better memory than mine?

After searching my soul for what I wanted to do, I realized that I wanted to be independent, to find something that used my God-given gifts and strengths, and that would be meaningful to me and for others. I knew I couldn’t find that new identity sitting at home, so I mustered up the courage to get out and start networking. The dynamic women I met energized me, and I discovered that I had an entrepreneurial spirit.

I took a giant leap out of my comfort zone to try something I had never done, following my intuition and allowing myself to be creative and take a risk. On February 1, 2010, I launched FlourishOver50.com, and it has been an exhilarating ride ever since.

The website has led me to become a Certified Dream Coach®, published author and a professional speaker, more than I had ever allowed myself to imagine. I have emerged as a woman over 50, following her passions and becoming the amazing woman God created me to be.

When I was focused on my website, I measured my success by my Google ranking. Today, I measure it by the lives I am changing on a much deeper level.

Embrace “good is good enough,” quit comparing yourself to others, and set your standards at human levels.

Wonder Woman does not exist!

Tell us about your family.

I have been married to Jim for 34 years, and we have three totally amazing adult children. I couldn’t be more proud as a mom! We have a very close-knit family and still travel together when we can.

What brought you to coaching?

The more I got to know the women in the Flourish Over 50 community, the more I began to understand that so many of them were searching for their identity in midlife as they were transitioning through the empty nest, divorce, career burnout and were just wanting to live life on their own terms for a change. I wanted to inspire and equip them to flourish, inside and out, so they could find the clarity and deep sense of purpose they were longing for. I became a Certified Dream Coach®, and soon afterwards wrote my own coaching program, based on my own transformation and what I had learned from other women. When I saw lives being changed through this process, I knew I had found my true calling. There is nothing more fulfilling for me than to be part of the “aha” moment when a woman discovers her life purpose and is truly excited about life again.

What is your mission as a coach?

My Life Purpose Statement is “To inspire and equip women to flourish, inside and out” and I do that through coaching, speaking, and writing. My heart’s desire is for each woman I work with to find clarity, direction and a renewed sense of purpose about her future, and to let her brilliance shine!

Are there any particular life experiences that inform your coaching?

I can truly say “I’ve been there, done that,” when a woman tells me she has lost her identity and is fearful about the future. I have been through the roller coaster of emotions that accompany midlife transitions, combined with menopause, and have emerged with a vision bigger than I ever thought possible. When a woman is describing her lack of confidence in herself, I can say, “I get it. Now let’s walk this road together as you learn to let your brilliance shine.”

This also has been a deeply spiritual journey for me, and I have grown tremendously in my Christian faith. Many women want that component in their coaching, and I freely share that part of myself as I lead them through a faith-based process.

Tell us about your programs.

I wrote the ”Reinvention Road Trip” based on my own midlife reinvention and what I had discovered about living with clarity, purpose and freedom to be who you really want to be. I kept hearing ‘I feel like I am stuck in a rut,’ and ‘I am just spinning my wheels, going nowhere fast,’ so I created a system that gets women unstuck and moving forward with confidence and ease. This program teaches women to:

  • Unload the heavy baggage of guilt, fear, self-doubt, perfectionism and toxic relationships
  • Vision their “dream destination,” their ideal life in the short and long term
  • Unpack their unique gifts, skills and values to make the journey fulfilling and reduce stress
  • Identify their “custom license plate,” their life purpose statement
  • Create a detailed road map for the future, aligned with their life purpose
  • Say NO without guilt! It’s easy, once you align your life with your purpose

I use this process with my VIP Clients, and it is also available as a self-study program.

For women who say ‘I just don’t have time for all this!’ I have “30 Days to Get Out of Your Rut in 10 Minutes a Day,” with inspiration and quick action steps to get them moving a little at a time.

Tell us about your speaking presentations and workshops.

I love to speak to women’s groups and lead retreats, and one of my most popular presentations is “Focused or Frazzled? 10 Keys to Finding the Balance When You’re Overwhelmed, Over-stressed and Unfulfilled.” Women walk away with tools to help them remain focused and stress-free when chaos is all around.

Two others that really resonate with women are “From Paralyzed to Productive: Conquering perfectionism and procrastination to reach your highest potential,” and “Reinvention Road Trip: Your Amazing Journey with God.” It’s hard for me to believe how much I enjoy professional speaking now, because I have always been such an introvert!

How do women most sabotage themselves?

Perfectionism is a huge obstacle for most women, causing stress, low self-esteem, exhaustion and disappointment. In their never-ending quest to be manager of the universe, women think they have to be all things to all people, looking like they have it all together on the outside when they are crumbling on the inside. It is so important to lighten up! Embrace “good is good enough,” quit comparing yourself to others, and set your standards at human levels. Wonder Woman does not exist!

Also, most women spend their lives putting themselves at the bottom of their to-do lists. They sacrifice their own dreams, and often their emotional and physical health, because they have been taught to put everyone else first. Then, when they finally want to do something nice for themselves, they feel guilty. I teach women to “fill their own cup first,” because they can’t give away what you don’t have. It is a major shift in mindset, but it will re-energize and renew anyone who commits to it.

What kind of client do you most enjoy working with?

I love working with women in their mid lives who are seeking greater purpose in life, especially those going through a major transition. Reaching the empty nest period, going through divorce, becoming a widow or experiencing career burnout all lead to the questions “Who am I, and what am I going to do with the rest of my life?” Sorting through the emotions and creating a plan for a fulfilling, joy-filled future can seem overwhelming. I provide the support, guidance, encouragement and accountability women need to make powerful, positive changes in midlife.

Where and how often do you meet with your clients?

I have had clients from Australia to Canada to Florida, so there are certainly no distance limitations. We meet via phone or Skype, for either two one-hour sessions per month, plus two 15-minute check-ins, or four 30-minute sessions. I require a 90-day commitment in the beginning, because real change takes time, and I want my clients to have a solid foundation before they leave the coaching relationship. Many choose to continue long past those initial 90 days.

What is the most important thing a new client should know about you as their coach?

I connect with each client on a deep level, and lead her gently through these major life changes. I see her as immensely valuable, with an inner radiance that is meant to shine brightly, even when she can’t see it herself. Together, we will throw off the heavy weights that are holding her back, and then we will open up the future with a vision that allows her to grow into the amazing woman she was created to be. I will be right there beside her all the way as her cheerleader, navigator, accountability partner and friend.

Susan offers complimentary 30-minute CLARITY Sessions that may be scheduled through her online calendar.