16 Jan Be the Key!
I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa to a German mother and Dutch father (she thought he was German, he thought she was English….), grew up near Hamburg for the first twenty years of my life and moved to London with the intention to stay for six months to improve my English in 1990. 12 years later I was still there! In the middle of my time in England I also decided to temporarily abandon ship and relocate to Paris, where I worked for EuroDisney for while, again for reasons of language skills. Summer of my life, but that’s a different story.
After meeting my Italian husband while salsa-dancing one evening in Charing Cross Road, I decided to follow him to Italy and moved to Milan in 2002, where I still live today. We live just North of the city in a little town called Bresso which is ideal for families with children. Small, quiet, with schools and amenities in walking distance as well as a number of parks and playgrounds near home, which is quite a luxury in Milan, not known for its vast green spaces.
My marriage ended six years ago and I am now a single mum to an amazing 7 year old boy named Luca, with his dad living quite close, a fantastic father to Luca. My little one is a quarter German, a quarter Dutch, a quarter Sicilian and a quarter Comasco (from the region around Lake Como). I’m not sure whether to feel happy or sorry for him ☺. I speak English with Luca, still my favourite language of all – with the odd German thrown in – and he responds in Italian (apart from when he says “I love you” in English, which gets me every time).
On a professional front, my move to Milan was facilitated by the investment bank I worked for at the time, making the transition that much easier without having to look for a job locally. I had been studying hard to get my Italian language skills up to scratch before moving (which prior to meeting my husband included about three words: Ciao, Spaghetti, Pizza), yet still remember how scared I was answering the telephone in the office. Up to that point, I had only ever spoken informal Italian with my husband and friends. After 18 months in Milan, I left the bank (with much improved Italian language skills) and accepted a position with an Italian fashion house, which I discovered not to be my world at all. So I moved on to teaching English to individuals and groups with the British Institute while looking for a more permanent solution. Since 2005, I have returned to the financial industry where I am blessed to be able to work part-time in an HR support role since re-entering the workspace after my maternity leave. I work every day from 9.00 to 14.30 which allows me to pick Luca up from school every day and spend the afternoons together.
I feel strongly that I was created an “encourager”. After training as counsellor with the London School of Counselling in 1998, I returned to professional training to transform my passion for encouraging others into a career in 2011. At the end of 2013, I completed a Master in Coaching, specializing as Personal (Life) Coach with NLP Italy Coaching School. Since then, I have continued my professional development with the two most important Italian coaching schools (NLP Italy Coaching School and Ekis). Today, I am active as individual coach, trainer in personal development and bi-lingual author.
The renewed focus on my vocation was kicked off following my separation. My world had become so small: work, Luca, work, Luca… So I did my research, figured out what I wanted to do and signed up for my first training course.
Looking back now, I can see that just 6 years ago, I was a different person. I only partially lived the life I wanted, I often felt down, I hardly smiled, I wasn’t really in control of my inward and outward life experience, full of dark thoughts, complaints, pessimism, without goals. I felt that way even when things were going along smoothly as well as when I faced my son’s birth, the end of my marriage a year later, two surgeries with a long recovery process and a complex relationship with my family.
Today, my outward circumstances are more or less unchanged. But I am happier than ever. And I am excited to see my life move increasingly in the direction I desire. Now I know what I truly want in every area of my life. Professionally, I will focus increasingly on coaching, training and writing, which is where my future lies. My motto is “Be The Key”, because I am convinced that YOU are the key to open the doors to your future.
Sometimes it’s helpful to have a coach alongside you in figuring out which doors to choose and how to unlock them. I have acquired the skills to support my clients in doing just that. In other words: living your life in a more authentic fashion. What does that mean? While there is more to it, as you can imagine, in a nutshell it means figuring out where you are today, becoming aware of your core values (what’s really important to you versus what is urgent or expected or what you’ve always done etc.) and then deciding where you want to introduce changes to (re-)align yourself to your values. Once you have decided where you want to go, we work on getting you there step by step. When you live in line with your priorities, you live authentically and your quality of life noticeably improves. In coaching, we say “go first”, i.e. never ask your client to do something you haven’t done first yourself. Everything I have to offer, I practiced on myself first. And I am extremely happy with the results so far ☺.
My core client group are women and mums, both English speaking and Italian speaking (and the odd German speaking client thrown in, too). Wherever in the world you are reading me from today: Be The Key!