I hear you – that was me!
I had recently relocated, again, and found myself living in Scottsdale, Arizona trying to re-establish my interior design company. My thoughts were tangled up, and I had lost the sense of who I was, how all the pieces in my busy professional and personal life fit together, or how to get closer to achieving my goals. I found it was very challenging to decide where to focus first and how to move forward.
Luckily, a couple of brilliant individuals became my soundboard and voice of reason to guide my thoughts back to where I felt safe, secure, decisive and in control of my unique identity and my path forward.
I was raised in a tiny “village” in Denmark. Calling it a village is generous – it was three houses, five farms and the boarding school my mother and farther established the year I was born. Every fall, a new set of students arrived, and our village population grew from roughly 20 to over 120. The students were 9th and 10th graders from all walks of life, who traveled to Funen to live and learn together.
Those early years were fascinating and significant for me. Imagine, if you can, what it was like to get a whole new set of older sisters and brothers to learn from every fall. Although, I’m not so sure any of them saw it that way – I was probably just the annoying little kid who wouldn’t leave them alone.
Onward and Upward
Life continued to be filled with amazing experiences for me – from my first afterschool job at 14 as a hotel dishwasher, onto selling hotdogs, and then my first “real” job in the financial world. I easily moved up through the ranks and felt my path was quite clear, but as we all know, even the best plans do not always turn out as intended. I met a charming American, who became my husband, and moved 6,000 miles to start a new life. Now, I can look back at my exciting, sometimes zig-zag journey from a great career in finance, marketing, business management and being an entrepreneur with my own interior design business and see how all these experiences have brought me to my current coaching practice.
The Lessons I’ve Learned
Every one of my work situations and new locations has richly increased my understanding of life and the complexities that form our thoughts, assumptions, and actions. I have been blessed to live and work in a variety of places, such as Switzerland, Spain, Holland, China, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and now, in Arizona. Living in such varied international environments has given me a keen and rich understanding of how cultural heritage plays a significant role in our lives.
I have to start my story from my early years because I believe the education from my childhood continues to serve me. Although I have expanded on my early learning, my experience as I grew served as a confirmation of the thoughts and practices I witnessed in my youth. We all want to be seen, valued, and accepted for who we honestly feel we are.
During my varied careers, I also learned some tremendously valuable lessons. I learned that when you take the time actually to listen, you understand everyone has a history and that it’s not always the narrative that is obvious that makes us who we genuinely are.
This multitude of experiences in my life has taught me to approach new relationships without preconceived assumptions or pre-judgments. Life has also revealed to me, that when you take the time to listen from a perspective of mutual respect, compassion, understanding and be genuinely interested in another person’s story, you can build relationships, even between what seems like unlikely pairings.
Growing up in a very close community gave me the sense of belonging even as I traveled the world and the many incredible people I met at the school opened my mind to the possibilities that life has to offer. This education is a remarkable gift to receive at a young age and has enriched me my entire life.
It has made me appreciate that even the smallest memory, thought, or opinion can be related to how we think or perceive a situation years later. I have also learned that you can accomplish things, even when you don’t know what direction you are headed. I know, from experience, that you will figure it out along the way and sometimes it’s a matter of being creative and allowing yourself to believe that you can achieve anything with what you have and know. You will get there by holistically looking at your entire world.
All these lessons have created a foundation that has been an invaluable source of comfort both personally and professionally as I have traveled through so many changes.
So why does this matter?
My fundamental belief is that every person deserves to feel valued for being who they are as an individual in all aspect of their lives – not only as somebody’s mother, father, wife, husband, daughter, son, boss, etc. We all have a complex and unique history that shapes our fears, hopes, dreams, our perceived limitations. Our past experiences are the foundations for how we approach and manage the challenges we face every day. As a result, many people live double lives; a “private” and a “public” version. I recognize, this behavior leads to burn-out, fatigue, frustration, and unhappiness in our personal and professional lives. I embrace that everybody needs to be seen and honored for who they are at their core and sometimes need help to find a new perspective or direction for the path forward.
All these lessons are the foundation for my coaching practice; it’s all about you, your story, your life, your dreams, and most importantly what’s the next step
I am here to equip you with tools, practices, and skill sets to handle the challenges life throws at you while helping you feel stronger and more confident when faced with these and future obstacles.
Now you have a sense of who I am and my history; I would love to get to know you and understand your story.
Call or send me an e-mail, let me know if there are challenges or areas that you like to find a better way to balance so that you can live and love all aspects of your busy life. Let’s start the conversation!
Else S Johnson