If you have been following me for a while and mainly know me from my work at 40+style, you may wonder how on earth I became business & confidence coach.
Today I will tell you how I became a coach and why I took this path.
I know some of you have been surprised by this switch so I wanted to clarify and I think that after reading this it will all start to make sense.
Who is Sylvia?
First a quick introduction if you’re not yet familiar with me.
I’m Sylvia, born in The Netherlands in 1966.
After finishing an international marketing degree and working for several companies, I moved to Australia in 1997.
I quickly discovered that I didn’t want to work for other people anymore and that I wanted to do something more tangible, more creative.
After some thorough soul searching, I decided that, since I understood marketing and was good with computers, I would teach myself web design.
Soon after, I set up my company Escala. That is STILL the name of my company today.
When I first heard of coaching
As a new entrepreneur I needed to learn how to make it successful so I started attending business events.
That’s when I first heard of life coaching. It felt like every third person I met there was a life coach.
I must admit that I wasn’t quite onboard with the life coaching concept then. It felt to me that every woman who wanted to coach another woman could just call themselves a life coach and just start a business.
I will come back to this thought later, but first let’s continue the story.
I had a son and moved to Singapore
When I felt settled in my business and it started gaining momentum my husband and I decided that we were ready to start a family.
After a few bumps my son Luca was born in 2002.
Then, after 7 years in Australia, my husband got a great job opportunity in Singapore and we decided to move.
I was a bit reluctant at the time because I enjoyed my life in Sydney, but the adventurous part of me was all ready for it.
Since I could operate my business from anywhere I would just continue my business there.
Life in Singapore and China
We settled in Singapore and then after 1.5 years moved to China for 1.5 years. These were times of travel, making new friends and parenting.
At the same time I was working on my business. I still worked for my Australian clients and acquired new ones in Singapore and China.
However, when I moved back to Singapore after 1.5 years in Shanghai, I was ready for something different.
Working for clients on a per-hour basis still felt too constricted for me and I was essentially building other people’s businesses with my skills. Also, if I didn’t work, I didn’t get paid.
Exploring the world of personal development
I had always been interested in personal development as I have always wanted to grow as a person.
Some bad experiences in my youth left me with low self esteem and confidence issues and I had started to take personal development courses in Australia which had helped.
In Singapore I decided to get my certification in NLP.
Naturally, when I started to think of ideas of creating my own website, personal development and internet marketing were at the top of the list of my list of topics.
Internet marketing was an obvious choice as that was my major and I had acquired lots of knowledge on this topic through my web design business.
At the time I decided against it, as I felt i needed more experience and first needed to have created my own successful site. I don’t agree with that point of view now (as I already knew so much more than other educators in that area at the time) but authenticity has always been very important to me so I can respect that decision from my past self.
My other favorite topic was personal development.
I started a site called Bestlifeweb and wrote articles for it on a regular basis.
My experimentation phase
The thing was, I also had multiple other topics I wanted to explore. I was truly multi-passionate.
Can you relate?
Here are just some topics I started websites on:
- Yoga retreats
- Leading your best life
- Getting fit while pregnant
- Beauty and wellness in Singapore
- How to be successful online
And this is not even the complete list.
I was managing a variety websites at the same time, while still managing websites for clients as well. I was all over the place really.
I got traction with a few of these websites, but none really took off and I was getting frustrated.
I knew I had all the skills to create a successful business with a website, I just hadn’t found the right topic yet.
Discovering what I really REALLY wanted
I started looking inwards again to discover what I was REALLY passionate about and that I could be proud of.
Something that could be my ONE THING!
I had done this before in Australia which led to my web design business and I followed the same process this time.
I needed to find a topic I could write about every day, that I was passionate about, but also a topic that I was skilled at and that women wanted help with.
That’s when I rediscovered my passion for style and fashion. This had been a red thread throughout my life.
I had wanted to study style and fashion when I was younger. I even studied a whole year through evening classes to get stylist certification.
I had done courses on color and fabrics.
I was always getting compliments from other women on how I looked.
Once it clicked, it was like a lightbulb going off. I registered a domain name right away and I was off.
Putting all the experience of my ‘failures’ to good use
Since by now I had created many websites, I had learned so much about how to do it right.
Sure enough, within half a year I had 50,000 visitors and the site has been growing ever since. To date more than 14 million women have visited the site.
I’ve been running the site for 8 years now, built a team, created courses and challenges and served more than 1000 customers.
It’s become a great income stream with passive components and it’s a business that allows me to travel with gusto while still earning a good living.
The 7 year itch
Have you heard this phrase?
It definitely applies to my life.
A few years ago it definitely started to itch. I loved my site and my customers but I knew I wanted to go deeper.
I love how clothes and makeup can give women more confidence, but I wanted to give the women that confidence from within.
I want them to feel so confident about themselves that they don’t always feel that they HAVE TO look put-together or put makeup on.
I want them to be able to fully express themselves and feel confident and live their true potential.
My other passions got in the way again!
Still my other passion, encouraging women to start a business, was still there.
Now that I had all the “proof” that I could make a website (that was not about making money) a success, I wanted to show others how to create an online business as well.
I wanted to show you how it IS possible to create a business from something you love.
I wanted to show you the power of the internet.
But this is what I discovered
However, as I started creating that business and started talking to customers and other women at conferences, I began to have doubts about the new business direction.
So many of these women had all the marketing skills they needed, but they were still taking course after course because they still didn’t have the confidence to put all that they have learned into practise.
I’have certainly not been immune of doing this myself.
I realized that what most new entrepreneurs need is NOT new marketing skills and tools, but help with their mindset, confidence and beliefs.
They need help in managing their mind.
I didn’t want to be the person to sell them yet another course, only for them to fail again and not make their money back.
Again, I wanted to be authentic even though there is a chance that this is not the message you may want to hear.
What you prefer to hear is then you follow these 5 steps, you will make a million dollars.
The truth is though, that’s now how it works.
Switching to mindset training
That’s when I decided that I return to personal development and switch to mindset training. I’m going to create practical courses and study guides that can help you achieve what you want in life.
I’m going to create new trainings that will not only help my 40+style readers get more confident or finally stop their buffering habits, but also help my entrepreneur readers to make their business a success!
All of these goals come down to being able to manage your mind.
I have learned SO MUCH in my 20 years of being an entrepreneur and online publisher
I have learned:
- to let go of my perfectionism;
- to love myself and feel 100% worthy;
- that failure is just another word for learning;
- that others cannot make me feel anything without my consent;
- to be uncomfortable, but to see it as a necessary part of growth;
- how to build a profitable online business;
- how to manage my time and get everything done;
- how to help others get clarity and build the life they want;
- how to postpone instant gratification so I can achieve my bigger goals which is ultimately a lot more satisfying;
- how to delegate and trust in others.
I’m still learning every day and will never stop learning really.
Learning, developing myself and growing as a person is one of the great pleasures in my life.
Getting the best life coach training and framework
After I decided to focus my training more on mindset, the next question was: how would I teach it?
I had learned so many concepts over the years.
I could tap into so much of my own learnings.
But then I stumbled upon Brooke Castillo from the Life Coach School.
She put the teachings of some of my favorite teachers like Byron Katie and Eckhardt Tolle into a simple model that makes it so easy to both coach yourself and others.
I just loved her practical approach without any woo woo and wanted to use her framework as the basis of my trainings.
That’s when I decided to go all-in and become a certified life coach with the Life Coach School.
As in anything in life, I want to be authentic and not only do I want to offer you the knowledge and experience I have, I also want to be the absolute best coach and educator for you.
This was an intensive training taking place over many months and I’m now also part of a continuing program that will continue to hone my skills as a coach.
Yes, everyone can be a coach!
I promised I would come back to an earlier statement that everyone can call themselves a life coach.
That is still true.
There are no regulations really and everyone can call themselves a life coach if they want to, even if they have not been certified.
There are some certification bodies (like the ICF) but they are part of a FOR PROFIT organization so can’t be counted as an independent body.
That means you need to make your choice wisely.
I’m calling myself a life or True Potential coach because I believe that I have the knowledge, life skills and knowhow to be an amazing coach for you.
I believe in the power of coaching and how it can transform your life.
It will be my job over the coming months so show you the value of coaching.
To teach you some of the things I learned and to give you the confidence that my coaching and trainings WILL help you get the life you want.
A coach is NOT a therapist
And just to be clear.
I’m not a therapist. There is a big difference between a coach and a therapist.
A coach is very future focused and largely works with people who are generally healthy, but feel that they can use extra support to overcome some of their blocks or get support in achieving their goals.
I love how Brooke explains it in this podcast.
Investing in your mind is the best investment you can make
I’ve learned so much over the years.
One of my most vivid memories is when I started on this journey of self-development.
I was doing a course and our assignment was to stand in front of everyone and tell them the 3 things we liked best about ourselves.
I broke down instead. I trembled, I cried.
I just couldn’t do it.
That’s when I realized how low my self esteem was and that I had work to do. I went through the course and made a plan, started self coaching and started to do hard things.
Now, 25 years later I’m such a different person.
And I just read through my mission statement and what I wanted to achieve in my life. it has all come true!
And I don’t think I would be where I am today if I hadn’t invested in my mind.
Want to know more?
I hope it all makes sense now and you’re very clear on how I became a life coach and why I chose this path.
As mentioned I’m going to be sharing a lot more over the coming months and years about everything that I learned, and that I believe will help you too.
If you want to be sure not to miss anything, get yourself on my newsletter list.
I’ll be starting a new program in January so you don’t want to miss that!
How do you feel about coaching? Is it something you would ever consider for yourself?
Let me know in a comment below!