“The beginning of my story” – a true story…

Written by on iunie 22, 2017

Cu putin timp in urma am primit un testimonial care mi-a umplut ochii de lacrimi… de fericire!!! Cu acordul persoanei ce mi l-a trimis il impartasesc cu voi. Pentru a-i pastra autenticitatea, am ales sa nu fie tradus.

Chiar imi doresc sa stii cum poate – in mod real – un proces de coaching sa-ti transforme viata…Si inca ceva: daca doresti, te voi pune in legatura cu acel om minunat care a ales sa faca publica experienta sa, ca din ea sa poata si alti oameni sa se inspire.

“The beginning of my story

I got in touch with Irina Kuhlmann during the spring of 2015. Studies show that people change for 2 reasons: they are traumatised by an event or they become aware little by little that their current situation is not satisfactory. For me it was definitely a trauma. At that time the perspective of entering a romantic relationship with the man of my dreams was zero, a tensioned period at work was taking away all my energy and I was becoming estranged from my friends and family. I was not happy, I was barely functioning. 

I appreciated a lot at the beginning of my relationship with Irina the fact that she created the environment where we can get to know each other before deciding if we want to work together. I do not think I would have gotten the same results if the initial vetting process did not exist.  

Any transformative process such as the coaching program promoted by Irina Kuhlmann, is an active, very personal process, where the key to transformation is held by the person who is able to request help. One is building his own way to access his potential, of building his reality. One is 100% responsible for the process and its outcomes. The coaching program does not provide answers to your problems, but rather makes you aware of the existent issues and it helps you discover ways to handle them.

On your own, within the time frames you select, at the intensity you consider adequate. Proportional to the work you put in. Do expect to start the process focusing on an area of your life and to end it with results in another. Expect also frustration, sadness and occasional tears but do understand that your courage, determination, hard work and trust in the process will bring you unimaginable results. Miracles, if I am allowed this word. 

Here are mine. 

Romantic life. After understanding that over-thinking ruined my (only) chance to build a relationship with the man I loved for years, I started together with Irina my recovery process. I learnt that vulnerability and being honest about my feelings are hard topics to deal with, but without them there will be no healing. I understood that broken hearts need time to heal. Sometimes, even specific time booked in a calendar. Time when you let your broken heart sit with its pain and for your thoughts time to go over all memories you had with that person. Honouring the pain week after week strengthen my courage muscles and one day, I sat the image I created about this man, and I respectfully asked it to go away. And gone he was. 

By the end of my program with Irina, I didn’t only heal my broken heart, I also learnt 3 important lessons which helped me in my current romantic life:

(1) all love stories begin with the love we give ourselves, (2) what you imagine, you manifest, and (3) visibility is as important in romantic situations, as it is in our social or professional lives. 

I took these 3 lessons with me throughout 2016, the best year of my life so far. All the experiences I exposed myself to helped me become the person I needed to be to attract the man I wanted. This and the hope I decided to place on love, brought me my partner in September. The partner I imagined when working with Irina at the list of qualities my ideal boyfriend should have. The list I struggled to write because I could not see it happening. 

After starting our relationship in September, we decided to move in together in October. In Amsterdam. In January we started our life together. Is it the perfect relationship? Of course it is not. There is no such thing. But it is the relationship that I wanted and created. It isn’t the relationship that happened to me, it is the relationship that happens because of me. And that makes me accountable for it. My accountability gives me strength to solve conflicts and amplifies my moments of joy.  

Professional life. 2015 was the year when I broke down in my professional life. I started my official career at the end of 2012 and only after 11 months I was promoted to a management position. A position that I wanted but a position that I was not trained for. Not by my superior, and not by myself either. So after spending most of 2014 working 18 hours a day to produce results as an operational employee and to strategise, plan, train and mentor a team, I broke down in 2015 together with the biggest company project. Poor judgement, critical thinking and coordination of the management team put the company on the line of loosing EUR 1.5 million. The team I struggled to manage was the source of the issue. The team that wasn’t able to perform on its own, who needed to be checked, and even so made mistakes which were to cost us big bucks. Of course that the team had other problem also: a ‘leader’ obsessed about micromanaging, who expected and demanded perfection, and when that was lacking, was making sure her frustration goes public. In a very loud way. A ‘leader’ that never thought about team members as individuals, but as results making machines that are not allowed to complain.

Needless to say, such behaviour, evan if it was tolerated by management, brought me a lot of pain. A pain that I discovered only when working with Irina. Many were the moments at that moment in time when I left our sessions feeling ‘not understood’: there was nothing wrong with my behaviour, I was triggered into that rage stage by my team mates. This was maybe the most painful stage of my coaching process. A Irina (coach) firm on her position and an another Irina (me) spending all her energy trying to prove something impossible to prove. 

So I gave up on it. By the end of the process, we reached no resolution. But at the end of December, between flights, I had the inspiration to read Shawn Anchor’s “The Happiness Advantage”. The author explains the Tetris Effect. An experiment based on a game that, as proven by Harvard Medical School’s Department pf Psychiatry, can rewire your brain after only 4 days of playing it to the extent that your new reality tries to reproduce the same Tetris patterns into real life. So I became clear after looking back at my coaching sessions that I was stuck into a personal Tetris Effect and that I was not able to break my own patterns. But I also saw that I am not alone, as this happens to many people. Understanding that Irina was right and that I am trapped in a negative Tetris effect, made me aware of the existence of a positive Tetris effect. I can change my focus from negative to positive. Taking into account which was my team perception, I was made aware of the culture I created (the Pygmalion Effect). So my goal was to find one single thing I can do to change the perception I had towards my team. And Anchor gave me the tip: for each negative feedback you are giving, give 3 positives ones attached. 

This little, single change drastically changed my career. I started 2016 with a goal: finding things to praise people about and and I finished 2016 as the manager with the highest improvement in leadership and team engagement. I was offered the CEO position of the company. I recovered the EUR 1.5 mil. 

Social life. One of the saddest things to accept when starting my coaching process back in 2015 was revealed in my first session with Irina. While doing a raising awareness exercise imagining myself on my own dying bed, I understood that my departure from this world is the representation of the life I have lived: a live without meaning and impact. The sense of awkwardness seen in my inner circle gave me chills on the spine. The experiment revealed the following: (1) you are assigned a family at birth, and there’s no much you can do to change that background; (2) fulfilment in love might come or not, might come and go so as long as we got the opportunity to love, we shouldn’t be very impacted by the fact that no loved one is present at our funeral; (3) as much as we want to think that colleagues from work are family, the reality is that keeping your personal and professional lives apart, might be more efficient and less alienating for an individual; (4) not having friends regretting your death is excruciating.

Taking responsibility for the wall I built around myself was another important step I took with Irina during our coaching sessions. As a an independent person, who wants to be in charge with her life, I felt it is important to say no to certain invitations or to certain people. Sometimes it was a way of punishing them for ‘abandoning’ me in the past; other times I couldn’t see the reason why such friendship existed. Sometimes I felt lonely, and sometimes liberated. But all the time I felt like a passive actor in my social life story. Always expecting, never initiating. Always complaining, never taking the lead. So after trying in vain to box different friendships, I decided to dedicate my time in accordance to my spheres of interests. I thought about all my friendships, their benefits and requirements, and decided to allocate most of my time to that relationships which provided me with the best ROI. And I decided that whenever I am spending time with my friends, considering their importance in my life, work is not important. I finally learnt how to differentiate between the time spent with my friends and the time spent at the office. Long where the double shifts and ‘no-life’ attitude specific in 2015. 2016 was a year of travelling with my friends, fine dining, heart-to-heart conversations, picking ourselves up or simply the year when “I was there”. Even now I remember my best friend’s comment from last year: “I do not know what happened, if anything changed, but this year was so amazing. I feel so much closer to you guys, closer than ever before”. If she would know … :)  

Family life. There were not rare the moments when discussions about my parents got very emotional. Even now this remains a touchy subject for me, even if together with Irina’s help I managed to heal some long-term scars. I managed to forgive and accept. From where I stand now and considering all the progress I’ve made in this domain, I can surely say that the unknown source of most of our adult problems rests in our childhood.  

I strongly believe that without Irina’s help in 2015, my relationship with my parents now would have been virtually non-existent. Through meditation and empathy exercises, I managed to leave behind obvious hurtful situations. I managed to find my limits and impose them (not elegantly most of the time, but imposing them all along). The curious part about this area of my life was that the deeper I got into this subject, the more frustrating my awarenesses was. Until this month when I was reminded the melange of positive and negative in human beings by Tony Robbins. In one of his conferences advertised by Goalcoast (called Blame), Tony Robbins speaks about how he is blaming his mom, who bite ”the s**t “ out of him for cherishing the relationship with his wife, knowing which the alternative is. In this 1 minute long video, i found my next move in the relationship with my parents. Acknowledging all bad but also all good. Giving them the credit they realistically deserve. And decide as the adult that I am today if I am willing to forgive and forget, discuss the topic with them or move away. 

My life. A meaning search conversation is inevitable in all coaching sessions in my opinion. When you understand that everything around you has no meaning if you are not at peace with yourself, responsible for being the centre of your universe (yes, billion of dollars don’t make people at war with themselves sign peace agreements and live fulfilling lives; it’s not me how says it, it is scientific research – check Anchor’s books). When I got the chance to discuss this with Irina, I was manifesting another negative Tetris effect: I wanted my meaning to manifest itself and make me happy. Full stop. Yes, I understood it was my responsibility to search for it (but not fully because in the end, finding your meaning is a matter of luck also, right?). And I remember Irina saying that fulfilment comes at the intersection of what you like and what you produce to help others. It took me almost 2 years to understand that wise words.  

While searching for a meaning that was being late at manifesting itself, I got bored and forgot about the topic. Or that is what I thought. Because in the last years, I had more business ideas then ever before in my life (even more than when I was exposed to highly entrepreneurial environments). And I didn’t know how to differentiate between good and great ideas until I understood that the only ideas that actually trigger my interest are the projects with a clear social impact. Especially the ones that improve life for Romanians. 

I still don’t know the exact form my meaning will take, but I have some ideas to start with. I know in which area I would like to contribute to the society. I found an impactful area where help will be appreciated from the private sector. I felt in love with neuroscience and psychology and I mapped my skills and other resources. 

I am cultivating the relationships I have with my inner children, my femininity and superior self through meditation and sensorial experiences. I am working on my self-discipline and I try to trust my growth process even when darkness is taking over. I am building myself at my own pace, taking responsibility for my decisions and trying my best each day. 

I hope my rather long story provided you an helicopter view of what Irina Kulhmann’s coaching process manifested in my life. 2 years after our first session, I am still figuring things out. I still remember our conversations and her comments. I had tangible results in some areas, and triggered multiple other growth areas. As any successful coach, Irina knew when to listen, how to help me connect with my superior self, knew how to care about my Ego but also how to trigger it. With Irina’s help I managed to surpass one of the darkest periods of my life. A period of challenge I had no adult tool to overcome. What triggered me was the feeling of rock bottom. And what made me continue was my determination to grow out of it. The question is: do you have the courage to ask for help?

If your answer is YES, here are some tips for you:

1. Inform your dear ones about your project, your time constraints and allocate time for you to spend with them. Their support (or lack of) can interfere with your process.   

2. Make time in your life for a transformative process. Literally, book time for yourself in your calendar. I am not referring here only to the time needed for your sessions or homework. Book time to think about your process, book time when you can enhance your learning and experiences. 

3. Do your homework. Irina will learn you how to work with your intention to manifest the results you need in your life. Not taking advantage of this resource might give you the wrong impression that things do not work for you, that you do not deserve it.  

4. Respect the process. Be on time, pay the necessary fees. A process that is honoured is a process that gives results. “