My own life experiences provide me with a deep empathy that I call upon in my coaching practice.
Here’s a deeper dive into those experiences:
I’m an entrepreneur.
- Creating something from nothing is in my DNA. It’s an industriousness that never sleeps. Growing up, I was always inspired to create some kind of enterprise. It probably started with a lemonade stand and selling pastries in high school to earn money for a trip. This spirit continued with other small ventures that led me to starting my insurance brokerage in the 1990s. I still run this business today.
I’ve experienced burnout.
I am the child of an immigrant.
- My father escaped the Holocaust and emigrated from Europe when he was 12. He spoke no English and always worked to help support his family. That work ethic was instilled in me and I do feel that having an immigrant mentality is different from those who live in the country where they are born. I’ve experienced it and observed it others both in the US and other countries. It is an advantage and I have deep admiration for the immigrant experience and mentality.
I’m a minority.
- I’m Jewish and know what it’s like to manage the delicate balance of assimilating while figuring out which parts of my religion, culture and traditions are the ones I want to hold onto and incorporate in my own life.
I’ve gone through divorce.
- I was married for 18 years and look back on my marriage with mostly positive feelings. My ex-husband and I separated as amicably as possible. Still, I really understand the pain, frustration, disappointment, shame, and fear that can come with this experience.
I re-entered the dating world in my 40’s.
- In the beginning, I was really frightened! Who were all these strangers? But I found the courage and in the end, I found the experience to be super empowering and fun! I’ve been in a committed relationship for years and feel like I’m in the sweet spot of life.
I’ve grieved, deeply.
- I was very close to my both of my grandmothers; particularly my maternal grandmother who died when I was in my late 30s. Still, nothing could prepare me for losing a very close friend and then 5 days later losing my ex-husband of 18 years.
I’ve experienced family discord.
- Family is tough. While I am close with many relatives, I do differentiate between blood and chosen family.
I help with caring for my mother who has dementia.
- This is a growing problem and I have experienced, first hand. It’s a journey we can suddenly find ourselves on as we first become aware of challenges our loved ones may be experiencing as they age. The emotional toll can build slowly or quickly. Then there’s the time commitment and rebalancing our own lives to adjust while still taking care of ourselves.
I’ve lived with an addict.
- This is a tricky one because there are so many “addictions” that are acceptable in our culture, and we have so many creative ways that people mask their addictions. I have first hand experience living with an addict and experiencing the overwhelming helplessness and steady erosion of trust.
I’ve lived abroad.
- I feel so fortunate to have always lived in areas where I was exposed to people who are different from me. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in East Asian Studies, I moved to Japan, got a job with Taisei Kensetsu (one of the largest construction companies in Japan) in Tokyo (where I was the first American hired in the International Division) and lived there for 2 ½ years. Later in life, my husband (at the time) and I took a personal sabbatical in our 40s and moved to Buenos Aires. I later moved to Bogota, Colombia on my own. I really understand the challenges of living in different cultures and how that is drastically different from an extended vacation.