Unbecoming and Becoming
At the end of last year, I quit my corporate job. First, it was “quitting on hold”, I must admit. It started out with a return option and a sabbatical, i.e. a lot of time to travel, to finally take some time for myself, to explore and learn and to relax after 15 intense years in consulting in a small very specialized agency and the big corporate world. But soon I realized I wanted to entirely follow my calling for independency, for being fully in charge, for entrepreneurship and most importantly for realizing my purpose: I want to have a positive impact on people’s work and personal lives and I want people to be able to connect with me, empower and support them to reach their goals and give them an opportunity to (re-) charge.
That said I wanted to extend my reach from one organization to many, from leading one team to empowering many, from supporting one line of leadership to helping many, from accompanying a few colleagues and friends through big job decisions and life-changing situations to being there for whoever wants to take advantage of this opportunity at any time. With this purpose in my heart I started my coaching training and completed it with clarity, added detail, nuances and experiences regarding my values, my inner team, my balance and my own goals. I’m a fully trained Co-Active Coach now – which is to my clients and to myself much more than just another title. In order to become a coach, though, I had to unbecome some other things first. I needed to get rid of or at least re-interpret some tags and titles which I – intentionally or unintentionally had collected over many years: “workhorse”, “outstanding performer”, “perfectionist”, “coward”, “executive candidate”, “pleaser” to just name some of the most important ones. I needed to re-connect with myself and take time to explore who I want to be, why and how I want to show up.
And here I am today. So many wonderful things have happened through my transformation:
Most importantly, I find fulfillment in coaching my clients every day. It’s the most beautiful thing to see them finding theirpurpose, defining theirgoals, identifying theirvalues, getting in synch and taking action towards theirgoals. That’s really the most important part.
I find so much inspiration and connection while travelling and in - what I call “my two homes” - the New York Metropolitan Area and Germany. Travelling, exploring, connecting with new people and old friends and enjoying life to the fullest will always stay with me. It isme and it has been a wonderful experience to being able to follow this passion with a degree of freedom and flexibility which I’ve never experienced before since I have started my career.
And: I founded double human – that’s the main reason I’m writing these lines today. I have my own little company now, I created my brand and my portfolio, I started this blog and I started writing my book, a desire which has been with me for quite some years now and always had to step back behind my career. double human stands for dealing with the whole human and doubling humanity in our professional and personal lives. In over 15 years of work and HR experience I found some systematic errors in and around organizations of which the most important one continued to stun me and leave me perplexed: I was often blown away by the fact how simple human aspects at work (and sometimes in our private lives, too) got lost on the way: having a real conversation, listening, paying attention to someone’s concerns, letting people speak their truth, giving them time to adapt to change, providing simple explanations, especially on the Why of things, giving feedback, celebrating successes … just to name some pretty simple ones which are actually so easy to honor. On the bigger side, I got to know people who lost sight of the shared goals and traded collaboration, purpose and team results for their own forthcoming and who stepped on humanity’s soul instead of actively working towards it. I want to change that and take every effort to make work and life “double human”, especially through working with leaders, with expats and with the people who are in charge, who are responsible for others or just want to change.
I’m very excited and proud to introduce double human to you today. Please check out my portfolio and my blog, leave a comment if you like and of course reach out if I can be of any support for you personally or for your organization.
Another reason for me to write these lines is that I would like for you to see what’s possible. Throughout the last months I’ve met so many new people from all over the world with totally different backgrounds. Each of them had their own story. All stories had in common though that they included dreams that were so near and dear to the people’s hearts, that were so relevant to talk about and that even just the imagination of reaching their desired results made them emotional and highly energetic. Sometimes the dreams were just dreams at this point. In other cases, there was already movement towards them and in some there were only a couple of steps left to achieve a goal. What I would like to say is: You can do whatever you want to achieve. So many things are possible. Everyone has a topic and working with intention towards goals and creating visible results is one of the most rewarding things I’ve recently experienced personally and together with my clients.
Back to double human. Of course, I didn’t do all that by myself. The work in corporate and consulting before taught me business and leadership, they taught me to navigate big and small organizations as well as different cultures, they taught me to negotiate and to jump into the cold water, to take on any challenge that presented itself. Living and working abroad boosted my trust in my intuition, my judgement and capabilities tremendously. It made me realize that challenges are mostly opportunities and that it’s just up to ourselves how we frame and make positive use of them. Away from home, I met wonderful people, made so many new friends through work and my new environment and built some of the strongest connections in my life. Thank you all for all the opportunities, for your support, trust and for wonderful memories. You know who you are.
But it takes more to unbecome and become. I’m entirely grateful to my family, especially to the women of it. I’m the third generation of a female entrepreneur in my family and I couldn’t be prouder of both my grandmothers who built their businesses right after the war, of my mother who taught me that hard work pays off and of my father, too, who retired early and funded that luxury by building his own business together with my mom in parallel to his executive career. Most importantly my heart swells when I think about many conversations I had with my husband in which I - in the beginning more jokingly than seriously - asked him “OK if I quit tomorrow and start my own thing?”. His response was always: “Of course, you can!” But that’s not all either. He has always been my teacher on the go: An entrepreneur himself for almost the entire time we’ve have known each other he showed me how to weigh pros versus cons, identify opportunities, manage risks … and to be bold. And of course, I have a coach myself. The inspiration she provides, her openness, our mutual trust and especially the feeling that she has my back pushes me forward during and in between sessions.
Did my transformation scare me? Absolutely. Does it still feel right: YES, it totally does! Honestly, sometimes I’m still staring at the woman in the mirror asking her where she took the boldness and the courage from. She smiles back to me and says: “From the heart.”
Looking forward to connecting or staying connected and wishing you all the best for anything that you’re up to!
Truly yours, Sonja
About the author
The author, Sonja Kirschner, is 40 years old, originally from Mannheim, Germany which she left almost six years ago to work and live in the New York Metropolitan Area. She has worked in different Human Resources roles for 15 years, all of them focusing on the growth and development of people. Currently, she is in the process of getting her coaching certification. She has a master’s degree in Psychology and loves supporting people to reach their goals. Please leave a comment or send a PM to connect.
About this blog
Humming about U. U as a human being. This is what this blog is all about. It's about making a steady noise about human topics, it's food for thoughts tickling your minds, hearts and souls, it's full of stories and observations which are human at their core and often cushioned by (psychological) science. It's all about U and intended to make U find your voice for the things that are near and dear to YOUR heart and ultimately let you hum your U.