My higher education journey started with 3 semesters of psychology, but I eventually decided to pursue acting full time. Two years later I enrolled at a faculty for Public Relations. In Serbia you can’t change majors during the 4 years of university; you have to stick with what you picked before choosing the faculty. I “discovered” anthropology in my second year. The professor who taught it also taught psychological and philosophical subjects in Masters and Doctoral programs. I audited the lectures and it soon became clear that I prefer that to PR. However, I stuck to “my” goal because I felt I “had already wasted too much time” wandering about. Eventually I did my Masters in Anthropology and Ethnology, but that experience wasn’t nearly as fulfilling or expanding as the lectures I audited. Altogether, the education path was marked with beliefs I picked up growing up and in the end I realized I was working on things I didn’t really like, things I wasn’t even particularly interested in. I had been making choices by prioritizing diplomas and potential job security and salary. I wanted to be the best in class and I finished PR studies as the valedictorian, only to realize that being the best didn’t really mean that much.

Finally, after years of trying to find what I wanted to do and then going after culturally “approved” paths, I “discovered” coaching.

I’d been struggling with anxiety and depression since early puberty. When I would try and go to a psychologist or a psychiatrist they would most often do one of three things:

1.       listen to what I am saying, occasionally repeating it in different words, and very, very rarely asking any questions or making insightful observations;

2.       give me advice based on their perception of the world and what people “must” do, how people “must” live –  they would tell me to be more self-disciplined, or practice my will power and just push through.

3.       And some would just offer medication as if it were bubble gum.

None of the three methods were truly helpful. I was looking for something different. That’s when I heard about coaching. While finding out more about the approach coaches use, I already started to feel a bit more focused. During the Life coaching and NLP training I had numerous insights just doing the required exercises. Then, I was a client in dozens of life coaching sessions and I was changing, transforming. The process didn’t include me “fighting against myself”, on the contrary! I was listening more closely and I was more in tune with what is going on in my body and my subconscious.

I felt I was getting more present. The ruminations about the past and worries about the future lessened to a degree that gave me great relief.

I started to accept who I am at the present moment. Before, I used to either have very low self-esteem or I would (unconsciously) comfort myself with grandiose ideas and fantasies. Through coaching and exploration of other transformative tools I became much more aware of who I am and my identity became much more balanced. Finally, I had a realistic starting point for the ways I wanted to improve things about myself.

This led to seeing other people more clearly and having better, more fulfilling relationships based in reality and not in my and/or other person’s fantasies. Equally as important, I stopped trying to have relationships with some people who didn’t want open and honest communication.

It’s been years since I got the certificate and I am still transforming, but the way I face things has drastically changed. For example, I no longer let one mistake define my whole identity and “predict” my future in a catastrophic way. I still sometimes get a bit stuck, but if I find myself unable to take a neutral position and view the issue from a “birds eye” perspective, I apply some tools or  schedule a session.

The path hasn’t been linear or easy. There were situations or areas where I needed time to process things and accept them. Sometimes I would come back to the seemingly same issue only to realize that now I am facing it on a different level, which may have been too difficult to handle the first time around, or simply from a new perspective that’s only visible from higher up.

Before coaching I was suffering although from the outside there didn’t seem to be a reason. I have been transforming over the years and when I read my old diaries I can see how far I’ve come. My path and transformation fill me with desire to help other people do the same.