why I do what i do
Just like many others, as I was nearing my 30s, I started to get in touch with some difficult questions inside myself that eventually made me reconsider everything that I have learned, studied, understood, done and achieved. These questions made me really pay attention to what the second train of my life would look and feel like.
Up until I was 25, my life was like a boat without a rudder that, thanks God, navigated through some rough waters without any major trouble. Although without a rudder, the boat was in a good and loving river. I am coming from a family full of bubbling energy of life. Tons of love and care from my parents and grandparents, sunshine, endless adventures together with my sister, requirement to take part in physical work on the farm and practicing piano with no excuses, all wrapped in immense grace of God is how I recall my childhood. When I was small, I was sure I would later become a vet to take care of all the animals in the world.
When I graduated from high school, I went on to study the same subject as my sister. Social work. It felt very safe to follow in her footsteps. And - who could be sure of what to do with life at 17? It was quite clear from the very beginning that I would not work as a social worker. It was not my thing. However my time there was extremely valuable as I had an opportunity to get an insight into the most important disciplines about the human psychology and behaviour.
I then moved on to the Latvian University to get my master’s degree in public governance. I still don't have a clue why was I studying this subject. I was still in my boat carried by the river. Besides my studies I now had my third employment as an assistant to the Company Secretary that taught me the ropes of working with legal documents, organisational structure, stakeholders etc. Another invaluable school of life.
At this point I was 23 and I finally made a conscious decision about my future. I felt drawn into the field of communication. My employer was extremely supportive towards any wish to learn and develop. I used this opportunity to attend a number of short courses in Latvia and abroad, as well as to get my second master’s degree. This time in Mass Communication from the University of Leicester in UK. In order to get to know the business I was working for, I also graduated form a Telecoms management program and at the time was able to draw the scheme of telephone connection from the switch board to the end user…I felt I needed this knowledge to be able to gain trust from my engineer colleagues who believed all the rest of the organisation were not to be taken seriously. Especially marketing and communications people.
My career developed and I became the government relations manager of the company and thus had the luck to meet the then Minister for Finance, Valdis Dombrovskis (now the EU commissioner for Euro and Social Dialogue) who invited me to run his office. I said yes and finally was able to see the reason behind my previously unconscious choice of studying the public administration. When Valdis decided to move to Brussels, I decided to try my hand in entrepreneurship. I established and for 6 years run my own advertising agency. It was a success.
Parallel to my work in advertising, I felt the pull to do something more meaningful. I started to devote some time volunteering in the most influential spiritual centre of the country, the biggest and most contemporary Lutheran church in Latvia. Some time ago I had come here for a formal need to be baptised before my wedding, but gradually the place and it’s people became invaluable piece of puzzle in making some of the most important decisions in my life.
As I was nearing my 30s, the big questions started to surface my consciousness. What am I doing with my life and for how long am I going to do this? I felt my work was meaningless, but I was successful. I did not dare sharing my sentiment with anyone except my closest circle in fear of being judged for ungratefulness. How could I complain when I saw all the pain in the world and around me? I had everything. Except a sense of fulfilment. So I had nothing actually.
Long story short, I quit my work in the agency and set out to discover my true calling. I considered the ideas from establishing my own eco farm to becoming a doctor. I thought that if I entered the university now, I could be performing surgeries when I was 40 and that did not sound bad at all! Luckily my dear friend and now a colleague at Insead business school in France, Declan Fitzsimons, asked me just the right question: “Do you think you would like the doctor’s job or the feeling that this kind of work provided?” It was like a strike of lightning. Of course the latter! I could help people without a surgeon’s knife! All of a sudden I saw how I had always found a possibility to support people in their development, hold their hand, hear them out and be besides those who needed a shoulder to lean on.
For the next three years I was waking up every morning with questions in my mind: What is it exactly that I have to do in this world? What is my mission? What can happen only through me? I must say it was quite a miserable state. I knew I wanted to help people, but how?
To make it more amusing, my role model, my mom, was always in front of my eyes. She is a well known and highly appreciated leadership expert, unique, inspiring human being who has touched many people’s lives. It is just that I never thought it could also be my path. Although quite early on she had introduced me to MBTI, it took me years and years to realise why I had dreamt of becoming a doctor. She had also invited me to be a guest speaker in numerous programs she was running however I never clocked I loved being with people who were developing themselves.
Only after years of my journey consisting of applying different frameworks, understanding my values, talking to my Teachers and mentors, sharpening my intuition, working with my past, immersing myself in numerous spiritual, psychological and somatic practices, travelling, suffering the pain of loss, I was able to see my calling quite clearly. I could not articulate it in words, but I remember drawing a picture: a man and a woman crossing a tightrope across the deep valley and me being besides them, wearing a red cape. Being with those who are on the journey across their own transformation valley is what gives meaning to my life.
I then came across the concept of integral coaching and became an Integral Master Coach with Integral Coaching Canada that helped me to offer a structured guidance to these travellers. Then, three years ago, I received an invitation from the above mentioned friend Declan to come and see if I could be interested and fit to work on experiential leadership programs at Insead business school, which was another opportunity and challenge at the same time. It was another journey beginning with “I don't want to, I cannot, I won't be able to” and flowing into “it has changed and stretched me, I am a deeper version of myself now”. Finding ones calling does not mean a peaceful life. On the contrary, it offers endless opportunities to deepen the relationship with your gift.
Previous 1o years have been transformative. I’ve found my gift and I feel so grateful to share it with the world. I am still on my journey together with the best Teachers, my tribe - my dear husband and friend, family, friends and also some very painful punches of life. However, big love and big losses are the best teachers on the path to a better version of oneself. Looking back on my 43 years, I would not change a single thing, as no matter how painful, it has done me good. My own journey to become a companion for those who are on their journeys will never be completed, but I do hope that everything that I have learned through the hard work, passion, pain and energy could help to shine a little light for those who are searching.
a couple of other important things in my life
I tend bees. My family farm in the North of Latvia has been a home to my ancestors for 150 yers. Keeping bees is the way I pay my dues to them. The bees have always been living here. I hope it is one thing that does not change in the future. No bees, no life on the planet.
My volunteering in my Lutheran church is also important to me. It has provided me with a platform to initiate an important initiative not just for me and the church, but for the whole society of Latvia. Since 2013 when I suffered a tragic loss of my only son during pregnancy, I became one of the founders of the Star Child initiative. Its goal is to ensure the rights of unborn children and their parents, and to offer emotional and spiritual support to parents. We have managed to change the legislation. Now all the parents have a legal right to burry their Star Child irrespective of the time it has spent in this world. Prior to this, the baby had to meet a certain criteria which caused enormous suffering to grieving parents.
Since 2018 I have joined a Swiss-Latvian contemplation teacher’s program and hope to become a contemplation teacher bu 2022.