I get it. I’ve been there.
Today, I wake up every morning knowing who I am and what I’m meant to do.
But this wasn’t always the case.
Fear was my driver.
I have lived most of my life unconsciously, without awareness or understanding of who I was—my deepest values, my natural gifts, or my reason for being. I made decisions driven mostly by fear. Fear of failure, fear of judgment, fear of embarrassment, fear of rejection, fear of being alone.
I chose my college because I was scared of leaving home and my older brother went there too. I got an MBA and worked in Corporate America—not out of a love for business, but by letting one thing lead me to the next. I never sought to understand myself or what I really wanted in life. I was guided by people-pleasing and perceptions of what I “should” do.
I paid a heavy price.
I struggled with low self-esteem, eating disorders, anxiety, perfectionism, and impostor syndrome. After one failed marriage, I remarried at 31 and, after battling infertility and getting pregnant, was relieved to quit my marketing job. Raising our twin daughters was the first time I felt a sense of purpose in my life, a deep certainty that this was what I was meant to do.
It took my teen daughters pushing back on me, eager for independence, for me to take a hard look at my life. Nearing age 50, I was truly lost.
My whole identity had been wrapped up in my role as a mother. Without that, who was I? What was I supposed to do? Did I have anything of value to offer the world? On top of that, I felt alone. We’d moved back into Chicago and I was struggling to find my tribe in the city, having left my community of girlfriends behind in the suburbs. Feeling entitled, I was too embarrassed to share my “first world” problems.
The truth is, I was tired. Tired of living in fear, tired of never being good enough, tired of feeling like a failure, tired of putting everyone else first.
Something had to change.
It took several years of hard, honest work—therapy, exploration, trial and error, hard conversations—for me to find myself for the first time in my life. I had to face some tough questions and come to terms with my past in order to embrace a new, more hopeful future.
In the process, I learned who I am—my values, passions, and gifts. I finally realized the toxic impact of my perfectionism, and the power of vulnerability, and vowed to accept myself, flaws and all. I learned who my girlfriends are, and who is better left behind. I discovered the power of action despite my fear. I found my courage—and made my public declaration in an essay published on Huffington Post, “My Fuck You Fifties”. I continue to learn and grow. I am a work in progress, learning to be perfectly imperfect.
Today, I am a life coach, speaker, writer, and community builder.
I coach groups of women seeking to create a life of joy and fulfillment in the second half through my signature program, Discover Your Purpose.
I am also the creator of the membership, Take Action on Your Passion, where I help women 40+ pursue their goals and dreams. Because it’s our time, and it’s our turn!
I run workshops in person and on Zoom on a number of topics such as Making Peace with Your Inner Critic, Overcoming Perfectionism, Setting Goals, Banishing Limiting Beliefs, and more. Learn more here.
And I create community in my Facebook group, Empowering Women in Midlife.
Certified Life Coach (CPC), trained through iPEC’s Accredited Coach Training Program.
Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner (ELI-MP)
Member, International Coach Federation
MBA, Washington University in St. Louis
BA, Duke University
~ Sharon R.
~ Susie K.
~ Melissa G.
~ Lindsay H.
~ Isabelle B.
~ Lynn B.
~ Holly M.
~ Cathy P.
~ Matt G.
~ Erica T.
~ Veronique B.
~ Anne S.
- I jumped out of a plane at age 50
- I have a huge sweet tooth and indulge in chocolate daily
- My name, Hélène, is French for Helene (I’m an American raised in Paris). To pronounce it, you say the two letters L and N in a row: L-N, with the emphasis on the N
- My celebrity crush is Idris Elba
- I continue to use paper calendars (I have them dating back to 1997!) and am a big fan of those by Letts of London.
- I am an avid reader of nonfiction, particularly psychology and behavioral economics
- I was once mistaken for a “motivational dancer” at a friend’s 50th Birthday party—I do love to dance!
- If you doubt the power of hugs, watch my favorite all-time video here, to one of my favorite songs too! I cry every time.