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MEET HÉLÈNE

Maybe you’re feeling lost, stuck, anxious, or alone—and you’re wondering what the future holds for you.

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.

But fear still plagued me. I believed that if only I could be a perfect mom, my kids would turn out to be perfectly happy. I was desperately afraid that they would suffer my own crippling insecurity and anxiety. No matter how many books I read, lectures I attended, or activities I organized for my girls, I still felt it was not enough.

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. 

As a Midlife Empowerment Coach, I am honored to challenge and support women in their own search for meaning and journeys of reinvention.

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 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.

I share my thoughts in My Musings and introduce you to fascinating women and experts in my Interview Series.

And I create community in my Facebook group, Empowering Women in Midlife.

 

I was nervous about working with a Life Coach for the first time. Would she ‘get me’, would I feel awkward, wouldn’t actually making progress take forever? Working with Hélène reassured all my fears. She is caring, respectful, creative, and a perceptive listener. Through our coaching, I was able to take positive steps toward my goals, where I had been stagnating before. She identified key actions over a realistic timetable, and most importantly, held me gently accountable for completing them. I’m very grateful for her help and recommend her highly.

–Ann A. 

“After I left a 30-year career and after my twins were fully launched, I found myself at loose ends in trying to articulate what I wanted this next stage of my life to look like.  I finally had freedom — but freedom can be scary. With Hélène’s help and guidance, I was able to identify my core value set and come up with action plans that enable me to get the most out of this next stage! Hélène is unfailingly patient and insightful, and in the process, I uncovered some truths about myself I wouldn’t have gotten to otherwise.  I recommend her highly.”

~ Sharon R.

“I really enjoyed working with Hélène. She was very thorough and thoughtful, and asked pointed questions that really made me think and more deeply consider my next steps. In our sessions, I felt she spent a great deal of time considering our previous discussions and evaluating my specific path to help guide me in a more clear direction. She really helped bring into focus where my inherent strengths lie, and I find I am very excited and energized to find the right fit for me as I re-enter the working world!

~ Susie K.

Working with Hélène was one of the best things I have ever done for myself. She was able to coach me through one of the most painful situations of my adult life—my decision to separate from my husband—and she helped me realize that I am strong enough to handle anything that comes my way. She supported me, encouraged me, and challenged me; because of her guidance I now have the confidence to take action and live the life I was meant to live. Hélène is such a blessing and I highly recommend her services to anyone and everyone.”

~ Melissa G.

“As a lifelong achiever, I have always been very good at setting stretch goals and achieving them, but going through a major career shift and becoming a mother caused me to take a long look at what was really important to me and I’m so glad I had Hélène as my coach on this journey. She challenged me examine my values and what was important for me in this transition. When I went to my default of creating big goals and doing everything possible to achieve them, her coaching helped me slow down to really enjoy the moments and consciously choose how to use my energy in a more constructive way. I am grateful for her help in listening to the calm voice of reason within myself so that I can really enjoy my family moments and pursue my career passion.”

~ Lindsay H.

“When I joined our coaching group, I’d been through a lot of transition and was feeling confused. Hélène created a safe environment where we could learn and grow together. Her coaching helped me understand that there is not just one “right” path for each of us but that, most important, whatever I choose to do next needs to fit with my values, gifts, and passions. As a result, I have become more conscious of my priorities and am giving myself permission to explore possibilities—and remember to take care of myself along the way!

~ Isabelle B.

Being coached by Hélène changed the trajectory of my life to align with who I am and to live out my truth in a way that makes me feel alive again! Prior to working with Hélène, I felt my life was spinning out of control and that I was being pulled in too many directions. I was definitely burning out. Hélène helped me realize what is truly important to me; she gave me the courage to live life according to my values. Hélène ‘s belief that I can have, and that I deserve, the life I want positively challenged me. I now wake up with purpose and motivation to create the life I want. Working with Hélène has really been a life changing experience!”

~Jenn P.

“THANK YOU for exposing me to coaching. I had never tried it, so this group program was a great way to see what it’s all about, and very enjoyable. I learned some valuable information about myself!!!  I also loved meeting other women with similar issues—knowing you are not alone and listening to others’ suggestions really helps.

~ Lynn B.

“I’d arrived at a point in my life where the past weighed heavily on my shoulders, my current situation was increasingly unfulfilling, and changing and what to do next was a question mark. I’d read many [self-help] books that offered the promise of clarity and a roadmap forward. However they all came up short. Hélène’s structured purpose process and guidance were all that was necessary to move me from stuck to action. Her process has brought up long submerged interest that I’m working towards—in the design field. She has also shown me that it’s ok to prioritize my needs ahead of others. For anyone looking to understand themselves and build a different future, I can strongly recommend Hélène as a coach.”
–Geoffrey S.

“Hélène’s process to find your life purpose is super-powerful.  She guides you step-by-step through the exercises of discovering what makes you uniquely tick, and the results are like a spotlight illuminating on stage: You clearly see what to focus on.  With her guidance, I was able to write a statement of life-purpose that is authentic, exhilarating, and enduring.  My purpose now truly tugs at my heart.”

~ Holly M.

“Before participating in Hélène’s coaching group, I was struggling with life transitions, with my youngest graduating high school and my elderly parents requiring more care. As a result of our group work, I am now able to embrace my gifts and passions and am pursuing goals that reflect my values rather than others’ expectations. I’m also clear on my life’s purpose—one that telegraphs my authentic self and establishes a foundation of trust for the work that I do.”

~Stephanie V.

“Life has thrown some tough situations at me and Hélène is a gifted coach who concisely targeted the next steps I needed to take in order to get beyond my difficult situation, opening life up to new and wonderful possibilities. Being unstuck is much better than being stuck. What a priceless gift.”

~ Cathy P.

“Hélène provides a powerful blend of objectivity and advocacy for navigating choices and forging new paths.”

~ Matt G. 

“I was working harder than ever, bringing great profit to my company, with inadequate recognition or reward for my accomplishments. When I asked for compensation, I was repeatedly told that money was tight. I was feeling helpless and worn out. Hélène very patiently listened to me. She encouraged me to do some research to find out what the competition was earning. She also suggested I create a chart to highlight my significant sales numbers. It sounds silly but hearing Hélène validate my achievements, along with strong tools now in hand, gave me the confidence to put forth a convincing argument and get a substantial increase in salary. Thank you Hélène for helping me believe in myself and my worth—and helping me get positive results!”

~ Erica T.

“Our coaching group was ideal, with specific content, tailored exercises, a cohesive group, and a lovely setting! I’d been trying to shift from worrying about missing my kids to pursuing some of my own goals. Thinking through big ideas and potential paths in a supportive group helped me confirm some thoughts I’d been having and feel clarity around my next steps. I have found new confidence and validation to move forward. Thank you!

~Susan L.

“Hélène’s group coaching program was wonderful. I loved the format—the topics, organization, coaching, and discussion. Her support allowed us to enrich and expand our visions for ourselves, including our perspectives and options.”

~ Veronique B.

“I reached out to Helene at a time when I felt motivated for change, yet completely paralyzed as to how to go about it. Through my work with her, I was able to put a reasonable plan in action. She helps you get you to see what your true strengths and authentic purposes are, as well as recognize what your self-inflicted barriers are. Her effective style can best be described as “gentle tough love” — she holds you accountable and tells you what you need to hear, but with compassion, understanding, and empathy….and not an ounce of judgement. I would strongly recommend anyone who feels stuck in their lives and needs help in getting past barriers to reach out to Helene!”

~ Anne S.

“Hélène is incredibly intuitive, a wonderful listener, and highly pragmatic. Helene assessed and offered a view of my situation quickly. She was extremely helpful in assisting me to develop the vision/purpose for my mid-life, and for thinking through how to manage my current situation while pursuing a new one. She saw the best in me and helped me to build a plan for how to put my strengths, passion, values, and interests to work in a career. Equal parts business advisor and life coach, Helene helped me to bring my vision to life. I’m very grateful to have worked with her during a challenging period in my life and highly recommend her services to anyone who is looking to transform their career in mid-life.”

~ Maura

 FUN FACTS 

  • 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.

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