On the outside, the early part of my life looks like…
A straight-line rise
6 years of Primary School, 6 years of College, 5 years at University, earning me a Masters Degree in Biochemistry. A stint as a Researcher at Hoffman-La Roche’s Pharmaceutical Research Department. A gap year in Spain, adding Spanish as the 5th language I speak, and learning to dance Flamenco.
Then a Management consulting career from Junior to Executive Consultant: Ten years of helping global businesses and their people make real change happen, by coaching, consulting and training their people, at all levels, to own, shape and drive their own change.
And moving my life from Switzerland to London, in the UK.
Management consulting is high-powered work, and I loved much of it.
Yet it also demanded all of my focus, attention and energy. And after some years, I found myself longing for a more multi-faceted and balanced life. I also felt I hadn’t quite found my calling yet – the work I was truly meant to do.
I didn’t just want a next career move; I wanted to understand and consider what really mattered to me in life. To look not only at what I was doing to earn my living, but also at how I was earning it. And to fit this into a bigger picture of a life I truly loved.
The first thing I did was to pause and create space for me to reflect on this, and try out things that interested me. I did so quite radically: I left corporate consulting behind without knowing exactly what to do next. (Head over to my blog post Create Space to learn how you can create space, too.)
I gave myself the time to let my corporate life phase end. To sit in the uncertainty in between that, and what was to come next. Not trying to fix it, nor jumping to solutions right away – but bearing it, and making friends with it. And see if glimpses of a life and work I loved would emerge.
A starting point – and the meanders of finding the life I love
In this quiet space I noticed that, in order to find a next step that felt right for me, I needed a better understanding of who I (really) was – something I’d never given much thought to before. (Feel like you want to do that, too? Hop over to my blog post Create a Snapshot of Who You Really Are to find out how!)
So I started with that. It had nothing to do with self-indulgence. Rather, it was about increasing my self-knowledge, awareness, and learning. I reviewed where I’d come from in my life so far, and what I had learnt from that. And I took a good, honest look at who I really was, and what truly mattered to me.
Then I started trying out what I felt drawn to – and my previously straight journey turned into a more meandering one. A very interesting journey it was, too, as it lead me deeply into Writing, Photography, Dance, Singing, Performance, and various self-development and avarious spiritual philosophies!
Based on each of the things I’d tried out, I started collecting pointers towards the life I loved, which I used as spring-boards to experiment further. I began to notice what I loved and what I didn’t love. What felt right and what didn’t. And I let go of the latter, and tried to do more of the former. (Today, I help my clients be a bit more structured about this – check out my blog post Create a Rough Roadmap to learn how! It saves them a few of the meanders I had and takes the stress out of not-knowing.)
I kept collecting, until a clearer picture gradually emerged: It was actually a friend who suggested to me that, with my extensive experience in so many areas of life and work, with so many different people, I would make the perfect Life Coach.
At the time, I didn’t even know what a Life Coach was. But when I researched it, I could see it made logical and gut-feeling sense. And the work I was meant to do – which I call Change Catalysing today – and the life I love, gradually fell into place!
A kaleidoscopic life
On my journey, I’ve had times of clarity and times of confusion. Times of actively and purposefully taking myself forward, and times of letting things rest. I alternated Doing with Being and Reflecting. I lived through the natural ups and downs of my journey. And every now and then, I took stock of where I stood, of what worked for me and what didn’t. And then thought of where to go next.
Over time, my life opened up like a kaleidoscope: I went from an almost exclusive focus on facilitating business change working with clients and colleagues, to a much more balanced life centred around a variety of activities and people I loved and wanted to pursue or spend time with.
Initially, this included part-time, self-employed work as a Business Researcher and Writer, and Change Consultant for charities. More time for family and friends. And quite a lot of artistic and creative pursuits, among which were:
- Dancing Flamenco and owning a flat in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.
- Earning a National Certificate in Photography and producing my own photographic greeting cards.
- Training professionally in Contemporary Dance at the Laban Centre; dancing, choreographing and performing contemporary dance pieces, and being a member of Amy Voris’ Movement and Performance Group Sentient Dogs.
I live in London, my home town for the past 19 years, where I take great delight, satisfaction and a sense of purpose in helping people renew their direction in life, and get underway into a life they love, by taking the practical steps and making the real changes this requires – in the way that is right for them.
I also love spending time with family and friends, and practice yoga, walking and cycling. I enjoy singing and performing, playing the piano, and photographing nature (What do you think of my Facebook Page Monica Castenetto Nature Photography? Please ‘Like’ it if you like it! 🙂 ). I also maintain strong family ties to Switzerland and Italy. And yes, I do speak quite a few languages!
Inspired to work with me? Have questions?
That’s great – why don’t we have a chat? I’d love to speak to you, as it’s important to me that we’re a good match. That my coaching is right for what you want in your life. And that I’m the right person to help you with this. (And, by the way, it’s ok if we find out that I’m not.)
You’re serious about discovering and creating a life that is right for you? You know you cannot do that on your own? Then book your initial call with me now – it’s free!
We’ll talk about where you’re at and what you want to do. We’ll clarify your questions. Work out if and how we can best work together. And get the ball rolling.