By Stephanie Sinclair Lappi
Do you know the saying: “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”?
I needed things to change. Drastically. I think we ask for help when we are ready to accept that we can’t make it on our own. This is my story of dreaming big, of hopeless frustrations and accepting guidance from life coaching.
This story has a happy beginning.
It was a warm August night in southern France. Our second wedding anniversary. Kissing with Jukka under a sky of shooting stars, wishing for a baby on each and every one.
Life felt full of possibilities.
All I felt was hope.
I had found the man I knew was meant for me. Our wedding, a beautiful handfasting event had been an evening of music, laughter, and magic.
I had found the work I knew I was meant to do. I worked with my father on treatments for addictions. Our little 3-person startup from Helsinki rose all the way onto the New York stock exchange. I built that.
But just around the corner lay the most frightening times you can imagine.
Learning to fear the worst
Sometimes the most frightening thing is not being able to do a thing.
I was terrified. Even though all I was required to do was to stay completely still in the hospital bed. But even taking a deep breath seemed like a risk when the slightest movement might bring me to labor, delivering our tiny little son at fourteen weeks before being due.
I managed to prolong labor for two weeks.
Born at 26 weeks and two days Alarik Torian weighed only 870 grams.
I recovered extremely fast. Finally, nothing hurt. But that strength would soon be needed.
Life turned into a battlefield and Alarik was the bravest warrior you could imagine.
The moments that are hardest to revisit in my mind are the three times we came very close to losing him. But he was saved each time.
Through critical surgery, intensive care and countless machines aiding him to breathe and procedures hoping to ease his path, his eyes remained full of wonder and ours full of hope.
I carried my milk to the ward every day, but there was so little I could do during the seven months we spent at the children’s hospital that I often felt hopeless.
Finally, nobody is watching
The day we brought our son home was the happiest and most frightening day I remember. He required extensive care. We fed him milk through a machine that hooked to his stomach. We helped his breathing with another machine that removed liquids from his throat. An alarm would sound in the night if his mattress detected him not breathing.
For several years after that starry night in France, neither Jukka or myself could remember being completely happy or at ease. We were trained to render first aid at any moment and being constantly alert became the norm. But at least at home, nobody was watching our every move.
I felt grief. Grief had served me for several years, shielding me as I gradually healed, keeping me anchored.
But there was no direction to life. All that mattered was keeping our son breathing.
Enter grey fog
My husband was away a lot during that time, supporting our family working and commuting.
I knew he worried about me.
I was isolated, restless, living in a quiet, remote neighborhood with childcare from morning to evening.
Raising a family had always been our dream, so we kept trying for another child. I thought of little else.
I had almost given up hope after miscarrying four times in three years.
Why are they showing me these babies and then taking them away from me?
Finally, our sweet baby girl was born. Cradling Viviana in my arms under the rose-colored night lamp returned some colors into the foggy grey we had grown accustomed to.
I felt enormously grateful. But I had no strength left. All I wanted to do was pull myself under a warm, woolen blanket and sleep until I forgot.
So, I dragged on through weeks and months. It may have been years. My diary filled with sad scribbles. I pitied myself. I could hardly remember how I wanted to change the world with our work. How dearly I had hoped for a family.
Risking everything for a dream
After four years of grey, I wanted to see all the colors again. I made a solemn promise.
I would heal myself, and I would start living again.
Since I seldom left the house anymore, I started my search online. For something that would help me. Somebody.
I found Live Your Legend.
The movement started by Scott Dinsmore brought together thousands of people all over the world. His inspirational thoughts made my dreams pour in again. I went through the Live Your Legend material and filled it out in one day.
That evening I read the news that Scott Dinsmore had died climbing a mountain at 33 years. He was gone so early, but he had lived more than most others in those years, followed his path.
The Live Your Legend movement had joined me with passionate, entrepreneurial minds and I met Eeppi Nieminen, who was building a life coaching platform called Coachilla. Eeppi matched me to a life coach.
My coach, Reetta Kuuslaakso, was a warm, consistent, and patient figure in my life during the following months.
Reetta helped me clear the path ahead as she provided an outside view to my blurred thoughts.
In one of the most important coaching sessions, she helped me visualize a perfect day in my future. Or not just visualize, but to feel that day with all my senses.
I was standing on a terrace overlooking a sparkling ocean, in that calm moment before the day begins. I smiled and brought a hot cup of coffee to my lips, the light breeze on my arms. I was looking forward to the day. I saw Jukka holding my hand as we walked the shore. Alarik and Viviana were running to splash the waves. And then a warm moment in the evening. Jukka and I were working together on an exciting project. A candle lit dinner table. Laughing and kissing like when we first met.
After seeing that day, I could not settle for anything else.
A coach can handle the truth
My biggest challenge during coaching sessions was keeping the big picture visible when there were so many details on the road towards it. My coach helped me stay connected to my passions and strengths. She never ridiculed my dreams. I remember telling Reetta that I dreamed of a castle in France. She thought that it was a great idea.
Reetta kept me focused on what mattered to me, helping me find energy and fulfillment. Before I would just sit in place looking at all the various options.
Now I knew which direction I was going.
Changing my day changed my life.
Very simply, my goal was to change my day. I craved balance and joy in what I was doing.
Working with my life coach I learned to listen to an outside view and to contemplate those words, breaking the pattern of listening to my own broken record on repeat.
When is the best time to start living?
I was afraid that I needed to be more prepared to be able to obtain my dream life.
Could I start living now when I was so busy?
Perhaps I should have more savings before I followed my dream.
I should lose some weight and get in better shape first.
Such weak excuses!
I peeled the ball of fears down to its core and concluded that I am capable of action even when I am frightened.
For the first time in our lives, Jukka and I started to listen to our calling. We started to envision a leap of faith and trusting in all the good that would follow, we jumped!
Finally finding home
We moved to a seaside town on the Isle of Man that we had visited on our travels several years before when it was still just the two of us with a whole lot of dreams.
Port Erin is an old Viking stronghold overlooking the Irish Sea, where they still believe in fairies and do not look at their watches very often. I did not pack my alarm clock.
We decided to both work from home and take care of the children equally. We had not planned it before moving, but we also started a production company together. We write together, create games, work with films.
You know that feeling you have at the beginning of a relationship when you want to share your dreams, when conversations run deep and colorful? Working with my husband has rekindled that. We get more done than before. The work we do is deeper and has meaning to us. The day has changed. Our life has changed.
Our children love seeing so much of both of us, and they vibe off seeing us happy.
One year changed everything
I woke up this morning to the sun shimmering over the sea, drinking a cup of coffee on the terrace thinking of the day ahead. Alarik and Viviana pattered into the room giggling, and after breakfast, we went down to the beach. In the afternoon Jukka and I took turns writing our book Indigo Twin.
That perfect day I had envisioned back in 2016, that day was today.
We now have time to cuddle our kids. But I no longer sacrifice myself performing motherhood.
I get to do what I love. I am an entrepreneur, an author, a business angel, and a mother.
Life is amazing, and even if there were times when breathing seemed like a risk, I still would not have missed a single breath.
Here’s to wishing for more wishes!
Evening falls in Port Erin.
Stars begin to fill the sky above the shore. Alarik is now completely healthy but at four years old still a boy of few words.
He tugs my hand and pulls me onto our terrace, looking up at the patterns of constellations, his grip so trusting and warm. “Star!”, Alarik exclaims with a bright smile, and I lift him into an embrace. I believe our wishes are meant to come true.
To Eeppi Nieminen and my life coach Reetta Kuuslaakso – if you are reading this, thank you for helping me see the best view on life. Changing direction wasn’t impossible. All I needed to do was change my mind. I trust our dreams are the best guides we have. And you helped me believe that again.
With best wishes, Stephanie Sinclair Lappi
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