Tremendous enthusiasm

”Bettina has tremendous enthusiasm for the coaching process. She is a positive, generous, and encouring coach who helped me to celebrate progress and realize I was making positive, lasting changes in my life.”

Christine, Lecturer, PhD candiate, Mom, Netherlands

Light can drive out darkness by Bettina Bonkas

 ’That was another loud morning upstairs at yours.’ ’ By the way, the little something for St. Nick in front of your door is from me.’

 Before Marie could respond, Mr. Winter had already disappeared in his flat. Sometimes she could slap his face. He would always rant about her and Felix and then again he would put a lovely wrapped St. Nick in front of their door – they could do without it! Her friend had warned her of living under the same roof as their landlord. But nowhere else would they find such a great three-room flat in Bad Homburg located directly by the spa gardens and affordable at that. Right now, she didn’t want to think about it; she hadn’t picked up Felix earlier from kindergarten to spend her time brooding now.

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Sometimes it feels good to be grumpy – about not being perfect

Cat Pet Neighbour
Do you know these moments when you’d like to be not friendly, patient and understanding?

Last summer my son and I came to the ferry port in Dover. At the check-in, my German self always comes through – sorry I can’t help it!

We always feel when we come to Calais or Dover, that we pick the wrong queue, and this time we were proved right. We were waiting in our queue and the cars to our right and left disappeared, one after the other but our queue didn’t seem to be moving, or at a snail’s pace.
As a result we missed the ferry which we easily could have caught, but now we had to wait for about an hour for the next one. I’m not exaggerating when I say that we had had plenty of time and if we’d been in another queue we’d have got onto the ferry as the other cars from the right and left, which I remembered from waiting in the queue, had disappeared.

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Know your story

Strand Story Leo

I enjoy reading the magazine “Psychologies” ( It is, how it calls itself, “a mindful living magazine” and it is very much so. I take away a lot from reading it. In the July issue I read a powerful sentence by Danielle Waterman, England’s longest-serving international women’s rugby player: “Being open-minded and tolerant are important values for me: you never know what’s happening in someone’s life. It’s unfair to judge when you don’t know the full story.”

She’s so right. And I would add: “It’s also unfair to judge yourself when you don’t know your own full story.” We’re often the worst critics of ourselves and make our lives miserable by judging ourselves. But do we know our own full story? Other people can trigger something inside us we’re often not aware of. It might provoke negative feelings like fear or shame and often we’re left with a mess of feelings. At other time we block ourselves with limiting beliefs. They can leave us with a feeling of insufficiency.

So, when you have a feeling of pain don’t look away but explore it. When you understand your full story, you’ll be a lot less judgmental of yourself, and hopefully stop it altogether. How can you explore your own story? Begin by asking yourself these questions:
– What exactly upsets me?
– What’s so bad about it?
– What’s the most upsetting part of that?

Don’t see hurt feelings caused by others as a problem but as a chance. Let me give you an example: Your friend keeps coming late when you meet. You might find out that it’s not so much about your friend being always late but rather about the feeling that she gives you: She doesn’t take me seriously. Not being taken seriously dates back to your childhood when your older siblings never took you seriously and also your parents always asked them for advice and in fact still do, as it feels to you. And so you find out that it’s not about being late but about taking you seriously. Talk openly to your friend about your feelings and you’ll probably find out that she never meant to hurt you by being late. Instead she has a problem with time management and quite on the contrary she feels really sorry for hurting you. If you don’t explore your feelings and thus your own story you might have an argument with your friend who, on the other hand, feels ashamed of her time management but doesn’t want to show it. So, you might even fall out over something which, with some knowledge, could have been mended. It takes courage to explore your feelings and to be open about them but it’s worth it.

So, the next time when you feel judgmental, think of the fact that there’s always a story behind it. Explore yours. And never forget: Others have their own stories, too.

Be connected

Bisquitrolle Karo

I love my job as a coach and trainer. It’s so interesting what I learn about my clients and from them. It was a client of mine who taught me that horses are very sensitive animals. So, when she was in a bad mood, her horse would turn its back to her and left her standing alone. Another client of mine took most amazing photos of horses, like horses lying on their back as a person would be draped over the horse. But he always had to watch them, especially the stallions, as they could attack him at any time, had he overstepped the mark.

When we do job coaching, I get to know a different side of my client, something you sometimes hadn’t expected. One of my clients is a marketing specialist by profession. So, when I asked her what she does in her free time, she told me about the cakes she makes, or should I rather say creates? From listening to her I could figure out that her cakes were special but she always kept a low profile, and it often was more about what she couldn’t do than what she could do. This client has definitely no lack of self-esteem, quite on the contrary, she’s pleasantly self-confident but she’s also German;-), so things are never good enough. So, when she e-mailed me a link with her creations, I had been expecting nice-looking cakes but nothing extraordinary. I was absolutely overwhelmed when I saw her creations, I fact I love them so much that’s why I’ve put her link on my website (of course, I’d asked her permission first☺). Look for yourself: (she speaks very good English:-)

But I’m not just writing this because her cakes are sensational but also because it’s her beautiful and unique way to unwind and to plunge into her own world. Baking is like immersing herself in a different world and, very important, it gives her self-confidence, something she can hold onto, also in difficult times.

My client is a person who seizes a chance and doesn’t wait for a second time. During a holiday she fell in love with South Africa. Upon coming home she made up her mind to go to the country for half a year. It was not easy for her to hand in her notice as she loved her job as a marketing specialist but don’t just dream your dreams, realise them, that was what she did. After a fantastic time there she’s just come back home and now she’s trying to find a job. Well, she hasn’t been here for a long time but still when you’ve always worked it can worry you when you’re between jobs and yes, being at home can be lonely at times, especially for extraverts. Of course, money is tight when you live from unemployment benefit so going out is not something you can do on a regular basis.

In those times even reading a “dark” book can drag you down. We were talking about how good it does you to surround yourself with positive things and, very important, with positive, supporting people. Reflecting your situation is important but don’t dwell on it. And do things you can do well to boost your self-confidence.

It’s in those times that your resilience shows. Sometimes painfully slow, though, but as long as it’s temporary it’s not a problem; feeling down ist part of our lives at times. In fact we can’t always have ups, there not light without shadow. From a Chines client I once learned that most Chinese people live the yin-ganz principle naturally. It’s about being connected to yourself, thriving for balance and listen to your inner voice or to the voice of a good friend. It’s in those times that you know who a friend is, people who are there for you when you need them.

My client is well equipped, so to say, and that’s beautiful to watch. If you think that you need a little bit of support, you might want to have a look at my tab “Resilience”. The listed resilience factors there together with a short story may help you when you feel stuck.

April: The power of love II

Goodbye (part II) by Bettina Bonkas

Story in two parts. 2nd part:

When granny was in hospital again, she called me in England. Something she’d never done before. She informed me that the doctors had found out the reason for her back ache. She had cancer in one of her ribs. Bone cancer. From that day on she was different. She was loving, I could already tell on the phone, and I really got to love her. I decided to interrupt my time in England and go back to Germany and do some jobbing. Often I went to see granny and our relationship became closer and closer. Then, that week came, in which everything went super quickly. On Monday her doctor told her that all treatment options had been exhausted. A couple of days later, on Thursday, she together with her sons had an appointment with her doctor in which he told them that they’d better quickly look for a place in a hospice as she only had a couple of weeks to live.

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