Life is an intricate labyrinth, filled with twists and turns, challenges, and opportunities. At some point or another, we all find ourselves searching for guidance, a steady hand to help us navigate the intricacies of our own unique paths. That’s where Carole Sanek, a Certified Life Coach, comes into play. In a world saturated with self-help gurus and advice columns, Carole stands out as a beacon of authenticity, resilience, and genuine care. She’s not just another self-proclaimed expert; she’s a true mentor who has weathered life’s storms and emerged stronger, now dedicated to helping others do the same. In this article, we invite you to embark on a journey with Carole Sanek, a remarkable woman with a compelling story and a passion for empowering others. Discover how she has transformed her own life and, in turn, is changing the lives of those she touches. Mystic Mag delves into her unique approach to life coaching, explores her insights on personal growth, and learns from her experiences that have shaped her into the empathetic and inspiring mentor she is today. Get ready to be inspired, because Carole Sanek’s story is one you won’t want to miss.
Certified Life Coach is your title in your career. What actually inspired you to pursue this profession?
Almost five years ago, my husband passed away, and he was the love of my life. I was in the process of writing our love story, along with a sort of ‘how-to’ book on what to do if someone suddenly dies, as he passed away unexpectedly, leaving no time for preparation. With my background in the medical field, including nursing and various other medical roles, I had always been helping people.
I realized that the book I was writing could truly assist people, as I had pre-sold about 500 copies of it. This led me to contemplate becoming a life coach when someone suggested the idea. I thought, ‘Why not?’ Being a life coach offers me a sense of accreditation, which is valuable, especially since I’m still an author actively working on my writing.
In addition to being a certified life coach, I am in the final stages of completing my accreditation for spiritual coaching. I am also beginning a class on energy coaching and energy healing. I believe that as a coach, just as in my nursing career, continuing education is essential. This commitment to ongoing learning is vital for building trust with my clients, which is important to me. So, that’s why I pursued this path.
Life coaching can cover a wide range of areas such as career, relationships, personal development, and more. What is your specialty or niche, and what draws you to that particular area of coaching?
Interestingly enough, I got drawn into the spiritual aspect of it because I met a doctor, a man with a doctorate in metaphysics, who is deeply focused on the soul, higher beings, and self-discovery. As we spoke at length, I found myself revisiting things from my past that I hadn’t thought about in a long time. For instance, I’ve been able to see deceased individuals since I was a child.
You may recall the line from the movie, ‘I see dead people.’ Well, the truth is, I do see dead people. Initially, I would dismiss these sightings as dreams, but it became apparent that this was not the case. I’d see them during the day. I recall wandering through a grocery store, searching for my grandmother after seeing her inside. I even followed a man in Niagara Falls, who resembled my brother, but wasn’t my brother, or maybe he was. I could never catch up to him, but I swear it was his face. I often questioned why these experiences were happening to me.
Then, for a period, these encounters faded away. Out of nowhere, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I received a call from my surgeon while I was in my kitchen in Richmond, VA, and as we discussed my surgery, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around, and there stood my father, who had passed away quite some time ago. I can hardly say this without tearing up. My father was right there in front of me. The surgeon had offered me a surgery date of December 3rd, which happened to be my father’s birthday. I initially refused, but then, with my father’s presence, I changed my mind and agreed to the surgery on December 3rd. That’s how it all began.
Since then, I’ve had multiple encounters with my late husband. I’ve felt his touch, even smelled his presence. The scent was unsettling for me, and I discussed it with my therapist. He explained that smelling and hearing are things people often share with him after a loved one has passed away. I’ve witnessed my husband’s presence and experienced peculiar occurrences, like songs playing on my phone that aren’t on my playlist, especially love songs. I realized that I’m connected to another realm, to a deeper level, and to people I deeply love.
With this realization, I’ve considered incorporating spirituality into my coaching, provided my clients are open to it. I don’t push it, but I believe it could add another dimension to my work.
What type of services do you offer?
I’m still grieving, and I’m at a different level. I mean, we all grieve at different levels, and grief is not a linear process. So, I do a lot of grief work because it brings me comfort to help other people understand that it’s a process and not something you can just get over quickly.
I mentioned that I went to Italy, and when I did, I went by myself—well, not entirely alone. I traveled with a girlfriend. However, it was the first time I traveled without my husband by my side to help with luggage, customs, and navigating the airport in Rome. Oh, my God, all those things. When I returned home, I told my girlfriend that I could have gone alone, as she had contracted COVID just before our trip. I thought I might have to go solo, but my trip insurance wouldn’t allow me to cancel my part of the journey. She agreed, saying I could have gone alone. When I came back, I realized that I had reached a level of acceptance, acknowledging that he was gone and not coming back. I knew I had to continue moving forward with my life even more.
That’s my primary focus, but I also coach women who have been diagnosed with female cancers. I particularly enjoy working in that genre, having experienced breast cancer myself.
Every client is unique. How do you tailor your coaching approach to meet the individual needs and goals of your clients?
I am good at listening, and I even took a course on it when I lived in Tampa. I attended a college class that taught the art of being a good listener. People often struggle with truly listening; instead, they’re already formulating their response when someone asks a question or talks to them about something. Learning how to be a good listener has been invaluable. It allows me to pick up on the subtle nuances in conversations. People may briefly mention something, but I catch it, and it becomes a point I’ll explore further in my questions.
For instance, I might ask them if they’ve considered a certain aspect or thought about a particular idea, all based on those small cues I pick up during the conversation. I provide free sessions, and while I used to offer 15 minutes, I’ve now decided to give people a free 30-minute session. In 15 minutes, I can’t gather enough information from someone, and I also can’t convey who I am effectively in such a short time. So, I’ll be starting with free 30-minute sessions.
As I talk with them and ask questions, I can generally sense their comfort level and willingness to respond. I can also tell which direction they’re inclined to go. Are they seeking help with specific challenges, or are they looking for guidance on connecting with their inner selves? I engage in a lot of soulful conversations with people, and that helps me determine the right path to follow.
My ability to listen effectively comes from my background in medical training, where I learned to listen to patients in hospitals and communicate with doctors. I continue to apply these skills. Not everyone is a good listener, coach, or nurse, but I strive to excel in all these roles.
Life coaching often involves dealing with challenges and obstacles. Can you provide an example of a particularly challenging client situation you’ve encountered and how you guided the client through it?
One of the toughest cases I’ve encountered involved a man who requested to speak with me. His wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had sadly passed away. During our session, he began to cry and apologize profusely for his tears. I let him express himself, allowing him to babble, sob, and speak as much as he needed, all the while apologizing intensely. I just sat there and listened.
Then, I encouraged him to take four deep inhalations and exhalations, emphasizing that he should breathe deeply from the belly. I placed my hands on my belly and told him to breathe in and out. I followed by saying, ‘One of the bravest things you’ve done, probably in the past year, is sitting here with me today and letting your emotions out. I won’t judge; I’m here to support you.’
This situation was challenging for me because I was grieving as well. It’s tough to listen to someone in deep grief, crying over the loss of their spouse. It touched my heart deeply, and I often think about him.
Later, a year after our first session, he contacted me again, asking for a couple more sessions. He had met someone new, and he was feeling guilty about finding happiness. I assured him not to feel guilty, to embrace the joy, and that it’s acceptable. I explained that feeling joy is not something to be guilty about, and it’s a common challenge for many people. Life is a combination of joy and sorrow, and it’s normal to feel guilty when experiencing joy. I work with people to help them understand that joy is acceptable and that, in time, it can balance with moments of sadness. It’s like a tree—what grows up has an equal amount of roots going down, and finding that balance is essential.
Working as a Life Coach and incorporating spirituality into your work must not drain you; instead, energy needs to be involved in all those processes. So, how do you personally practice self-care to maintain your own well-being?
I listen to a lot of music, I really do. Especially on days when I’m feeling drained, which coaching can certainly do. I schedule most of my sessions between 4:00 and 5:00, which allows me to have dinner already prepared on coaching days. After dinner, if I still feel wiped out, you know, I might just go to bed because I know tomorrow will be a better day. I simply surrender to it and get some rest, which is the best thing I can do for my body.
The following morning, I go for a walk, covering 3 to 5 miles. During the walk, I’m constantly thinking and energizing myself. I prefer to do my coaching in the middle of the day or toward the end of the day, not in the morning. So, that’s my routine, and it doesn’t involve much TV or anything like that.
I also have an amazing dog who adores me. She can sense when I’m feeling down and comes to offer her comfort and love.