Cara Crisler with family, Smoky Mountains, North Carolina, 2014

Here’s My Story (what’s yours?)

Like many others raised in the American culture, I had learned to “put my best face forward,” which for me meant showing the world I had it all together. By the time I was an adult, I found myself living with a harsh inner critic with impossibly high  standards, working hard with little room for play, a practice of avoiding conflict, pleasing, being nice, and a must-hide, smiling mask that I didn’t realize I was forcing myself to wear most of the time.

In 2004, I was hit with a lot of insecurities. Trying to give 100% to each of my roles–mother, partner, employee, colleague, daughter, friend, etc.)–just didn’t add up. My inner critic was constantly letting me know I was failing at everything and I was on a destructive burnout path.

When I moved with my family of four to the Netherlands in 2010, all things familiar were gone and none of my old patterns were working anymore in my favor. At some point I realized that I had lost myself completely, not knowing who I really was or what I really wanted, and most of the time I felt quite frustrated and lonely. My inner stress showed up at work, at home, and in nearly all of my relationships.

I rarely use labels, yet I realized one day that I was in a “good ole mid-life crisis,” and that’s when I knew I wanted to seek out some support to help me gently find my way out of it.

I found it in many coaching and communication training sessions that primarily helped me discover myself, the “real me.” I learned how to speak to myself compassionately and listen to what’s MOST important to me; how to stop pleasing others for belonging/connection and to rely on honesty instead; to get in touch with my personal needs how to come up for them, and care for myself (like finding refuge in nature) AND stay in connection with important people in my life.

After a decade of “relationship coaching,” I am still passionate about helping others finding their way, and now mostly working in international team settings.

Note: The “professional” side of me wants you to know:

  • I am a native English speaker and also fluent in Dutch.
  • I hold the European Mentoring & Coaching Council’s European Individual Accreditation at Senior Practitioner level. This is an important distinction from being a “certified coach” (which anyone can call themselves after completing any coaching program). It identifies me as having not only solid training, but also proven experience and commitment to ongoing supervision, learning, reflection and development. It helps to guarantee safety and quality due to the standards I am required to meet and my commitment to follow the Global Code of Ethics for Coaches & Mentors.
  • I have undertaken extensive communication training, particularly the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) model created by Marshall B. Rosenberg and promoted worldwide from the Center for Nonviolent Communication. NVC has fundamentally changed not only the way in which I speak with myself, but also the way I approach the people in both my personal and professional life. It is one of compassion, trust and acceptance while seeking clarity and deep honesty. It helps meet my needs for well-being, honesty and connection more than anything else I’ve encountered.