Who Am I?

For an introvert, this very thing ….yes having the “world” read my story, is one of the toughest parts of what I do. That said, one of my principle beliefs is to find the courage to be vulnerable, so here goes…..

Why am I a life coach?  How did I get to this place?  Why on earth is a Moroccan American living in Milan?  The quick answer is I found the courage to LEAP.

I have had many opportunities to LEAP, but a few in particular changed the course of my life dramatically.  In 2001, I made the decision to leave San Francisco and move to Milan.

How did I get to this place?  It was a gorgeous day and I was driving back into the city crossing the golden gate bridge.  I was upset at life’s twists and turns and feeling sorry for myself to be frank.  A few months earlier I had ended a relationship with someone I loved but with whom I knew I was not in love.  On this day I was leaving my job.  I was part of a technology start-up that was closing its doors.  I had poured so much energy, heart, and soul into my career and my relationship, and both were now over.  Life felt empty… sad… surreal even.

I spent the next few days crying my eyes out and the next several weeks trying to make sense of it all.  I was in a haze until one day I felt a spark of hope.  A little voice inside my head said “now you have no excuses its time for you to go”.  I was inspired to make one of my dreams come true.  I’d always wanted to live in Europe and why not learn to speak Italian.  Why the hell not!  A wave of strength, energy, and enthusiasm enveloped me. I was ready for the next chapter in my life.  It felt huge and everything in my body screamed YES.

When I began sharing my brilliant plan with friends and family many of them thought I had gone mad.  I started selling my furniture, giving away my clothes (I could only take two suitcases after all) and I packed up all of my precious little things, mostly my books, and loaded them into my car.  I proceeded to drive to Texas where I would store my prized possession and spend the next three weeks with family.

Drum roll please…  The day arrived when I went to the airport checked in my suitcases plus snowboard and boarded the plane.  I’m not sure what exactly I expected on the other side of the Atlantic but I knew what I wanted to feel. My decision to leap tasted of freedom.  I felt vibrant and alive.

I don’t want to give you the wrong impression.  I had to overcome many challenges in the beginning.  There were days I thought I was insane, but oh my!  I am so very grateful for how it has all turned out.  A few weeks after arriving I bumped into a man I was introduced to five years earlier in SF.  I’m now happily married to him by the way.  We have a beautiful daughter and we are building our life together.  I don’t think it was a coincidence, do you?

The second life-changing LEAP was leaving my position as a Sales & Marketing Director in the Fashion Industry to become a Life Coach. 

I had what everyone from the outside looking in would expect in a wonderful life and it was in many ways.  A fabulous husband, a healthy and beautiful daughter, friends and family that I love and a glamorous career that allowed me to travel the world. Why was I so unhappy?   I felt caged in a role I didn’t want and the more I ignored it the more miserable I became.

Fortunately, the day came when I stopped pretending everything was fine.  A dear friend from business school was spending a few days in Milan.  She met me outside of my office.  We started with a little chitchat as we walked to the nearest coffee shop and when we sat down and she looked into my eyes, she asked me again how I was.  An innocent question, but she meant it.  She wasn’t interested in small talk.  She knows me well and she knew something was wrong.  I couldn’t help myself.  I started to cry.  Tears streaming down my face. I didn’t even realize I was holding so much in but having her look into my soul, shook me deeply.  Kelly didn’t give me any advice about what to do next other than to breath and trust myself.

I did a lot of breathing in the months that followed.  What I noticed was that I had stopped listening to my heart and soul.  I had stopped following my intuition.  I was afraid of something but couldn’t quite put my finger on it.   I missed the Hooda who had the courage to LEAP in 2001.  I was racing, trying to keep up with the speed of life.  What I was losing in the process was myself.

When I finally gave myself permission to listen it dawned on me.  I was giving up on my dream to help heal people.  So yes I did it again, I leapt.  I started over.  I trained with Dr. Martha Beck, a Harvard sociologist and best-selling author, to become a life coach.  The funny bit about that is that Martha was a professor where I did my MBA years ago.  I sometimes wonder how my life may have taken a different turn had I taken one of her classes back in the day, but as the Buddhist proverb goes “when the student is ready the teacher will appear” I don’t think it’s a coincidence do you?

That is how I’m living my life today.  I’m helping people heal, I’m growing, learning, being transparent, authentic, and open about my journey.  I AM LIVING MY BEST LIFE.

Other bits of information just because…

  • I was born in Morocco.  I’ve lived in 4 continents and traveled to at least 50 different countries just because I’m so crazy curious and love diversity.
  • I’m an INFP (Quester ~ Healer) on the Myers Briggs.  Did you know only about 1% of the population falls in this category?  Hummm.
  • I love people, animals, nature, books, and popcorn!
  • Oh and I’m a recovering perfectionist.