Hi! I’m Manuela
A creator, coach And teacher who is passionate about helping individuals and families flourish.
Born to two Swiss-German parents who then dragged me around the world living an expat life. I moved ten times before I was 18 and none of those moves were by choice (but, I do see the upsides to this experience now).
I did all the right things. Ticked all the boxes. Getting good grades, being active with sports, volunteering, social events. Then going to a good university, starting a solid career in a multinational (like my father did), getting good appraisals and promotions… But something didn’t feel right.
I was dragging myself out of bed in the morning and seeing my work colleagues who had been there for years patiently wait for retirement. I knew that wasn’t what I wanted. But I didn’t know what I wanted. I decided to take a year off to figure it out and towards the end of that year, I still didn’t have the answers. What do I want? Should be easy to know what I want, shouldn’t it?
It turns out, no.
I spent the first 20 years of my life, being a good girl
Yes, I was a good girl. Doing what was expected of me (or what I thought was expected of me), trying to make my parents happy and proud of me and to prove my worth. So busy pleasing others and trying to do things “right”, I neglected to even wonder what I really wanted. What really mattered to me? What do I really care about? What am I really good at? What am I passionate about?
The turning point
I went on a retreat with a tagline “when you are ready for change”. And boy was I ready. This set me on a personal development path that I never anticipated. I was introduced to my feelings. Every morning, they asked me how I was feeling. To my surprise, I had no idea. My answers were always, “good”, “fine”, “great”, “OK”… But they weren’t satisfied with those answers… That was the beginning of my love affair with emotions.
Since then, I went on to get a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology and multiple certificates in Emotional Intelligence, Resilience, Mindfulness, Neuro Linguistic Programming and Neuroscience. I became an International Association of Coaching Masteries Practitioner and a Big Leap Coach from the Hendricks Institute so that I could explore my passion for supporting families with a holistic approach.
I also created Feeling Magnets, My Feelings Box and Feeling Bodies - tangible tools to help develop our Emotional Intelligence (see my store) and I am the author of the Emotion Course.
I have come to believe that understanding ourselves and each other is really essential to living a life that we love. That’s how we can feel fulfilled, have enriching and nourishing relationships and be successful (whatever that means to each of us).
And yes, understanding where feelings come from, why they are there and what to do with them is key. Only then can we make sure to navigate our feelings in a way that is supportive to us. Only then can we make sure our emotions don’t get in the way of the life and relationships that we want. Being comfortable and aware of our feelings is also what allows us to communicate and connect with others. And relationships are core to all parts of our lives.
Really what I found are foundational life skills that we should all have. Skills that have made my life infinitely smoother, more pleasant and that I believe allow us to show up as better people in this world and ultimately make the world a better place.
I was perplexed as to why I didn’t learn all of this growing up.
Why did I have to wait until my mid-twenties to learn such essential skills and tools for life? These life skills would have been so helpful for me growing up, moving around and navigating school, friendships, stress and just life.
I realised, my parents hadn’t learned much about emotions, resilience, human psychology or communication themselves. They had gained experience through living life and passed that on as best they could. But they weren’t able to teach me what they themselves hadn’t learned.
And schools, even the top International Schools I went to, just didn’t have this on their radar (and unfortunately that is still too often the case). I believe that schools should be teaching more life skills like how we can communicate effectively, how to bounce back when we get hit or fail, how to understand ourselves and others, how to know what we really want and how to get it - but they don’t. So until they do, I’ll be teaching this to anyone who wants to learn.
WhAT I DO
I specialise in working with kids and parents because I believe in the power of prevention. We don’t have to wait until things are really bad to make them better. And we don’t need to wait until we are “grown up” to learn life skills. I so wish that someone would have helped me see and understand things better when I was a child and teen. So now, I share the tools and practices that have made my life easier and more fun through 1-on-1 coaching sessions, workshops and the tools I create.
Working with kids and adults has shown me how quick people are to make up stories in their minds. These, for better or for worse, then become their core beliefs. Coaching kids, I have the opportunity to catch these beliefs in the making and to set them on a more supportive and empowering path so they can make the most of this precious life. That is what inspires and motivates me each day.
I love to really understand things and make them practical and fun. So I deeply research and study a topic from many different angles, through books, research papers and courses. The topics I’m passionate about are Resilience, Positive Psychology, Emotional Intelligence, Parenting, Relationships, how to flourish as an individual and how we can flourish together. I then look at how I can make this often wordy and complicated information more accessible and practical. Then I weave it into my courses, workshops, blog, and coaching sessions.
There’s no use in just knowing something if we don’t apply it. This ties in to one of my core values: walking the talk. So in all I do, I walk the talk, which means that I can also model all that I teach.
I believe people are whole, don’t need fixing and that we can all use a bit of help along the way.
I don’t have all the answers and I don’t know it all. I do have lots of tools, strategies and experiences that I love to share. I see myself as a partner to families, so if what you most need is not in my zone of genius, then I provide you with other great contacts.
I believe that each of us is unique and has genius (see genius manifesto). Each child will develop at their own rate and in their own way, we need to stay tuned and connected to them so that we can support their growth and development in the best way possible for them.
… learning, living, discovering more and more about myself, how people work, and the world we live in.
… Collaborating with kids, parents, families to help them flourish individually and together.
…Sharing my knowledge, the toolkit that I have been building based on the knowledge from world experts in how individuals thrive, how we can have fulfilling relationships, how we can support those we love.
…Taking complex things and making them simple and practical. We have enough complexity in our lives and knowing something is no good if we don’t put it to use.
… Nay-sayers, labels that are given to people.
… Covering up symptoms rather than addressing the root cause or looking for quick fixes that don’t take into account the long-term impact.
… Looking at things in isolation because that doesn’t give us an accurate view of reality.
… Settling for good enough when things can be better.
… Feeling helpless and so that drives me to search for solutions or ways forward.