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120: How this traveling coach supports nomads and expats to live a happy and fulfilling family life with Minou Hexspoor.

On this weeks episode, I speak with Minou Hexspoor who is a certified professional coach working with individuals and groups from all over the world.

As a certified coach, she runs her business while she travels across the globe with periods in between of staying at home in Beirut, Lebanon.

Combining her work and life experience, Minou became a professional traveling coach who supports nomads and expats to be powerful, authentic leaders with a happy and fulfilling family life.

Listen on to find out how Minou travels the globe as a professional coach.

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Show Notes:

Debbie :  

Hey everyone, thank you so much for joining us today. I’m here with Manu. Hey Manu, how are you?

Minou: 

I’m very good. Thank you very much for having me here to with you today.

Debbie :   

I’m so excited to have you here. Before we get to all the incredible tips that you’re going to give us, can you tell us a little bit more about you and why you live in offbeat life?

Minou:

I think throughout my life I always knew and felt that my life would be around travel and work combined ideally. But it never really manifested, although I did move at one point from my home country, the Netherlands to Lebanon when I met my husband and I moved here 11 years ago. And then I worked here in the humanitarian emergency response. And then one day I said, listen, if you want to change your life and create the life that you really want. And I guess like so many other nomads that might also be listening, that moment where you feel like, okay, if I want to create this, I’m going to have to make some changes. So I quit my job and gave myself one year to figure out what it is that I want, what I’m really passionate about and what I need to do and want to do to actually create that lifestyle.

So for me, that was really the starting point, three years ago of flipping it all around. And in that year I made two decisions. One was finally publishing my book and the second was that I wanted to become a life coach, a life and leadership coach because my passion is really bringing the best out of people. And I realized that’s what I want to be doing. And I wanted to create a work environment for myself that allows me to travel and take my work with me everywhere. So that’s what I started doing. And now, two and a half years later, my husband and I have traveled a lot. Sometimes I travel alone, take my work with me and I feel that this is exactly where I should be.

Debbie :   

It’s incredible that you were able to take that year off, that must have been pretty interesting. What was it like taking time off for yourself and actually listening to what your wants and needs are? How did that whole process go?

Minou: 

I think it started with being so extremely overwhelmed at work that I didn’t know anymore, I was just working but not necessarily figuring out why I was even working so hard. So that was the starting point. And the reason I took that year off is because I had so much in my system that I realized I need first to disconnect from that stress before I do something else because otherwise, I’ll just keep running. So what I did is obliged myself four months to do nothing, absolutely nothing. I wake up every morning without a plan, without anything that needs to be done and just unwind. And at the beginning that was very difficult. I would wake up at six, seven o’clock in the morning and just go like, okay, what can I do?

So it was a bit of a struggle in the beginning. But after a few weeks, I realized how much that was a sign of how needed to step out of that. So that after that period of four months, I felt like I have a clear mind, I have a calm body. And then I really realized how powerful it was to give myself that time because then I finally could really ask myself, so now what’s next? From a calm, quiet place. And I realized what I really want to do. The first thing is to write that poetry book that I wanted to write for such a long time. So I just did that. I gave myself the time and the space to write, to cry, to experience what I was writing, to revisit what I already wrote in the past.

And to really reconnect with those emotions that were living in me and that really wanted to come out. So that’s what I did. And that was a beautiful journey until I felt like, okay, that’s ready and done, and then what’s next? And then with that same calm and that same space inside of myself, I started a journey of researching how can I best do what I do best, which is really working with people and getting them to be the best version of themselves. And then after some research, I realized that my journey is going to be through becoming a certified coach. And that’s what I did. So having that year for myself, I realized I was incredibly lucky that I had the freedom to do that. But if anybody who feels overwhelmed and stressed has the luxury to do that, it’s an incredible experience of allowing yourself to really reconnect with what is important. And what it’s really all about outside that stress box.

Debbie :    

We are often really bombarded with so many things in our lives and we think that being busy is good for us and constantly filling up our calendar with to-do lists and going to places and doing all of these things. And we think that it’s making us more productive in a way. In a lot of ways it really doesn’t because it distracts us from what we really need to do with our life. And I think we underestimate the beauty of quiet and not doing anything because we automatically think that if we’re not doing something we’re lazy or if we’re resting or we give our time to take a nap sometimes like we think we are doing something wrong and we feel guilty about resting our body.

And I’m not saying that you should do this every day, all day and not just do anything but like what you did Minou is to listen to your body. You are stressed out. You did a lot of work for so many years and sometimes our body really needs that. And for us to really get to a point where we are happy, we need to rest and listen to ourselves.

Minou: 

Absolutely. And I think, what you said about doing things. Why do we do that? Because we feel that we achieve something when we’re busy, when we’re doing things, but half of the time we are just working down on our task list, or to-do list with things that we’re trying to get out of the way so we can get to what we think is really important without realizing that the only thing we’re doing is just adding stuff to the list. Creating a longer list, but actually coming from that crisis management, there’s so much to do instead of what if I just stopped doing all that and really focused on what is really important to me. You know, you reminded me of something nice when you said about being stressed all the time.

The first decision I took when I started my own business is every morning I get stressed when I know I have to get up early and do things. I don’t mind working until 10 o’clock in the evening, at 11 o’clock but I hate waking up feeling I have to move because things need to be done. So the first decision I took was I do not work in the early morning and I have breakfast in bed and I have no clients before 11 o’clock and instead of trying to put myself in that box of I have to get up early and I have to get stuff done. Now I do what I want. So I have breakfast in bed every morning and coffee in bed and around 10 o’clock I get up and my day starts. And that just works perfectly because I have no more stress to start with.

Debbie :     

We often see this online, on television, on social media where people tell you, you have to be really productive very early in the morning or else you’re not being productive. And I’m the same way. So for me, I actually wake up early, but I don’t like to do any work. Usually I like to do things that are fun for me, like things that will make me relieve the stress because like you said, when we used to work in our nine to five, when we woke up, we were already stressed out and like you, I didn’t want to do that same thing. When I’m in Florida, the first thing that I do in the morning is I do a workout and then I go to the pool.

traveling coach

Minou:  

That is exactly what it is. Because we are so conditioned by how it should be or what we believe we should be doing to have a productive day. The only thing that we truly need to do is figure out what works for us. And then do that.

Debbie :  

There are people who definitely feel productive waking up early and getting their work done. And there’s is nothing wrong with that. As long as it serves them.

Minou:  

I think that’s the most important part, is that it serves you.

Debbie :   

And that’s really the whole point of doing this. Being able to work for yourself and doing things that you want to do. For example, you wanted to get out of your 9-5 and working for other people. And you do not want to do the same thing when you finally have your freedom.

Minou:

Absolutely. And I think, I mean which is ironic sometimes in a way, because the stress is oftentimes also why we step out of that nine to five and then we start our own businesses and we have all that stuff to deal with and all these realities. Suddenly we have to do by ourselves, we have to hold ourselves accountable and learn how to set up a business from administration work to marketing and sales, everything. So you’re right. Especially in the beginning that comes with a lot of stress and finding ways of relieving that stress. Preventing what we actually tried to get away from. But maybe that’s also an opportunity is right.

Debbie :     

Absolutely. And that’s really gonna make or break you is from all of the different things that you’re learning from your business.

Once you started your business and finally focused on what you wanted with your life, what was it like? What was something that you didn’t realize that entailed? Because we talked about stress and there’s a lot of things that happen when you’re starting your business and also when you’re doing this as a nomad and you’re constantly traveling.

Minou: 

I think what I didn’t anticipate is how uncomfortable I would feel with sales. Because it’s not in my nature. I think, in the beginning, I really had the feeling like I have to sell something of myself and I have to put the value to that question of am I worth it? Am I good enough to sell something?

In the beginning there was a challenge because I’m not a salesperson. I wouldn’t see myself as a salesperson. So that was a big challenge for me in the beginning until I realized that this was not about sales. This was about making a genuine human connection with people. And if that would lead to a win-win situation or win-win perspective for two people coming together, then we have a working ground. And once I started looking at what I had to offer from that perspective, it massively changed my engagement with my potential clients.

Debbie :  

It’s funny because we often look at salespeople and we think, Oh God, that’s just so skeevy, right? But then we realize that those are the people that are bad in sales because you know that they’re trying to sell something.

Minou:  

You know, selling it’s about building relations and once you build that relationship and people feel that they are growing from in that relationship, then there is a basis to work together and I think that’s the most important part. And if that then doesn’t materialize, then that’s fine too because then the win-win concept wasn’t there. And if you have trust in that and you live by that way of connecting with people, the whole sales perspective.

Debbie :    

And if you think about it, when you are trying to have someone purchase a service or a product, it has to be a win-win for everybody. So they have to not only see the value that it’s getting you as a salesperson but also for them. So they need to have something that will fulfill their needs and their wants in order for them to actually do that and they’re helping or you’re helping them fulfill those needs. It becomes a relationship and once you are fulfilling their needs, then everyone wins.

Minou: 

And I think that’s, that’s the whole point of it, that you offer something that people connect with and that for them it makes sense in their lives and therefore they want to connect with that. And then indeed you have that win, win situation because who wants to work with people who don’t see the value in what I do. So it’s about those two people actually bringing that win, win situation and then moving on from there.

Minou, you talked about taking the year off and now you have this business, you’re a life coach. How were you able to create income from the start of your business and how do you continue to create income today? And also how were you able to take that year off? Give us your tips, girl.

Minou:

So first of all, how to create that year off I strongly believe that everything you do starts with an intention. Nothing will change if you do not change it. So if you want to have that year off, envision for yourself, what that year looks like, even if you don’t know exactly what you’re going to be doing in that year. But if you want to have that, make a plan of how you are going to take that year off and then start from the beginning. Because oftentimes we want so many things in our lives to change and we talk about it. Oh, I wish this would change. Oh, I wish this was different. Oh, I wish. Whatever.

But the only way anything will manifest is actually by taking the first step and knowing where you are going and taking the next step and the next step. So I think that is a crucial, aspect of creating anything. And you know, for me at the time I had the financial luxury to take that year off. But still, if I wouldn’t have made it happen, it wouldn’t have happened. And I think I could have stayed in the job where I was for God knows how long, but it took the change in me to come to the point where I said to myself, this is the moment now I’m going to step out of it and take that year.

So if you don’t have the financial resources to do that, but you do want to take that year or those six months, it doesn’t have to be a year. It can be anytime that you feel that you would want to take for yourself, then define what you need to create and start creating it.

Debbie : 

I think we also underestimate ourselves and what we’re capable of and just doing little things to get to the point where we want to be because we often think that we have to do everything all at once and there’s a timeline and again, we need to constantly be doing something and even just one little thing every day, it really accumulates to something bigger and you never know what you’re going to be able to achieve even if it’s just saving a little bit of your paycheck every month or every week.

Minou: 

It is not about the big mountain that we see in front of us or like, oh my God, how am I going to ever get there? It’s too big. No, it’s about, this is the mountain I want to get to, but I’m here right now and what is the next step that I can take to get up that mountain? And every day you take another step until you get there, you only have to worry about your step today, not about what is the top of the mountain, you’ll get there.

Debbie :

Absolutely. And it’s funny sometimes I look at my friends who are really successful in their industry and I’m like, oh my God, how do I get to that point? And then I realized that they’d been doing it for like 10 years and I realize it took a long time for them to get to where they are now and to reap the benefits that their hard work led them. And I think we often just see what’s in front of us and we don’t see all the struggle that people go through to get to where they are. So we’ve definitely underestimate that as well.

Minou:

Yeah, I believe so too. And I think especially with social media, we always see the shiny polished pictures but we don’t see the pain and the struggle and the growth process, the inner growth process that people have to go through with themselves to actually get ready.

New Speaker:   You don’t put it on your Instagram account, you don’t put it on your Facebook. Like today I was really pulling my hair out of my head because I’m frustrated with myself. Someday you do do that. We say on Instagram how amazing everything is, but there’s this work and there is sweat and there’s fine-tuning and there’s change. There’s so much behind being successful.

Debbie : 

And usually, it’s more struggles than wins that happen in the background.

Minou:  

The beautiful Instagram picture the success that we achieved. That’s the end of a certain trajectory that we go with ourselves. But there’s a lot of stuff in front of that before. Absolutely.

Debbie :  

How were you able to create income with your business from the start and how do you continue to do that today?

Minou:  

Initially how it actually started is that my previous professional network was for me the starting point for reaching out with my business. I used to work in for a humanitarian organization that worked with children affected by war and here in Lebanon I was responsible for the development of the country program, the content of it. So I worked a lot with international nongovernmental organizations, with UN organizations, different ones.

Minou: 

Initially, that’s really where I started reaching out and, and letting people know what I’m doing now. After I quit my job with that other organization, so people who were already on my radar and whose radar I was, started reaching out to me like, Hey, I, I heard you’re doing this now. I would love to connect with you also because they know they are aware that I know the sector. I have been in a managerial position, in the sector. I understand the work, I understand the challenges. So initially my business is built around internationals experts or nomads, and my network had a lot of those people in it. I think it’s interesting because I often think when we start something for ourselves, we kind of feel awkward about ourselves.

We feel weird about us. I was like, what are my friends going to say? And my family and all those people what are they going to think? Oh my God, what is she doing? We have a lot of thoughts about ourselves when we just started something new and I realized from the beginning, we knew if that’s what you’re going to be doing and then avoiding the fast network that you have just because you’re afraid what they might think you’re going to miss out on a lot. So decided from the beginning, I’m not going to make that mistake. I don’t care how crazy people think I am or what the hell am I saying? Even sometimes, I don’t know what I’m saying myself, but I’m going to put myself out there and this is what I do and I believe in what I stand for.

I believe in the power of change and that’s what I’m going to be all about. And it worked. It worked. I’ve put it out in my network, also my personal network and it just started rolling. I feel like I’ve been on a wave actually for two years and I’ve been lucky that I didn’t have to go in that die-hard sales mood that we talked about earlier, but it was really about connecting with people from an authentic place, from a real place, that’s what I’m all about. And that’s really where my clients come from now.

Debbie :  

Let’s fast forward to 50 years from now and you’re looking back at your life, what legacy would you like to leave and what do you want to be remembered for?

Minou:    

It is so funny you asked me that question because I was asking myself that question before I talked with you and because I addressed the question with the people that I work with, because eventually what is this life about? This life is about that moment when we are 80 years old or 90 years old or maybe even older. That would be great and we think we look back and we say, you know what? I did it all. Everything I was passionate about everything I wanted to create, what I wanted to connect with, what I wanted to experience actually became part of my life.

And so for me, 50 years from now, I am not sure what it would look like, but I do believe that I will look back and think I did what I wanted to create in this life. And I think the legacy or maybe not a legacy because that’s a big word.

traveling coach

I would love people to think back of me, to the time that I connected in my life with Minou was a time that mattered. It was a time of change and not change. You know, I’m going to stop doing this or start doing this, but a real sustainable change in the lives of people, in connecting with who they truly are and what they want to be and create what they want to create in life. And I really hope that that is what I will continue to contribute to people, be that on their professional development level or be that on their personal lives, but for people to really think back as their time with me as a time of sustainable and real change in their lives the way I have done that in my life, I think. And I really want to give that to other people as well.

Debbie :     

Can you tell us what you’re working on currently that is really exciting to you?

Minou:  

I’m actually launching a brand new inner circle mastermind later this year, to really delve deeper in particular into self-leadership and organizational leadership. Be it for entrepreneurs or managers in an organization, business owners, so that’s actually still a bit of a secret. So it’s the first time that I’m talking about that which is great.

But that will really focus on yourself self and take your leadership to the next level. And really looking at how we can create sustainable change in our behaviors and in the effectiveness of what we do in life.

Debbie : 

And also I’m really excited to do the extended interview with you as well Minou because you’re going to tell us how someone can also become a certified coach, which is really exciting because I know a lot of people are interested in that. So before we leave, can you tell us where our audience can find you?

Minou: 

They can find me on my website, my website is Minouhexspoor.Com so there you can really find more about the life and leadership coaching that I provide to team coaching group work and anything you want to know about me in relation to my work. And you can also find me on Instagram @the.nomad.coach. So the nomad coach where you can actually see a combination of my life and my work because I think the two come very much together. And then also on Facebook, I have a group called global nomads where people come together just to be supportive of one another.

Debbie :  

Perfect. Thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate all of the tips that you gave us.

Minou: 

Thank you very much for having me in your program and it was really wonderful having a conversation with you.

GET THE EXTENDED INTERVIEW WITH MINOU WHERE SHE SHARES HOW TO BECOME A CERTIFIED COACH.


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Show Credits

Audio Engineer: Ben Smith

 


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