Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Christine Sutter owner of Affirmation In Action Lifecoaching. Christine has quite the story and a lot of good insight on life. Enjoy!!!
So, Christine, what’s your story?
Just a little bit of a story: I am Swiss-immigrant, young at heart, formally educated in psychology and economics, daughter of an entrepreneur and a politician. I came to America because I was in love with an American. In 1996, days after I got my MA in Psychology I started putting roots into the American soil and hopefully in peoples hearts.
What were you doing before you became a coach?
My background is in psychology and I worked as a Mental Health Counselor at Seattle Counseling Services for nearly 9 years. I became licensed in that field and enjoyed being challenged by the quest to make a difference in every client that I crossed a path with and to walked away deeply enriched by each exchange.
How did you get into life coaching?
In a clinical setting you look mostly backwards and heal, in coaching you look forward and improve. I was interested in that shift and also in the idea, that my connections to people become more equal and towards a partnership, as a therapist the roles are defined much differently. I really I am happy that both my big career choices have to do with being in trusting relationships with one another and that the focus is always on the well-being of a fellow human being.
I love the name of your business Affirmation in Action, how did come up with the name for your business?
In the final training stages of becoming a certified life coach nine years ago, we also had some deep meditations and I received a symbol in form of a key. It stood for” unlock human potential:. It came to me, that I want to affirm people for who they are and empower them to put their life potential into action.
Christine we have done a good amount of talking and getting to know each other. You come off as very relaxed and open even when speaking to someone for the first time. If someone comes to you and is shy and introverted how would you help to coach them to become more relaxed and confident when meeting new people?
It is a human need to feel like we belong. This sense of belonging can be created with one positive connection at a time. We often forget, that we make a quick judgment of one another, literally in the blink of an eye. If a more shy person can convey an openness with body posture and a genuine open smile (I call it a semi-smile) the bridge is build towards someone who is open to reciprocate an interest in one another. From that spark, follow up with introducing yourself by name and a question that invites an exchange from the other person. Feel rested when you have to engage socially, it does take a bit more energy for a shy person to start that domino effect. There is more to say about this fascinating question but let me leave it at that.
When have you been most satisfied in your life?
See a light bulb moment in another person going off. Looking at our garden after 3 hours of yard work. Being Swiss Champion in 400m sprint. Voting for the first time in the USA during the presidential election in 2008. Seeing my god-son score a soccer goal after I showed him a couple of moves. Founding Affirmation in Action and being a managing member at Nordic Outdoor fitness, where I help bring people into nature to become more fit in body and heart.
Do you have any tips to help people gain more satisfaction out of their lives?
I believe it is about balance, feeling you achieve up to your potential and have a sense of purpose where part of your life energy gets invested into someone else’s well-being. Then to have resilience and love to look at what is going on around you and engage and make a friend while at it. Keep having an awareness of the preciousness of your own life and the lives around you.
Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
I know I have saved one life by being committed, compassionate, firm and of an inner lightness that people resonate with. My gift is to relate and empower and always look for an optimal outcome. When coaching business owners and community leaders I have been called enthusiastic and also an iron fist in a silk glove. When I referee soccer, assignors tell me that they always know that I can rise to the challenge and that faith is inspiring and uplifting and helps me to show up strong. Every day has the potential to be significant.
Sometimes things don’t always go as planned in life, work or on the playing field. Tell us about a time when things didn’t go the way you wanted– like a promotion you wanted and didn’t get, or a project that didn’t turn out how you had hoped. How did you handle that experience and move forward with your chin up?
I do have a hard time to quit on something that is important to me – I honestly keep pushing, associate myself with people who know more than me, look at different angles, come back to it, try to be creative, work with people that are part of the process and never give myself away against my dignity. To my amazement sometimes you end up at least with Plan C and can work towards plan B and then plan A. You have to pick these battles and keep at it if it is in regards of our core goals in life – be aware where your energy comes from, if you can keep having fun through it all and can step back once in a while then stay with it. If you have ill effect and increase your level of anxiety or depression it is best to re-evaluate, take with you what stands out as a good learning, never stop believing in yourself and set it free for now.
If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?
“Candle in the wind” – come up with my own lyrics that describe people who are inspiring to me.
If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you, and why?
Hilary Swank – she can go all the way while staying light and true to herself – she is androgynous and feminine at the same time.
How can people find you and follow your business?
Through the GSBA directory, linkedin, my personal web page: www.affirmationinaction.com or send me an e-mail at Christine@affirmationatinaction.com know I give free introductory sessions to explore coaching for people who feel called to engage with me to identify affirmative options in life.