It Girl | BERE BLISSENBACH
Meet Bere Blissenbach, life coach and citizen of the world! Bere shares her experiences and work as a life coach, and the general sentiment that life is too short to do work you don't love!
Name: Bere Blissenbach
Age: I’m a child of the 80’s. ☺
Job Title/Company: Founder at Work You Love Coach
Education Background: German Law Degree, Ph.D. (International Law)
1. Tell us a little about who you are.
Nothing like a small question, eh? ☺
From a philosophical point of view, I would say that, like everyone else, I’m a mystery (even to myself).
On a more practical level, I currently work as a coach acting as a guide helping people grow and love the work they do. While I don’t assume I have the answer, I help the people I work with discover their own answers and path since everyone is so unique.
I’m a German living in the US but I also like to think of myself as a global citizen with a European passport. I’ve lived on different continents and countries and I’m very grateful for that experience.
2. What sparked your interest in starting Work You Love Coach?
I think the world would be a better place if more people did work they love. As Khalil Gibran put it in one of his poems that really moves me, "work is love made visible.” This has been a big part of my spiritual path and process as well. Having gone through a process of change in this area in my life has motivated me to help other people who want this for themselves.
Ultimately, I started Work You Love Coach because it combines something that felt really aligned for me and for the type of impact I want to have in the world. I love seeing people connect with their purpose and do something that’s good for them, good for the people around them and good for the world.
I wanted to be part of the solution that helps people find a way to bring their heart to work so they can make the difference they’d like to make.
3. Who are you most influenced by?
Wow, that’s a big question! I like learning so a lot of different people influence me.
For instance, at the moment, I like reading Ryan Holiday’s musings about Stoicism, books, marketing and life in general. I find that I almost always learn something new that I find interesting.
When it comes to my business, I’m currently quite influenced by a business coach called Mark Silver. Mark places a strong emphasis on integrity in business which is extremely important to me.
A person I admire a lot is an American lawyer called J Kim Wright. She’s pretty much the mother of the integrative law movement which is all about creating a more holistic version of the legal system. I first found out about Kim in 2011 or 2012. Today, I am beyond grateful that I got the chance to collaborate and become friends with her.
That said, the most influential person in my life is probably my husband, since he’s the person I’m in the closest relationship with. Over the course of my entire life, I think my parents have had the strongest influence on me.
4. What was your first job and how long did you hold that position?
My first real job was as a research assistant at a university institute. If I’m not mistaken, this institute is the world’s oldest university institute for international law.
I stayed there for 2 years. During that time, I also worked on my Ph.D. in European and international law.
It was a wonderful experience! I loved giving lectures and interacting with students. I also had great colleagues and supervisors. Plus, the library was excellent.
5. Can you share one of your proudest achievements with us?
One of the things I’m most proud of is that I had the courage to start my own business in another country when it would have been safer to stay in my legal career. At that time, I was in a prestigious and high-paying law job in Europe, in other words, what many would consider a perfect job.
When I moved to the United States to be with my husband, it was a lot of change, all at once. I started my own business from scratch while getting settled in a new country and a new life. Dealing with all this change was really challenging but I learned a lot from it.
6. What were your initial goals with your work? How have they evolved?
When I first got started with my own business, I knew that I wanted to help people. However, I wasn’t quite as clear on who exactly I wanted to support and the problems I wanted to help them with.
Over time, I realized that I was particularly interested in helping people who wanted to make a difference so I focused my business more on that.
7. What do you think is the most important life skill you learned through your work?
Finding my own path.
8. Where do you hope to be in five years?
I hope to spend a bit more time in other parts of the world while continuing to support my clients and evolve my business.
I’d love to spend some more time in South East Asia. I lived and worked in Vietnam for a few months and really loved it so I’d like to get back. I also sometimes miss Germany (and Europe in general) so I’d like to spend more time there as well.
9. What is a typical day like for you?
My schedule varies. After waking up, I typically first go through a morning routine which involves journaling and priority setting.
I find my work day is so much more productive if I first do these things, instead of jumping straight into reading my emails, for instance.
After finishing my morning routine, I have a few hours to work on writing articles or create other content. I might also reach out or respond to people or work on projects before my first client session or call with a colleague which I typically schedule at 10 or 11 am.
After I finish work in the evening, I generally exercise and then have dinner together with my husband.
10. What was the biggest obstacle you’ve faced so far in the process of pursuing your goals?
Probably fear. What I’ve learned is that the things we want most are often the things that also scare us. Over the years, and particularly since starting my own business, I’ve done a lot of things that are outside of my comfort zone and thus really scared me.
The key is to make friends with one’s fear rather than fighting it or avoiding it. While that may sound counterintuitive or not even possible, our fears often have incredible insights that help us on our paths.
11. What is the best piece of advice you have received?
“You’re never really ready to take a big step. You just do it and it works out.” My husband once said that to me when I was about to do something I had never done before that I felt nervous about.
I loved this advice so much I even wrote a full article about it.
12. When do you get your best ideas?
I often get my best ideas when I’m doing something else, such as taking a shower, walking or when I’m just waking up. Talking to another person can also help me to come up with ideas.
13. Can you share with us one time that you failed and what you learned from that failure?
It’s interesting that you ask this question. I obviously have quite a few examples where I didn’t get something I wanted but for whichever reason, I don’t think of these times as failures.
For instance, I once applied as a mentor for a certain event but didn’t get picked. At first, I felt disappointed about it. Then my schedule got so busy that I found myself being grateful that I had one less thing on my plate as it would have been difficult to handle everything at the same time.
What I learned from this experience is that apparent failure can sometimes be blessings in disguise. I also learned that’s it’s important to move on after evaluating if there’s something that I can learn from the failure (for instance, about handling a situation differently next time or improving something).
14. How do you unwind?
It really depends. Sometimes I do something introspective like meditation or going for a walk, other times I find myself reading or watching a show. It also helps me to talk to someone I trust.
15. What would you tell someone else who is interested in entering your field?
I would tell them to first explore working in this field on the side (while remaining in their current work situation). This would allow them to discover if it’s really a good fit for them, without needing to make any drastic changes.
In general, I would also recommend that they don’t quit their day jobs before they have a solid enough client base. This enables them to have a solid financial situation and have experience with running their business before doing it full time.
16. What do you hope people take away from your story?
That life is too short to spend it doing something you don’t like for a living.
17. Anything we missed that you would like to share?
Yes! There’s a beautiful quote that I’d love to share with people:
"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it."
Legendary choreographer Martha Graham shared these words with her protégé Agnes de Mille but I think they apply to everyone who’s reading this.