Today’s written interview is with Beatrice Zornek (ENFJ).
Beatrice Zornek is a Certified Transformational Coach - she works with highly sensitive professional women who are outwardly successful, but deep down feel overwhelmed and uninspired in their work. She supports them to get clarity on the next step, so they can fall in love with work - and their life.
Connect with Beatrice:
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/innercriticsupport/
Hey Beatrice, thank you for taking part in this written interview. So can we start this interview by finding out where in the world you currently reside? Is this also where you grew up?
Croydon South London - I’ve been in London for 7 years. I’m originally from Romania where I grew up.
Do you remember what you were like as a child?
Interesting question. I don’t remember that much. I remember things that have happened *to* me, but now that I think of it, they’re mostly negative ones. I don’t have many other memories besides the difficult ones. Maybe except that time when on my 4th birthday my mother gave me a tiny umbrella for kids. It was pink and it had little umbrellas painted on it. My mum says I was well behaved and very intelligent as a kid. But take it with a pinch of salt - any mum would say that!
What was school like for you? And how were your teenage years as a whole?
I was so very fortunate that my mum fought hard for me to get in one of the top (free) schools in the country, instead of the local school which had a lot of juvenile crime. I grew up in a very poor and high crime neighbourhood. I really enjoyed learning and enjoyed getting the positive reward and validation for my effort, so I was a good student and very academic. Until high school when I completely rebelled and started to skip classes and go to bars to smoke and play pool in bars. You could still smoke in bars back then. I also listened to Korn, wrote poetry and felt a lot of teenage angst and anxiety.
What words, or phrases, would you use to describe your current self?
Empathic. Sensitive. Compassionate. Nurturing. Empowered. Ambitious. Determined. Tenacious. Tired.
When did you first realise that you were an introvert? How did this happen?
I’m actually an extravert. But even though MBTI doesn’t change, over the years I’ve noticed my extraversion drop down steadily over the years from c. 90% about 15 years ago, to c. 15% currently.
What's your Myers-Briggs personality type?
And when did you first do the Myers-Briggs test and discover your 'type'?
I learned I was an ENFJ about 8 years ago. I started to see how this is helping me understand and others, and I eventually started to become super passionate about typing people. Later, in my role in HR, I started supporting my teams to use MBTI to work together more effectively. The leadership didn’t support this, but I was quite proud that everyone in the office knew each other’s MBTI and was using it to improve work dynamics and communication!
Has discovering your 'type' impacted you in any way? If so, how?
Well, learning I was an ENFJ has helped me to understand why I was taking things so personally. I went through a normal grieving period, including denial and wanting to change my personality. I wanted to be more rational. Now, I love my personality so much - in fact I love all personalities, but I just have a special passion for NF personalities. I find them endlessly fascinating. It has been a long and challenging journey to get to this point of self acceptance.
What qualities do you think you share with other INFs/NFs in general?
Qualities I share with INFs would be: HSP (as many of us are), empath, doing meaningful work that helps change the world, that I care about things that only an NF would understand, like healing trauma and restoring balance to individuals and humanity. I’m also very passionate about self development, as many of us tend to be. I don’t do well in repetitive or boring work, numbers-based work. For me, I have to feel passionate about it. I believe most NFs have a secret desire to do truly meaningful work.
What were your favourite subjects at school? (If applicable) what did you study at university/college?
I studied Maths and IT in high school, then in a moment of rebellion, I decided I wasn’t going to become a programmer like all my colleagues, but a psychologist. And so I did. I think that was my first spark of authenticity, back when I was 16.
What are you spending your time on at the moment?
I quit my corporate job a year ago and certified to become a life coach. I spend a great deal of time learning about what on Earth it means to be self employed. But I am doing work that I feel fulfils my higher purpose in this world, and I have the biggest satisfaction when I see the transformation in my clients. I also receive coaching and business mentoring which I love. And probably my favourite activity is reading books on self development. one of the joys of being self employed is being able to read 20 books in 2 months!
Was there a moment in your life when you made a drastic change?
Yes. I had a fantastic job opportunity heading up HR for a company in London, but after about a year things started going downhill because it became very stressful and I was pushing myself too hard to prove myself and be super successful. I ended up with two autoimmune diagnoses and chronic fatigue, which in addition to the stress at work and feeling utterly uninspired, have led to my decision that I needed to make a drastic change. So I enrolled into a coaching course and honestly, didn’t look back since. Immediately after starting the coaching training, I knew I had to quit. My symptoms started to subside too, and once I left completely I was the happiest I’d ever been. I feel life has sent me a series of signs (in the form of challenges) to point me in the right direction.
Do you have a preferred creative/artistic outlet? Can you tell us a bit about this?
I always thought that I was completely non artistic. That I have no ability. But in the last year, I’ve started doing zentangles, and writing blogs. It’s amazing how much creativity comes up, once you tap into it.
We've touched on this somewhat already, but would you describe yourself as a 'highly sensitive person', or an empath?
Yes and yes
What does being 'successful' look like to you?
Great question. I feel I’m still defining my answer to this question. Because my inner critic will often want me to answer this question with: money. However, in my previous role, I was earning a VERY good salary. And I was stressed, exhausted and miserable. Success is equal parts meaningful work, life outside work, having time to do the things you love (which is difficult when your work is your hobby!), earning money that rewards and recognises your contribution, and ideally being able to travel where you like!
What about 'happiness'... what does that look like to you? Do you have any ‘ingredients’ for this?
I used to want to be happy all the time - and if I wasn’t, I’d think there’s something wrong (with me). I think part of the reason that I was suffering so much in my adulthood, was because I wanted to be happy, and anything less was wrong and bad. I think the biggest shift for me happened when I started to welcome all my feelings “home” inside me. When I stopped rejecting emotions and instead started to learn from them. To use them as fuel to guide me forward (except before I was using them as fuel to burn the house down!). So my ingredients for happiness are: stop striving for it. Aim to be authentic and to accept your feelings, rather than to be happy.
Being happy is like wanting the temperature to be a constant 22 degrees and sunny. Yes, but nature needs rain, it needs winter, it needs night. Everything is here to help us in some way- in hindsight even the most difficult experiences do (or especially those!)
Do you like to plan things, or are you more of a go-with-the-flow type of person?
As a 'J' I am quite a planner. However, I am learning to use my intuition and follow my inner guidance, which often means listening to what I feel guided to do now, rather than what I “should” do. I have very clear boundaries: commitments - particularly those to my clients - are non negotiable. However, besides the non negotiables, I like to “go with the flow”, by checking in with myself where my energy is at. Sometimes I feel productive and will create content or contribute to helping people that I can help, other times I’ll do some training or other activities that don’t require creativity and intense focus.
What does your 'perfect Sunday' look like?
Well, luckily as I’m working from home, I get to design every day in the way I want. I work exclusively online with my clients which means I am not travelling unless I want to. A perfect Sunday is sitting in the garden, in the warm sun, with a glass of Prosecco and a self-development book. (Yes I am an extrovert but I looooove my own company!)
Is there anything you've read, watch or listened to recently, that you've loved?
Oh gosh. That’s difficult as I read all the time. But the book I keep reading over and over again is The Presence Process by Michael Brown. I would highly recommend it to people who feel called to start meditation and work through their childhood patterns in a gentle, but powerful way.
Speaking of which, do you have any favourite blogs or podcasts?
My favourite podcast is Rhonda Britten - Mastercoach Mindset
And why not, my own blog: www.beatricezornek.com/blog
How about favourite movies or TV shows? Anything you've seen recently that you'd recommend?
Yes! Lion - it’s a beautiful story, I cried for the last 15 minutes of it! :))
If you could go back in time and meet "you" back in 2010, is there any advice that you'd give this younger self?
I feel that everything that happened to me, happened for me, and it happened because that’s how it needed to happen. I know it sounds very Zen, but I can make sense in hindsight of everything that happened and why it happened in that way. Perhaps I would’ve advised myself to start living more authentically back then, to stop pleasing others, to stop giving so much, and to pursue my dream (I’ve wanted to work as a psychologist/coach since high school, but pursued the traditional corporate path after getting my Psychology degree!)
If you could one or two pieces of advice to your fellow (I)NFs, what would they be?
I feel that my biggest piece of advice is written in this blog on highly sensitive refuge: https://highlysensitiverefuge.com/how-i-finally-learned-to-stop-being-so-hard-on-myself/
This reflects my journey with my self criticism and being my own worst enemy. I wanted to destroy this horrible voice in my head for a long time, and missed out on an important opportunity in this process.
The second piece of advice is that as (I)NF’s we are highly empathic and intuitive. But so many of us have experienced a difficult upbringing, and we haven’t had the chance to learn to use our sensitivity in a productive way. Yes we have a huge ability to help others in need, but often this comes in conflict with our own needs for introversion, calm and regeneration. There is a huge need right now for us NF’s to step up and heal our old patterns of conditioning, so that we can have more impact in the world - through our work especially. For a long time I, as well as most of my clients, wanted to be less sensitive and less emotional. But this is exactly what we need - as NF’s we need to become empowered in these NF strengths - not “warrior-empowered”, but “graciously empowered” - in a way that honours our true traits. I love seeing more and more NF’s making a decision to stop following what they are told they “should” do, and instead start following their heart calling.
What does 'self-care' mean for you? How do you practise it?
- allowing all my emotions to surface, allowing myself to feel them without judgement (doesn’t always work, but I become aware of when I’m rejecting my emotions much quicker now)
- setting boundaries
- asking for what I need
- asking for support when I can’t handle something on my own
- getting takeaway when I don’t feel like cooking
- cooking nourishing, healthy, vibrant, yummy food mindfully, and adding the secret ingredient (hint: the secret ingredient is love)
- giving myself the space to meditate or journal if I need to work through some difficult emotions
- time with my life coach
- creating deep, meaningful conversations with people I love
- being authentic, but kind
- reading books on psychology, self development, trauma, business, coaching and therapy
- any form of play, whether it’s games, or art, or walking the dog
- not feeling bad when I’m too tired and excusing myself while I take a half hour nap
- giving myself permission to re-decide something I’ve previously committed to, if this will significantly impact my wellbeing or ability to function normally
- giving myself permission to make mistakes and learn
- allowing myself to not know all the answers
- spending time with my inner child, to connect with her and make sure she has what she needs from me
Do you have a favourite quote?
“No” is a full sentence.
This has been great, Beatrice. Before we let you go, where can others find and connect with you online?
Private facebook group called “Fall in Love with Work” - this is a group for professional women who feel overwhelmed and uninspired in their work, and want to take action (whatever that may look like) so they can fall in love with work - in a way that feels authentic to them.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Beatrice, it's been a real pleasure to interview you.
Beatrice + Jas
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