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Meet Hélène Stelian of Hélène T. Stelian Coaching

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hélène Stelian.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Hélène. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
When my twin daughters were entering high school, and I was nearing 50, I faced a bit of an existential crisis. The girls were clearly indicating I needed to back off (after being a bit of a helicopter mom, I’ll admit) and I saw the empty nest looming. Despite my freelance writing work and my years of community service, I’d staked my identity mostly on being a mother. What was next for me once my girls left for college?

I’d been happy to ditch my job in corporate America after giving birth and privileged to be able to stay at home with our daughters—thanks to my husband’s thriving career. Being a mom was the first time I felt a true sense of purpose, that this is what I was meant to do. But once our girls left home, who would I be? I had no desire to go back into brand marketing but I still yearned to feel productive and purposeful. I knew I had many good decades ahead of me where I could contribute.

Doing what? As it happens, oftentimes our own struggles give us direction. New to the city—we’d moved here in 2012 from the northern suburbs when our girls were accepted to Latin School of Chicago—I was also looking for new city friends. I jumped into some volunteering and nonprofit work and got to talking to many other women in midlife who were wondering what was next for them after the empty nest. I also met women who had successfully navigated this transition and launched new purposeful lives.

My search was the genesis of my first blog, Next Act for Women, where I interview women who reinvented personally or professionally at 40 or later. They share their inspirational stories, the obstacles they faced, their advice, and many resources for other midlife women interested in similar paths. After hearing from so many how helpful this was, I felt called to do more. I wanted to be able to help women successfully navigate the midlife transition.

That’s’ when I went back to school and trained to become a certified life coach.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
While the road has not always been smooth, I have learned not to expect it to be. I used to be a very linear person, looking for the most efficient way to get from point A to point B. But I’ve come to understand that life and work are full of detours, and often it’s those meanderings that add new connections, ideas, and opportunities.

So I’m a lot more comfortable with jumping in when I’m not 100% sure of what I’m doing, and trusting that with a growth mindset, hard work, openness to possibilities, and a supportive community, I will move forward—even if the road is not a straight line. Speaking of jumping in, the first workshop I gave on discovering purpose, I had two people show up, and they were both my friends!

While I was initially disappointed, I rallied and ended up having an amazing working session with these two women who, despite never having met before, were so supportive of one another. This reaffirmed how much power there is in bringing women together in a safe and nurturing setting to work on common goals. I also learned that I did not want to have to drum up attendance for my workshops, and since then have only presented at locations with a significant clientele.

I’ve given dozens of speeches and workshops in the intervening years, and love meeting new women and providing guidance and inspiration as they pursue their desires and face their obstacles. Another challenge for me was social media. Marketing sure has changed a lot since my days in corporate America back in the 1990s! Keep in mind that for years I had proudly declared I’d never go on Facebook because it was a waste of time.

That was before I decided to launch a blog, of course. And lo and behold, I have come to discover how fun it is to connect with new online friends and renew old friendships. Just last week, I found out through Facebook that a high school girlfriend I haven’t seen in forever was in town and we met for lunch. While social media has its problems and requires quite a bit of discipline to use productively, for anyone who is writing, coaching, or speaking, it’s a great avenue for connection and promotion.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Hélène T. Stelian Coaching – what should we know?
Through my company, Hélène T. Stelian Coaching, LLC, I speak, coach, and write. I work mostly with women in midlife who are struggling to find their purpose, often as a result of a forced transition like the children leaving home, a job loss, a divorce, or simply a feeling that something is missing from their lives. I help them get clear on who they are at this stage of their lives, understand what they really want in their second half, and boldly let their authentic voice and unique gifts shine in the world.

Through our work together, I help them envision new possibilities and reframe old limiting stories and beliefs so they can create a no-regrets, joyful, purposeful life. I validate and support their feelings while challenging them to take action steps that allow them to see themselves as more than they ever imagined they could be.

I work with women one-on-one and in groups and do a lot of speaking to public and private groups about a variety of topics including Navigating the Midlife Transition, Creating a Life of Purpose, and Quieting the Inner Critic. I also launched a second interview series, Purpose Stories, where I showcase people of all demographics who have found and are living their purpose—in a myriad of ways.

I feel truly blessed to accompany women on their journeys of self-discovery and newfound joy in midlife and beyond.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Patti Sherry-Crews

    May 1, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    Great post! You’ve inspired so many people–not just women with your Next Act blog. So wonderful that someone is collecting these stories especially at a time we are seeing lots of changes in our world. I admire the way you area able to frame things and I know you’re a great coach! Keep up the good work!

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