MY JOURNEY TO EXECUTIVE AND PERSONAL LIFE COACHING

A clear path to coaching started many moons ago.

I am one of five children, who grew up in Cameroon and then moved to France and the US for law school.
Despite being firmly entrenched in the world of pleasing the family and being an achievement machine, I always found myself going into a meditative trance, as a child, induced by the question, “Who am I?” I always felt great peace pondering this question. I intuitively knew that the answer was to be found by going on an adventure of some sort, and would not come to me in an ah-ha moment.

That adventure kept being postponed- because really, who has time for adventures when you’re busy aspiring to be an outstanding student, collecting accolades, getting married, husband-mothering and then real-mothering, and then working all the time, running miles every day, lifting weights like a maniac, and ensuring that my kids get the best parenting in the world!

No time to continue asking “Who am I?” I knew who I was- a successful litigator, a mom to three boys, an amazing sister, and a wife. Planning any type of adventure or some new-agey inner or outer journey was frivolous—or so I thought. Who had the time?

I was one of those “bring it on” types. I was going to box my way through life, no matter what. And to make sure that I got the proper training, I went to the gym daily, sometimes twice a day and took boxing classes, pumped iron, and ran 40 miles per week while my mind also sprinted through my to do list. There was no time to waste!

There was the three hour daily commute, filled, as you can imagine, with more checklists and charts, and only lifting my head once in a while to cast a stern look on those people who sat idle letting life pass them by. Elbowing my way through trains and subways, I would get into my office and face my work with the same mantra: Come on girl, come on girl, you can do it, just keep punching, keep hitting, hit harder! That’s a girl!

Late at night, as I laid down, I could see the next day and its load peering at me. It was all about teeth grinding, but I thought this was the only way to live.
⦁ I did not know that the gnawing feeling at the pit of my stomach could vanish.
⦁ I did not know I could feel lightness as I glided through my day.
⦁ I did not know that imperturbability could become a way of life.
⦁ I did not know that I could have, be, and do what I chose, when I chose.

Over the years, I have explored and uncovered techniques and strategies that have transformed the lives of many clients and hundreds of attendees to my workshops, boot camps, teacher trainings, and retreats. And let me tell you something: they work, and you need not turn into a slacker or give up your A-game. You can still be a “bring it on” type to ensure your professional success when it matters.

Indeed, I witness my clients transform chaotic lives into happy, effortless, abundant and successful lives, based on my creating a customized blend of spirituality and strategy for them. As I often say to participants, you don’t have to believe what I say, you can check it out for yourself.

The strategies I share have worked, and continue to work for me, and others. I have used them through illness. I have used them with my three sons and can already see how two of them who are medical doctors and one lawyer apply those strategies. I have used them to face the thousands of documents I have to read for my court briefs with a grace, and alacrity I could never have imagined. I use them in my relationship with my husband of many years, and in all my relationships.

There is no doubt that we are the architects of our lives, and that freedom is there for us to grab.

I now know that it feels great to take off the boxing gloves- and you know what? I am even better boxer without the gloves; a better yogini; a better lawyer, a better boss, a better mom, a better wife (ask my husband just to be sure), and now- a grandma to three grand-babies.

As Aristotle said, the “unexamined life is not worth living.”

I felt the truth of what Aristotle was saying, when I was introduced to the Baptiste style of yoga. I began to study with Baron Baptiste the founder of the Baptiste Power Yoga Institute, and became a 500 hour Certified Baptiste Yoga Teacher. Through Self discovery, and Self inquiry, the “Who are you” question which to some degree has always been part of my existence began to make sense to me, and in the process I began to think about my purpose on this planet. The Baptiste method of teaching yoga goes beyond the practices of asanas or yoga postures and explores how to acquire mental clarity and focus, release of the beliefs and habits that hold us back, and acquire inner peace, and live our lives with authenticity.

For more than a decade, I have read and explored numerous techniques that advocate “freedom” and happiness as a way of being.  In so doing I came up with tools to help all who come in contact with me, to live a happy life, an abundant life, a successful life. The more I delved into the practices of yoga and meditation, the more it became obvious that teaching others and leading them to discover what I have discovered was indispensable. I led numerous weekly or by-weekly boot camps, and retreats abroad, and explored, and helped participants to release the non loving feelings that held them back, and to transform these feelings into love, happiness, and imperturbability.

Denise K. Bonnaig & Baron Baptiste
Denise K. Bonnaig & Baron Baptiste

It is after one of these classes, retreats, and boot camps, that a participant wrote me a thank you note and added that she perceives me not only as a yoga teacher, but also a spiritual guide and a life coach. This thank you note made me wonder what exactly a life coach did, and in the process, I realized that throughout my life, my family, friends, students, and clients have always perceived me as a wise, insightful, and generous person, always ready to help uplift, empower, motivate, inspire, and encourage others to become the best they could possibly be.

All this led to taking steps to become a NYU Certified Life Coach.

It all started right after the death of my mother when she was thirty-two.  I was 5½ years old.  My reaction to her sudden death resulted in my asking myself, over and over again, “Who are you.” Whether I was alone or not I kept asking myself “Who are you?” “Who are you really?” “Who is the real you?” I remember asking myself the same question until my mind would quiet down, and become still.  It is during that time too, that I felt misunderstood by my relatives; frequently, I would say one thing and I would get a negative reaction, which in turn made me unhappy. That resulted in my strong desire to “be right all the time” because I was led to believe that “I was wrong”.   Somehow, I felt that now that my loving mama was gone I was always blamed for every single act of alleged wrongdoing. As a result, I decided not to allow anyone to “make me wrong” but rather make sure that I was “always right” and in the process, “make everyone else wrong”.

This “wanting to be right all the time” became my operating program or story. To be right, I had to be the strongest, the smartest, “the best” at everything I did. Obviously this led to much frustration, anger, and suffering during my teenage years, during which I felt I was being told I was “not good enough” or “not perfect”. In hindsight, my decision to go to law school and become an attorney was not an accident. It was motivated by my strong desire to be right all the time, and to speak for those who could not speak for themselves. It goes without saying too, that in the early years of my marriage too, the ride was bumpy because I constantly wanted to have the last word.

Denise K. Bonnaig
Denise K. Bonnaig

The developments in technology, the inventions and discoveries in various fields, have brought much comfort to our existence and stretched our imagination beyond what any of us could have dreamed. Unfortunately, these breakthroughs have not alleviated human suffering or distress. In fact, with the hectic pace of our lives today and the uncertainty of our economic and spiritual circumstances, there is a growing existential crisis that manifests itself in all sorts of ways, be it anger, loneliness, depression etc.

People are seeking ways to alleviate this suffering, this knot they feel in their stomachs. I firmly believe that life coaching has a tremendous role to play in helping people navigate the circumstances of their existence. Authentique Coaching is well-positioned to bring clients the tools they need to lead a fulfilling existence. That’s because we address both the spiritual – addressing that perennial question of who they are and what is their life purpose – while giving them concrete tools to apply daily to quiet the voice of doubt and create that which they desire. My use of neuroscience; psychology; philosophy (Buddhist and Western); my experience as a trial lawyer; my experience as a practicing yogini and as a yoga teacher; my life experience as someone who has experienced illness, death, and has raised three successful black men – two medical doctors and one lawyer, against all odds – has placed me in a position to help my clients beyond their dreams.

For more information about me, please visit http://denisebonnaig.com

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