Life Design: Walking Our Talk
The world of coaching and personal growth is a powerful catalyst for change. Our personal journey has put this catalyst to the test over and over again. It’s clear that it helped force a change in our paths, but it’s also true that there has never been just one philosophy, company or person with all the answers.
Perhaps a surprising outcome was that our biggest teacher, the best philosophy, and the most learning has come from and through our relationship with our daughter. We now strongly believe that most of the world’s answers to our problems rest firmly within our children – but for some reason we have been trained not to listen to them.
When we truly listened to our young daughter, it was clear that we needed to offer her more than a safe and comfortable lifestyle in Dubai. She was happy in school, had great friends and life was really good. However, sometimes we need to force change, whether it’s comfortable or not.
When we left a comfortable lifestyle in Dubai in 2013 so that our daughter could start high school in the United States many of our friends thought we were mildly nuts. We had been in Dubai for decades, our daughter was born there, and we had built a meaningful business, great community, and friendships with people we call family. Yet, we packed up and moved to a different continent and to a small town where we didn’t know a single person. It was hard in the beginning, going from being “a somebody in Dubai to a nobody in California”.
While it was challenging to be far away from friends and family, it also created space for new people in our lives. We got to bear witness to our little girl take on a new life and grow into a young confident woman who has now gone off to college. We also made a series of poor decisions that took us on a path that wasn’t ours. It took a while to recover from the loss of time, money and energy, but the lessons learned were profound. Life is never a smooth ride.
Like most people, we were at some stage defined by the traditional model of success. During our investment careers the client dinner or the late meeting was always the priority. Don’t get us wrong, family was always important, but we were so focused on succeeding that it could wait…
In 2002 we started to make some bold decisions that included leaving the investment world, traveling to Afghanistan post-9/11 invasion, starting to train as coaches, and focusing all our attention on our 5-year old daughter. With both of us eventually leaving the investment industry for (1) a business opportunity in Afghanistan (Johan) and (2) to start getting trained as a coach and setting up a coaching school (Gonan) — were perhaps not the most conventional choices.
Our definition of a good life is one of authenticity, fulfillment and adventure. Have you figured out your own definition of life?
Our way of living continues to unfold a story that’s magical to us. Through every “crazy wonderful” decision we make, new opportunities of learning, connection and fun emerge. We don’t always get it it right, and that’s the fun part – and we’re grateful for what we have.
Part of our intention has always been to help the next generation, our children, live in a better world. In 2007 the Parentology program (now known as Relate) was created based on a desire to bring life skills to millions of parents around the world. We continue to help people and families create positive change throughout the world and we will soon launch the first Relate Online Live experience with the intention to have a much bigger impact.
We are very happy with all the decisions we have made, even if it led to some hardship because it has taken us to where we are today. It’s in our nature to adapt. Our schools and universities push our students by creating new experiences every day. Why stop when we’re adults? Let’s keep on learning together and please share your love of life with those around you.
With love from California,
Gonan and Johan Premfors
Gonan is the originator of the philosophies behind Gozamm, the home of the Parentology, Trust and Open Heart workshops. An industry thought-leader and a perennial innovator, Gonan is setting trends in the realms of families and business worldwide. Her eclectic background; being born in Turkey, married to a Swede, having lived in the Middle East for 25 years and now living in California, she truly brings a new dynamic perspective to an important field. -- view all articles