The past couple of years have had their challenges for Hunter Markle: a family crisis, the grief of multiple loved ones passing on and a feeling of distance growing between her and her partner. Add to that the pandemic and it was enough to motivate Hunter toward finding lasting change. She wasn’t sure exactly what she wanted to do next and she didn’t even feel there was something wrong, exactly. She just knew there was something missing.
“I’ve always tried to surround myself with people who are constantly working to understand themselves better. I think self-improvement may be a Millennial thing where we are trying to work things out however we can,” says Hunter. But this year made her realize the importance of taking time for herself to consider where her life is going.
Hunter, 27, works as a communications specialist for the North Simcoe Big Brothers, Big Sisters and through their “Go Girls” program for girls ages 11-14, the theme of which is ‘healthy bodies, healthy minds’, Hunter met Dionne Thomson. When the pandemic began, Hunter and her colleagues needed to come up with a virtual opportunity for the “Go Girls” program, and when they brainstormed ideas, Dionne came to mind. Dionne coaches women to thrive in the face of life’s challenges and to discover and cherish their values, so she was a perfect presenter for the girls.
Moving Life Forward
After the session, Hunter wanted to know more about this woman with the big personality. She asked Dionne about her coaching style and her annual event “100 Women on Fire” and became intrigued by the idea of working with her one-on-one herself. She ended up spending the next six months working with Dionne, uncovering what really matters to her and taking action to move her life forward.
“Dionne’s approach, her vibe, her humour, the swearing…won me over. It’s a realistic approach but also a scientific approach. I’m the kind of person who likes to research and look into the backstories of everything. Her thought process is clear in the material she shares with clients, making the work feel more tangible. I feel I now have legitimate tools to work with,” says Hunter. “It’s more than just theories and concepts. It’s actionable.”
What Hunter wanted to work on was not what she initially thought; she discovered it was a multi-layered process. “Certain things revealed themselves to me as we progressed,” she says. “I began to realize I wanted to be able to set healthy boundaries, yet still be able to be there for the people I care about. Working with Dionne, I was able to address being in charge of my own life in a way that allows me to better express what I need and want.”
Hunter had put off a dream to start her own business, but she says Dionne helped her see the value in what she can offer. Within a few sessions she launched her own personal branding business, First Impressions Personal Brand Design, to help others with their resumes to begin their desired careers.
When asked about the results of life coaching, Hunter says, “I have always practised gratitude but have much more of it in my life now. I’ve learned to reframe that I ‘get to’ do things rather than ‘have to’ which makes life a lot more pleasant. I’ve also learned that no matter how slow I’m moving, there is still growth even then. I can recognize and appreciate my achievements along the way much more now. Overall, I feel a lot more balanced personally and professionally.”
A Fresh Start
“Oh,” she says. “And I’ve also got this!” She waves a sparkling hand sporting a brand new engagement ring. “Ask me at the beginning of 2020 whether I’d be engaged now, I would have been doubtful, but my relationship is so much richer for the work I’ve been doing. We are so much closer now and excited about our future together.”
What’s next? “I’m now a lifetime member of ‘The Awesomeness Academy’ which is a great way to stay connected to Dionne and to the network of positive women she has opened me up to. I’m so grateful for all the tools I have access to now.”
Working with a life coach brought Hunter much more than she had expected. “I really needed that outside perspective to help me get a better grip on the things I was dealing with. Most importantly, I would say my relationship with myself and with others is a lot better and I feel a lot clearer about what I’m doing. I think it’s made me a better partner, a better co-worker, a more understanding daughter, a better sister and friend.”
Hunter Markle is a Fundraising & Community Development Coordinator for Big Brothers, Big Sisters North Simcoe. She is also the Midland Rotaract Club President for the current 2020-21 term.
I Want That!
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