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Our Story

Ariel's Story

Entrepreneur, Cancer, and proud owner of many stuffed animals

My entire life has been a trip, but I can draw a line in my personal history where I stepped into consciousness and realized I had a choice in my life. I finally took responsibility for myself & my actions. This may seem obvious, but for me, I was living by someone else's rules: more specifically, my parents & society. I love my parents, but as an anxious person, there was always an undercurrent of never being enough: a fear of not being liked or being wrong, which in turn, drove a lot of my decision-making towards doing the right thing, being “liked,” and “meeting expectations". And guess what? I did all this and still felt anxious and unfilled.

Enter Dr. Eriksen, Professor at Providence College and boundary pusher extraordinaire. Dr. Eriksen was the first person who encouraged me to look at whose expectations I was meeting, what it meant to do the right thing, and acknowledge that if doing those things wasn’t achieving the results or feelings I wanted, then I had the choice to live differently.

So HOW did I start this journey? First, by examining all the “rules” of life that were not serving me, and learning to reorient myself to the world.  

This is where Dr. Eriksen’s work on purpose, helped me to begin to rebuild and reorient. I started to answer the essential questions about my past, present, and future: Who and what has influenced who I've become? What self-limiting beliefs do I buy into? What is important to me? What impact do I want to have in the world?  Who and what do I care about?  How should this dictate my actions? 

Answering these questions created an awareness about my values so I could begin to make conscious choices that were in line with my purpose. It feels strange to write that because these values and desires were not new. I always knew what would make me fulfilled, but somewhere along the line I decided that a more “effective” way to live was to suppress my inner voice in favor of the “rule book”. Essentially I thought I could manipulate life, by following the rule book I was guaranteed “acceptance,” ensured “success,” and “reduced conflict”. BUT the only person being manipulated was me! By inherently resisting my own desires, I experienced even greater tension, depression, anxiety and emptiness.
 

I began to make choices aligned with my purpose. My first experiment in this new way of living was a career change. With probably a bit of naïeve confidence, I told the head of Human Resources that I wanted to move into that space, which I was passionate about, but was having trouble navigating in that direction. This was another experiment in vocalizing my inner truth and being vulnerable. When I landed my first job in HR, I was sure this was the answer to all my problems. I had solved the equation: when career = purpose = success— not quite. I still did not fully understand that this new approach was not a solution or a destination it was a way of being and relating differently in each moment to both myself and others.

With each new experience I was experimenting with a new way of being. Reflecting on this now, I see that in the early stages of this journey, as I was just beginning this practice of tuning into myself and building the listening skills, I often needed to hit the bottom and physically experience tension and suffering, and use this as an indicator to make a change. I was developing awareness and could hear the faint internal conversation but I chose to ignore it until I no longer could. As I continue to deepen my practice, I hope to heighten my awareness and ability to listen to myself, so I can identify when I have gone astray from my purpose, and act in choice in the present moment. To get to a place of truly trusting myself and my voice.

Life is always unfolding and there is no “solution” – what Dr. Eriksen taught me were ways of being, ways to live differently, and an appreciation for self-exploration.

After 7 years of experimentation, with plenty of error, I have continued to refine my purpose, and I realized what I really wanted to do was not just help people, but to guide them along this same journey, so they could have a similar awakening in life which has so profoundly changed my story...

Matthew's Story

I am a father, professor, coach, competitive rower, but in all of these roles I am human.

Ever since I was a child, I have been an achiever.  I love to have impact.  I want to matter. 

 

Over my life, this led to many achievements and “successes” in my life.  But at the same time, I often found myself anxious, self-conscious, doubtful, disoriented, and frustrated.  As I entered my 30s, after leaving my soul-sucking job as a financial analyst at Ford Motor Company, I knew what I was passionate about - teaching and rowing.  At the time, I was pursuing my Ph.D. in finance while also training twice a day as competitive rower. 

 

What I did not know was that what was going on inside of me mattered more than what was going on in the world.  Nor did I know who I was or wanted to become as a human being, or the impact I wanted to have on others.  I did not fully realize the extent and possibilities of my freedom, choice, responsibility, creativity and influence.  I did not even know where to start, let alone figure out these puzzles.

 
My journey began when I took what I can only describe as an intuitive leap of faith and left the finance Ph.D. program to pursue a Ph.D. in management, even though I had finished all of the required coursework for the finance Ph.D.  This began my journey of self-discovery, in which I engaged literature, philosophy, psychology, social psychology, mindfulness, meditation, and coaching, to realize my authentic self and life purpose.  This personal journey has coincided with my 24-year journey to master helping others realize their authentic self and life purpose.  It has taken me to the University of New Haven, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, University of Tampa and Providence College, with a stint as the Acting Director of the Leadership Institute at TSA after 9/11.  I have completed certifications in life and relationship coaching, as well as a graduate certificate program in Mindfulness for Educators.  I have engaged in leadership and team building consulting with corporations, business, nonprofits, athletic departments, and athletic teams.  I have been consistently publishing journal articles on leadership, leadership development and management education over this time, as well as presenting my scholarship at numerous academic conferences and to other professional audiences.  Over this time, I have developed my craft, passion and purpose of helping others realize their human potential. 
 
A few years ago, Ariel took two classes with me as part of her MBA program, as well as engaged independent study with me and another student.  In our first class together, my intuition immediately told me she was in the “wrong” career as an auditor.  I always felt that there was something unique she had to offer the world.  As fate would have, after changing careers to work in human resources and then to help women effectively reenter the workforce, she reached out to me to talk.  She shared that she had passion for the type of work I was doing and that she had faith she had the ability to start a company.  So here we are one-year later…
 
I am excited and grateful to be able to partner with Ariel on this meaningful venture.  Her energy and passion to bring our message and offering to others inspires and energizes me.  

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