Chérine Kurdi left her corporate cubicle and set up self-discovery workshops to free similarly stressed-out individuals. Kate Dobinson finds out how she is leading the UAE’s quest for happiness.
Modern life can distract us from what we truly need. And in the UAE, with its rich veneer and workaholic culture, it’s easy to lose sight of what is really meaningful and valuable to us.
Chérine Kurdi was an unhappy brand director in a multinational advertising agency who lost sight of what was important. She swapped the cubicle life – as she calls it – for a more creative one, devising ‘personal evolution’ workshops between her base in Khalidiyah, Abu Dhabi, and in Beirut. She says it’s easy to fall into a negative cycle in the UAE. ‘As a sensitive person and an introvert, I put my focus on a lot of things I didn’t love to do, people I didn’t want to hang out with and relationships I didn’t want to have. That made me lifeless, unmotivated, obligated and disconnected with myself; completely off my purpose.’ The 30-year-old decided to simplify her approach to life. ‘I asked myself, “How do I want to feel in this situation? How do I want to feel in this relationship? How do I want to feel when I get up in the morning?”’
she says. ‘The answers allowed me to make choices that supported how I wanted to feel. I started making more powerful choices.’
After resigning from her job, she ‘laser focused’ on building her dream business – a series of life coaching courses and workshops for those at a crossroads to be able to walk away with enough practical wisdom to tackle their internal struggles.
Gonan Premfors, director of the Coaches Training Institute (CTI), says Chérine’s experience is commonplace in her Dubai-based clinic and that there is an infinite market for life coaching in the UAE.
‘A lot of people end up in places that they don’t belong and it’s about getting back to what you want in order to get full satisfaction out of life.
‘No one knew anything about life coaching when the CTI started ten years ago, but now, there is much more awareness from corporations who have a willingness to make an investment in people. And there are definitely more individuals who seek coaching now.’
Gonan emphasises that coaching can be relevant to everybody in the UAE. You don’t have to feel drastically unhappy to benefit. ‘It’s not something you should take when you’re stressed, like a medicine you would take when you’re sick. It’s not therapy. It’s to discover why you are here, what your values are and what your purpose in life is. Or it can be that there’s something missing from your life but you don’t know what it is.’
Chérine’s tenet is that life is too short to experience any kind of internal dissatisfaction.
‘My intention is that every individual who is faced with self-doubt should be liberated and able to create a life based on core desires and values. Everyone deserves to feel beautiful, have a job he or she loves and a partner he or she adores. I help people to learn how to do it,’ she says.
A typical session guides clients to uncover limiting beliefs and teaches how to surrender old stories before creating a clear, visual roadmap of goals and dreams.
The sessions are accessible and unobtrusive for busy lives as they are conducted over the phone or Skype. However, Chérine stresses she doesn’t just wave a magic wand. ‘Every day something comes up that could be an obstacle to how you want to feel. It’s a daily quest. It takes courage.’
From Dhs600 for 45 minutes. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe to the newsletter or visit www.cherinekurdi.com. Follow her on Twitter @CherineKurdi (050 790 7016).
Three Dubai life coaches to try
Leap Life Coaching
Certified life coach Rawan Albina offers a variety of sessions to help people achieve personal goals.
MindBridge NLP Trainings
Offers both professional and personal life coaching.
KTalk Coaching & Consulting
Head here for business coaching and youth empowerment.