I’m Dina. I help creatives thrive.
Values: fun, humour, authenticity, learning, growth and connection.
Photo credit: lucy raz
To help you lead a life you really really love.
my coaching clients
Originally I started coaching those in their 20s and 30s going through a Quarter Life Crisis. Then it evolved into creatives - photographers, make-up artists, hair stylists, art directors, brand owners. Now it’s evolving further to performance creatives - actors and musicians - and freelancers and brand owners.
Why? Creatives are for sure my tribe. QLCers are my origins.
The common thread with both is that my clients are very values-driven. They care very deeply about what they do in life. They want to be themselves at work and not wear a mask. They want to feel excitement, connection and passion in their day-to-day.
With QLCers, they don’t know exactly what that passion looks like, they just know it’s not the job they’re doing at the moment. I coach them on getting clear on what they want to do. Not by telling them, but by aligning them with their values, strengths and interests so they become clear about their next steps and they don’t feel like they’re wasting time.
Creatives already have that life of passion but they’re alone a lot and don’t get the support and development that people working in big organisations get. They hustle and grind working for themselves and can sometimes lose clarity and focus. They sometimes feel overwhelmed and demotivated, thinking ‘What’s the point?’ Should I jut get a 9 to 5 and be done with it?’. I do personal and business development coaching with them which packs them full of skills, strategies and mindset techniques to make their day-to-day smoother and more productive.
I LOVED studying psychology at uni.
We learnt about individual personality types, history and origins of IQ tests, about child development - why teeangers are self-centered and moody - loads of really useful stuff. My mind was being blown with these amazing discoveries about the brain, our personality, emotions - like what fear, anxiety and depression are, and the history of treating them. And I wasn’t just learning, I was questioning. Uni encourages critical reflection.
And I actually questioned therapy - is this the only thing we have in psychology to help people? There are different levels of unhappy. Not everyone is depressed, some people are just habitually unhappy, some are unfulfilled - is the answer to all of these therapy?
The answer is no. There’s coaching.
But coaching wasn’t as popular as it is now. It wasn’t on my radar.
So I left uni knowing that I didn’t want to do therapy but having no idea what I actually wanted to do.
It turned out the universe had a plan for me. I was to have a Quarter Life Crisis where I was bouncing around different jobs, trying to find purpose in life and fulfillment in my career, and obviously experiencing baseline anxiety all the time because I was not living my best life and I felt everyone else was.
But I kept searching and then by pure coincidence discovered positive psychology and fell in love. Positive psychology is the newest movement in psychology. It moves away from the disease model (looking at mental health like physical health - diagnose disease and cure it) and instead looks at human potential, strengths, pursuit of happiness and growth. It doesn’t see people as ‘broken’ needing to be fixed. It looks at how people can make small changes to their daily habits so they make big movements towards self-actualisation, feeling fulfilled and being truly happy. It’s all about helping people flourish and thrive.
Positive psychology was the science I was looking for, but I needed a vehicle to apply it, because I realised that people don’t change through information alone. I realised that my psychology degree, all those books I read, all those words, didn’t prevent me from having anxiety during my QLC. You need something tangible and hands on to translate psychology knowledge into your daily reality. Coaching was the answer, because coaching is all about action. Moving people forward. So I was going to train to be a coach and use positive psychology strategies in my coaching. But where to train?
There are a myriad of coaching institutions and it’s so hard to know what is best. I chose to not take the shortcut of training with a commercial institute, but to be patient and do a 2 year part-time MSc in Applied Positive Psychology & Coaching Psychology. Best decision ever.
To me, it was very important to have a rigorous, evidence-based training that covered ethics and had a healthy dose of psychology in it. Because as a coach you’re in a very privileged position, you hear people’s rawest thoughts and beliefs. People open up, and sometimes they’ll discover something about themselves that even they didn’t know was in there. That’s why it’s vital that a coach has the psychological backbone to their practice so they can recognise when there’s something deeper and point clients in the right direction.
There are a lot of shamans in the world of coaching. People doing it for the wrong reasons. So it was important for me to become a very ethical, credible and authentic coach. I believe that happens when you do a long coach training course because you grow with the course. It gives you time to find your style as a coach, to experiment, to reflect, to learn from others growing with you and develop yourself.
I graduated but my learning hasn’t stopped. This is my profession for life, so I’m constantly going to talks, lectures, workshops and events to discover more ways I can help my clients. I also know that coaching isn’t the be all and end all to everyone’s problems, but not everyone knows all the ways they can be helped. I have made it a point to connect with other practitioners and become a ‘psychology broker’ who can help clients navigate this crowded world of well-being.
I’ll give you an example to illustrate. A lot of people with eating disorders have a damaged connection to their body. They had years of shutting off hunger signals from their body to the brain for hunger, so they have incredible mental strength but weak body awareness. If they come to a point in their lives where they’re unhappy, they’re probably going to want to solve it via their brains, via talking, so they will turn to a therapist or a coach. I’ve had a client like that, and after a few sessions, it became clear that what she needed was not to talk any more. She did not need any more time in her head, what she needed was to get into her body more. More body awareness, more movement! She thought she had movement nailed. She was the kind who loved the gym and tough sweaty fitness classes because she was great at overpowering her brain signals of pain or tiredness. But that’s not the movement I had in mind. I meant the kind that’s slower, that’s less push and burn, and more tune in and notice. I meant yoga. She hated yoga. Didn’t see the point - too slow. Sometimes (read: a lot of the time) the very thing you’re resisting is the very thing you need. I recommended yoga, but also dance-movement therapy as it’s been proven to have great results with eating disorder patients. It was the shift she needed! She wouldn’t have ever known about dance-movement therapy, but the coach may not have either. They don’t necessarily teach you that in coach training.
It’s hard to know exactly what will help us. There is a whole world of methods and approaches out there that can help that you may not know about. Why should you? They’ve got things going on. I, however, spend all my time in this world, reading up about the newest techniques and researching what works. Working with me you get access to all of it.
There are so many routes to happiness out there, and my philosophy is that the best ones are the ones that integrates body, mind and soul.
So this is the life coach I am. A psychology broker of sorts who has taken it upon herself to research everything about well-being, success and happiness out there so when you come to me, you can tap into my knowledge, my connections and my resources. You’re not alone, let’s work together!