Certified Life Coach

Living Her Passion - Laura Sykora

Photo by Becky Kelly

Photo by Becky Kelly

It was 2009 when Laura Sykora first realized she was missing something in her life. Her mother-in-law was in the midst of completing her second year of chemotherapy for lymphoma and her father-in-law had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. “My personal life was filled with many moving parts that were both life-changing and stressful,” Laura elaborates. “Although I had a wonderful job, I was still unfortunately left at the end of each day feeling unfulfilled and questioning my life’s purpose.” To top it off, Laura had just undergone a long year of unsuccessful attempts at becoming pregnant. This chain of events led to a wake-up call that changed Laura’s life forever.

Shortly after her father-in-law passed away, Laura and her husband, Ed, had several in-depth conversations about adoption as a means to grow their family. As she simultaneously realized that her passion in life was to serve others for a greater good, Laura became drawn to the process of international adoption. “After talking with friends who had adopted, visiting an adoption agency, and meeting with other adoptive families, Laura says that she and Ed quickly realized that their hearts were being led in a new and exciting direction.

After completing the long process that accompanies international adoption, Laura and Ed brought their son home from Ethiopia in August 2010. After resigning from her job of nearly ten years to stay home with her son, Laura had no idea that the next chapter of her life was waiting in the wings. A few months after the adoption was finalized, Laura walked through an open door to accept a job at the very agency that handled their adoption: Holt International. While her title and duties have changed over the past six years, Laura continues to embrace every day with gratitude for the opportunity to witness so many families joined through the joy of adoption. In 2013, Laura and Ed were blessed through adoption once again when they brought home a daughter from Ethiopia.

Laura considers herself fortunate to have a wonderful support system filled with friends who listen and loyally walk beside her through life, celebrating the joys and supporting her through the sorrows. Last year, her mother-in-law passed away. “During the last month of her life, we had many meaningful conversations,” Laura adds. “Her advice to me was simple and wise. She told me that I would never reach the end of my days and wish they had been filled with more time at work. Her best advice was for me to stay focused on me and the needs of my family.”

Today, Laura loves the life she has created for herself and her family. She works on occasion, counseling families interested in international adoption, and volunteers at her children’s school. Laura says that by pursuing her passion, she has gained a daily sense of freedom and gratefulness. In carrying on the tradition in memory of her mother-in-law, Laura offers one piece of great advice for anyone wishing to pursue their own passion in life. “Don’t make excuses. Life is filled with new chapters and change can be both healthy and exciting. Enjoy the journey!”

To learn more about international adoption, visit https://www.holtinternational.org/.

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at crossthebridgecoaching.com.

Three Ways to Expand Your Comfort Zone Today

Stagnancy in life can be stifling. When it seems like we are simply treading water and going nowhere, the resulting apathy has the power to rob us of energy and, worse yet, hope. Truth be known, we all feel safer when we are functioning within a comfort zone where we can easily predict our days and even what might happen next.

Photo by Vicky DeCoster

Photo by Vicky DeCoster

Sometimes the possibility of change can seem overwhelming and even frightening. So, how does one find a way to overcome long-held fears, break down the walls that surround a comfort zone, and begin believing that you can achieve your dreams? Here are three ways you can begin expanding your own comfort zone today:

  1. Do one thing you pledged to never do in your lifetime. Whether it is singing karaoke in front of a crowd of strangers or holding a snake, prove to yourself that you can conquer your nervousness and actually do something you never thought was possible. When tackling real change, this exercise will help you to remember all the times when you overcame self-imposed hurdles and lived to tell about it.

  2. Plan an adventure. Have you ever wanted to backpack in the mountains? Run a marathon? Take a class in rock climbing? Learn to deep sea fish? Expanding your comfort zone to include new adventures will not only test your character, tenacity, and drive to work past obstacles, but will also prove that you are capable of resolving daily challenges in innovative and creative ways.

  3. Try something new. Whether your new thing is sampling a plateful of frog legs or ice skating at Rockefeller Center, seek to experience all that life has to offer. Even if you end up pledging in front of the waiter to never eat frog legs again or swearing you'll never lace up a pair of ice skates in your lifetime, these experiences still have the power to transform your mindset to believe that you can walk through fear to test change—even if it turns out that it is not right for you.

When we take one small step at a time to expand our comfort zones—and survive—it is conceivable to teach ourselves that life is an adventure meant to be embraced, loved, and, most importantly, lived to the fullest.

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at crossthebridgecoaching.com.