living your passion

Why I Became a Life Coach

Vicky on a hike in the Beartooth Mountain Range, Montana, 2018

Vicky on a hike in the Beartooth Mountain Range, Montana, 2018

It’s a question I’m often asked: Why did you become a life coach? I am often reluctant to answer because as a life coach, the focus is on my clients, not me. When pressed, my answer is always short and simple: Because I love to help people find answers to their deepest questions about themselves and the world around them. But really it goes much deeper than that for me. Coaching others to achieve fulfillment, inner-peace, and their truth is my destiny. In short, I feel it is what I have been put on this earth to do.

As a professional writer for many years, I have become accustomed to questioning life and people around me. In doing so, I have learned that we all have a compelling story to tell. For decades, I had been informally guiding others through major decisions and obstacles when I decided to pursue a certification in life coaching. As my children matured and entered college and the world beyond, I knew it was time for me to follow my own dream. As I stepped outside my comfort zone and began an intensive training course, I was reintroduced to my love of engaging in the kind of deep conversations that instigate introspective reflection and inspire positive change.

To say I am a goal-driven person is an understatement. Setting goals drove me to write five books by the time I was forty-five; become a solo entrepreneur; ride a bike 150 miles in two days with a team; run through the notorious runner’s wall and finish many 10k races; and hike down the side of a mountain during a blizzard. Setting goals is how I made it through all the challenging times when my inner-strength was tested in more ways than I ever imagined. None of us are exempt from tragedy, loss, or heartache—and I am no exception. When I coach my clients to set goals and then hold them accountable to achieve them, it is not just because I have been trained to do that as a coach. It is because I’ve lived it and witnessed the positive results of goal setting first-hand.

Through all my life experiences, I have learned that there are two things most of us require to be happy: perseverance and a purpose. Finding the strength to persevere through the hard times is how I’ve survived all these years and created the life I want for myself. Realizing my purpose is what gets me out of bed every day and makes me look forward to every moment as an opportunity to illustrate to others all they can achieve after creating a clear plan and then taking action.

It brings me great joy when I guide a client out of the darkness and into the light to embrace what they thought was previously impossible. I have been known to jump up and down when I hear a client has stepped outside their comfort zone to achieve a dream, a goal, or a life-changing realization. One thing I have learned throughout the process of working with a variety of clients is that the size of the dream does not matter. What matters is the joy that comes with realizing they deserve everything they want and need in life.

Finally, being a life coach is much more to me than just guiding someone to achieve goals. Being a life coach reinforces my personal mission to share kindness and love with everyone who walks beside me on my path through life. Together we learn. Together we celebrate. Together we brainstorm. Together we are reminded that no matter what our challenges, we are never alone.

 “Taking personal accountability is a beautiful thing because it gives us complete control of our destinies.” ―Heather Schuck

If you are interested in learning more about how life coaching can help you achieve your goals and dreams, reach out to Vicky via the contact page.


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

Living His Passion – Ben Evers

Ben Evers, Farm Focused

Ben Evers, Farm Focused

When Ben Evers was young, his parents purchased property outside Plattsmouth, Nebraska, with the intent of creating a horse farm. Little did he know at the time that the move would be the single most impactful change in his life. As life on the farm presented him with daily opportunities to perform chores, creatively solve problems, work with his hands, and develop a variety of skills, Ben grew up understanding the value of fulfilling work that instills pride. Additionally, he watched his mother walk away from a corporate job to start her own business. As her company developed and grew, Ben was by her side, helping whenever and however he could. Despite his desire to pursue other interests that included playing sports and riding a dirt bike, Ben never forgot the valuable life lessons he learned during his childhood.

After graduating from the University of Nebraska with a degree in Business Management and marrying his wife, Morgan, Ben pursued a career in retail management that took him from big box stores to a family-owned automotive collision repair shop and finally to a major auto parts supplier where he progressively moved up the ladder to become a district manager who oversaw over 200 employees. In 2015 after deciding that fulfillment was more important to him than chasing the dollar, Ben moved with his wife and their three children back to Nebraska with the intent of starting a business and getting back to his roots. A few months later, Farm Focused was founded near the horse farm where Ben first learned to embrace the country life and the value of hard work.

Driven by his love of working with farmers and a respect for agriculture, Ben started the business based on the idea of bringing efficiencies to local growers through soil additives at planting time that ultimately allow the grower to use less inputs (synthetic fertilizers and fungicides) and increase the health of the soil. Additionally, Ben focused his business on improving efficiencies of the diesel engine, the heartbeat of the farm. As the business grew, Ben added another sector to his brand by creating lifestyle apparel items that he originally created as thank you gifts and marketing collateral. Before long, a demand for his apparel helped him discover that there are surprises in every business. Ben states that he eventually realized that Farm Focused is not just a company that helps farmers, but also a relatable brand that people want to be a part of, no matter where they live or work. Since creating a great logo, Ben has built the line from one t-shirt to 10 separate designs in both unisex and female cuts, seven hat designs, and has even branded socks. Ben adds, “The growth of this side of the business has happened very rapidly. Today we are at a point where we are ready to take it to the next level.”

The farmers that Ben deals directly with on a daily basis all primarily grow corn and soybeans. He states that one of their biggest challenges is the current state of the commodity market. Unfortunately as smaller acre farmers start to fall off and massive yield farmers continue to produce higher yields than ever before, an increase in supply is outrunning the demand. Because of this, there are many progressive growers who are looking for better ways. That is where Farm Focused steps in to help.

A typical day at Farm Focused involves office business as well as time working on a diesel engine, walking fields conducting comparison analyses between treated and untreated soil, or staffing a booth or space at a county fair or other event. The company continues to evolve and change as Ben learns more about the industry and identifies opportunities to bring further products and services under its umbrella.

Ben openly welcomes the personal growth he has experienced over the last few years. “I have seen a different side of life and I am a happier and more content person today. Professionally, I have gained new perspectives that have allowed me to look at things a little differently.” He advises those who want to pursue their passion to build self-confidence first and then decide that you are going to make it, no matter what unexpected obstacles pop up on the path to living a dream.

John D. Rockefeller once said, Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great." Three years ago, Ben Evers did just that when he stepped outside his comfort zone, listened to his heart, walked away from a corporate job, and jumped into building a business that would not only provide him with fulfillment, but also support his family. As he walks the fields and searches for innovative ways to help those who provide the world with food, there is no question that Ben is putting his all into going for the great. Rockefeller would be proud.

For more about Ben and his business, visit

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

Living Her Passion – Hannah Olson Nodskov

Hannah Olson Nodskov

Hannah Olson Nodskov

Hannah Olson Nodskov has been passionate about fashion and entrepreneurship ever since she was a little girl who loved sketching outfits, drawing realistic figures, and creating a small flip-flop business with her mother. But it wasn’t until she was a junior in high school that Hannah decided to stop complaining about a lack of trendy clothes that fit her curvy body and taught herself to sew using Pinterest, YouTube, and Google. It wasn’t long before she was designing outfits that caught the attention of other plus-size teenagers and women.

Boosted by encouragement from friends and family, she debuted Hannah Caroline Couture a year later with a self-produced show in her high school auditorium. After twenty-five friends modeled outfits and other friends stepped in to DJ, emcee, and photograph the event, orders for her custom garments began pouring in. As her interest in business and fashion led her to pursue a business degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Hannah began to feel the love from Omaha’s vibrant, helpful startup community. In 2014, Hannah won a business plan competition at her college that she says pushed her out of her comfort zone to create a unique business plan, present it to a large audience, and then manage the subsequent press coverage.

After attending Full Figured Fashion Week in 2015 where she showcased her designs in the same runway show as such mega brands as Lane Bryant, the door opened for Hannah to transform her hobby business into a sustainable business that grew from a few local orders throughout the year to multiple orders per month from women nationwide as well as in other countries.

Hannah on the runway with one of her models at Full Figured Fashion Week, 2018

Hannah on the runway with one of her models at Full Figured Fashion Week, 2018

Although she currently designs for women of all sizes, Hannah especially focuses her designs and ready-made collections for plus-size women using a larger standard production size than the industry uses. She is passionate about serving a niche of women who struggle with shopping for fashionable clothes that fit well, are comfortable, and take into consideration factors like bigger arms, large busts, nonstandard hourglass shapes, and differently proportioned shapes. “I believe my ability to understand these factors is crucial to the success of my business,” Hannah adds. She draws inspiration for her designs from architecture, interesting juxtapositions, and most often, the fabrics and materials themselves. Her business role model is Christian Siriano, one of the most successful winners of the television show, Project Runway and a vocal supporter of and designer for plus-size women.

Since inception, Hannah Caroline Couture has matured into offering what brings her the most joy: designing evening and bridal wear for the plus-size woman. During the day, Hannah works full-time in her dream role as Marketing Manager at a local sports technology startup, ScoreVision. At night and on weekends, she sews orders, plans social media posts, manages business finances, orders materials, and packs and ships orders to her loyal clientele.

Hannah says her favorite part about owning a business is the opportunity to make a difference in her customers’ lives and the opportunities that have opened up to her because of her business that include learning new skills and traveling to exciting places. Her challenges include balancing her perfectionism tendencies with personal relationships, a social life, and a solid self-care routine. Hannah states that the best piece of advice she ever received is to continuously gather feedback and never stop doing so. “Every time I want to expand or pivot my business, I make sure to ask for feedback from my target market(s) before investing time and resources in the idea,” she adds. “Paying customers guide businesses down the paths they’re supposed to follow.”

Being an entrepreneur has allowed Hannah to gain confidence in herself and her purpose. She advises other entrepreneurs to work on finding the balance between passion, ideas, and solving the problems of a target market. Hannah states, “Passion for something is great, but when things get tough, it isn’t always enough. Having a sustainable market is the best way to enable yourself to continue pursuing your passion.”

Renowned fashion photographer Bill Cunningham once said, “Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life.” Every time Hannah Olson Nodskov sits in front of her sketch pad or sewing machine, she focuses on bringing light, hope, and love through creative designs that help her customers remember that we are all beautiful, no matter what our size or shape.

For more about Hannah Caroline Couture, visit

Living His Passion - Robert Lopez

Robert Lopez in front of In front of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City (Rome).

Robert Lopez in front of In front of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City (Rome).

Robert Lopez’s dream to become a travel agent first took flight when he was just twelve. While walking to school in Los Angeles, Robert’s path took him around a corner and past the travel agency, Ships N’ Trips. Enthralled with the possibility of traveling to all the places advertised in the agency’s window, Robert eventually met an agent who showed him how to use a computer and told him all about life as a travel agent. Although he also considered a career as a chef, it seemed Robert’s destiny was already laid out for him when he decided to attend travel school and eventually accepted a job in reservations at United Airlines. Even as Robert began what would become a lengthy and successful career in the travel industry, he dreamed of opening his own business.

Robert says it was his father who ultimately inspired him to work for himself, rather than for someone else. The right opportunity finally presented itself twenty years after Robert started his first job at United Airlines. Although Robert was hesitant at first, he decided to take the plunge in memory of his father who always encouraged him to persevere through his challenges.

Today, Robert proudly owns Freedom Travel agency—a place where he connects travelers with unforgettable experiences. A typical day begins at around 6:00 a.m. when Robert checks the weather forecast and news around the country to see if there are any delays ahead for his clients. Then he responds to emails, answers questions through his social media accounts, plans vacations and business trips, and handles all the other aspects of running a busy office such as balancing books, creating email blasts, and networking with potential clients. Before calling it a day, he once again checks news and weather. Robert, who has traveled to nearly twenty-five countries that include Amsterdam, Jamaica, El Salvador, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Hong Kong, relies on his own experiences to counsel his clients on the best places to visit and stay.

When Robert took the leap of faith to start his own business, he received one piece of advice he never forgot: to always be himself. It’s a goal he pledges to achieve daily. Since becoming an entrepreneur, Robert has worked hard to build his clientele, gained insight into all he is capable of accomplishing, brought balance into his life, and discovered his own sense of spirituality.

Robert advises anyone wanting to pursue their passion in life to make it a reality. “If it’s something you love to do and makes you happy inside—like it almost completes you—then don’t ever let the fire burn out. It may not happen early in life, but be sure to keep stoking the fire and seeking fulfillment.” Robert adds that owning a successful business is not just for him, but created and built upon every day in celebration of his father who taught him that all things are possible through hard work and a belief in himself.

All these years after he first walked past a travel agency in Los Angeles as a curious twelve-year-old boy, Robert is living proof that finding our passion in life is not as hard as we think. Sometimes it is just right around the corner. We just have to be intuitive enough to recognize it.

To learn more about Freedom Travel or to book your next travel adventure, visit


Living Her Passion - Pam Rochholz

Pam captures one of her seniors in a charming moment.

Pam captures one of her seniors in a charming moment.

Pam Rochholz was once a busy high school teacher with a big dilemma: she was not happy in her job. Although she had been carrying a camera with her since middle school—photographing friends, family, and street musicians in downtown Omaha—she majored in secondary education in college, just as her parents had. Fueled by the hope that a stable teaching job would allow her the time one day to be a devoted mother to her future children, Pam placed her passion for capturing beauty with one click of the shutter into the background and focused on educating young people. But during her second year of teaching, Pam soon realized that her heart had not followed her head.

Pam, who is not known as being a risk taker, shocked everyone when, shortly after giving birth to her daughter and buying a new house with her husband, she announced she was going to resign from teaching to open a photography business. She remembers the exact date she made her decision and shares that although she felt nervous about financial insecurities, she confidently told her husband, “You know that when I do something, I put everything I have into it. We’ll be fine.” Her always supportive husband took the leap of faith with her and neither has looked back since.

Today, Pam operates Iris Images, a busy senior photography business that allows her to create her own schedule and manage her life on her own terms. She loves that her schedule changes often. Her days are full and consist of answering emails, making phone calls, placing orders, and managing shoots that last several hours. She edits photos after her daughter and husband go to bed, often staying up into the wee hours of the morning to complete projects.

Pam says she has gained much from pursuing her passion in life. “I’ve gained happiness. I no longer dread going to work every day. I absolutely love what I do and it’s such a great feeling to know I have found my calling in life.” Even better yet, Pam’s purpose and work were recently validated when she learned she was chosen as one of Senior Style Guide’s “Hot 100 Senior Photographers of 2016” as well as one of the “Top 25 Up & Coming Senior Photographers of 2016” by The Twelfth Year.

Her advice for anyone wanting to pursue their passion in life is simple. “Just go for it,” she says. “So many people advised me to teach for at least one more year before taking the plunge, but I just knew I had to do it. There was no way I could grow a business while still working as a teacher.” Pam also adds that she did not jump into her new adventure without first conducting research and meeting others working within the photography industry.

To this day, it is more than evident that Pam has kept her promise to her husband. She greets each day as an enthusiastic solo entrepreneur by continuing to put everything she has into capturing her teenage subjects as they prepare to enter a new and sometimes scary chapter in their lives. Without even realizing it, Pam is demonstrating to all her young clients that it is okay to follow your heart because as she already knows, that road leads to finding your passion in life.

To learn more about Pam and her photography business, visit

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

Living Her Purpose - Dr. Betsy Wickstrom

Dr. Betsy Wickstrom conducts an ultrasound on a patient at Maison de Naissance.

Dr. Betsy Wickstrom conducts an ultrasound on a patient at Maison de Naissance.

Dr. Betsy Wickstrom’s father never knew a stranger. While growing up in a Greek home on the East Coast where everyone was welcome and help was provided to anyone in need, Betsy instinctively embraced a life of service while nurturing a calling to become a physician. After her family moved to the Midwest when Betsy was in high school, she pursued her dream of becoming an OB-GYN and attended college and medical school at the University of Nebraska. Since then, she has not only made it her passion to care for women in high-risk pregnancies in her practice based in Kansas City, but also to teach Haitian women and their health care providers that they too can have healthy pregnancies and babies.

In 2003, Betsy was led to her purpose during her first trip to Port au Prince, Haiti, to teach medical students and residents. As she embarked on a tour of the national hospital, she noticed a ward filled with women suffering from eclampsia—a disorder that is rare in the United States because women are delivered with pre-eclampsia before they endure potentially devastating effects such as seizures, coma, brain damage, blindness, and fetal death. After Betsy noticed the helpless looks on the faces of Haiti’s bright young physicians, she knew she needed to find a way to deliver prenatal care that would prevent such tragedies from occurring again.

With assistance from Dr. Stan Shaffer, Betsy co-founded Maison de Naissance, a birthing center that provides economic opportunities for local women, a community health education service, and runs the busiest family planning program in the entire southern peninsula. Since then, her role has transformed from medical director to providing annual professional development and education, as the 100% Haitian staff now lead the programs at Maison de Naissance. Today, Betsy works from her home in Kansas City as president of the supporting nonprofit organization, Global Birthing Home Foundation, raising money and awareness while nurturing a new dream to plant birthing centers using the same model across Haiti and in other developing countries.

Betsy, the mother of two adult daughters, is clearly devoted to continuing her purpose in life. She jokes that Maison de Naissance is her “third daughter” and says it is wholly gratifying to witness the Haitian staff and community now directing and choosing beneficial programs for patients and families. Betsy follows the advice from Dory in Finding Nemo and just keeps swimming every day. There are days when she is certain the donations will dry up and the latest natural disaster will prompt the end of their work. But then she remembers the moment when she realized that Maison de Naissance was founded under miraculous circumstances. When it was time to find a property for the community birthing center she wished to build, Betsy pulled out a check that was tucked into her passport. It was originally written to support another program near Port au Prince (which the program was unable to cash). The amount on the check happened to be the exact amount needed to pay the back taxes and purchase the property on which Maison de Naissance now resides. “It makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck to think about that moment. It was a clear mandate that this was the work I was meant to do,” Betsy adds.

Betsy has gained much from pursuing her purpose. “It’s impossible to measure the joy I receive when one of our staff sends a photo of a chubby, healthy baby with a beaming mother.” In addition, Betsy has learned patience, faithfulness, to give until it hurts, and then give some more. She offers sound advice for anyone who wants to pursue their passion in life. “Evaluate your strengths. You have been given them for a reason. For me, it was teaching. Who knew I would learn to be a passionate fundraiser? Not me! But if your strengths are leading you in a particular direction and then you feel that tug to take the next step, gather some like-minded people and discuss it. You don’t have to make a blind leap into the dark—research, learn, and talk it out. But when the light bulb comes on and you have that moment where you know this is what you are meant to do, move forward and ‘just keep swimming’.”

Mother Teresa once said, "The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it." Betsy is living proof that relying on faith, love, gratitude, and a passion for helping those in need has led her to realizing a purpose she is more than happy to fulfill because she too believes in miracles.

To learn more about Maison de Naissance and the Global Birthing Foundation, visit their web site at or find them on Facebook.

Dr. Wickstrom with lab technicians Marthe and Mirlande (in the polo shirts) and Rosena, the director of Maison de Naissance.

Dr. Wickstrom with lab technicians Marthe and Mirlande (in the polo shirts) and Rosena, the director of Maison de Naissance.

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

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

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