Sophie Charlotte is the kind of person who can inspire you when you are at a standstill and you are ready to give up. Her life story is a motivating mix of courage, determination and spirit of adventure. Sophie did what everyone only dreams of doing: she left her comfort zone in Holland to do what she really wants. Moving to Italy has been an important step in this process. Aren't you curious to know the why?
In your business, you help women to leave their comfort zone and finally fulfil their dream to live in Italy. According to your experience of life coach, what are they frightened of?
The insecurity that moving abroad entails. You leave all that you know, and are extremely bored with, behind and leap into a totally new world that yes, excites you but also scares the hell out of you because it’s all new. I help my clients find that balance within themselves to face this new adventure in a grounded way providing practical, but also mental support dealing with fear, anxiety, worries and feelings of overwhelm.
In 2010 you’ve overcome your own fear and moved to Italy. Is your Italian life what you expected?
Yes, I did, I’ve actually overcome anxiety disorder by following my dream of moving to Florence! And what did I expect? Well, I simply expected to feel good. That’s actually why I moved here; because Italy always made me feel good – and still does. So yes, my Italian life is what I expected, but it’s become so much more than I expected. I’ve discovered parts of myself I didn’t know I had, like being a true business woman and people connector in many senses. I’ve done many different jobs like teaching English, interpreting, writing and I’ve eventually set up my own business as a life coach, so cool!
When you write about your life and your coaching activity, you use a word that has piqued my curiosity: renaissance. You mean rebirth and you’ve decided to reinvent yourself in Florence, that is where Renaissance (intended as cultural movement) was born. Is there a connection between you and the city?
Absolutely! I feel more and more that I’m meant to be in Florence and help other creative, sensitive, maybe somewhat lost women move here and reinvent themselves as well. I help them flourish, just like I did by finally allowing myself to be who I really am. Florence is a certain matriarch that just embraces you and nurtures you into being who you truly are. It’s a very special feeling that many people who’ve moved here experience as well.
And how has Florence inspired you?
It’s inspired me to be more feminine, to show my beauty, to be proud of who I am, to express myself, to be warm, loving, generous and kind. To take life as it comes and to surrender to the flow of abundance that is there, but we just need to open up to. It’s inspired me to be me, to be the extroverted introvert I really am and to connect people.
Italy is a tiny and complex country. Each town, each region has its own soul. Have you stayed in some other Italian city? Which one caught your eye?
I actually lived in Piombino for three months while I was doing my graduation project, teaching English to Italian kids at a secondary school. It was a lovely small seaside town, but to be honest, I got a little bored at some point and I decided to go to Florence one day. That’s when I realised again why I loved Italy so much. Florence represents everything I love about Italy: beauty, good food, the language, the weather. I love the Florentine mentality as well. Other Italians say they’re closed, but I always reply: “well, how do you approach them?” I always just chat with everyone and know so many people here that it feels like a little village to me. Which is really is!
I know that you are passionate about learning language and that in the past you taught English as a second language. In what way have you approached to the Italian language? Have you studied it before to move in Italy?
Yes, love everything language-related and English and Italian are my favourite languages. I did two Italian courses in Holland and I did a two-week course in Florence. Then I studied here for five months while working as the secretary at that school as well. That was real total immersion for sure! Learning a language is all about taking the leap all the time. You need to dare to make mistakes because that’s how you communicate eventually. Be willing to make a fool of yourself and you’ll move forward! When I now teach English I use a lot of coaching in there as well. 50 % is language knowledge, 50% is having the guts to just speak it.
What’s your favourite Italian word and why?
Ni. What other language has a word that means both yes and no? It represents all the possibilities that there are in Italy; it’s never just black or white. This can be seen as negative, but I just decide to look at the positive side and see it as a flexibility trait that we stressed northerners could really learn to master more!
Is there anything you wish to add?
That I’m all about positivity and bringing women together so they can make friendships, share their stories and have a safe space to promote what they are passionate about. I do this in my group The YES Woman and during our meet ups in Florence. Please join the group is this resonates. Also, a first consultation with me is always free. So if you’re considering moving to Italy, but feel stuck in the what ifs, hows and would like some practical and mental support on taking your own leap, then please contact me here.
Thanks for this and good luck with your big, bold dream of setting up your own Italian language school! Impossible is nothing.