Family Coach for Teens & Parents
“The Family Coach who helps teenagers and their parents to feel happier, motivated and connected”
My name is Illa and this is my story…
I was born and raised in a small town by the Mediterranean Sea in Spain. My parents divorced when I was two years old and I went to live with my mum. She happily remarried giving me the opportunity to have three parents to take care of me, and also to expect great things from me.
I was a nice and happy little girl that obeyed to almost everything I was asked to. I wanted to feel loved, protected and appreciated by my family, teachers and peers. Thus, I became a straight A’s student, hard working, responsible, creative, smart and sensitive teen. I had the most wonderful parents that supported me, and was surrounded by a good group of friends. Played basketball, practiced Ninjutsu (Japanese martial art), and studied German afterschool. I was an active member in my community and, seemingly, I had it all. There was no apparent reason for me to feel lonely during my teenage years.
Despite my outgoing and high performance character, I frequently felt alone and lost. For me, it was like living two different lives at the same time. The first of which represented the perfect student, achieving everybody’s expectations and creating the impression that my life was enviably and picture-perfect in front of others.
The second life was nothing close to what one could understand as perfect… I felt a lot of pressure to always fulfill other people’s wishes, without being able to because that’s impossible; even though I had some friends, I didn’t feel I fitted in because some of them referred to me as a nerd, busty and four-eyes. Therefore, I thought nobody liked me and that I couldn’t trust my friends; I didn’t want to be smart anymore; and, hated my body.
I kept my nice façade, but felt very isolated with no one to talk to; especially to my parents who I tried to protect and wanted not to worry about me. I didn’t know who I really was; I felt that nobody could understand me, disconnected from the world, hopeless about my future, and preferred to stay at home watching TV to distract myself from the reality than to party…
Luckily, I found two escape routes: acting and traveling. I loved both activities and I fought for them! Those hobbies gave me the possibility to be someone else, not worrying about who I was or what I was supposed to do. While on stage I could set myself free! And, thanks to travel abroad by myself with the excuse to learn English and German, I found my way to free myself from being hostage in my own home and town.
I really enjoyed living in different countries such as England, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, etc. With none of my people around me, I thought I could be my true self. The people I met knew who I really was, with no judgments or already defined expectations. I felt so freed! However, that feeling couldn’t last forever. Eventually, I had to go back home.
I knew things had to change. I couldn’t live like that forever. But I didn’t know how to do it and I couldn’t help it. When the high school graduation was getting closer, I got much more stressed and anxious, not just because I needed to be the first of my class, but because I had to decide about my future. How can you think about it and feel good if you are not motivated and enthusiastic about what’s next?
When the time arrived I graduated first of my class and started College to complete my M.A. in Business Administration & Management, and another M.A. in Law. I thought it was my chance to a fresh start. I moved to a new city, had new roommates and classmates. However, nothing changed within me… This was the time when I realized it had nothing to do with how others treated me or expected things from me. I didn’t have to change my environment to feel accepted and understood; I had to change something within me. But, what and how?
My stress and anxiety increased to the point where I start having panic attacks. Thus, I got introduced to mindfulness techniques and I could get that anxiety under control. Even though it was really helpful, I needed to find my own way, my own path, and my purpose. However, life didn’t stop from moving forward. So, in the meantime, I graduated from College and did what everybody expected from me: work for large multinational organizations.
Some years later, while working on finding my passion, I started experiencing the coaching techniques effects on myself. I found it life-changing, so I became a Life Coach by Instituto Europeo de Coaching, an International Coach Federation (ICF) accredited institution.
That was it! I found myself! I could live my truth! I set my true self free once and for all! With that clarity of mind and spirit, I founded Itaca Coaching. Itaca is a Greek Island, home of Odysseus, the hero from the Greek Homer’s epic poem the Odyssey. His quest to reach Itaca is a symbol of the journey we live when pursuing our goals. Illa, my name, means Island in my mother language.
Thus, I knew that working with high achiever teenagers to help them and their parents to feel happy, motivated and connected was my purpose in life. To support them in their own journeys, so they can meet their aims, just like Odysseus finally made it, and reached Itaca.
I started working with Illa when I was a Senior at HS. And, thanks to the coaching program I managed to relax and control my stress. That allowed me to achieve my goal of passing my finals and starting my College degree. The fact that I reached all my objectives, step by step, made me aware that I am capable of accomplishing whatever I plan. I just have to set the goals clearly and work to get them done. I totally recommend working with Illa!N.S.
I enjoyed the coaching process with Illa very much. I learnt various tools which are useful for different situations in my life. But above all I know myself much better. In every session I felt comfortable, relaxed, and working as a team with a good professional, that felt very close at the same time. After each one of the sessions I felt with renewed energy. The coaching process has surprised me very positively. I feel very satisfied and happy. Illa is extraordinarily supportive in every aspect.P.V.