Interview with Eva Leparakuo - Founder of Healing Spaces
We would like to start this interview by exploring your origin story. Please give us an overview of your background, key career milestones, why and how you got into entrepreneurship?
Eva: Entrepreneurship wasn’t really part of the plan, or rather, not as early as it happened. I was enjoying the corporate world, the predictability of a good salary and simply loved the field I was in. I have always had a passion to create healthy teams and so worked to infuse a human touch to the highly systemized and performance driven call centre's that I managed. The plan was to continue building a solid career, and then at some point also venture into other areas of my passion such as media, coaching, music and art. My crash and burn from a 10-year steep climb up the corporate ladder, whilst privately managing a sleep disorder and chronic fatigue, fast tracked my immersion into the inner healing and emotional wellness world.
My wakeup call was in 2015, when I realized I couldn’t drive to work anymore. I began struggling with the traffic and eventually had fallen asleep on the wheel one evening when traffic had piled up. I was awakened from a loud horn urging me to move forward as the cars ahead had shifted a few meters. It was a desperate time as all the tools and coping mechanisms that I had used since my teens to manage the weaknesses within began to fail, one by one. I dreaded mornings as I was always exhausted from sleepless nights. Day by day, struggling to cope with a body that was slowly shutting down, I began to feel the sharp claws of depression digging into my soul, dragging me into a dark pit.
When darkness surrounds you, you either embark on a spiritual journey to find answers or find something to constantly but temporarily keep numbing the pain. It was clear, I had to leave and find me again, deal with the trauma within and explore what was happening to me holistically; Body, Soul and Spirit. I packed my bags, quit my job and went on what I thought would be a one year healing journey at a healing and leadership centre in the UK. It turned out to be a three-year journey with the other two years working in their Sydney branch. I longed to continue healing, growing and learning on how to equip others with the tools I had gained. My passion to create safe healing spaces was brought to the forefront. As I healed and began “functioning” again, I truly learnt to honour the pain nestled in the souls around me and cherished the moments where hope and wholeness would begin to return to extremely tired and broken hearts that visited the healing centres.
What initially attracted you to Leadership and Inner Healing coaching?
Eva: As I moved back home to Kenya from the UK on completing my degree, I entered leadership at a young age and had to figure a lot of things out on my own. I remember times when I would be in a management meeting as the only young female. I had to learn to find my voice and honour it. During this journey, I had several seasons of interacting with wounded and broken leaders who thus created toxic and emotionally unsafe work spaces. This fuelled my passion to grow my emotional and spiritual intelligence as a leader as well as evaluate my belief systems further, and enhance my value system to ensure I didn't function from brokenness and pain.
I didn't want to perpetuate what I had been victim to, so I had to seek growth. Over time, I created a leadership style that was authentic to who I am and what I believe. I also met exhausted and burnt out leaders, and as one also dealing with managing fatigue, I was passionate about creating “systems of rest” for those I worked with. In summary, my own healing journey led me into inner healing, and as I worked on my “inner world” and became healthier and more productive, I began to long even more to do the same for others, impacting both teams and the leaders who run them.
What is Inner healing coaching all about and where would it sit within a business’s ecosystem?
Eva: In inner healing coaching, we remove the focus from the fruit (behaviour or dis-ease) and explore the root of the problem (identity and belief system). This intricate and delicate journey leads us to the unexplored chambers of the soul as we investigate limiting beliefs, provide space and give voice to unprocessed or repressed emotions and memories, and begin exploring the quiet, hidden traumas and wounding that we all collect in this life journey.
At Healing Spaces, we believe in the “Art of Being” rather than doing and the “Art of Play”. Creativity and Play are the gentle, yet effective tools we employ to access and process these sensitive spaces. We come alongside you on an emotional and spiritual wellness journey as you find your way back to you - your identity and design. Within the business ecosystem, healthy souls lead to healthy, flourishing teams, and in turn, successful businesses. Emotionally intelligent and whole leaders are more adept at dealing with the “stuff” happening within their inner world so that they don’t project it and spill their pain out and over their team members. I have encountered and been victim to broken and hurting leaders who break and hurt their team members as well as those who have little wisdom and understanding to deal with the brokenness within a hurting team member.
Toxic and immature leadership always costs an organization. Productivity drops, employee retention rates drop and eventually, your customers suffer. A healthy and productive work environment can only be created by emotionally healthy leaders. These leaders intentionally and consistently work on their inner world, whilst simultaneously fostering safe spaces that promote the emotional health and wellbeing of their team members. I help leaders who along the way lost their vision, purpose or work-life balance, to recalibrate and avoid burnout. My top values are faith, family, fun and freedom, and I incorporate these principles into the tools I use. The natural response to a struggling inner world is to ignore it or numb it. I have painfully observed functional alcoholics drown their pain in-between management meetings, extreme anger outburst to team members, deteriorating relationships and family life within high performing leaders. As a leader who suffered burnout and depression, I long to see others not get there. I am glad the discussions around mental health have matured and are less of a taboo now as responsible organizations offer access to rest, wellness programs and even therapy.
Has your journey as an Inner Healing coach been influenced by any past or present business leaders?
My journey as an Inner healing coach was born out of being impacted by the brokenness in my own life and in the lives around me. In most of my corporate career, leading with compassion and a culture of honour in the workplace were rare ideologies. I remember years back picking up a Stephen Covey book on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and finally feeling I had found my tribe. As a young leader back then I began to use it as my leadership template. More recently, I have enjoyed exploring Dr. Caroline Leaf and Brene Brown as sounding boards on mental and emotional capacity growth, as well as Tony Stoltzfus on Leadership Coaching. I have also been thoroughly blessed to have thought leaders in my inner circle who constantly help me unpack and reframe to a higher level of wisdom and understanding.
From your experience as an Inner healing coach, what are the most common problems clients have brought to you?
We are relational beings and so the most common problems are around relationships. There are also those who simply need to get “unstuck”, or “reboot” in the area of purpose and identity, to enable them to re-envision their life's journey from a place of peace and rest again. Exhausted leaders who have lost their work-life balance come to recalibrate and refocus by re-aligning to their personal values and authentic selves. I simply hold space for clients to explore freely, without judgement and help them draw out a plan that they truly own and believe in. I love coaching as the solutions already exist within the client and I am simply a companion on an archaeological dig to discover the greatness already within them. We usually both marvel at the awesomeness we have discovered at the end of it all. In the inner healing journey; we honour the past, and discern where any negative aspects from it are seeping into the present, seeking to control the future. In summary; clients come to find out why they are doing what they are doing, and why they are feeling what they are feeling, and what they can do about it.
What does your company “Healing Spaces”do for clients?
At Healing Spaces, we provide a safe space for you to recalibrate and get “Back to Centre”. A space for you to: Create, Play, Heal, and Repeat what you learn with the tools you acquire. We do this through; one on one coaching, group workshops, as well as customized corporate retreats. We also offer consulting services where we help you craft a “healing culture” and physical healing spaces within your organization. We hold space for you and your team so you may access the brilliance that lies within. As adults, we forget the art of play and the art of “treasure hunting” from within. Creativity and Play help us tap into the limitless world we once believed in as children. This automatically triggers confidence, emotional wellbeing, innovation, team cohesiveness, and so on. I marvel at how beautiful and complex the human being is and how uniquely gifted and crafted each soul is. We come pre-packed into this world with seeds of greatness just waiting to sprout. So our joy is in helping you pause and breathe in the reality of the greatness you carry within you. Success to me is when we get you functioning from your authentic self as that is where all your brilliance lies. We believe individuals and organizations should thrive and not just survive.
Whose the target audience for Healing Spaces?
Our target audience is the adult who is currently experiencing an emotional and spiritual awakening and is now looking for answers to what can no longer remain buried or hidden. We have a wide range of clients ranging from high performing leaders who need to recalibrate, recovering leaders (burnout management), adults who wish to re-envision and regain clarity on their purpose and identity, to the retiring woman in her 60’s who becomes aware that there is buried pain that needs addressing so she may continue well with her race. We do have a large proportion of women clients, but once in a while we get a burst of brave males who wish to deal with the “stuff” bubbling within. As a inner healing practitioner, I would love all hearts to be healed and whole; young or old, male or female. We love to work with emotionally intelligent businesses that value their staff and intentionally craft healthy work environments.
Thank you for participating in this Q&A
Thank you for having me. It’s been a delightful interaction.
EXTRA QUESTION I PUT IN IF THERES SPACE:
Do you have inner healing keys you could share with us?
Eva: 1. Stay in love: Our body, soul and spirit flourish within the frequency of love. We need to grow our emotional and spiritual intelligence and learn to function from love and rest. Unprocessed, repressed negative emotions wreak havoc within us. Forgive quickly and love deeply, starting with yourself.
2. Own your story: Vulnerability is a healing tool for you and those around you. As you embrace it, you gain strength and recalibrate to the truth that you are enough and your story matters. There is power in your story, so let go of fear, shame, guilt, self-hatred and feelings of failure and regret. The healing journey begins with acknowledgement. Light then begins to flood the dark, hurting places. As you give your yes and begin your journey, your soul feels seen and heard, and the protective masks you acquired begin to slip off. After all, “you can’t heal a mask”.
3. Be patient and kind with yourself; The healing journey is a process and may happen in layers. As we know; comparison is a killer. Your healing journey will be a unique experience as you recalibrate back to wholeness.
4. Be bold, be brave; You will need to make brave and bold decisions to fight for your healing. Set healthier boundaries, move jobs or even go away to heal for a season. If it seems too expensive, remember, burnout and depression can take away precious months and years of functionality, so catch yourself as you spiral down and look for the tools to spiral back up.
5. We heal in community; the healing journey is a mixture of tools and experiences. Isolation is a killer and toxic places and spaces slow your healing journey. Be intentional on who you access and who has access to you.
6. Believe again; Believe in your body’s ability to heal itself. Believe in the miraculous. Believe that as you search, the one who created you will lead you into a state of rest and wellbeing so you may function as you were created to.