A child of the Soviet Union and therefore the bearer of a Soviet mentality towards life, work and family, Kristina spent the first 40 years of her life living inside of what turned out to be a great facade. A facade so great, in fact, that even she was (almost) fooled. In this article, we discover what it meant and what it entailed for Mindvalley Co-Founder Kristina to follow her truth.
The story of the first 40 years of Kristina’s life is nothing out of the ordinary. Like many successful women, she was a hard worker. She was ambitious with a perfectionist streak. Born in Soviet Estonia, she received a certain programming inside of her mind that told her that she needed to first have a good education, followed by a successful career, a husband and then children. In that order. Before the age of 30.
So do just that – she did. She was a proud overachiever and a “good girl” ready to play by the rules. She went out into the world and completed two degrees, had a fantastic career, married an ambitious man, together with him co-founded what would become a biggest company in the personal growth spaces and bore her first child – all before her 30th revolution around the Sun.
On the outside, her life appeared to tick all of the boxes.
The decision stage
On the inside however, lay buried a gnawing feeling of discontent. A voice inside of her head would say to her that there was more to life – more to HER, Kristina – than the life that she was living.
Sometimes the voice was merely a whisper that she quietened and quashed with layer upon layer of the conditioning to which she had been subject since birth. ‘You have no right to be discontent with your life. Look at everything you have around you?’
At other times the voice was louder and harder to ignore. Over and over again it would bounce and reverberate inside of her brain.
Often, the loud voice would surface at parties or events when she was introduced as her husband’s wife rather than as herself, Kristina. People would ask questions up until a certain point when (she assumed) they thought she had nothing more to offer, and then the conversation would stop. Often this ‘certain point’ was her children. She was and is a loving Mother who of course cared deeply about her children, but they were not all that she cared deeply about. Nor were they all that drove, motivated and inspired her.
She wanted to be seen and recognised for her, but all the while felt invisible. She needed to be the first one to see her true self, before others could see it too.
All the while she felt tremendous guilt and shame for even having these thoughts. She had a perfect life in the midst of so much hardship and suffering in the world. How could she possibly have the right to feel dissatisfied?
She carried this guilt around her coexisting, conflicting ideologies – a form of cognitive dissonance – in varying amounts for ten long years.
Ten more years of facade. Ten more years of living an outwardly successful life yet increasingly burning with dissatisfaction on the inside.
Eventually, the time came when she could no longer ignore the truth. Kristina would go to work all day or on a business trip across the world and forget to call her children.
Kristina felt shame and guilt for not being enough of the archetypal ‘Mother’, yet at the same time driven and passionate about her work. She didn’t want to give everything up just so that she could be a more traditional Mother and wife. So why should she?
This was the end of what Kristina now refers to as the ‘decision’ stage. A series of events, dramas and episodes in her life that drew her attention that something was absolutely and categorically wrong with the way that she was living.
The next stage? Courage.
It takes a certain kind of woman to be able to stand up, whip out a metaphorical pen and scribble out everything in your life that society told you was necessary for success.
In her own words, “it is a scary thing to realise at age 40 – the middle of your life – that the career you’ve been choosing is not actually yours, and it is not making you happy or fulfilled”.
Kristina plucked up the courage to embrace her own truth and stare down the changes it was going to bring.
She took a decision to go through conscious uncoupling from her husband and took a sabbatical from her career. During this time of self-reflection, she realised she had a message she wanted to share with the world. This led her to embrace her passion for public speaking.
Yet, even when pursuing what she felt to be her truth, Kristina still found herself falling into the trap of wanting to be just like her mentors and coaches.
Herein lay yet another lesson for her; if she were to go on stage and try to be an exact replica of her mentors, she would be nothing but a circus monkey. She would not be expressing her uniqueness.
Now, when Kristina goes on stage to speak at places like MindValley University and A-Fest, she recognises the value of being herself.
Living your truth
According to Kristina, current society is “hugely exhibitionist”, meaning that it is harder than ever before to distinguish yourself from the rest, find your truth, and even harder to live it once it is found.
We are all living in the same pressure cooker and trying to follow the same recipe for success, not realising that ‘success’ looks different for each and every individual and most certainly has different ingredients, methods and cooking times. Instead of embracing our uniqueness and expressing individuality, we are encouraged towards uniformity instead.
Since birth we are taught, time and time again, to ignore our feelings and carry on as if everything is OK. As long as we are playing by society’s rules and following the same recipe for success and ‘happiness’ as everyone else, we are doing OK.
Thankfully, Kristina did the courageous thing and started erasing her own conditioning, by turning her ‘perfect’ life upside down and rebuilding herself from the ground up.
2020 has been a year of great healing.
A freshly single woman, Kristina touched down in her home country of Estonia. As she found her feet, she realised that not only had Estonia changed a great deal, but she had too. This served as yet another reminder for Kristina that life is consequential and there is often no going back.
2020 was as hard for Kristina as it was for any of us. But importantly, Kristina realises and understands that the deepest healings often take place in perfect moments of discontent, unhappiness, resentment and regret.
Inside of our suffering a space is created within which we can come to peace with how life is – right here, right now.
After all, despite the fact that our consumer-driven society encourages us to live for the future, all we really have is the present moment.
This is what makes it all the more important to break the shackles of societal conditioning and live out YOUR truth.
Time to make a change?
Ask yourself, if you found out that you would die tomorrow, would you be satisfied with the life that you have lived, the things that you have done, the lives that you have touched and the people that you have affected?
If the answer is no – it might be time to make a decision and pluck up the courage to make a change. Check out Kristina’s signature online course Live By Your Own Rules to start redefining the life you truly want.