Lockdown Economy Nederland with a Personal Transformation Coach Sandra Schmoldt

The interview was transcribed and adapted into an article by Ce Xu

Lockdown Economy: Interviews by think tank AlterContacts.org with real entrepreneurs sharing insights, challenges and successes during the COVID19 global pandemic to inspire, motivate and encourage other entrepreneurs around the world.

In this interview hosted by Rosie Allison, we meet Sandra Schmoldt, founder of online transformative coaching business Equilido Transformation Support. Sandra spoke about the diverse mental challenges that the lockdown has brought for herself and her clients. She gave advice on how we all can recognise the negative thoughts we are experiencing and push past them to enable us to have more freedom in our mindset. Sandra emphasised how this mental freedom can help business owners and other professionals open new doors of opportunity in their personal and professional lives.

Please tell us about Equilido Transformation Support.

Sandra: You know, how more and more accomplished professionals suddenly these days find themselves in limbo and unsure of the next step to take due to those disruptive changes, they are facing currently, and they may feel, you know, unsure of the next step to take and maybe even empty and totally out of balance.

I help them actually to unleash their mental power so they can recover faster from setbacks and do what makes them thrive. And, maybe a little bit about my background for three decades, actually I acted as a communications expert. And at first, I was running my own communications agency for some seven years. And then I changed sides and became a communications leader in the corporate world. About 10 years ago I actually learned how to coach people, the people I worked with basically. And I realized it’s just great if can achieve as a team, what you have been wanting to achieve and if everybody feels heard and motivated.

But with constant course changes, I have experienced in the corporate world, with one restructuring after another, I had to learn pretty, pretty painfully I must say. At some point, it was better for me to leave the corporate world and actually follow my own purpose. Which is what I did. And that’s why I became trained and certified as a professional coach and I’m also credentialed by the International Coaching Federation, which is the highest quality standard in coaching.

How long have you been doing this on your own with Equilido Transformation Support?

Sandra: I set up my own business in 2008. After a year of intense training by one of the leading institutions in coaching based in Vancouver and Canada. Since then I have been working as a transition and transformation coach, helping professionals and business owners to step into their unique power, their inner source and actually activate their inner compass, so they can really thrive. So far I’ve been working online, one on one. I’m based in Amsterdam and I have the pleasure to work with people from all over the world: from Norway, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, the US and some also in the Netherlands. I feel unlimited because everything I need is basically a good online platform or a phone connection and off we go.

What kind of challenges did you face when the pandemic struck? You’re online so you didn’t have to do any changing in terms of that, but yet how did it affect you?

Sandra: When the lockdown hit us in March, I can say that from a business side, I was luckily able to just keep going and just keep supporting my clients all over the world. Some of them had to pivot their business considerably and had to cope with a lot of pressure from the outside but also from within. Some had to suddenly manage their team remotely and were struggling with stress and also overwhelmed by that they had to establish their home office in parallel. So there was quite some work to be done there to help them stabilize. Other clients felt relieved by the lockdown because they may have been a little bit introverted. But they faced a complete slowdown and found themselves, avoiding taking any action which is also not so useful. So they kind of ended up in a freeze-state. And it was also useful to talk about that and get out of that state of mind. So luckily I can say, I kept going. Of course, I was struggling with sudden developments and the fear, which was really growing around us. And we’ve all experienced that big change of how we live and how we behave at home. And of course, at work.

It’s interesting to hear about the different experiences that you and your clients faced when, when the lockdown hit. Some people reacted quite positively, other people less so. And so in terms of, kind of concrete tips, concrete advice that you would say worked for you and for your clients during the pandemic. Do you have any suggestions for any small business owners that are watching?

Sandra: What I came across when experiencing those pretty extreme developments in this unprecedented time here in 2020 — which we will probably always remember — I became interested in exploring more about the root cause of how we deal with challenges, why we are feeling and undergoing those negative emotions. If you know something is coming our way which we haven’t experienced before. And one important fact that we all need to be aware of and which helped me on my path, a lot is that we are actually constructing our reality, constantly. We can’t help but use our thoughts and emotions to simply draw conclusions about the world around us.

That’s how we are wired right and that’s nothing new, probably, but to be aware of that, when we are faced with challenges, stress or an uncomfortable situation like a lockdown, for instance, we fall into old negative and self-sabotaging behaviours. And these thought patterns actually are the lens through which we see and react to the world without knowing that we are wearing actually a distorting. Now, meanwhile, while that is the case, the automatic chat on our mind keeps judging, commenting, belittling, nagging, whining.

Very often, it may be that we’re beating ourselves, which I hear a lot from people who really are struggling with their self-confidence or their self-awareness. Or we beat up the people around us, which is of course very tempting if you’re sitting at home in a lockdown situation with your family really on your lap, literally. Or we tend to blame the circumstances, as I just said about the freeze-state. If we look at the circumstances like a pandemic and think “Oh my god, I’m paralyzed. I can’t do anything about it and I better wait it out.” That’s also a construction of the reality, which happens, alone in our mind.

This is actually what I wanted to find out more about. And I did I looked into those mechanisms. I realized those inner saboteurs, let’s call it that way, they are actually a universal phenomenon. Spanning cultures genders and ages because they are connected to the functions of the brain that are focused on our survival. And this is what kicks in right now. So the question is actually not whether you have them, we all have them, but which ones you have, and how strong they are.

So you may be familiar with, for instance, that voice of your inner controller or the perfectionist, the hyper achiever. Or maybe also a victim, which we see a lot these days. Or the avoided, we mentioned earlier, you know the tendency to want to just not look at it and push away things and just rather not bother with it. So, the good thing about that, or maybe a little bit more background on it is that we did develop those automatic mechanisms of our mind already in our childhood. In order to survive the perceived threats of life and be it physical or emotional when we’re kids, we were small. But by the time we’re adults, actually, the saboteurs are no longer needed but they have become invisible inhabitants of our mind. And very often, we are not even aware they exist.

So, just to give you one example, a very recent example when I prepared for this interview, my inner judge just kicked in and told me “Well, nobody’s going to be interested in what you have to share anyway. Why would you want to show up for the interview?” And there I went and fortunately I have learned some techniques of how to deal with that and I’m really happy to share more about that with you if you want.

Yeah, so I suppose, the first step is recognizing what your inner voice is saying, and how to confront it. And so, if you could just give, maybe one tip because obviously it’s a very complex matter but if you could give one piece of advice to enable people to confront these inner voices as you say that may be sabotaging their ability to move forward in their business, what would it be? Maybe reaching out, communicating? What do you think?

Sandra: Yeah, let’s maybe take one step back because the inside alone is not enough. You may have realized that with all those wishes you’re making at the beginning of the year you are usually not sticking to them. They usually fizzle. If I give a piece of advice here and tell you “don’t do this and do that” — it probably will fizzle after a while, which is exactly what I want to avoid.

But the interesting thing I came across was actually an offer, which was made to me in May this year, so we were really in the middle of the lockdown. I was offered to test a six-week program, supported by an app to build my mental fitness. The thought behind that was actually to keep training those resolutions to really, be aware and keep an eye on those sabotaging thoughts and be very awake to them. Which actually only is possible if you’re really reminded of that fact constantly, which is what the app did. It popped up three times a day for just two minutes, actually, not long but it interrupted my challenge moments or moments where I really felt stressed or frustrated or sometimes even angry or sad. There was my app popping up and running a little exercise with me to depict, to label the suffering thoughts that were just going on. And realize I can actually observe my thoughts. I don’t need to identify with them 100%, which usually happens if we kind of mix up our inner reality with what’s really happening. So you can learn to intercept those sabotaging and destructive thoughts.

What’s your outlook for the next few months with Equilido Transformation Support?

Sandra: But my outlook is to invite more and more people who are hungry to try something new in their life. I have a couple of seats available on that app to just undergo that six-week program and see the shifts for yourself and experience how your entire mindset is actually developing and opening up to be more appreciative to you and more loving. So I’m really excited to have more people join me on that adventure. I’m also working on all kinds of channels and new features. I want to step into really offering creative little tips and tools of how to work with your inner saboteurs and make them smaller. It’s just such a pleasure to see how they step into their inner source, in their inner power and find their inner compass and then take action towards the goals they really desire in their life. Sometimes that’s not easy to really find your purpose but just taking the next step and creating a difference in your life, creating a sustained change that is bringing about a result which you love.

If you could name three things that right now you need for Equilido to move to the next stage in its development, what would they be?

Sandra: If I have succeeded to step into my sage, actually, and if I have succeeded to reach some of you, my listeners, and when people were watching that. And you feel that this really resonates with you, I would be so happy to just have your comments and your feedback: How did that land with you? What is your story? What would you like to share? Also what I need is contact. I need to be in exchange in even more vital exchange with other business owners, with people who may need to open the door to their inner selves, give me a call simply and let’s talk.

About the Guest

As an ICF-credentialed professional coach, Sandra works with accomplished professionals who feel stagnating and empty at the prime of their career. Coaching online, Sandra helps her clients to step into their mental power so they can find purpose and thrive in their life, regardless of the circumstances. Following a long-standing corporate career as a communications expert and change catalyst, Sandra founded her own business in 2018: Equilido Transformation Support.


The UN-registered nonprofit social initiative that helps small businesses and self-employed professionals to overcome the challenges of the pandemic.