Life coach, career counsellor, speaker and author Gabriela Casineanu took part in the "How to Reach Your Potential" initiative, an interview series featuring leaders who inspire Alex Rascanu and whose insights can help you reach your potential.
18 years in engineering and IT, plus an MBA, didn’t stop Gabriela Casineanu to shift gears
to professional coaching, entrepreneurship, art and becoming a bestselling author. Six books
down the road, she found a new and meaningful direction: to help (upcoming) non-fiction
authors find their way into the self-publishing and book marketing “jungle”, while she continues
to write the books she wanted to read at different stages of her life.
Alex: What is your life’s purpose?
Gabriela: I used to ask myself this question until I realized that life is actually a self-discovery journey—not a destination (if you’re open to this perspective). My purpose is to unfold my path of the heart, step by step, and enjoy each part of the process. Because there’s so much to learn about… myself! :-)
It’s like peeling an onion: each layer I take off helps me discover something new about myself. Sometimes the discovery is so exciting that it takes me into a totally different direction, which makes me enjoy life even more.
The funny part? The more I do this, the more others get inspired to do the same with their life. I love this ripple effect!
Alex: What are the three things you’re most passionate about?
Gabriela: Helping people learn how to reconnect with themselves, and allow their intuition become their life’s compass.
When we come into this world, we need to learn how to navigate this unfamiliar “space”. We’re like a sponge that absorbs what others tell us. This makes us shift our attention toward the outside world, creating a habit: we start believing that all the answers and help will come from outside.
We gradually lose the connection with our precious gift—our intuition—that has access to the inner wisdom. That part of ourselves which can access more information than our conscious mind was able to accumulate since birth. Occasionally we get an “AHA” moment or “wake up” call, especially when we’re going through tough times or in the wrong direction.
Decluttering often the “channel” that connects us with our own intuition (a process I call “reconnecting with yourself”), creates a mind shift: instead of feeling a victim of the system, we begin to enjoy the life as a self-discovery journey (which inspiring others as well).
We’re born with a unique blend of talents, which complement others’. I envision a world where all people use their talents. What a wonderful world will that be!
I started with myself, peeling off the layers to discover one talent after another, gradually getting used to “playing” with them to create my “life harmony/melody”. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that others get inspired by my “harmony”, making them curious to start or go deeper in their own self-discovery journey. I’m looking forward to hearing the beautiful symphony we’ll all create together, making my imaginary world real.
I found some pitfalls while walking on my path of the heart. One of them is getting so excited, so passionate about what I’m doing, that I forget or postpone taking care of myself—to replenish my batteries, eating properly, exercise outdoors, (re)connect with people and places that inspire me, etc. And, like a boomerang, this came back to impact my life in unexpected ways … slowing me down for a while or even getting burned out. That was my body’s way to say: “Hey, you pushed me too far! I won’t support you anymore unless you to get me back to health”. :-) That was a hard lesson to learn, but I did learn it in time! It is essential to take care of ourselves (even when we love what we do), so our physical body supports us for the long run (our entire life!).
Alex: How do you stay healthy? What’s your main health-related goal?
Gabriela: Generally, I prefer a proactive approach. Healthy habits that allow the body to stay healthy: going to sleep around 10-11pm, a daily meditation practice, healthy food, outdoor activities (hiking, biking, skiing), taking enough breaks to recharge my batteries (a must for an introvert like me), etc.
Sometimes I step out of these habits (when I work on a project with a tight deadline, for example). These are temporary situations, and I learned to allow myself time to get back to normal after such project ends.
The few times, when my health was way out of balance, were when I pushed myself too much. For example: following a group of friends (experienced skiers) I ended up dislocating my right knee. Or forcing myself to get ready for the Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu, along with a very busy schedule, got me burnt out.
Also, I decided to not push myself so hard anymore.
Those experiences were useful from another perspective: I’ve learned a lot about the healing power of my body! Now I take better care of myself. If I start getting signs that what I do affects my health, I stop pushing myself to allow my body heal itself. Plus, I accelerate the healing process with natural remedies: massage, stretching, cabbage wraps, Reiki, healing meditations, sleep, etc.
I’d like to also mention the spiritual growth that came from the few health issues I’ve been through. The burnout, for example, was a heads up call that I was going in a wrong direction…. and it even helped me find the right one! During that time I couldn’t talk for four months, which led me to the question: what would I do the rest of my life if I couldn’t speak anymore? The very next thought was: write a job search guide for introverts! It totally made sense, since by that time I’ve accumulated over ten years experience in coaching and career counseling. Writing that book helped me recover from burnout and opened me to the writing career... which I enjoy so much!
The best lesson I learned so far: health issues are our bodies’ signs that something needs to change, that we need to restore our health… and be grateful for those signs!
My main health-related goal: to feel good and stay in good health the rest of my life. I envision myself skiing even at 90 years old. :-)
Alex: How do you build wealth? What’s your main financial goal?
Gabriela: I don’t want to publicly disclose my main financial goal. Building wealth to me means more than the financial aspect of it. What’s the purpose of having enough money if your health is affected, you’re not enjoying every step of your life journey, and you’re not expressing yourself? (because you’re only chasing money)
My approach to wealth comes from a more holistic perspective. I want to live my life with integrity, provide value and inspire people to create together a better world (by using our strengths and talents).
I’m in the process of testing the saying “the more value you provide, the more prosperous you become”. To me this saying has a dual aspect: giving (helping others learn how to “fish”) and receiving (the satisfaction you get by following your path of the heart).
Alex: How do you balance work and family life?
Gabriela: May I rephrase this as “balancing work and personal life”? I don’t have family living with me. My children are already married, focused on their own lives.
To balance my work and personal life I make an effort to include “Me Time” in my busy schedule. Not quite easy for someone who has lots of ideas and loves what she does. :-) But a must if I want to enjoy my life and stay healthy.
A little break here and there when I feel tired keeps me productive and helps me get perspective on what I’m doing. Walking (instead of taking the bus or driving) keeps me connected with nature, and clears my mind. Dancing like no one is around. :-)
I like nature photography, so I take my camera with me when I want a more extended break … because it keeps me busy in a better way, and out of thinking too much. :-)
I have a flexible schedule, which allows me to take breaks whenever I want, and work at irregular hours.
Being an independent person, I love this flexibility!
It’s also my worst enemy because I could stay focused on my work for hours. :-) But I put reminders to help me take a few seconds from time to time, to reflect if I want to continue or not. I love the Eye Care Chrome app for that. It also helped my eyes stay healthy while I was writing my first book 7-8 hours a day.
Alex: How do you enjoy spending time with family and friends?
Gabriela: To be honest, my best friends are nature and my own meaningful projects. I could spend hours without getting bored, I get energy from any of them.
Being an introvert, human interactions drain my energy quite fast — even if I enjoy the presence of others or the conversation. So I limit these interactions, and I’m quite selective with who I’m spending my time with. The time spent together has to be either in my area of interest or related to my meaningful projects.
Ideally, I have friends who have similar goals so we can help each other, or we work on a common project with the potential of having a bigger impact in the world than each of us can have individually.
I love the conversations I have with my daughter - we have similar personalities and interests and we can talk for hours! But we both need time to recharge afterward. :-)
Alex: What has been the most fulfilling role you’ve ever had, or the most fulfilling project you’ve been involved with so far?
Gabriela: I loved each role I’ve ever had … until I didn’t anymore! :-) At which point I already discovered the new role I wanted… and got it, to help me grow further! A process that’s repeating at a different level each time.
Same with these projects I’ve initiated. One project led to the next one, an even more fulfilling one. With writing, for example, I enjoyed writing, self-publishing and promoting my first book. This experience led me to the second book, the 3rd… 4th… 5th... 6th… And, in this process, I discovered how much I love helping other authors. I’m now focusing on developing programs and tools for authors (coaching, book marketing, learning skills required for a successful writing career). And, in parallel, I still write books based on topics I’m interested in.
Alex: What’s one career planning lesson that has made a significant difference in your life?
Gabriela: To think strategically and take the actions that are aligned with my path of the heart (being in integrity with myself). It made me avoid delays and getting lost in the “jungle” out there. There’s a lot of information and advice available, but without customizing to my own situation and strengths it didn’t serve me much.
Alex: What would you like your legacy to be?
Gabriela: To leave the world better than when I came into it. How can I do that? By tapping into the introverts’ power! We, introverts, have so much to offer to the world… if we allow ourselves to find ways to leverage our strengths and talents!
Alex: Gabriela, thank you for sharing your story and insights, and for taking part in this interview!
Did you find one or more of Gabriela’s thoughts helpful? Are there any ideas or resources that came to mind as you read the interview?
Please share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below, and consider sharing the interview with a friend via social media or email.
Also, consider checking out the How to Reach Your Potential interviews with Trina Boos, Hamza Khan, James Tjan, Vlad Rascanu, Drew Dudley, Alexandru Holicov, Andrew Mizzoni, Christa Dickenson, Louise Adongo, Sarah Chaudhery, Jake Nicolle, Andy McIlwain, Busola Akin-Olawore, Rebecca Laramée, Richard Obede, Bailey Parnell, Cerys Cook, Blake Snow, Sean Cooper, Toota Nihal Hassanien, Kulwant Bangar, Angela Achitei, Sharon Chakkalackal, and Lauren Bates. Thank you.