Kind Words from Clients
Kind Words from Clients
Nothing has been more powerful and impactful in my personal growth and momentum, at midlife, than my work with Kirstin Hotelling Zona! Nothing.
I’ve been a mental health therapist for over twenty years. And with that comes a great dedication to my own personal growth and well-being. Traditional personal growth modalities were helpful and necessary, but something was missing. I still continued to have limited success in accessing emotional freedom that lead me to feeling more traction in my life. I wanted to not just settle into the life I had created but bring more joy to my daily existence. Bottom line? There were things I needed to change about how I was living.
First, I needed more than a platform to complain—and real, honest-to-goodness accountability for my life choices. I needed to feel empowered, motivated, and to see beyond my own limited scope of the world. And I got it!
I went to one of Kirstin’s retreats and I was honestly blown away by her skill set. And believe me when I say I was skeptical. I gained so much from just a day with her coaching that I could not stop thinking about it. She showed up authentic and real, giving us her best coaching. I ended that day wanting more, but the investment scared me; my husband and I are raising three sons and are not independently wealthy. But I was in pain, stuck, and knew I had to do something. I hired Kirstin and my work began within 24 hours. Once I took that step, I knew my life would change. I had just made a huge investment in myself and this work. It felt a bit like diving off a cliff into the unknown. But I knew I didn’t want to keep standing on the cliff, as it were.
Kirstin has been preparing for this role as a personal life coach her entire life - without even knowing it. She possesses a knowledge base, drawing from 20 years as a university professor, teacher, writer, mother, intuitive, and life coach, that has assisted me in a process that you can’t find in a therapist's office, a book, or a friend. I was launched into a process of evaluating everything about my life and what I wanted and needed.
The support and guidance was truly unimaginable. My connection with my Mastermind Group has been one of the greatest forms of support I have ever had outside of my friends and family. I can honestly say that my work with Kirstin has improved my life in ways I cannot explain, and I will be eternally grateful for the skills I have gained, the perspective, and the abundance of joy and responsibility I feel empowered to carry forth.
Every aspect of my life has improved, in some areas dramatically: my marriage, my parenting, my career, my friendships, and mostly, my own inner peace and well-being.
I first met with Kirstin after a friend shared with me about one of her upcoming retreats. Although it was a bit daunting to go to a retreat alone, I decided to do something for myself and attend. At the end of the day, Kirstin shared about her Life Coach services. I am a Master’s Level Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and was at the time the Director of Residential Services at a homeless shelter. I was impressed with how knowledgeable Kirstin was, and she had an optimistic energy that made me want to learn more from her. Make no mistake—this was a huge financial commitment for me! But my desire to grow and my hope for a better quality of life won out, and I decided to make the investment in myself; it’s a decision that I have not regretted for one moment!
I really had no idea that so much would transpire in my life as the result of that one decision. Working long hours for little pay and being always on call had been my way of life. Kirstin gently challenged some of my beliefs about myself and the decisions I was making because of those beliefs, decisions that were often motivated by a mindset of scarcity, shame, fear, and blame. She has been my advisor, editor, accountability partner, and encourager (even cheerleader) along the way. She has opened up new doors for me professionally and personally that I would have never imagined walking through before. Kirstin has helped me transform my thinking, and therefore my life.
While working with Kirstin I have opened a private counseling practice, and I absolutely love my life now!! In addition to all of the skills and gifts that Kirstin has brought to my life, she has also provided the opportunity for me to work with a phenomenal group of women whom I love and respect immensely. Walking the journey of growth and change with these dear friends as we bear witness to each other’s transformation has been an added bonus that I could not have dreamed of.
I have come to trust Kirstin deeply and value her wise counsel. I have currently been working with Kirstin for a year and a half and truly have so much respect for her. I have learned that Kirstin does not simply talk the talk but walks the walk as well. She is continually learning and growing and offering new and exciting opportunities for learning and growth to those of us whom she coaches. She is one of the most genuine, loving and generous people I have ever met. She also loves me enough to challenge the old stories that I’ve been telling myself that keep me in bondage and offers me a path that has transformed my relationship with both myself and others. I’ve come to value her intuitive knowing and to trust the process. She is truly invested in those of us whom she works with. I’ve also never had need to question her love for me as an individual apart from our coaching contract. I would recommend her whole heartedly to anyone who is interested in making changes in their lives and living a more fully expressed and authentic life. Whatever your story or struggles…YOU are worth investing in and Kirstin has the skills to get you where you want to go.
Kirstin saved MY life.
That sounds a bit deep, doesn’t it? But it’s completely true.
Like so many people, I found myself lost and without purpose. Sure, like everyone else I would go to work, and take care of the very important job of taking care of others and my family, both jobs I had always aspired to in my youth. But there was a problem. I wasn’t taking care of myself, and it showed unconsciously in my words and actions in ways I didn’t intend or understand. And even bigger than that problem, I wasn’t aware that I was in need of help. Help to find out what really drives me; to find personal joy; to find true purpose again; to make my soul smile again as it did when I was a child; and help with so many other things.
Kirstin did all this and more.
Kirstin’s kind, gentle, and nonjudgmental approach was invaluable to make me feel compelled to look inside myself, to bravely ask myself why, to fearlessly chart my life’s course forward, to leave anger and judgement behind, and to replace it with empathy, compassion, and love. I wish I could impart to anyone who may be reading this the weight of these words, and how my life is forever changed for the better because of Kirstin. I feel I am a different person and a different man. This has been noticed by closest friends and colleagues, and more importantly, me. I am happy to have found Kirstin at the moment in my life when I did, and now look with curiosity and excitement to the future.
I hope my words can convey my feelings to anyone reading this, but I know words alone could never completely do justice to where I was before I started and the direction I am headed in now. I will be forever grateful for Kirstin‘s help in charting my life and helping me with the necessary skills for taking control of my life’s course, and I strongly recommend her services to anyone in need (and if you read this far, that’s probably you.)
Good luck to everyone reading this with living the best life possible… after all, isn’t that what this is really all about?
Small Business Owner, Entrepreneur
After attending one of Kirstin’s day retreats I decided to commit to 6 months of one-on-one coaching. I am a long-time entrepreneur running several businesses while juggling a family, and was feeling overwhelmed and stretched too thin to take care of myself. After working with Kirstin I have learned how to manage my time with proper planning techniques and how to best prioritize. I now feel like I have all the time I need to do whatever I want and I feel empowered to grow personally and professionally beyond my wildest dreams!
Certified Nurse Midwife and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
With Kirstin’s guidance I learned to replace self-judgement with celebration and trust. In a very practical way, I developed a reverence for my present and future self in the context of diet and exercise. Through introspection, meditation, and journaling, all taught and encouraged throughout my coaching experience, I have grown to live thrive within the seeming paradoxes of stillness and discovery, of distinctness and belonging, of contentment and growth, of exploration and home, of careerhood and motherhood, of empowerment and vulnerability. And what a magnificent place it is, my friends.
If you are looking for a safe space filled by one who will share a genuine and loving curiosity about your story and push you to discover your own authentic potential, look no more. You won’t regret investing in you.
Yoga Specialist and Blogger, healyourselfyoga.com
Kirstin was instrumental at the beginning stages of my business in helping me not only refine my niche, but also my mindset. It is really hard as a new business owner to prioritize and not feel overwhelmed. Kirstin provided the guidance and support to help me through this unchartered territory of entrepreneurship.
Being able to consult with her regarding the best next steps for my business brought a lot of comfort and clarity. The encouragement she gives is sincere and really helped motivate me to continue to pursue my dreams.
On a personal level, Kirstin taught me how to take care of myself. Questions like “what is the most important thing you can give yourself today?” helped to reestablish myself as a priority. And I will never forget her response to a hurtful comment someone made to me. She said the most important thing that matters is that YOU care about your feelings. YOU care about your heart. Give to yourself. Bring yourself the love and comfort that you need. That truly helped empower my whole life.
Banking Leadership, Psychology Graduate Student
Working with Kirstin has been a tremendous experience. She has helped me to grow and develop in so many ways and has greatly enhanced many areas of my life. Predominantly, I worked with Kirstin on improving personal relationships; but through this work, I saw so many other areas of my life transform, or bloom, as well.
I moved into a new job that I absolutely love. I have re-discovered hobbies I am passionate about; I have stronger relationships with family and friends, and I have even started seriously dating again after a divorce, something that seemed nearly impossible a year ago! The key to this was focusing on my thoughts and recognizing how they were shaping everything about and around me. In working with Kirstin, we set goals and worked together to achieve them. She was always available and there to help in any way needed.
Associate Dean, Illinois State University
I started my relationship with Kirstin with modest goals, and she encouraged me immediately to dream big. After only one year, my life has deepened and expanded in ways I hadn’t imagined possible. The daily texts with Kirstin and her careful consideration in her responses to me keep me both grounded and inspired as I reach for MORE in myself and my life. Especially important to me is her ability to move from her own voice, to careful listening, to poetry and other thinkers to find the keys that open something in my thinking. It works.
From first meeting Kirstin Hotelling Zona, she openly engaged me in a safe invitation to pursue my curiosity, discover strength and courage, and take action toward my deepest desires.Kirstin saw and ignited that spark within me that allowed me to face my shadow and old stories in order to find balance and light in the transformative power of love and compassion. Kirstin’s intuitive, nurturing and action-centered stance provides a foundation for me to develop rituals and strategies of self-care that move me towards self-trust and connection with others. With Kirstin’s nudging and well-crafted assignments, I’ve grown to be less reactive and more connected with joy. I have the tools to manage my time, to engage in daily practices of self-care and to not become paralyzed by overwhelm. My relationships with friends and family feel more genuine, with greater understanding, as I let go of the burdens of guilt and shame. I reconnected with my sister after being estranged from her for more than two years. Professionally, I am more present and able to implement and teach clients new skills with an array of tools for managing their problems. Coaching with Kirstin has been an incredible investment that I would highly recommend for anyone interested in connecting with their passion and desire.
Fashion Art Director and Photo Shoot Producer, Designer, Artist
I’ve been working with Kirstin for about 7 months and it has been truly life-changing. Kirstin is deeply intuitive and remarkably intelligent in her work. Her gentle but effectively firm, no-nonsense coaching and leadership inspires me to engage in what is the most important work in my life so far. There is a passion and dedication in Kirstin’s coaching that makes me feel like I truly have an advocate, friend, mentor and teammate, all at once. This is an incredible feeling when you are confronting deeply emotional and challenging things while setting forth on an invigorating life-changing journey.
Through my work with Kirstin, I am recognizing the many ways I stand in the way of my own peace and happiness. I am identifying the ways that my creative and passionate journey has become buried in a lifestyle and world full of never ending demand and stimulus. I am learning how to cut through the fog to navigate the path to my fullest potential, to find my true self and my most authentic purpose.
Working with Kirstin is giving me the tools to sort through the clutter of a complex life, to become my truest self, and to practice daily the simple things that can bring peace, joy and abundance...to establish a foundation from which literally anything is possible. I can’t say enough about the work I am doing with Kirstin and the impact it is having on me. I am incredibly lucky to have this opportunity and to have her in my life.
Author, CEO/Owner of Write On, Author’s Coach, and Founder of An Ordinary Woman
My introduction to Kirstin as a Life Coach was through attending her 1-day Women’s Retreat. The day was full of new ideas and ways of thinking about one’s “full potential” through presentation, group process, and several creative expression activities. I left feeling a renewed sense of inspiration, but more importantly, a clarity regarding my life’s work and a plan of action to begin living a life that supported my goals. I have attended many retreats, and Kirstin’s was superior in its method to draw out deep desires, and also leave with a plan to achieve them. This was no “woo-woo” event.
I committed to working with Kirstin as my Coach at the end of her retreat. I did not have the money in my bank account to pay her, but I knew I couldn’t afford not to get some help to work further on my aspirations. Over the next two weeks, I achieved unplanned contract-work bonuses that would pay for my first 3 months of coaching!
Since beginning coaching with Kirstin only a few months ago, my business income has more than doubled. I attribute that directly to Kirstin helping me create specific steps for improving my behavior patterns, sticking to my goals, and revising my plans without self-deprecating.
As a result of this process I also have realized the need to take charge of my health and have lost 40 pounds. Because I am feeling more happy and fulfilled, my relationship with my husband is better than ever, and I have moved on from toxic relationships that were holding me back.
There is no question that coaching has helped me propel my life and work forward far more quickly than if I had continued to struggle through it on my own. I was feeling overwhelmed by what to do next, and was stuck in self-doubt and habits that left me beating myself up. Kirstin’s ability to remember explicit details about my work is amazing, and directly impacts how honestly we work together. She is an objective and caring listener, and gives honest and compassionate feedback. She is teaching me to challenge myself to move to the next level, and the support of coaching, and our coaching Master Mind group, gives me the foundation of support I need to go for it!
Author, LMT, CYT, CHHC, Pathways to Health, Master Life Coach
My coaching work with Kirstin has been transformational! I have wanted to do one on one coaching for a while but the price felt prohibitive. When I met Kirstin at her retreat last summer, I knew I had met my match and wanted to find the funds to work with her.
My work with Kirstin has enabled me to forge a relationship with myself like I've never known. I am now able to have my own back and truly love myself and my past in a way that has been so healing!!
Thanks to our work I had the courage to take on a grueling diet in the name of bettering my health. I know that if she wasn't in my corner holding me to my best self I would have continued to put it off. By doing this diet I've learned so much about my illness and myself that is invaluable for my work with others. In terms of my business, I have successfully double my rates and stepped into my power as a coach in a much bigger way! I started running women's retreats, which is something I was scared to do before, and now I've run two.
I have gained so much insight about myself during my work with Kirstin—some of the most profound revelations I've ever had, and I've been in therapy for many years of my life. Kirstin is so smart and articulate. She has incredible insights and wisdom. I couldn't recommend coaching with Kirstin more highly!!
Certified Yoga Instructor
Working with Kirstin has literally changed my life. She has helped me to trust myself and to listen to those nudges and voices of authenticity and desire that I might have ignored or pushed aside.
She has held me accountable for taking actions, both small and large, to begin living out those desires in my everyday life. With incredible honesty and unconditional love, Kirstin helped me to see through my fear and replace that fear with total acceptance. She has given me the tools I need to continue on this path of truly living authentically. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with such a loving and gifted individual.
Certified Health and Wellness Coach
Kirstin has a gift for quickly pulling you out of the story you've been telling yourself and helping you get closer to your truth. She brings every part of her into her coaching—her brilliance, her vulnerability and her humor. Despite being a masterful coach, she doesn't pretend to have it all figured out.
Her genuine curiosity for learning and human potential guides her coaching. So if you truly want to transform your life, like seriously transform it, you've got to say YES to working with Kirstin.
PhD., Bilingual Education Program
I met Kirstin in one of her one-day retreats (September, 2017). I was invited by one of my good friends and it happened just at the right time. It was an amazing experience to be there with a group of great women and Kirsten as our facilitator/leader/coach. She created a very comfortable environment for all the participants, and even though not all of us knew each other, we felt good to be there sharing. At that time, I was going through a transition in my life, and I knew that changes were coming but did not know how to deal with them. I was overwhelmed, overthinking and going in circles in my head. Kirstin tailored a perfect retreat for all participants. She took into consideration our one-on-one conversations with her prior the retreat and prepared something very special and just for us.
This retreat helped me to put things in perspective, create a plan, and work on real goals. Also, it helped me to think on the balance sometimes we need in our lives in order to let things happen naturally. Kirstin is an amazing coach; she makes everyone feel important and she really cares about what her attendants are going through.
Owners, Coffeehound, CH3, and Sirius Roasters
Coffee Hound is a well-established business of 16 years and is committed to our staff and community to be a business of high standards and continued growth. After working with Kirstin for 6 months in one-on-one life coaching I, along with my husband and partner Steve, decided to incorporate her skills in developing a staff retreat for our management team. This two-day retreat was a well-planned and well-executed strategic planning retreat designed to motivate and empower our managers to help us grow our business.