Özlem and the power of being a citizen of the world

That question. “Where are you from?”

How does someone who doesn’t really belong anywhere respond?

Today I’m chatting with Özlem Özkan, who, in her own words, is a culturally diverse woman, based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Born and raised in The Netherlands, comes from Turkish parents, and has lived and traveled all over the world. She’s a teacher, founder, podcaster, author, and coach.

She talks to us about the identity clashes she faced growing up in the Netherlands, coming from Turkish parents.

We hear what she’s learned about human beings as a result of growing up as a number of different cultures and traveling to so many different places.

And what happened in her life that almost immediately got rid of some extremely deep-rooted biases, judgments, and fears.

She talks about how living in Istanbul shaped her life and what she’s doing now. And finishes with some advice we should all take to heart.

Have a listen and be inspired.

Please do let us know what you think of this episode. And please don’t forget to leave a review, rating, and subscribe.

If you would like to get in touch with Özlem or find out more, you can find more about her here:

Tired of not reaching your goals? Make lasting change happen through Ozlem’s coaching here: https://www.ozkanozlem.com/coaching

Do you wonder what it can look like to break free and be your true self? Özlem takes you on a fascinating self-awareness journey through her book “The Student.”

The Bridging Podcast: through the themes of personal growth, cultural diversity, and entrepreneurship after each episode, you will get inspired and learn tools on how to level up yourself and your surroundings. https://bridging.simplecast.com/

Özlem’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ozkanozlem/

If you would like to get involved with TIE, and be a part of the important change that needs to be made in the world, do check TIE out and get in touch: philippa@theinternationalexchange.co.uk.

00:00:07:19 – 00:00:29:12
Philippa White
So the questions are these How can we really activate the best of the private sector to meet the challenges of the real world? Is there a way to accelerate my career that doesn’t involve boring online or classroom courses? And can I really impact people in the developing world with the skills that I have? Can I finally feel proud of what I know?

00:00:30:04 – 00:01:01:18
Philippa White
Those are the questions and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Philippa White and this is TIE Unearthed. Keep listening and you can follow us on our journey as we show you how we’re connecting the private sector with the social sector. To make change. Hello everyone. Philippa White here and welcome to episode 25 of TIE Unearthed.

00:01:02:07 – 00:01:30:15
Philippa White
Now today I’m chatting with Muslim as one who, in her own words, is a culturally diverse woman based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Now she was born and raised in the Netherlands. She comes from Turkish parents and has lived and traveled all over the world. She’s a teacher, founder, podcaster, author and coach. Now it was love. It is really lovely to have you with us today.

00:01:30:15 – 00:01:32:00
Philippa White
So thank you for joining us.

00:01:32:07 – 00:01:34:14
Özlem Özkan
Thank you so much, Philippa, for having me.

00:01:35:00 – 00:01:58:10
Philippa White
Now, I wanted to start with a maya Angelou quote that I can personally relate to. And when I read it, it also makes me think of you. You are only free when you realize you belong. No place you belong. Every place, no place at all. And I think that quote is a great way for us to start this conversation.

00:01:58:10 – 00:02:11:04
Philippa White
And I just yeah, we’re basically going to be talking about just the power of being a citizen of the world. And I think you would probably classify yourself as being a citizen of the world. So talk to us about your background.

00:02:11:08 – 00:02:37:14
Özlem Özkan
That’s a beautiful quote from Maya Angelou to start with. Actually, I really like it. So, yeah, I was born in the Netherlands and my parents are Turkish. And I felt initially when growing up, I do not really belong anywhere, only to my family and so am I. Turkish and my Dutch know there were a lot of cultural clashes, identity clashes, who I was.

00:02:38:11 – 00:03:08:20
Özlem Özkan
And, you know, it comes also from because of a different religion. My parents come from a background with Islam. And in the Netherlands, a lot of people are Ephesus or Christian, Catholic. So there was a there were a lot of a lot of clashes. And after I graduated from university, I lived in Turkey and Istanbul. But I moved there only for a summer school, but ended up living there for five years, worked at the international schools.

00:03:09:10 – 00:03:31:10
Özlem Özkan
After five years, I came back to the Netherlands for just a bit, then moved to Denmark to work at a multinational company into fashion. The tech side I have worked for and then I came back again to Amsterdam and you know, but while I was living also in these three different countries, I traveled at first, of course, in Europe.

00:03:31:10 – 00:04:15:05
Özlem Özkan
Then we went actually every summer with my parents to Turkey. So and when we went to Turkey, we were really Turkish in the Netherlands. We were super, super Dutch. Um, but yeah, belonging somewhere, not knowing where I was belonging was a Turkish, the Netherlands. So when I moved to Denmark, the first time in my life living in a country where I did not have any attachments to I could look at, to the the two cultures I grew up with, the Turkish and the Dutch from a very objective viewpoint and dare I felt like I do not really belong anywhere but which is okay.

00:04:15:05 – 00:04:28:10
Özlem Özkan
I started being okay with not belonging and I belong to the worlds, whatever that is. You know, people say Global Citizen or whatever the label is, I belong to everywhere.

00:04:28:14 – 00:04:49:19
Philippa White
So when people ask you, because here in Brazil, I can relate to what you’re saying. You know, I was born in South Africa, grew up in Canada, also British, lived in England. And then I find myself in Brazil. And it’s funny because a lot of people in Brazil, I mean, they as if you’re a Brazilian, you are a Brazilian.

00:04:50:01 – 00:05:06:10
Philippa White
I mean, there’s there’s no quite you are a Brazilian and and so if you were born in Brazil, like you are Brazilian, then. So the question is, where were you born and where you’re born is where you’re from. Yeah. And so people say, you know, where are you from? And I’m like, Oh, I don’t really know how to answer that question.

00:05:06:12 – 00:05:23:08
Philippa White
I don’t know. Well, where are you born? I was born in Cape Town, South Africa, but I don’t really feel South African. They’re like, okay, so you’re South African, thank you. But that’s just that. That’s just it. I’m not. And so I’m just out of interest. What do you say? Because I’m sure it’s this similar kind of, you know, where are you from?

00:05:23:08 – 00:05:23:22
Philippa White
Would you say.

00:05:24:24 – 00:05:47:02
Özlem Özkan
This really depends of the setting and the context? Will when people ask me this, usually people in the Netherlands, when they ask me where you are from, where are you from? I say, I was born here, but I also have a Turkish background. And when I was living in Istanbul, they said, Where are you from? I’m from Netherlands, but my parents are Turkish.

00:05:48:04 – 00:06:15:20
Özlem Özkan
And I remember one day and this was the first time I heard this from someone, not from Turkey, not from the Netherlands. I was living in Denmark and the owner of this company goes, Are you Turkish or Dutch? And I was like, M It really depends of the moment, you know, because I can switch immediately and not then without thinking.

00:06:15:20 – 00:06:32:21
Özlem Özkan
It is just such an habits. When I am with Turkish people, I can be super Turkish. When I with Dutch people, I can be super Dutch. When I have, for example, a customer from the Middle East. I know how to speak. I know the way I need to speak. It’s not that I think, like, let me make this strategy.

00:06:33:04 – 00:07:03:03
Özlem Özkan
Or, for example, I would say if I if I work with someone from Dubai or any other Middle Eastern country. Okay. Did that line is done? Because I know there might be a little bit space also from a cultural viewpoint, not a bad thing or a good thing. It is just different. And with Dutch people or Danish people, I know I’m there 5 to 10 minutes earlier, early then the time and if it is a commitment, I am fully, fully committed.

00:07:03:03 – 00:07:17:18
Özlem Özkan
You know, it’s super different. But you know, in the Turkish culture, when you have a meeting here and the family just jumps in the house is a hi welcome. You know, of course, come in, we have food. Let’s cook this and that. That happens. Yeah.

00:07:17:18 – 00:07:49:02
Philippa White
It’s so fascinating listening. Even just you talking about this, you know, the cultural idiosyncrasies with regards to meetings or but I’m sure you feel this too, having properly identified with so many different cultures and being able to switch it on, switch it off. But also it means that you really understand them. You must really be able to relate so well with so many different people and I mean.

00:07:49:24 – 00:08:10:14
Özlem Özkan
It’s so it’s so funny. Philippa You say it is. I was last year during COVID. We could travel here in summer time. I went with a friend to Italy, so I just call our restaurant, we want a book and I start talking on the phone next to my friend without knowing, without being conscious about it. Hello? We want to book a table.

00:08:10:14 – 00:08:36:20
Özlem Özkan
Yes, 9:00 is okay. I remember my friend was laughing at me. She said, What are you doing? At the end? I was like, I don’t know. I just. I just feel like they talk in a melody, you know, English. And I’m just going with that flow because I feel like they are comfortable with that. I’m just going. Or when I speak to a Spanish person or a Turkish person, I changed the way I act.

00:08:36:20 – 00:09:04:19
Özlem Özkan
I changed the way how I talk. It’s not only also, by the way, the Turkish and Dutch culture I grew up with, but my family’s family members. They all moved in the sixties and seventies to Europe. Some moved to Belgium, some moved to Denmark, some Germany and France. So each summer when we went back to Turkey, to this house in the village, there were no people that were living there in winter.

00:09:04:19 – 00:09:31:11
Özlem Özkan
But all my family in Europe went back there. So that was our meeting point. And my cousins, which are French, Turkish, I am Dutch Turkish, they were speaking French dinner and we’re like, Oh, polypharmacy, those are just few words. And then the German cousins, the Belgium cousins and, you know, they brought food from their country. And it was, you know, I was two, three, four, five, six years old and death happened.

00:09:31:11 – 00:09:53:20
Özlem Özkan
Yeah. And now it is you know, you look at it like, wow, what a life. Amazing, right? And which was amazing. But also it was not always easy, I have to say. You know, it was also a little bit struggle sometimes with, oh, my God, can we just do one culture? You know, it’s much easier, straight line, just God.

00:09:55:11 – 00:09:59:23
Özlem Özkan
But then you learn this, you know, I know, you know, to survive and to enjoy.

00:10:00:06 – 00:10:12:13
Philippa White
Yeah. And so that actually I’d love to ask you. I mean, what what have you learned about yourself and the wider world growing up as a number of different cultures?

00:10:13:05 – 00:10:39:17
Özlem Özkan
Yeah. So I think what I have learned about myself, that also includes actually about human beings. I’m a human being that we are so flexible and that we are so able to do things at moments when it is required. You know, you are just all of a sudden in a situation and then you have to deal with it.

00:10:39:17 – 00:11:03:11
Özlem Özkan
And and we are so able to deal with that too. Stepping into different cultures. And it it’s for example, if you want to learn Spanish, I would say go maybe to a Spanish course, but then go to the country because you have to speak it. There you are. You have to speak it there. So what I learned for human beings, we are super flexible.

00:11:04:14 – 00:11:42:21
Özlem Özkan
But I also learned by traveling, by talking to so many people, by interacting with them, staying at their houses, being helped by them. While I was traveling, I learned stats. We human beings, regardless our religion and culture, nation politics even are so similar to each other. You know, we want to belong. We want to be loved, we want to interact, we want to help people.

00:11:43:12 – 00:12:10:23
Özlem Özkan
And it is everywhere. So similar in a different way. The form is may be different is the form, you know, the shape like, you know, we have this glass, it is white and there is a letter on it, but the glass in Japan is different, but at the end it is used for being together, having a tea time, tea ceremony together.

00:12:12:15 – 00:12:50:04
Özlem Özkan
And also what I actually really learned the most and appreciate it is there are always people out there that want to help all ways, always. And that’s really that made me feel a lot at home. Like, really, someone is thinking of you because I also traveled a lot alone. Not always. I actually traveled more than I went on holiday abroad, you know, holidays for me, going to the beach, chilling, nice seeing maybe some culture.

00:12:50:10 – 00:13:40:18
Özlem Özkan
But when I was traveling, I was like, okay, you know, where am I going to stay tonight? Shall I? Instead of the taxi, which I could pay, I was like, I’ll take the bus, I’ll take the train. I took the minibus to see how the locals go. And definitely, yeah, people are really kind hearted, but also our struggles problems are so similar that the form is again different, but and also like even the difference between from a wealth perspective, like people that have more money than other people, they both have problems, struggles with different, different race, you know, and it is not that one problem from a little bit more rich a person is less

00:13:40:18 – 00:13:45:09
Özlem Özkan
important then someone that is struggling to make money.

00:13:45:18 – 00:13:50:21
Philippa White
Talk to us about and I’m going to say it wrong, shoot Chani Bashi.

00:13:50:21 – 00:13:51:19
Özlem Özkan
Yeah, Chobani.

00:13:51:19 – 00:14:30:03
Philippa White
Basi Chobani. But, you know, just just just just so our listeners understand, Muslim has written such an insightful, thoughtful, inquisitive story book. I mean, this book, it’s called The Student, and it’s just made up of beautiful stories of and it’s quite emotive of various different experiences that you’ve had very different moments throughout your life and the learnings and the insights that have come from that.

00:14:30:03 – 00:14:48:12
Philippa White
I loved reading it. This particular story, really, I found myself covered in goosebumps. I found myself it was very emotive and for me, I think beautifully represents what you’ve actually just been saying. And can you can you bring that to life for the listeners?

00:14:48:18 – 00:15:20:01
Özlem Özkan
Yeah, of course. So, first of all, thank you. Thank you so much, Philippa. I’m so happy always to hear from the readers that they have enjoyed reading and they may quite resonate or I don’t know that it did something with them in a good way. I really love hearing that. Joannie Bashi means in Kurdish. How are you? So I have never known this word until 2011.

00:15:20:01 – 00:15:57:18
Özlem Özkan
I think so. I grew up in the Netherlands, my parents are Turkish and my parents were very, very firm in holding to their own culture. The Turkish culture outside. You can also be Dutch education friends, but we need to we we shouldn’t forget the Turkish culture. So when I was growing up in the nineties, there were a lot of conflicts between the Kurdish and Turkish ethnicity in Turkey, in the Middle East and my parents were always like protective about us, like, hey, be careful.

00:15:58:03 – 00:16:29:11
Özlem Özkan
I had one Kurdish friends very nice girl, nice family, and I was very good friends with her. But I still had to be a little bit careful and there were a lot of things going on, politik wise in Turkey, Turkish people killing Kurdish people, Kurdish people killing the Turkish people. I was scared. I was really I grew up very scared for that ethnicity.

00:16:30:17 – 00:16:59:12
Özlem Özkan
And then on the age of 22, my friend’s high school friends was killed by her husband’s, which was also Kurdish. So I was like, okay, my parents are right with keep a distance. You know, I had a huge judgment because, you know, there was a lot of fear. Fear creates all these judgments that we are having. We do not want to feel the fear here.

00:16:59:12 – 00:17:24:09
Özlem Özkan
That’s why we just put it out there. So I go to Istanbul, I start living there, and I work at an international school and I have a girl with a Kurdish ethnicity. So I’m just like, Oh, yeah, now you’re welcome. I got to an international school, your open minded friends from all over the world. But that fear you can say like, Hey, I’ve done all these things, but that fear kept existing.

00:17:24:15 – 00:17:47:02
Özlem Özkan
So I was invited to the house of this family. I was teaching for three years and they appreciated they said, come over for dinner. And I was like, I didn’t say that. I was like, I don’t have time. I, you know, I had all these things, reasons to not go, but I didn’t tell. I’m fearful, so I’m not coming.

00:17:47:15 – 00:18:15:15
Özlem Özkan
So then I one day I was like, Hey, I should just really go there and see what’s happening. And it’s, it’s okay, you know, go there with fear. So I entered the house and, you know, I was a I was that time I could fake a lot that I was actually good. I felt good. But I which while I was not feeling inside good.

00:18:16:23 – 00:18:50:03
Özlem Özkan
So I just go in and I’m scared like what’s going to happen here? And there is an old lady sitting on the couch, one leg bandits and sitting on the other leg. I wish you had a video. Her head was a little bit spins downwards and she had prayer beads in her hands. She had a headscarf and she was whispering some Arabic words, which meant oneness.

00:18:50:03 – 00:19:14:16
Özlem Özkan
Oneness. Thank you. Thank you, thank you. It means a swan. I lost all language by a lot. These three words she was saying. And then she puts her head a little bit up. As she looks at me, she says, Welcome, my child. May you bring honor to our house, she says in Turkish with a Kurdish accent, by the way.

00:19:16:07 – 00:19:46:02
Özlem Özkan
So I just got goosebumps. I was like, What’s happening here? What’s happening with me? Am I fearful for this lovely lady? So I, I sit down, we have some chats, we get tea. I feel so comfortable. I feel like even like she’s like my grandma. There was an older lady. They invite me afterwards to their restaurant and then I intruding and they say like, Oh, you’re Kurdish Joy Bashi.

00:19:46:02 – 00:20:21:06
Özlem Özkan
And I’m like, No, no, no. But they thought I was Kurdish because in their opinion I look like Kurdish. And by entering to that death house, to that family, to see how they live, who they are, not only in my classroom with my students, I experienced that my fear was planted in my being, in my head by television, by also that my Kurdish friend was killed.

00:20:21:06 – 00:20:45:20
Özlem Özkan
It could be anyone that could be killed, right? Could be a German person or a Swedish person or I don’t know any person from any other country. And they taught me Choi you Bashi. Choi Bashi means how are you? So now each time when I go somewhere and then I hear someone is Kurdish and I’m like Choi Bashi, they’re like adviser to Choi and they’re like, Oh, you.

00:20:45:20 – 00:20:59:19
Özlem Özkan
Kurdish is another note. And I say, I’m Turkish. And sometimes I feel also like they are in the end. But because I start this choi you bashi with how are you? We make a connection.

00:20:59:19 – 00:21:05:12
Philippa White
It’s beautiful. So important, so totally and you know yeah.

00:21:05:22 – 00:21:19:23
Özlem Özkan
It is this family which indirectly made me get rid of my bias, my judgments, my fear by just being themselves.

00:21:19:23 – 00:21:51:21
Philippa White
This, this, this is why these types of experiences are so, so important for people to step out of, to expand their personal circle, to be able to meet people, unlike them, and to start to empathize. I think, you know, if everyone did that, if everyone met people outside of their circle and exposed themselves to different cultures and expose themselves to different challenges or different ways of seeing things, then the barriers start to go down and the walls start to go down.

00:21:51:23 – 00:21:57:04
Philippa White
And we start to we start to open our hearts. We start to understand and empathize.

00:21:57:04 – 00:21:57:19
Özlem Özkan
Yeah. Yeah.

00:21:57:21 – 00:22:05:10
Philippa White
It’s so important. And just listening to this, it was such an ingrained, ingrained sort of doctor nation.

00:22:05:22 – 00:22:06:07
Özlem Özkan
Yes.

00:22:06:16 – 00:22:22:13
Philippa White
For you, through your culture and through the, you know, the television and through your family. I mean, family is incredibly powerful. Whatever your mum says growing up, it’s okay. Well, then that’s what is right. You don’t question it until you’re much older. Yeah. And then it’s just through.

00:22:22:14 – 00:22:26:24
Özlem Özkan
Oh you do not question. It’s there are also a lot of people, they do not question it.

00:22:27:11 – 00:22:46:14
Philippa White
They go well that’s just, it’s only what exactly you don’t I mean, once you get older and you start to have these kind of experiences, you start to create your own stories. But as a child, think about it. I mean, there are certain things. If it feels completely wrong as a child, do you kind of rebel? And I know from the book you sort of there were things that you’re like, oh, this doesn’t feel right.

00:22:47:13 – 00:23:06:15
Philippa White
I’m going to wear my own clothes or whatever it is. But but ingrained things like this, you do tend to something as as you get older, you start. But hold on a second. That’s that’s just not the way it is. And it just it’s just so important. But just tell me about, you know, in the book, you also talk about the power of stepping out of your comfort zone.

00:23:07:08 – 00:23:23:07
Philippa White
We moved to Istanbul, for example, and that, you know, that was a challenge for you. And so just what were some of the challenges that you faced that you felt transform? Did you? Yeah. You know, what did you learn? Maybe you can tell us a story that kind of stands out.

00:23:23:15 – 00:23:50:18
Özlem Özkan
Yeah, of course. I don’t think I have written that directly into my book. But, you know, for example, for me, a lot of things said that most people are not doing is a lot of time depends of their fear for things you know, they might not want to do something that’s different, but if they want to do things, they don’t do it.

00:23:50:18 – 00:24:23:22
Özlem Özkan
There’s usually a resistant experience or a fear somewhere that you don’t do things. So me moving to Istanbul when on the age of 24 actually might seem for a Western world person. I also grew up in the West. Yeah, but everyone does it. You are even 18, 19, 20. You just move out of your house now. But for me it was a huge step because I grew up in this family where my parents, you know, supported us a lot for study, study, study, study.

00:24:24:01 – 00:24:50:16
Özlem Özkan
They also had their norms and values, which they wanted me to keep. And a girl does not actually move out of the house before she’s married. I went and I left the house and I was 24, two and alone to another country. It wasn’t even the Netherlands. That was our first big step, which was huge because my parents did not like it’s not at all.

00:24:51:10 – 00:25:21:09
Özlem Özkan
And most of my friends, the Turkish Dutch one, they also didn’t do distinct. This was a really weird stuff, you know. And again, for your listeners, I’m not fully sure, Phillipa, if they might resonate with this or not, but it might be maybe like, you know, you study at Harvard, you do all these things before you just doo doo doo doo doo and then you stop after Harvard, you finish, you do not practices and now you are going to live as a monk.

00:25:21:09 – 00:25:46:03
Özlem Özkan
I’m just saying, somewhere in India you have all done these things and then it is by boom, you know, it’s super. And this and I went to Istanbul and in Istanbul, I was so lucky and privileged that I could teach as an international school because I have a teaching and a pedagogy degree and I got to higher that is international school.

00:25:46:15 – 00:26:07:17
Özlem Özkan
And you believe it or not, I speak now English. Yes. But I was so fearful of speaking English because I thought my English was not good. I was hired as a classroom teacher, which had to teach an English everything. So and I was like, okay, then I’m just going to teach now everything in English. So before I.

00:26:07:17 – 00:26:11:13
Philippa White
Was, I mean, even just that listening to you. Sorry, just even that.

00:26:11:14 – 00:26:12:09
Özlem Özkan
Yeah, yeah. But yeah.

00:26:12:09 – 00:26:31:19
Philippa White
I mean, just for our listeners just put themselves, you know, not only leaving the house, which is so against everything, right? So that, that in itself is just a case. Sorry, guys, I’m leaving. Parents, I know that you’re totally against this, but I’m doing this thing. Then you go to Istanbul, which is a huge city, and you’re on your own and you’re female and there’s already all that bad.

00:26:31:19 – 00:26:33:02
Özlem Özkan
Yes. Yeah, definitely.

00:26:33:02 – 00:26:41:22
Philippa White
And then you. And then you’ve got the language where you I mean, obviously your English is fantastic, but I guess. But time is still. It was. Still is and it.

00:26:41:22 – 00:26:42:18
Özlem Özkan
Was last second.

00:26:43:04 – 00:26:57:21
Philippa White
Yeah. And so you’re still having to get and then you not only apply so you’ve got guts. I mean, you apply for this job. You get the job. Yes. You’re like, right, okay. Now I actually have to go for this. I mean, it’s it is extraordinary.

00:26:57:24 – 00:27:20:24
Özlem Özkan
Yeah. You know, actually, I always trusted myself in a lot of things when I was younger. But to trust came also from a very deep fear that I had and I wanted to get over the fear. So what I did is I just pushed myself constantly for putting myself out of my comfort zone, which I afterwards realized that was not the right thing to do.

00:27:21:11 – 00:27:43:24
Özlem Özkan
But, you know, going applying to international school, learning all the interview questions that they might ask me, and also learning all the possible answers that I could give, which I didn’t do. By the way, at this podcast, not unless you hi me with thinking you speak amazingly English. Yeah, of course. Because I memorize all these sentences I could give.

00:27:44:10 – 00:28:15:09
Özlem Özkan
And then I started working with Australian, Canadian, British, the South African people, which the native language is English. And, you know, I was in shock. I was like, Oh my God, how am I going to survive here? And I need to teach kids. Luckily, they were younger and I was like, How am I going to do this? So what I did every night, I was teaching myself the whole program for the next day in case a kid would ask, you know, some little words that I might not know.

00:28:15:09 – 00:28:44:01
Özlem Özkan
Or, for example, in math, what is subtraction addition? I didn’t know that. I learned that in Dutch. I didn’t know it in English. So I was teaching myself then the kids and I was just, you know, I was also faking that I was good at English and all. And it just, you know, I just put myself I learned a lot of things when putting myself out of my comfort zone, and that has been also my way sometimes.

00:28:44:01 – 00:29:10:07
Özlem Özkan
Nowadays I have to be admits. I struggle with it because now my life is so predictable in many ways, not the core of it. But, you know, some time I don’t want to plan that much because my body is so used to jump in now figure it out. But that comes with the multi-cultural upbringing of jump in, you know, like.

00:29:10:07 – 00:29:32:13
Philippa White
When you know, I know and it’s as you know ties a leadership development program or experience and we talk a lot about sort of, you know, be constantly curious to be constantly inspired, expand your personal circle. And there’s a few different, you know, areas that we sort of touch on. But one is push through boundaries to unlock potential.

00:29:33:06 – 00:30:00:21
Philippa White
And I just think listening to this story, listening, reading your book, listening to just through so many different moments in your life, it’s just been about pushing through, pushing that boundary, pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing. And then you just unlock that potential. And and I wanted to get to that just because as we’re getting to the end of the podcast, because, you know, adversity is a powerful growth tool, pushing it, you know, having those challenges you grow, you learn about yourself, you learn about what’s possible.

00:30:01:07 – 00:30:11:21
Philippa White
And and I know that working on the growth and development of people is also very important to you. Yeah. And I know that you’ve recently started a coaching business.

00:30:11:21 – 00:30:12:08
Özlem Özkan
Yes.

00:30:12:24 – 00:30:35:17
Philippa White
Which feels very fitting considering your pedagogy and your experience to date and the fact that you truly embody that. What happens when you push yourself and unlock this potential. And I just wonder, yeah, talk to us about where that inspiration came from. You know, what what do you focus on? What type of coaching do you do?

00:30:35:18 – 00:31:12:20
Özlem Özkan
Yeah, you know, actually, it came from my lifelong wanting to know who I am, actually, that it came from. That was the basic because I was always wondering, who am I? And I tend to actually, you know, it sounds all nice pushing, pushing, pushing and doing all these stuff. But I tend to be a person person that was always pointing fingers to people, not directly, indirectly, of my parents are responsible for the way I am, the way I can do this, the way I or my boss or my friends or blah, blah, blah.

00:31:12:20 – 00:31:46:21
Özlem Özkan
And then I was eight years ago, I thought, maybe it’s just really time to start inside of me. What’s happening here? I And the more I look from my to my inside, I could change from the inside out. And usually I was thinking the outside is responsible for what’s happening inside of me. And I have different friends from different cultures and whenever I am with them, I have always this idea of helping people.

00:31:46:21 – 00:32:16:24
Özlem Özkan
Sometimes I need to really disassociate from that identity because I like helping, thinking about for the people with them, asking them questions so they can go inwards in order to also change outwards, whatever they want. It. And for, I think the past eight years, everyone was saying like, hey, you should just really become a coach or a psychologist or designer.

00:32:16:24 – 00:32:39:12
Özlem Özkan
I was like, No, I don’t want to be a psychologist. I study child psychology slash pedagogy, but I don’t want to sit and just listen, do some cognitive therapy or therapy. But if someone is interested in how to change some of the things in their life and reach their goals, I’m happy to help. So I put this up.

00:32:39:12 – 00:33:06:14
Özlem Özkan
The coaching, it is called transformational coaching and what happens there are five sessions and we start with the first session of course to really get to know the person and in a way how you want to get how you can get to know the person in only one hour to one and a half hour. Right. But I ask questions so the person that I coach answers his or her own questions.

00:33:06:14 – 00:33:36:12
Özlem Özkan
And then we look at what are the habits, daily routines, weekly routines that the person is actually having and what are the beliefs connected to these habits? What’s going really inside? And after we have an 1 to 3 session, we have put that on a map. Let’s say then we see different parts of the life, what the person is thinking, hey, actually I have here difficulties with we are going to look at what’s happening.

00:33:36:12 – 00:34:14:21
Özlem Özkan
Why do you have difficulties? You know, a lot of women, for example, they have beliefs around I’m not enough. I can do with I want to be run a business, but I can’t I don’t trust myself or some more very deep, deep down beliefs as um, I’m not, I do not deserve to be laughs. For example. That’s a very common what I hear a lot and this all believes are actually creating the reality that they are experiencing.

00:34:14:21 – 00:34:35:21
Özlem Özkan
If I would think now I can do this podcast with Philippa, I’m, you know, I can’t do public speaking. If I would think that I wouldn’t be sitting here, you know, if I would have that belief. But for example, I want to do it, but I can’t. I need to look at what is happening here after we have processed them.

00:34:35:21 – 00:34:52:22
Özlem Özkan
I’m not talking about got rid of them because also, as Seth Godin said on my podcast, we are not looking at like how to get rid of your narrative that you actually don’t want to hold. But we are working on how do you dance with it? When thoughts come.

00:34:52:22 – 00:34:53:24
Philippa White
You learn to live with them.

00:34:54:00 – 00:35:19:07
Özlem Özkan
And it’s because it will it will keep going. And then afterwards they write down for themselves where they want to go to. Actually, they are here after we have defined what believes are creating them to be here, we’re going to look at how do you get there? And I’m not going to tell the person you should do this these days because I am not the person that I am coaching.

00:35:20:13 – 00:35:44:02
Özlem Özkan
I’m not the whole being that I am coaching. I’m just being that is supporting coaching the person in how she or he wants to get there and make him and her see the strength that he or she has. I am standing with you next to you to explore your in our roles. Also, a lot of people always ask me, how do you write?

00:35:44:03 – 00:36:03:01
Özlem Özkan
How did you write this book? How did you go to Istanbul? How did you find a job in fashion while you studied education? How did you do this? How do you do? And I’m like, I don’t know, I am not special or something. Not I’m not extra old. I’m just a person because I thought I can let me make a plan.

00:36:03:01 – 00:36:23:10
Özlem Özkan
Let me get let me learn how to live with my thoughts that say, yeah, but you have to say I have to have a business degree or you have to have an audio degree in order to be a podcaster, or you have to know people in order to be a podcaster or I don’t know, whatever people have in their minds.

00:36:24:01 – 00:36:48:19
Özlem Özkan
Now you just start. And yes, by the way, you put yourself out there. There will be people that are laughing at me like, Oh, my gut. Is she a podcaster? Oh, is she writing this book? Yeah. But there will be also people saying, Hey, I like kids. And, you know, what I really like is instead of focusing on the critic, focus on the people that you can serve.

00:36:48:24 – 00:37:12:19
Philippa White
Absolutely. That’s that’s a really wonderful way to leave this. Actually, I think that’s great. We will include, of course, on the notes, the link through to how people can reach you if they want to get coaching. Muslim does have a podcast, obviously, as she’s talking about the podcast. So we will include that. And as we just wrap up, I mean, do you have any final thoughts that you want to leave our listeners with?

00:37:12:19 – 00:37:35:13
Özlem Özkan
Yeah, the final thought is and please do it for a minute. You know, after you say stop on this episode, really get still and believe in the power or within you belief please in that because there is such a huge power within you.

00:37:35:21 – 00:37:48:09
Philippa White
Thank you so much. Thank you for joining us. Thank you for your time. You’re a huge inspiration. And your book, gosh, we will include your students as well. It’s the students. Absolutely. It’s a pleasure. Thank you so much.

00:37:48:09 – 00:37:53:06
Özlem Özkan
Thank you so much, Philippa, for having me. Thank you.

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