Whether you are a business leader, want to rise to a leadership position one day, or want a big dose of motivation, you will want to connect with executive and life coach Stef Ziev. Her coaching sessions, speaking engagement, and new book align for an empowering message on how your choices lead to success in the workplace and everyday life. The Choice Is Yours: A Simple Approach to Live and Lead With More Joy, Ease, and Purpose is receiving acclaim from critics and readers. I had the opportunity to interview Stef, and our conversation follows.
Disclosure: Empowering your employees starts… now! The benefits include a more engaged workplace, explains Stef Ziev in this sponsored interview.
Interview with Stef Ziev, author and executive life coach
Living intentionally is much more than a popular saying. It has substance. But to get to that, you have to push out of the way a lot of chatter. That’s where The Choice Is Yours comes in. Let’s start talking about the importance of choice.
Certified executive life coach Stef Ziev is doing exactly that in this book, part of her empowering platform for current and aspiring business leaders. She offers practical advice, insights from her own life as a former executive, and exercises designed to make employees more conscious of the impact of their choices.
Let’s get to the interview! Welcome, Stef Ziev.
Hi Stef! You went from TV exec to being a certified life and executive coach – What prompted you to make that transition? Was there a defining moment?
When I was 36, I was dating a man I thought I was going to marry. One day I said to him, “What if I wanted to become a stay-at-home mom?” He looked me straight in the eye and responded, “If that’s the kind of woman you are, you’re not the woman for me.” At that moment, I made two choices. One, to break up with him immediately. And two, to do what makes me happy.
Though I loved my job and my team, I didn’t see myself rising higher than my current position in that industry. Soon after, I learned about something called life coaching and I immediately enrolled in a program to become a certified life coach. Nine months later, the stars aligned, and I made the life-altering decision to leave my job and start my coaching practice.
You demonstrated the importance of choice. Can you please share a bit about the power of conscious choice as you see it?
I believe that the more intention we bring to the choices we make the more power we have over the results we create. However, most of us are operating on autopilot. We’re letting our external circumstances dictate our internal experience.
We’re working so hard, and so mindlessly that we don’t even take meal or bio breaks throughout the day. This is not healthy for us, our families, our workplaces, or even our communities, our nation, or ultimately the world.
When we all start to choose with more consciousness, with more presence of mind, with more awareness about our thoughts and feelings behind our choices, that’s when we have the agency to really change our circumstances and create the outcomes we desire.
Interview with Stef Ziev cont’d.
Is that awareness what you hope readers will get out of The Choice Is Yours?
My hope is that readers will feel empowered, energized, and excited to transform anything that’s out of alignment in their lives and leadership, and elevate their experience, one choice at a time. The book provides practical tools and reflection exercises, along with client stories (and my own) that illustrate the concepts in palatable ways.
I hope people walk away feeling inspired and supported to use their power of choice wisely and in ways that serve themselves and others. And if people are entertained by some of my anecdotes in the process, that would be a win as well!
In addition to the book, do you offer coaching sessions? If so, what can we expect from the first session?
I do offer coaching sessions! I work both as an executive coach, which means a company hires me to work with their leaders and teams, and as a life coach, which is when individuals hire me. Though there are differences between the two engagements, the essence of the first session, which is a two-hour meeting called the Foundation Session, is similar.
Prior to that session, the client fills out a few forms online including a “Discovery” form and a “Vision and Results” form. In the session, which post COVID has only been on Zoom, we go through these forms together, solidifying the goals, the plan of action, and identifying anything that may stand in the way of achieving what they intend to create.
We also define the client’s purpose statement and go through an exercise that provides each client with a tool that is unique to them. This session alone is game-changing!
I offer a 30-minute, complimentary coaching consultation for anyone who may be interested in learning more about coaching and my process specifically. The choice is yours 😉
Wonderful! You’re based in New York City. Has NYC always been your home, and what do you wish more people knew about it?
Oh my goodness, I love that you asked me this question! I like to say my soul was born in NYC, but I didn’t move here until I was 31, in 2001, just two months before 9/11!
I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania called Easton. I went to college in Pittsburgh, lived in Philadelphia for two years, Truth or Consequences, NM for five weeks (in a youth hostel, which is another story), Los Angeles for six years, and then made my way to NYC just as the world would change forever.
What I wish more people knew about the city is that the people who live here are some of the kindest, most helpful, most interesting, most passionate people I’ve ever encountered. The extraordinary thing about NYC, especially in this current climate where we’re so divided as a country, is that people from all backgrounds—ethnic, socio-economic, cultural, religious, political, etc.—co-exist and connect in peaceful and powerful ways every day.
In Braving the Wilderness, which is one of my favorite books by Brené Brown, she has a chapter called “People Are Hard to Hate Close Up. Move In.” This is the invitation and the gift of the city. Because we live, work, and travel in such close quarters, we get to interact with people from all walks of life, learn from them, see them for the parent, child, sibling, partner, human that they are in the world.
NYC erases silos and provides the opportunity for us to be open, learn from one another, lead with compassion, and expand our hearts and minds. And many of us choose this. What would be possible if the whole world operated like this? This is what I want to create.
Interview with Stef Ziev cont’d.
What inspired you to write The Choice Is Yours?
Several years ago, I was at a very low point in my life. I had left my job as a television executive and started my coaching practice. Three years later my business failed. At age 41, single and broke, I left my beloved NYC and moved home to live with my parents. This was humiliating and humbling.
A few months later, still feeling lost and trying to get back on my feet, I attended an event run by motivational speaker and coach, Tony Robbins, that included a “firewalk,”—an activity where you walk on a bed of flaming hot coals… barefoot! The intent behind this ancient practice is to face and overcome your fears.
Even though I didn’t want to do this, I felt I “had no choice.” I also thought that someone would stop me if I wasn’t in the right headspace. I was wrong.
After leaving my body, and my choice, behind, I walked across the fire and instantly regretted it. I was scared I hurt myself. I was afraid to look at the damage I had done. I was mad at myself for giving my power away.
When I mustered up the courage to look at my feet, they were smooth and unscathed. However, a new fire was burning inside of me to hold on to my power and make my choices more conscious from that moment on. And thus, this book was born.
Your resilience is awesome! Can you share something that surprised you during the book-writing journey?
This book has taken on many forms over many years. As I have evolved, so too has the book. I am in awe of the writing process. That once where there was nothing, a book now exists! That’s amazing to me!
Most surprising, though, were the moments when I would receive notes from a book coach or an editor with whom I was working. When they provided the feedback, I would often stare at them blankly, having no idea how to address their concern. Then, either minutes, hours, or days later, the answer would come. Always.
In writing and in life, the answer will always come. We get to choose to create space, listen, and be open to receive the wisdom within. This is where the flow lives. It’s awesome.
You’re such a dynamic speaker! Quick, tell us why we should hire you for an upcoming event?
Well, first, let me say there’s no “should” in my world 😉, so if you want to CHOOSE to hire me for an upcoming event, I’d be honored! I hope you’ll see from the book and from this interview that I come to the table with a good sense of humor, a depth of knowledge, a fierce honesty, and the ability to synthesize complex ideas into simple, practical tools that make a difference in people’s lives and their leadership.
I’m an effective, energetic, fun (and funny) facilitator who customizes workshops and keynotes to meet the needs of the organization and the teams. I believe in the work I do and the people with whom I work.
I’m an optimist. I see the good in people. And I know we can change our world and the world for the better, one conscious choice at a time. Will you choose to join me?
Connect with exec + life coach Stef Ziev further
Email me to schedule your complimentary coaching session: firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about Stef Ziev on her website, including her coaching services and the book. You can also connect to schedule her for a speaking engagement.
Get The Choice Is Yours today
This empowering book is getting amazing reviews! Here are some of them:
“This book will inspire and guide you to create a better version of yourself.” -Mario Lopez, Emmy Award-Winning Host & Actor
“Stef’s profound ability to take elusive concepts and turn them into user-friendly tools that help people own their power and make more intentional decisions is on full display in her debut book, The Choice Is Yours. It’s a game changer!” -Farnoosh Torabi, Bestselling Author, When She Makes More
“Stef Ziev’s insight about choice, permission, and personal responsibility will inspire a new approach to decision-making in both leadership and your everyday life.” -Samantha Skey, CEO, SHE Media
Order the book The Choice Is Yours through Stef Ziev’s website and get FREE gifts. It is available in hardcover, paperback, or Kindle.
Thank you for the opportunity to answer your thoughtful questions! I would love to hear people’s thoughts about the book! I wrote it for all of you. – Stef Ziev