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Conversation On Why Are So Many People Stuck In Unfulfilling Jobs – An Interview With Career Coach Anna Kmetova

Anna Kmetova, a Co-Active coach, transitioned from corporate life to entrepreneurship to guide individuals toward a more fulfilling career and overall existence. Faced with a crossroads at 30, despite a successful career in Amsterdam, she discovered her true passion lay in empowering others. Originating from Slovakia, she coaches clients online from all around the world in English, Slovak, and Czech. Beyond coaching, she immerses herself in life's vivid experiences, from exploring Thailand as a digital nomad to savoring Amsterdam's city life. Anna is devoted to helping clients discover their dream careers, inviting them to explore their full potential and realize their dreams.

Image photo of Anna Kmetova

Anna Kmetova, Transformational Coach

Tell us about yourself!


I'm a professional coach working online with clients from all around the world. I specialize in helping people get through midlife career crisis that lingering feeling of "Is this it?" coupled with a deep desire for something more meaningful. In addition, I work as a mentor coach.


I'm originally from Slovakia, but in the past twenty years, I have lived in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands and spent three years traveling around Southeast and East Asia, so traveling, adventure, and remote work are a huge part of my lifestyle.


I currently live in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, but my work does not know borders, learning that certain topics and challenges are a universal experience despite our backgrounds and cultural differences.


What inspired you to start your coaching business and develop your specialization?


I started my corporate career as a 20-year-old university student. My first "proper" job was in an IT company in Prague while studying at the Faculty of Arts. I couldn't help but notice the difference between those two environments: The "idealistic" environment of the Faculty of Arts, full of people studying subjects like archaeology, ancient Greek, or art history vs. the numbers and goals-oriented, "rational" world of IT business. These two worlds could not be more different, and yet, in both environments, I met people who felt lost and seemed like they did not even know how they ended up there. And to be honest, I was one of those people. So I started to wonder: How come some people seem to know what they want to do with their life and are not afraid to take charge, while others seem to just go with the flow and often end up feeling like victims of their circumstances?


Later, when I moved to Amsterdam, I noticed the same pattern among my colleagues in a tech company where I worked. These people were primarily expats: courageous people who were not afraid to move to another country and work in a different language and yet, they kept complaining about how their career "turned out." This fascinated me, and I decided to investigate why so many people feel stuck and unfulfilled in their lives yet struggle to make a change.


That sounds like quite a quest! How did you find out that coaching could be the solution?


I started my investigation with the person I could observe daily myself. What motivated me to be proactive in certain areas of my life vs. why did I never dare to take full charge of my career? Once I started to have conversations on this topic with people around me, I realized how universal certain struggles are.

We are overloaded by different messages from society and people around us: Do this, try that. This is not possible. This is what success looks like. It's not surprising that in all the noise, we are often unable to hear our own opinions or allow ourselves to feel what we feel.


The solution is within reach if we are courageous enough to be honest with ourselves and face our fears. And coaching offers us space to do exactly that. When I started my coaching training (as an experiment at first) and began to work on myself, the lack of clarity and direction in my career was the first thing I addressed, and that's what I later supported my first coaching clients with, and with great success.


So, what are the most common factors that hold people back from taking charge of their unsatisfactory situation?


Seemingly, the most apparent factor is a lack of clarity; What I'm doing right now does not feel right, but I have no idea what else I'm supposed to be doing! I’m not passionate about anything! This confusion is usually not caused by a lack of ideas or creativity, but by a "fog" of expectations, fears, or stories we are telling ourselves and these are often not even conscious.


People typically expect when they feel stuck that their situation will change or improve by itself. Or they look for "obvious" solutions, like taking a sabbatical leave from their unfulfilling job or applying for a promotion. And often, they do it, but they end up in the same situation anyway. It's almost like they have a huge blind spot, and they say, "Maybe this is what life is. Maybe I'm just the kind of person who can never be happy."


After working with hundreds of people facing this challenge, I can assure you that everyone has something they find fulfilling, and what's holding them back from acknowledging it is usually fear of failure, rejection, or disappointment.


My job as a coach is to create a safe, empowering environment for my clients to start being brutally honest with themselves and support them in facing their fears and take concrete, real-life steps towards transforming their life to its new, fulfilling version, where they feel like they are exactly where they are supposed to be.


Could you share any success stories or notable experiences from your clients?


I've had the privilege to work with hundreds of open-minded, courageous people, and each of their stories is memorable in their own way; some people landed their absolute dream jobs because they started to believe in themselves and faced their fear of rejection, while others started their unique businesses, letting go of their old definition of "success" and creating a new one. And sometimes, people decide to stay where they are, but they make it a very conscious choice, and are empowered to make the most out of their decision.


I could talk for hours about all those fascinating transformations and career transitions my clients went through. But at the end of the day, it does not matter how "cool" or "dramatic" the change someone made was. My biggest success as a coach is seeing my clients fully trusting themselves and making empowered choices that are aligned with what genuinely matters to them. Because this is what gives them a sense of ownership and confidence, and if they don't feel like victims anymore, anything is possible, and they are genuinely free to choose what they will do next and confident to take responsibility. And it's a skill that, if nurtured, can be used throughout their whole life.


What sets your coaching services apart, and how do they cater to the needs of your audience?


I find a personal approach very important to make the coaching fruitful. Sometimes, people already know what they want, and they still can't get unstuck, and that might require a deeper introspection. My approach is structured but also flexible and intuitive, supporting each client with what they need at each stage of their journey.


What message would you give to someone struggling with a lack of fulfillment and clarity in their career?


You are by far not alone in that situation, and you are not doomed there definitely is a way out of your stuckness, and you can have a job you find fulfilling, no matter what your background and experience is.


Also, it is not true that fulfilling jobs never pays enough, and you'd need to lower your compensation standards in exchange for fulfillment. Often, people think about the "obvious" ways to find fulfillment first: volunteering, working for NGOs, or being a doctor. And if those options seem out of reach, they give up. But each of us has a unique definition of what fulfillment means to us and a unique way of expressing it! So it's about getting clear on what makes us tick and being creative in translating it into a career that fits our current situation and lifestyle.


Last but not least, Getting help is not shameful; it can be an accelerator that will take you to places you haven't even dreamed of (or did and forgot) and empower you to become the person you are meant to be.


What is your vision for the future of your coaching business?


My mission is to give the best possible service to as many dedicated coaching clients as I can. I'm constantly working on my own personal and professional development. So I wish to continue witnessing the ripple effect my coaching has on the world and keep growing as a coach and human being.

Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!



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