I recently learned about a model describing a profound shift on a personal growth journey: 
The model of the 1st and 2nd mountain – DOING and BEING. 

It resonated so deeply with me that I used it to redesign what my coaching approach means today, thus defining my 1st mountain, now from a quite confident place on my 2nd mountain. I drew a simplified picture and applied meanings to illustrate the journey.

We are conditioned and used to hike up and climb the 1st mountain: DOING. That’s the one where we gather experiences, pursue our careers, set and achieve goals or take a detour to move on. The path on that mountain is directed towards the top. Everyone defines their top individually. We create our identities on that mountain, facing outward (having, achieving, succeeding, building). We believe, we are what we do. 

The 2nd mountain is BEING. That’s often a very unfamiliar mountain. Being constantly busy, working, running around, planning activities or our future has left this mountain almost invisible, although it is there. There are times in life when we stand on the top of our individual first mountain and suddenly questions arise: What am I doing with my life? Do I really want to continue like this? What is it that I really want? What are my values, do I live them? 

Our life circumstances can lead to these questions, such as the loss of a (formerly believed secure) job or position, a severe disease, an accident, a new phase in life or simply an emptiness that cannot be neglected any longer. Metaphorically, the path on the 2nd mountain is directed downward, deeply into the essence and the heart of the mountain.

BEING: Who are you without your 1st mountain? 
This simple question can trigger fears, a sense of emptiness or sadness. 

This is where the transformational coaching journey begins. Someone to guide you to your 2nd mountain, building the bridge with you. Before you fall off from your 1st mountain. Before you start judging yourself and your first mountain and devalue and question all your efforts (I have been there). Before you close the doors because they don’t feel right any more, not knowing what door to open next (I have been there, too). And before you move into a state of distress and worry (I have been there as well), we can start the journey to your 2nd mountain by appreciating and honoring all that has brought you where you are now. It is your unique treasure you want to combine with your values, your needs, your desires so you are in your element, in your flow, integrating both mountains.

Having a solid foundation on your mountain of BEING will make you more resilient to changes on the first mountain. You start forming your identity from within, giving you inner stability, ease and confidence, leading to a different sense of fulfillment. And then you suddenly realize, you are not the one who is passive and waiting for things to change. You are the creator of your 1st mountain, and you have choices. 

I could continue to write and talk about the beauty of this process, especially when all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place and you just feel grateful for all that is and for the now.

I will leave it there for today. 

Much love,


Cologne, March 20th, 2023

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