As a life coach, Caitlyn de Beer dedicates her time to inspiring individuals who genuinely want to create a life they love. A global coach and sought-after motivational speaker across South Africa, she’s living her dream and helping others discover their true selves.
Meeting Caitlyn you are immediately struck not just by the natural beauty that she is, but she exudes a zest for life and joie de vivre that it almost tangible. Her enthusiasm is contagious and it is easy to see how it rubs off on the people around her, immediately lifting spirits. Add this ability to her coaching skills, backed not only by academic learning but also her own challenging life experiences, she’s successfully helping others learn to love themselves, uncover what makes them tick and embrace a life in which they can thrive.
“I’m a self-management coach and speaker but I have a story too. Freedom from an eating disorder and a self-limiting headspace has led me to embracing a life I adore, in a body that I love, regardless of what I’ve eaten.”
As a psychology lecturer who has coached and mentored hundreds of individuals from 11 countries around the world, Caitlyn says she is always learning and finding happiness in connecting with women as they embrace their own personal journeys to fulfilment.
“I love life, but to be honest, I haven’t always loved it. I know what it’s like when your life looks great from the outside, or when you feel okay or normal, but you’re lost in performing for the approval of others, confused about what actually makes you happy and loathing the body you live in. I know what it’s like to be your own biggest critic.”
Caitlin shares her own story candidly as she talks about moving to Cape Town after school to study Clinical Psychology at Stellenbosch University where, she says, her dreams grew wings and took flight.
“Stellenbosch is a town I always considered my personal little goldmine… the small town feel, the coffee shops, the young vibe, the beach and mountains so accessible, the incredible running trails and hiking routes, vineyards and clear skies. It was love at first sight, but I was so caught up in a world of performance and perfection; at being the best at whatever I was doing. I didn’t know how to be me outside of the things I was good at.”
As a result, Caitlyn developed an eating disorder, something that now plays a large role in her ability to help others who have bad relationships with food, to address their body image or eating problems and reconnect with their values.
“With the right therapy, I was able to figure out who I was, what I wanted and focus not on being the best anymore, but on doing what I loved for the right reasons. I got my honours degree and then spent two years in in full-time ministry, mentoring girls and working with the underprivileged before I decided to pursue a career as a life coach.”
In 2011, she qualified as a life coach, specializing in career and personal coaching.
“I used to be one those people who own a shelf of journals and spent at least an hour a day filling the pages with thoughts, dreams, fears and prayers. But then social media stole my heart and so what was once saved for the blank pages of a book only I would read, became a bit of a free for all. Writing a blog is wonderful, but like most things in life, it can start to take up more time than it needs to and so a balance in life became something I needed to achieve.”
For Caitlyn, this meant a complete life change. So she scheduled all her blog-posts in advance, sold her cellphone and headed to South East Asia with her husband Hendrik, where the couple lived for a year afterwhich they spent two months backpacking.
“Our adventurous spirits led us to South Korea, where we spent a life-changing year living and teaching. There I was also given the privilege of coaching people from over eight different countries around the world. Getting away from it all is sometimes just what we all need to breathe and open our eyes. Before leaving Korea, I bought a new journal. The front page, in true Korean style, read ‘Someday, dream will come true. When you are bright eyed and bushy tailed you should try to achieve your goal’. I knew deep down this was going to be more than just a travel journal. It was my time to rethink this whole blogging, social media thing and come up with a new game plan.”
That game plan was to teach people to love life, despite the chaos; that wherever they are on their journeys, being here now isn’t a coincidence; that there is nothing wrong with recognizing your potential and having the courage to tap into it. And she would do so through face-to-face and one-on-one online life coaching; through motivational speaking and through weekly podcasts in which she interviews exciting and influential people on topics relating to motherhood, wellbeing and managing your beautiful self.
“A life coach is kind of like hiring a personal trainer for your mind. If you’ve got stuff you want to get done but have no idea where to start, a life coach can help in a way that a friend or family member can’t. We’re there to pinpoint what you really want, set life changing goals, hold you accountable so you do what you say you’re going to do, and ask those powerful questions to get to the bottom of why you’re struggling with something”
On most days, she works from the comforts of an armchair, study desk or her bed, mentoring or coaching people on topics like digesting love; learning to heal relationships with food; setting and pursuing goals that help you come alive; embracing a healthy mind and body; and creating a lifestyle free of obsessing or anxiety. She also does a self-paced online course called Thriving as Me. As a mother to Sarah (3) and Noah (2) – two of her greatest teachers – she helps other mothers thrive in motherhood through a five-week intimate group space where they come together online to be reminded of who they are and how to find a balance during this stage of their lives.
“I live by the saying: I’m not here to compete with you, I’m holding thumbs that we both make it! It isn’t therapy as such, and it isn’t talking to your best friend – the way I see it life coaching is helping people work through issues that are bothering them and sort out what’s noise in the equation and what’s really important.”
Her biggest motivation for doing what she does is helping others to get to know themselves. Having accepted help when she needed it, healed from it and learnt to love the life she lives, Caitlyn enjoys sharing her knowledge, hitting high moments with those who find her coaching helpful and she thrives on watching people progress and grow as they learn to love themselves unconditionally, at a soul level.
“The way I see it, if you are given the right tools and asked the right questions, it opens the doorway to finding self-awareness and understanding what goes on in your head. If you can learn to manage this and share it and you have someone to believe in you (your ideas, plans, dreams or those yet to be discovered) then you will be able to live a life you love.”
“Life has its ups and downs, for all of us (me included). With two young kids, and so many things I’ve juggled in the past, hitting a wobbly was inevitable, but because I have learnt to manage myself well, I have also learnt to make the necessary changes in order to continue to do what I love and to survive being me. I like to deal with things quickly and effectively and prioritise what is most important. I’ve hired a nanny to help with my children when it’s needed, and I’ve also made a commitment to work half day and continue in my evenings when the kids have gone to sleep. I am fortunate that I have my parents close by who are also always willing to help.”
When she’s not inspiring individuals to live full and inspirational lives, Caitlyn enjoys regular long runs with Hendrik (she plans to do the Comrades next year), spending time outside playing with Sarah and Noah, or taking a break at their family beach house on the coast, where she finds her inspiration.
“I love yoga, kettle-bell classes, swimming in the sea and going to coffee shops on my own where I often prepare my podcasts. On Sundays, we go to church and every Friday night we enjoy pizza, on the couch, as a family. My journey towards living a happy life has taken time and so much intention, but I can honestly say that, although I know challenges will always surface, I love my life, my body and my career. Life is a gift, and we’ve all been given our own. No-one can take responsibility for this gift but you. It is your masterpiece, and it is my greatest hope that people can walk away from my life coaching sessions or talks feeling inspired, motivated and convinced that they were made with absolute intention and that their lives hold boundless potential.”
You can follow Caitlyn on www.caitlyndebeer.com
Photos – Tink Photography
Make up and hairstyle – Laura at Nixon Make-up
Hair Highlights – Schön Hair