December | Sonia Zarbatany
With 2023 coming to an end, JETELOVE chose to feature this firecracker and end the year off with a bang! Life & business coach, personal brand strategist, international speaker, influencer, fitness enthusiast, mother and wife, meet Sonia Zarbatany, “Coach Sonia” to many.
Sonia comes from a fashion and business background, having left Montreal to pursue her studies at Western University in Ontario in her early 20’s. She took a temporary leave from the family fashion business, moving to Los Angeles to be on a television show where she there discovered that her true calling was to become a certified life coach and speaker. She obtained her certification in LA, later returning to Montreal to helped build fashion brands such as Sanctuary, CeCe, Vince Camuto & Guess Jeans to name a few, but was nonetheless determined to pursue her passion for coaching.
JETELOVE asked: “What was the pivotal moment in your life when you just knew that you wanted to leave the fashion industry & pursue being a life coach?”
“I left Montreal at 23 years old”, she says. “I went to Western Ontario to study business, then moved to Los Angeles where I really fell in love with personal development and deep dove into that for both myself & others. I started speaking at 26. Became a certified coach, speaking on stages, mixing personal development and business, and really focussing in on social media, realizing that it truly is a huge part of marketing and branding. As a woman in this male-dominated industry of life coaching, I decided that it was my mission to set myself apart and expand on what I love doing which is coaching people. My mission was to become excellent at it.”
We asked : “Over the years, you have been interviewed numerous times, featured in Forbes as well as in many magazines, on podcasts and have talked openly with your following, taking your audience along with you on your life’s journey. What inspires you on the day to day to motivate and help others?”
“I wanted to make an impact.” she says. “Working in the fashion industry taught me a lot. There is a skill set required that you can’t learn through studying, you have to be living it and working in that industry day after day. Although I excelled at what I did, I was missing the passion and was looking to lead the next generation and leave an impact on them, that is what motivates me on the day-to-day, to be impactful.”
JETELOVE asked: “What is the most challenging part about being “Coach Sonia?”
“Constantly trying to create harmony between work life and home life. It’s not easy, trying to navigate through it all”. She openly shares the reality of the struggles that come along with being a mother of young children, having a full-time job, having people rely on her , giving talks all around the world, which means she’ll be jumping on a plane and leaving her family behind.
We asked: “What advice do you have for someone who is looking into getting a coaching certification, but isn’t sure where to start?”
Coach Sonia replied: “ Know your “why”. Be excellent in your area of coaching, work your butt off, make sure that you’re practising what you’re preaching. True experts in whatever field, sustain the test of time. The best rise to the top, aim for that.”
JETELOVE asked: “People tend to gravitate towards you, but you are also open about being widely criticized. You appear to have thick skin and seem to be able to block it out. Was this always the case and what is the key to that?”
She says: “Although I appear to have thick skin, I also has a very soft heart. I see the potential in people and see people who play small and who shouldn’t. I am often judged by people who don’t know me, but that does not prevent me from being who I am.”
We asked: “Why is it so important for you to continuously empower women?”
“There is nothing more important than empowering women”, she says. “We have a generation to lead.” She wishes that when she was younger, she had more women to surround herself with that were diverse, driven and inspiring. “The greatest gift we can provide our children is to show them that anything is possible, especially if you are a woman. We are limitless and fearless and should stop doubting and questioning ourselves constantly. It really blocks us from reaching our true potential and just going for it.”
JETELOVE asked: “What is the most common theme that people these days want to be coached on?”
She says: “People often ask me advice on how to manage what people will think of them. What will people think if I did this?, what will people think if I did that? Sadly, with women, especially, there is an overall lack of confidence, we need to take more action, think big, and do bigger things without feeling propelled to constantly worry about what others think. People always have an opinion. Some agree with what you’re doing, some won’t. We cannot let that stop us from taking risks and bringing our life to the next level.”
JETELOVE asked : “Tell us about the highest point in your career when you felt that you were truly where you were meant to be?”
She thought about this question and said: “It is hard to pinpoint one particular instance that was the highest point in my career although talking at “Le Grand Rex » in Paris was a great moment.” Especially since at one point, she was limiting herself from coaching in French and integrating into that market because she never thought her French was good enough. Her friend Martin Latulippe convinced her to join him on a talk a little over a year ago and she hasn’t looked back since.
JETELOVE asked: “You talk about the importance of your relationship with your adored mother, how the loss of her has transformed you to who you are today, how proud you are of your upbringing , your culture, your heritage & your family. What do you wish you could tell her now ?”
She replied: “It’s not so much about what I could tell her, it’s not about words but more about actions. My mother was my person. She was the first one I would call when I would exit the stage to tell her how it went. She was so excited for me, and so proud of me, and I would love for her to come along with me on this journey and see how far I’ve come. She was my driving force who propelled me to always go after what I truly wanted, and to never settle.”
We asked: “How do you find the balance between staying grounded and focused ?
She jumped when asked this question and said; “ I am always super focussed, there is no issue there”. She has no difficulty putting her phone away and focussing on the moment, and being completely present in whatever she is doing at that moment.
JETELOVE asked : “What is the secret to what seems to be your endless amount of energy?”
She laughed at this question and said: “So many people ask me if I’ve always been this energetic! Yes! From a young age, I’ve always been a ball of energy”, “I am absolutely doing what I love to do, which puts me on this high and gives me so much energy.”
We asked : “Does Coach Sonia ever take a Friday night off, order takeout, get on the couch and just binge watch Netflix?”
“Every Friday with no exception it is Shabbat dinner where my entire family comes over” she says. “It is non-negotiable, we never miss it. No phone, no distractions just being around my loved ones. During the weekend, of course I like down time to just be in the moment and relax.”
“Tell us something about yourself that we probably don’t know”, we asked.
She laughed at this question and said: “ I can do without the site of blood when my kids get injured.”
Finally, JETELOVE asked : “With the year coming to a close, what message do you have for humanity?”
“Focus on your mindset” she says. “In times of uncertainty is important to set the tools that you need in order to function productively. Also, be careful, you don’t know what people are going through behind closed doors. Being kind is now more important than ever. Focus on your mindset, dance through the chaos and watch yourself thrive.”
Thank you Coach Sonia, for being a true ball of energy and an inspiration to many. You have truly found your calling and your passion and drive is inspiring.
Keep shining bright #Ontelove
Give coach Sonia a follow on Instagram @soniazarbatany