Today we’d like to introduce you to Caitlin Hawekotte.
Caitlin, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about understanding people, navigating relationships, and writing about both of those things to help people feel encouraged and a little less alone. I have stacks upon stacks of poems, blog posts, and stories I wrote throughout elementary school and beyond about how I was developing my sense of self and trying to figure out how to find a sense of belonging and live a life in alignment with what I value most.
A pivotal moment in my journey took place when I was a young teenager. My dad brought home a book all about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® personality assessment, which our whole family took to discover our personality types. For perhaps the first time in my life, as I read the description of my personality type, I felt truly seen and understood. I no longer felt alone or “wrong” for being the kind of person I was—creative, passionate, spontaneous, not very consistent with routines, etc. I suddenly saw that, according to this theory, I was just one of 16 types of people in the world, all of whom are valuable with perspectives worth sharing.
Almost 20 years later, my knowledge and experience with that assessment have helped me in my own personal development, my relationships, and my ability to help people better understand themselves and others. I’ve created a coaching business around helping others have the same kind of experience I had all those years ago so that they can make intentional choices that reflect their genuine selves. To this day, almost nothing brings me greater joy than watching someone find clarity and develop confidence in who they are.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
While my path to following my purpose hasn’t necessarily been bumpy, it has definitely not been linear. There have been many twists and turns along the way as I pursued various career paths, but each and every pivot I’ve made has informed the work that I do and helped me empathize with clients facing difficult forks in the roads of their lives.
I attended three different colleges and declared three different majors before finally earning my bachelor’s degree in psychology. Years later, after working at various full-time jobs and even pursuing acting, I entered graduate school to study counseling with the goal of becoming a therapist. Two years into the program, which I loved, I had a strong feeling that I was being pulled in a slightly different direction. Yet again, I switched schools and programs before ultimately graduating with a master’s degree in leadership development.
What I learned in the process is that it can be really scary to change course, and yet sometimes staying a course that no longer feels like the right one for you can be even scarier. I have also been forever shaped by every school, professor, classmate, supervisor, and colleague I have ever known, and I am grateful for all I’ve learned about every topic I ever studied.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway for me has been that I wouldn’t be able to, in good conscience, encourage my clients to be true to themselves or take calculated risks if I hadn’t ever been willing to do the same. In the end, my journey has made me feel better equipped to help guide others on theirs, so it’s all been worth it to me.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Part of what helped me make the difficult decision to switch graduate programs was taking the StrengthsFinder® assessment (now known as the CliftonStrengths® assessment). When I learned about my strengths, it became clear to me that they might best be applied by helping others in a slightly different capacity. So while I was working at a university career center advising students, I decided to earn my certification in that assessment as well as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® that I’d had such a positive experience with years prior.
After getting certified, I was able to help students figure out their career goals and choose their majors while using the personality and strengths assessments to help them gain insight into themselves. I had never felt more aligned with my purpose than I did when helping students. Eventually, I decided I wanted to start my own coaching business and continue that work I love doing with people at all stages of life—from college students and couples to work teams and those in career or life transitions.
By combining my training and experience in psychology, counseling, leadership development, personality and strengths assessments, and writing, I help clients construct their narrative and sense of self. My goal is always to do so in such a way that their life stories and paths begin to make sense and become clear to them so they can feel more confident with making decisions as they move forward.
I often say that I’m like a decoder ring with my knowledge and background, and everyone I serve has an encrypted message within themselves that they want to translate. Without them and their messages, I feel a bit like a ring that isn’t fulfilling its greatest purpose. But when we work together, we’re able to unlock truths about who they are, what they love to do, what their greatest strengths are, and where they want to go next. Every time I help someone get closer to deciding how to live a life in alignment with who they are and the gifts they possess, I feel like I am doing exactly that.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I feel like each and every person I’ve met in my life has helped guide me to where I am now. My family, friends, professors, supervisors, colleagues, and classmates have been so crucial to my personal development, and I’m endlessly grateful to them for that. I’m especially thankful for my parents and my husband for always supporting me in anything and everything I’ve wanted to do.
My dad is an idealist and dreamer who has always believed in me to the point that I learned to believe in myself. He is also a lifelong learner and the first person to introduce me to personality typology, which has played a huge role in my life. My mom has always provided wisdom, support, and practical advice that has helped me work toward the dreams my dad helped me dream.
For instance, when I was finally choosing my college major, her advice was to read through all of the courses in the catalog, highlight the ones that most interested me, and then choose the major that had the most courses highlighted. It was so simple yet so brilliant, and it’s that sort of outlook that has helped me guide others in making similar life decisions. I think I combined the lessons I received from both of my parents to inform my method of helping my clients as much as possible—always dreaming of possibilities and then developing plans for how to make them a reality.
Lastly, if it weren’t for my husband and his endless support, I wouldn’t have the time, energy, or resources to pursue everything my heart has desired in all our years together. He and our son bring me so much joy, and I’m so grateful for all the things I’ve learned from so many loving hearts and brilliant minds to help me nurture and strengthen those relationships to the best of my ability.
- $195 for a one-hour session to review and interpret results from either the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® personality assessment or the CliftonStrengths® assessment
- Website: https://www.caitlinhawekotte.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Baylee Grosso – (I love you so much photo)