Jana El Rifaii is a passionate coach serving our families in Orlando, Florida. Her creativity and capacity to hold space with others are just a few of the reasons she stands out as a leader and ambassador for LifeTutors.
Tell us a little about yourself.
If I want to describe myself in one word, I would say I am curious. I am always thirsty to know more about life and my place in it. I have been on an internal and external exploration journey in which I have developed a deep appreciation of the world and human beings. It started with curiosity about the physical world. I was interested in the neuroscience of the brain and how chemicals and neurotransmitters affect our behavior. I was also especially interested in quantum physics, which may sound like a study of the external world, but it is about human beings as much as the outer world. This interest took me to another: an interest in the world beyond our senses. It is the world of our mind and psyche. Instead of only exploring the chemical->behavior relationship, I started to see deeper ones: two-way communication between our minds and bodies. Now, I see each day as an opportunity to know and experience what is even beyond.
Where are you from? How long have you been in town? What do you love about your city?
I was born in Lebanon, but I am from every place I have been to. I lived in four culturally different countries and visited more than 55. Each place left a mark on me and shaped who I am.
Now, I live in Orlando, Florida. I have been living here for the past three years. I like that Orlando is a cosmopolitan, family-friendly city and is close to many exciting places.
What is your vocational/educational background?
I started my life as a mathematician. I have a Master’s in mathematics, and I also have teaching credentials. Going on my journey, I realized my passion for human psychology and behavior. So I changed my career and got certified in health and wellness, group, and Professional coaching. I also took courses in non-violent communication, Jungian therapy, ACT therapy, the Transtheoretical Model of Change, and Motivational Interviewing, to mention a few.
What drew you to work with LifeTutors? How long have you been with LT?
What drew me to LifeTutors is the population it serves. Young adults are a powerful force that can make a difference in the community. Helping this population tap into their strengths, uniqueness, and passion opens the door for them to excel in what they choose to do, which can only positively reflect on their relationships, community, and the world.
I signed my contract with LifeTutors at the end of 2021, and I look forward to our continued collaboration to make a real difference in the lives of the young adults we serve and their families.
What are some of your skills and specialties you bring to families at LifeTutors?
Before answering what skills I bring to families, I would like to share something I bring that is as essential as skills and specialties. First, I bring genuine care and authenticity. As I mentioned earlier, I changed my career because being with my clients is an actualization of my life’s purpose. In addition, I bring professionalism. I am aware of my responsibilities and of what this profession entails.
Moreover, I bring compassion. I know that each of us is on a journey in this life and faced with many challenges. I had the privilege to work with people from different countries, backgrounds, and cultures. This experience helped me see what brings us together and what makes each unique. Tapping into these experiences, I can connect with the families with openness and empathy and make a difference in their lives.
In addition to what I have mentioned, I have a broad knowledge of many change theories that can provide a framework for managing and implementing change, human development, people management, and the mind-body connection.
What makes you motivated to wake up and go to work?
What motivates me to wake up and go to work is the feeling of responsibility toward those I can help. I believe I have what it takes to make a difference in the lives of those who need me, and I can share that with them. In addition, coaching is my passion; I enjoy working with clients and seeing them grow.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know I love art and paintings. I find it fascinating how ideas and the creation of the mind can have an expression on a canvas. I am also an amateur painter.
Who is your ideal client?
My ideal client is someone who already knows the value of coaching and what coaching could change in their life—also a person who knows that coaching is transformational work that needs time and not a quick fix. In other words, a person who trusts the process.
Since the chemistry between the client and coach is essential, I usually offer a chemistry interview as a first step in attracting right-fit clients. It is an opportunity for us to be our authentic selves, explore needs or issues, understand desired outcomes, and understand the coach’s experience and unique gifts that can be used in the coaching process. It provides an opportunity to “experience” the coach’s style, increasing the probability of a great match.
What has been your biggest accomplishment(s) with persons of service at LT?
My biggest accomplishment is my relationships with my clients and their families. These relationships are based on trust, professionalism, and empathy. Because my client is at the center, these relationships allowed me to create a space for them to grow towards their vision and passion.
What would you like clients to know about you?
I would like them to know that I will do all I can to help them achieve their vision for themselves.