personal buddy
wise friend for rent
helping you spread your wings and fly
Most thriving companies regularly hire consultants to deliver the outside perspective and ask challenging questions, helping to coin the right way towards success.
What if you could hire a personal consultant - a personal buddy - that would do the same for you as an individual? Not a regular life coach that follows the strict "never give advice" code, but more of a personal consultant, guiding you all the way if needed?
What do you really want?
You will discover your true values and interests, your limitations and dormant superpowers.
What do you really need?
You will define your personal and professional goals that would be in line with your true interests and values.
How can you get there?
There are many ways towards reaching your goals; which one would fit you the most?
How does it look from the outside?
The unbiased, neutral perspective on any question which is nagging you. A wise friend for rent.
Sometimes all you need for take-off is for someone to help dust off your wings; sometimes you need a kick in the butt. I have a broad experience with both methods.
Personal buddy can help:
if you are struggling with balancing your internal roles: mother, professional, woman, friend etc., and need a starting point or a gentle push
if you don't know what you want in life or even if you think you know what you want, but need to bounce off some ideas with someone who understands. And yes - it could be both business and personal ideas.
if you need a "listening ear" that can ask some critical questions for your further self-reflection
if you search for self-coaching methods and are in need of orientation because otherwise you are drowning in information
... all that and much more is what personal buddy is all about
personal buddy
your sparring-partner
your supporter
your critic

your wise friend for rent
Depending on your situation
Let's talk on paper
Currently the main format. Totally at your convenience. E-mails, chat, messages. I am there to guide, provide feedback, pose questions, give some ideas, prompt self-reflection and help you find your best way towards your dreams.

21-day program
Three weeks, three substantive calls, text support in between, all the necessary support materials. We will develop a new habit for you - an ability to consistently move in the direction you have chosen, without wasting your internal energy and always finding time.
Emergency first aid
We start putting you together. One call of ±1,5 hours + materials for self-reflection + feedback
Individual schedule
Depending on the request and your particular situation, it could be an everyday support, as well as any other schedule you feel comfortable with.
I believe that everyone is able to personally deal with questions regarding self-development, yet sometimes it might be handy to bounce off your thoughts with a friend. However, you can easily "piss off" your friends if every time you meet them you are going to drill them with issues of your self-development. That's where I come into picture, to give you what you need without putting at risk your true friendships.
you will know your true goals
you will start having time for everything which is truly important
you will be calmer and happier with your life
I truly believe that the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. I will teach you to dream productively and continuously achieve everything you set your mind on through the power of small steps.
Some facts about me
or why do I know what I am talking about
I am a mother of three; born and raised in Riga (Latvia), and now living in Belgium, where I moved over 10 years ago to do an MBA. I know what it means to be a foreigner, to "not belong"; how to find time for self-development and career in between breast-feedings and pregnancies; how to keep harmony and consistently find a balance of internal roles, and most importantly - time for it all.
I have over 17 years of experience in IP & Art law, negotiations, mediation and strategy (worked amongst others with Deutsche Telekom, Disney, Pfizer, Carlsberg and numerous promising start-ups). Currently, I am a strategy consultant in my own company and a Partner in a boutique law firm, specialising in IP and International trade law.
Having lead ± 50 mediations and countless negotiations, I possess in-depth knowledge of the psychology of a conflict, all main NLP techniques and various methods, akin to the ones used in coaching. I know external conflicts inside-out; and internal ones have the same dynamics. Besides, in the last 5 years I regularly delivered trainings, facilitated team meetings, and gave workshops on conflict resolution.
I have an international family. I lived and worked in 4 countries across 3 continents, speak 5 languages, studied together with representatives of 22 nationalities and worked for clients in 17 countries. I live the cultural awareness, not just claim I have one.
I want to make this world a better place, acting in small steps: one person at a time. My life motto is the quote of Eleanor Roosevelt: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams".
It is totally OK to be lost at times. I am sometimes lost myself. However, if that happens, I know where to search for help; I know where the lifebuoy is hanging and which questions I need to answer to find the way out.

I will not find your way for you, but I can show you how to search and I can share my experience. In that way you can avoid certain pitfalls and turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones.

Just get in touch with me and let's see how I can be valuable for you.

What my clients say:
I received exactly what I expected - I was attentively listened to and received sensible and thoughtful outside perspective on my problems. Flawless execution of all the promised - Maria devoted time only to me; in the course of relaxed and friendly dialogue found out and structured all my struggles; briefly and to the point summed everything up and gave me clear instructions. What has changed? I do not panic, and do not hastily run around. Already for the third evening in a row I am working on my life plan as Maria has taught me. I lacked a lot this rational outside view to streamline all my various projects, highlight the main focus, arrange all this, so that it becomes clear for myself where I want to go. The most important thing is difficult to describe, because it's about feelings. Maria truly loves people and is sincerely interested in them. Thank you, buddy
Eugenia Malinina
Graphic designer, illustrator
I would like to share with you my feedback about the 21 day course with Personal Buddy. To begin with, I want to point out that I am a "heavy" patient. At the outset of working with Maria I was amidst a postpartum depression and immigration crisis. I did not know what to want. I had a plan, but it had little to do with what I truly wanted. We started working. We talked a lot, Maria gave me homework, challenging even the most dormant cognitive performance. My "brain-processor" was boiling, but worked ... And then - all the hustling was gone. Everything that took away so much of my energy disappeared. Good habits kicked in, I felt no more emotional roller-coaster, and most importantly also my laziness vanished. I just became myself again: relaxed, systematic, thorough. I have learned to consolidate and supplement my internal resources, without burning out, yet based on my own capabilities and self-love. Every day, I meet with joy and gratitude. And last but not least, I have a life direction. We have worked out this one with Maria very thoroughly, and now I have my own life strategy. I also stopped to scold myself for multitasking. I regularly practice the proposed technique "you should at least lie in the direction of your goal." And my favorite part in this program: the feedback on all my desires.
I think my experience has turned out to be so deep and inspiring, because the program was created by a person deserving great respect, who has achieved dizzying heights, a person of incredible warm-heartedness and love to all she is engaged in. Wisdom originates in knowledge and the work with Maria gives wings! I wish everyone good luck! It is truly worth it!
Evgenia Vandenbussche
I thought I knew everything about myself, but recently I felt somewhat stuck in the routine. That's when I decided to try Personal buddy. It works! I tried coaching before but got discouraged by many mundane and obvious questions I was asked. Maria is not like that - she really hears you! And she totally drills you! I wouldn't want to face her as my opponent in court... It was not easy to follow all her suggestions but it gave me clarity as where I have to focus on next.
Maria Smirnova
I was always somewhat struggling with issues of awareness, plans for the personal development and analysis of my personality. Too much stuff to do, absence of comfortable techniques, and the whole idea of "writing for myself" seemed not particularly suited to me personally.
Maria appeared at the right time - the end of the year, when I was making plans and summing up the results of the past months. Format of working is stunning - that's a conversation with a friend, who herself achieved staggering heights and now can extend her helping hand to you.
I came to her with a story about my dream and immediately received a step-by-step algorithm of achieving it. Not just the overall plan, yet real contacts, down-to-earth advice, analysis of investment costs and so on. And on top of that Maria softly and gently pulled out all my underlying problems and gave me the materials she designed to actually solve them. Self-coaching following those materials proved to be an excellent tool for me to move on, sort out my wish-list, get rid of perfectionism and see my bottlenecks.

I am sure that Personal buddy will be an ideal match for someone like me - a woman with fast growing career; for someone who understands herself good enough and yet for the reason unknown does not do simple things which make life easier. Maria does not accept excuses; you will have to analyze yourself from all the perspectives, rather than focus on one domain only. She does not force you, but inspires you to change. She asks questions, gives advice, shows you the way from the height of her experience. And by the way she has quite some stuff behind her belt: the emigration, children, several educations and languages, two books, and work with the global giants (Deutsche Telekom, Disney, Pfizer, Carlsberg).

Personal buddy - it's an honest conversation between equals. This was the perfect gift I gave to myself. Thank you!
Olga Shevchenko
Business trainer, Consultant
Perhaps the most unexpected after our conversation was that I could see myself from a different perspective. What I considered to be my clear disadvantage could actually very well act as my unique skill. Our talk lasted for just 1.5 hours, yet left me with so many ideas for reflection and thinking through!
Elena Fedorovich
Small business owner, Investor
I decided to work with Maria, because I was a complete mess in my head. I have several projects, which I knew that I cannot do all at once; besides I had no idea if that's what I want at all. During our long conversation Maria just listened commenting along the way. The next day she sent me her written comments and material for reflection. I've done it all and everything just fell into its place. I understood what I needed to do in the first place, what I should work on, and what I truly want at this moment. This help was exactly what I wanted. Maria, thank you for the "outside view" and for the "first aid".
Victoria Alexandrova
Healthy lifestyle consultant
I was always afraid to look into the eyes of my fears, and even more so - to put them on paper. Ironically, Maria easily helped me not only to write everything down but forced to revise my entries, rejoice that barriers - that's what's sitting inside of us; they are ourselves, not what we imagine. Being an expatriate and starting from scratch, especially your own business - this is no easy task. Maria helped me by giving me a push to look at myself from the outside, so that I could clearly understand what is actually important for me. Thanks again!
Kamila Idyl
Portrait photographer, Natural Skin Care creator
It was interesting and useful. Most importantly, I came with questions and left with answers. Some of these responses I figured out myself, some of them Maria suggested. It is very nice to talk to her and she has truly great eye for detail. It seems that she did not tell me anything extraordinary, but during our conversation (I had two consultations with her) I saw the big picture for myself, and I know what I'll do next. I loved it how she summarized our conversation. To the point and very clear. Overall, I really enjoyed working with her, and certainly it was not the last time.
Irina Ivanova
I came to Maria without knowing her personally, though based on her online activity I had an opinion of her as a person with a rich and varied experience. During our interaction I discovered that Maria is also great at listening and hearing; thus even a short consultation with her effectively clarified my plans and thoughts.
Anastasia Gaasenbeek
Wedding and lifestyle photographer
We are a combination of our values and how we translate these values into our actions. My main values are integrity, being true to myself, continuous progress and being an inspiration to other people.
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