When they met in Alice Springs almost 20 years ago, Monica Bjorlid and Mark Sandercock hit it off immediately. Then a hotel front desk manager who was holidaying in Australia from her native Sweden, Monica “stayed in touch as friends” with businessman Mark for a year before heading to Adelaide to “check him out” again.
The discovery mission went so well that Monica and Mark married in 2003. “We had a little backyard wedding with a handful of people and homemade cakes,” says Monica. “It didn’t really matter that it was small, not when you are head over heels deeply.”
17 years later, the pair shares not just a long marriage but an 11-year-old daughter (plus Mark’s two adult children with a previous partner) and a relationship coaching business, Magnificent Mindset, which they started after joining The Coaching Institute six years ago.
“Couples tend to lose each other in the business of life and family, so we bring some of that back,” says Mark, who runs the coaching business part time with his job teaching baking in prisons.
“It’s so cool because there’s couples who can bring it back to a greater sense of what they were before … when you think your first couple of dates were excellent, you can have that 10, 15 years down the track.”
The couple's own marriage has changed and improved because of the work they’ve done and all they have learned at TCI. “Like every couple, we’ve gone through our ups and downs. I remember times when Monica was saying to me, ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you anymore,” says Mark. “And I was like, ‘wow, okay’. So we had to dig deep.
“We have a saying, ‘We stay in the car’, meaning we don’t just walk off and not settle or sort it out. We have a deep connection where we can both handle it, and sit in that space.”
It was Mark who suggested Monica join TCI when she was looking for a new career challenge to offset her work as a youth case manager, then he found himself signing up too, to address issues including drug addiction which stretched back to when he was “lost” at the end of his first marriage.
“So many men come out of broken relationships and they end up not experiencing love or life to its fullest and to me that was the moment of knowing you can still thrive after that, so I went on a personal development journey,” says Mark, whose speciality is working with men.
“I was studying Monica’s TCI stuff when she started and it was just amazing. It’s taken me to where I am now. You go into it thinking, ‘I am going to make big money and change the world’, however, hang on, I have to do some work on myself first.”
Says Monica, “I don’t think Mark would have realised back then when he suggested I should become a coach what that meant for both of us, and the wonderful journey that has continued to evolve thanks to TCI.”