March 25

Prototype Yourself with Dr. Mirella De Civita



In 17th episode of Unique Careers, Unique Lives my guest is Dr. Mirella De Civita.

Dr. Mirella De Civita is the President of Papillon MDC Inc., a management consulting firm that serves an array of private, public, and social sector institutions in optimizing individual and organizational potential. She is also the Founder of Grand Heron International Inc., an e-commerce coaching firm. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Behavioral Medicine. She is a licensed Clinical Psychologist, a Professional Certified Coach, a Master Corporate Executive Coach, and a Certified Mentor Coach. Through Papillon MDC Inc., she spearheads its Corporate Social Responsibility division where the intent is to support Non-Profit Organizations in meeting their Sustainable Development Goals. All proceeds from her Speaking Engagements go toward such efforts.

I was lucky enough to meet Mirella thanks to a mentor coach program, because she was so generous to take time and share her experience having gone through the program I was considering to attend. During the conversation I mentioned to her about this podcast and she was again very generous to come and be my guest

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Why should you listen to this episode

It was a treat for me to listen to Mirella's thoughts about career and life choices. Her approach is a rich bouquet of personal experience and science, having gone through career change herself, her expertise in psychology and having supported clients making career and life choices.

I think you will enjoy this episode if you feel stuck or have ever felt stuck in your career or life, you have conflicting voices in your head and occasionally don't feel at ease, you are curious of what else you could be doing and if you enjoy a deep conversation and life stories.

The Key messages I took away

If you get stuck, it may be because you think there is only one or two choices. Mirella reminded us to think of the 3rd and 4th choice, to dream about these choices.

When you dream about those, you can start prototyping. How would I look like if I were to do X (put here a job), who would I hang out with, how would my communication be? 

If you don’t know yet this X, these career alternatives for yourself, you can start taking inventory of your skills. This is what Mirella did when she decided to leave the academia. She sat down, wrote down all her skills and explored where these skills would be useful. She came up with lots of alternatives, which directed her to a new certification program, where she met another participant who was having a job Mirella had not yet heard of (management consultant) but hearing her fellow participant speak about it, she could immediately prototype herself in this job, thinking what she would do and say.

What are your skills? Not the ones you are using in your current job but your whole list of skills? Where else can you use your skills? 

During this exploration you will find doubt and fear. It is part of the process. What will you do with it?

Mirella used a beautiful analogy, she said every action we take based on our beliefs is watering a seed. Become aware of which seed you are watering. When you stop yourself from taking action, asking a question, talking with people you are watering the seed of doubt and fear. What would you like to water instead? And what should you be doing for that?

The more we become aware of what we are telling ourselves the more we are able to choose "What are you watering?”

Dr. Mirella De Civita

She also shared how she practices her own self dialog - because our self dialog can be a huge obstacle we set for ourselves. Our protective, angry, perfectionist  (whatever your “disciplinary” self sounds like) can stop us from taking action and keep us stuck. Mirella’s practice is giving the space to this self but also to her wiser self. Writing the dialog of two selves on paper. I loved this idea! 

She motivated me with her practice of doing something uncomfortable every day. Isn’t that in the end why we stay stuck? Because we don’t go to these places that make us really really uncomfortable? We can train ourselves every day with this discomfort. 

I loved talking with Mirella and I learned so much from her!

Episode Notes

5:24 Mirella tells the importance about being flexible, seeing/ creating/ asking for other choices than that was offered to us - reflecting back to her childhood 

14:30 Mirella suggests us to introduce design thinking to our lives and gives the example of a coaching client applying prototyping to her career decision

18:00 Mirella shares her own career story

31:21 Mirella's change from academia to management consulting, how she prototyped herself, asked questions and stayed curious for other options

40:58 Mirella shares upon my question how to have a vision and still stay open and flexible

45:32 Mirella's practices to stay aware, open and flexible

50:09 Mirella's new projects: two new books

If you enjoyed  this conversation and want to listen to more wisdom from Mirella, you'd definitely want to check the written interview she gave to the She Ecosystem Platform, there are lots of valuable lessons for entrepreneurs. You can learn more about the work Mirella does and her personal story on this article that was featured in Umalia's newsletter, and here you can listen to her talk about "the psychology of bad leadership" as a guest in Keep Leading Podcast

If you'd like to get to know more about Dr. Mirella De Civita and her work, you can follow Papillon MDC Inc and Grand Heron International Inc. on the following social media platforms:

Follow Papillon MDC Inc on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and on Instagram.

Follow Grand Heron International Inc on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and on Instagram.

I would love to hear from you

How did you find this episode, what are you taking away from it?

Which lessons will you implement in your life?

I am curious! And I would be grateful if you would share it in the comments.

Thank you for being here. If you'd like to get the new episodes to your device, you can followUnique Careers, Unique Lives on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts and all main podcasting platforms.

If you think someone needs to listen to this episode, please share it with them. We will change ourselves together, we will change the world together, we are in this together!



About the author 


I am a LifeWork coach, the author of the book The Gift of Being Unfulfilled at Work, the host of Unique Careers, Unique Lives podcast, and the co-founder of BeCoach Academy. Learn more on

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