What are emotional firewalls?

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a set of emotional and social skills that influence how we perceive and express ourselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges, and use emotional information effectively and in a meaningful way.

Emotional Intelligence is proven to be a key indicator of human performance and development. People higher in EI communicate effectively, form strong relationships, and create powerful and healthy resilience strategies.

Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress—such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. As much as resilience involves “bouncing back” from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth.

Emotional firewalls are your resilience strategies which are unique to your life.

How do you build emotional firewalls?

Achieving work-life balance continues to be a long-standing debate and struggle for many. According to the World Economic Forum, one in four women are considering downshifting their career or leaving the workforce entirely, as the stress of managing home life and dealing with the depleting demands at work became simply unbearable. Hence, continuing to talk about work-life balance sounds like a utopian concept for many women.

When I had my son, I remember the dreadful feeling of dichotomy every mother feels when going back to work and leaving her baby at home or in day care. At one hand, the desire and the need to feel fulfilled and light that fire within us is so strong. And on the other hand, guilt for leaving our little bundles of love behind can creep up.  This internal conflict in itself can cause a lot of additional stress that depletes your energy levels.

And even if you don’t have children, feeling that you need to sacrifice your personal life and hobbies, so you can build a career worthy of your talents can feel exhausting. Being on alert all the time as the subtle office politics tactics keeps you on your toes. Facing verbal microaggressions from both male and female colleagues can leave you defensive or helpless. Either way, always being on your guard can cause chronic invisible stress levels that add to the burden of trying to achieve balance in your life.


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Your life wheel

Your life wheel consists of all the areas that are important to you. The most common ones are:


  • Your physical environment


  • Your health


  • Your career


  • Your finances


  • Your platonic relations


  • Your romantic relations


  • Your personal growth


  • Your fun and play
Home Office

Physical environment

Whether it is your office space or home environment, how you feel in your space influences your stress levels. My previous flat was spacious, modern and functional. It checked all the boxes of what I thought I wanted in a luxurious flat. Instead, I never felt home. I had accumulated so many things hidden to the eyes in the cave, and behind closed doors of my cupboards.

Had I known then what I know now – I am sure I would have felt differently by adjusting my physical environment!

I now have built the emotional firewalls and learned the process of adjusting negative emotions, so I can increase my positive emotions in any environment.



I speak and write openly about my burnout experience. It was beginning 2018 when my body began to rebel against my mind’s desires. Despite my deep emotional writings, I am quite a cerebral person. In other words, I am in my head a lot. Thinking, worrying, planning, creating and imagining both best and worse case scenarios. The problem throughout all these years that I never listened to my body. I was completely disconnected.

Sure, I did some exercise here and there. I loved dancing to hip hop music and Latin beat. But I was oblivious to the toxic food I was feeding my body, to the impact of my mental stress on my physiology, and how my experience of body-shaming impacted my health negatively.

Burnout is never a manifestation of something unexpected, but rather an accumulation of smaller events that lead to bigger events until a brick wall brings in a tower moment. Your body collapses, and you’d don’t have the energy left for anything then to sleep, hide and retreat.

It is not all doom and gloom, though. I have learned to build my emotional firewalls, recover from my burnout and build my business during a pandemic which was one of the most challenging times of my life. And yet, feeling burned out is of the past as I learned how to manage my energy by building emotional firewalls.



I remember the first day I moved to southern France, Aix-en-Provence, was a 21-year-old to work for NATO. Me, an immigrant’s daughter who was ridiculed most of her young life, was working at this prestigious institute. In France! Little did I know that climbing up the career ladder from Secretary to Senior Executive would come with many wounds and wisdom. Yes, working in a male dominated environment was challenging to say the least. I constantly had to prove myself, worker harder, work more, and never feel good enough about myself doing so. It was a vicious, never-ending circle.

At the same time, I realized much later in life that I was coming from a place of wound not worth. I was trying to prove myself to feel validated through my work and by others. When, in essence, self validation was the most important validation of all.

When you wake up in the morning, feeling enough by just being you, any validation from external sources like tax. It is an addition, not a deduction, to your self-worth.

Emotional firewalls help you validate and accept yourself first from the inside out.



Money, money, money. For some, it is the holy grail for all world problems. For others, it is a mean to financial freedom. For others there is never enough and fear of not having more results in all kinds of different unhealthy behaviours.  For me, I was oblivious to the relationship I had with money and finances in general.

I grew up in a family dynamics where my mother modelled financial illiteracy and my father control and fear of losing money. Feelings of shame and scarcity were my dominant emotions whenever the subject of money came up. So growing up and long into my adult life hood, I made a lot of money. But I also never kept it. Spending money whenever I made more money felt much better than saving money when making money.

Emotional firewalls helped me blow up these paradoxical paradigms related to money and finances. I transformed feelings of shame and scarcity into joy and abundance when it came to money. I faced my fears with knowledge and became financial literate and even excited in building wealth from a place of worthiness, not wounds.

platonic relations

Platonic relations

A few months ago, I had an aha moment when listening to a podcast about feminine frequency.  One of the guests reminded us that we are in relationships with everyone and everything. But often we focus on the relationship with others rather than on the relationship with ourselves. This does not mean that these are mutually exclusive as we grow when we learn how to relate to others on our life journey.  However, relating to others from a place of wound and not worth manifests in unhealthy and even toxic relationships.

I don’t hide the fact that I grew up self-reliant as being born into a family of five where both of my parents tried to care for us by working full-time jobs, struggling to make ends meet and feeling like an alien in my little hometown – feeling loved by others was foreign to me. Moreover, children can be really mean at a young age when you don’t fit in. So in my map of the world, relationships with others meant manipulation or selfishness.

Many people I have met in my life displayed behaviours from a place of low levels of emotional maturity, jealousy or envy, selfishness or other wounds. Hurt people, hurt people. I also acknowledge my part in that I too came from a place of wound instead of worth and projected my insecurities into my platonic relationships.

Emotional firewalls helped me set, communicate and implement boundaries so that I can have healthy relationships. They helped me become aware that I am happier with a smaller inner circle of people who are my roots in life, and that’s enough for me.

Emotional firewalls help me guard my inner peace, so I can use my energy and be the woman with ambition I was born to be.

Romantic Relationship

Romantic relations

We all remember the timeless Disney movies who taught us romance, and love. The prince will come and save you, the queen will stand by her king, and so on. In reality, what happens often is that as adult women, we try to change the ending with our father figure. If we lacked a father figure, subconsciously, we may try to find that human need to feel validated by a father figure in other men. Sounds weird, but happens more frequently than you think.

Or perhaps your father was absent most time, not choosing to spent time with you may cause you to change the ending with romantic interests later in life. You find emotionally unavailable men who don’t express, or who don’t choose you, or who don’t invest in you the way you deserve. That is what feels attractive to you and familiar. The men who do want to invest in you and care for you and treat you as if you are a precious gift in their lives, are typically brushed off as too nice and feel unfamiliar.

When people show you who they are, the first time, believe them – Oprah Winfrey

I used to have a history of attracting relationships where the men had either low levels of emotional maturity, unable to communicate or were living far away. For me, the fantasy of having a relationship felt much safer than being in an intimate relationship with someone else, which was completely unknown to me and felt scary because of my past trauma.

Emotional firewalls, with a lot of inner work, has helped me feel safe and secure within myself, have standards and uphold them, and know what I want in a romantic relationship and what I don’t want.

personal growth

Personal growth

Learning new habits may seem easier than unlearning old habits. Especially if we have low levels of flexibility and are more reluctant to change. Change is inevitable in life, and we can either resist or go with the flow. I admit, this is easier said than done. Especially now when we live in a world that is marked with volatility and uncertainty. How do you embrace change in times of uncertainty?

Understanding how to navigate from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset can help you embrace change as an opportunity instead of a threat. As human beings, our mindset is conditioned to keep us safe. It feels uncomfortable to go out of our comfort zone, and thus you may try to avoid personal growth at all costs. The other scenario may be that you have lost touch with your own identity and constantly change based on external benchmarks and standards in society.

Emotional firewalls help you embrace a growth mindset on your terms in life. So, whenever you feel triggered or discomfort, you learn to transmute the discomfort into wisdom through your burning flame.

Friends Fun Play

Fun & play

When was the last time you had fun? When was the last time you enjoyed yourself or the moment for no reason at all?

The other day, I was taking a walk in the park with a friend and my son. In Nadja’s map of the world I saw a falcon, a beautiful black falcon. In reality, and taking a closer look, it was a crow. A beautiful, crow, but a crow nonetheless. Definitely not a falcon!  We burst into laughing without shame. I acknowledged that my reality testing was quite a bit off. Those moments were priceless, as I had been working non-stop during the days and weeks before. I forgot to have fun for no reason at all.

Being a woman with ambition, especially if you are plagued by perfectionism, taking yourself too seriously can cause more stress in your life. I always say take what you do very seriously, but not so much yourself. It does not mean you need to act like a clown. It does mean to let go a little, live a little and laugh a lot. The most important opinion you will ever have is the opinion you have about yourself.

The most important antidote against stress is fun, play and humour.  Emotional firewalls will help you keep negative emotions at bay when and remind you to ignite your positive emotions.

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What others say…

I had the immense pleasure and honor of doing an online visualisation exercise with Nadia El Fertasi. I was familiar with the technique but not at the level at which Nadia applies it, which is impressive because she adds so many personal elements to the visual story. Also it was a very elaborate visualisation which makes it truly impactful. To work with her on visualising my future last week has really given me extra clarity and focus. I feel energised. We did the visualisation online and that works just fine. I strongly belief in the power of visualisation and definitely recommend Nadja El Fertasi!

Elizabeth van den Bergh

Intl. Speaker Coach/Entrepreneurs and Executives to speak with confidence & impact

I attended Nadja’s workshop on work-life balance and two hours later walked out feeling inspired, confident and ready to conquer the world. Her enthusiasm, expertise and kindness are just some of the qualities she brings to her method and manages to create such a safe and fun environment for participants. The exercise we did helped me put into perspective a lot of things in my life. I can’t thank her enough, and can’t recommend her enough!

Marianna Tzaerli

Nadja is an enthusiastic, prepared, inspiring woman. She’s able to open your mind to new visions and perspectives. I recommend her training 100%. 

Eleonora del Vecchio

The Brussels Binder

Unmask your Potential’ workshop was wonderful.  You have a gift for enabling people to dive into their internal barriers, throw them open, and permit powerful self-worth to rise to where it serves them well, with caring, meditative & soothing freshness. Thank you.

Sandra Melone

Chairwoman, Board of Directors, Search for Common Ground Belgium

I had a wonderful coaching session with Nadja yesterday. Next to using a specific coaching technique, she went further to assist me with emotional blockages in a kind and professional manner. She was very involved and could react promptly to ‘my story’, highlighting different elements and situations I need to bring more attention to. Even though it was an online session, she manages to connect to you deeply . Nadja was also very careful not to push too much, when the emotions are high. She managed to guide the whole session with care, love and kindness. I would definitely recommend Nadja should you have emotional blockages or if you need to someone to let you see that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Andreja Sulim de Zwarte

International research funding advisor

We  had a powerful  session of me visualizing my dream, with Nadja standing beside me, of how I would create a healing center for women offering  yoga and somatic healing.  With her guidance I was able to visualize the way I wanted it to look as a space including the small details, how it would feel to women coming into it and what possibilities I could offer there including healing retreats.  We established a timeline goals, of what/when/how,  in making this come to fruition including ongoing training, personal healing work and the practicalities of establishing a web presence, funding etc. I was brought to tears at how real and tangible visualizing it was.  I now have the “bones” of what I want to make happen and Nadja has given me the tools to flesh out the body of my life goals.  I would highly recommend her to anyone that is seeking clarity personally or professionally.

Caroldean Jude

Yoga Teacher at Shift Power Yoga in Coquitlam

Nadja El Fertasi has been my coach since February and has helped me tremendously navigate through a series of challenges/changes in my life. I first met Nadja at a NATO conference and immediately felt connected to her. She has this incredible ability to inspire confidence and trust, listen and empower you. Speaking to her is easy and soothing at the same time. After we met again in February, Nadja kindly proposed to coach me. I was in the process of trying to find a new job and sitting a few interviews and feeling very stressed out. I did not know where my career was taking me and felt a little overwhelmed. What Nadja did was to help me understand what my core strengths were and what type of person I was, for me to release my full potential and be happy. Her methods were carefully designed and professional. She sent me a full report after each of our sessions which contained a wealth of information and tips.

Throughout my 6-month journey with Nadja, I have learnt a huge amount: what my inner strengths are, how to feel empowered and how to change my perspective on life and its little hiccups! Nadja has huge potential and an inner gift to sense and understand people’s emotions and strengths. I cannot recommend her enough.

Jessica Pennetier

Co-Founder & Head of Communications at Women In International Security (WIIS)

Nadja is a wonderful open minded woman. It is inspiring to be around her and to see how she uses her powers / strengths to help other people. I felt immediately comfortable with her. She really gets you and she helped me to see my strengths. She is passionate, she is an empath, she is a Power Woman! I definitely can recommend a session with Nadja!!


World Traveller and Change Agent

Nadja is one of the few people I know who’s mission and actions are aligned. She has so much to teach and share and getting the opportunity to learn or be coached by her is a gift. Thank you Nadja!

Nathaniel Prince

Founder of Profound Shifts

Si vous êtes à la recherche d’une coach en or, positive , expérimentée et dotée d’une incroyable empathie … Ne cherchez plus vous êtes sur la bonne page !!! Nadja se fera une joie et un immense plaisir de vous aider à débloquer votre potentiel!

Najwa Hboudane

Talent Management, NATO

A brilliant and passionate coach. She will help you to discover what you already have inside yourself. A true empath and an amazing human being! She is definitely born to do this!

Maria Agnese Arban

European Parliament

Can’t recommend Nadja enough. She’s a wonderful person and someone you immediately feel comfortable with. No judgement, just a lot of empathy and the ability to recognise your potential from the very beginning. No matter your background, I’m sure you will greatly benefit from her coaching. Go for it!

Norma Rose

International PR Consultant


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