As part of my 10 Year Anniversary celebrations, I asked you to ask me anything about anything. I got loads of great questions from you, and here are just a few (and I’ll answer the other ones soon)……
“What set you on this amazing journey of wanting to help people become the best form of themselves?” Bob, Lincolnshire.
When I started this journey, which was 10 years ago, I was not in a good place at all.
I was signed off work with anxiety and depression. My daughter was about 18 months old. I’d had a disastrous return to work after maternity leave, and was signed off with ‘post-partem depression’. It was more anxiety-based, but I was put on the medication, and really didn’t know what to do next. I knew I had a massive mortgage. I had a young baby. Then I had a relationship. I had all of that, and I didn’t know what I was going to do next, and during that time, voluntary redundancies were announced at the BBC.
I just knew deep down I couldn’t continue doing what I had been doing all of those years – working away, working long hours.
Abd I knew it wouldn’t work for me and how I wanted to bring up my daughter, I didn’t know what else I could do but just took the redundancy. I started researching, looking into what else I could do, I looked into becoming a teacher, I really wanted to become a psychotherapist, but having looked into it just couldn’t even contemplate the several years of training, so things were looking pretty bad.
Then I met this BBC producer turned coach in a park and she told me about coaching.
Sounded interesting. I did a bit of research. I went on a couple of introductory courses and they didn’t blow me away. But what did was when I had a coaching session with my now dear friend, Judy Rich. In that session, she took me from a place of feeling desperate, hopeless, really feeling there was no way out for me, extremely stuck in everything that was going on in my life, and within that 45-minute phone call of a coaching session, she got me to another place.
She completely shifted me to a place where I felt there was hope, where I could see a possible future, where I felt more resourceful.
I felt calmer. I did not feel anywhere near as desperate and it really was like, “Wow.” So I was massively impacted in that session, but also, I thought, “Wow.” This is absolute gold. This is what I want to do for others too. So, that was the actual moment that changed everything for me and set me on this course – doing the same for others.
“What’s your take about balance in life? Is that possible, or a strange dull thing to strive for? I’m an adventurous girl and balance feels odd.” Tjessica, Holland
I love this question as I’m an adventurous girl too. I think there’s absolutely nothing dull or strange about seeking balance and, for me, balance equals a sense of inner peace, calm and then, from that place, you can be adventurous and go and do all these fabulous things. Well, I think you can hold both.
And I know how difficult it is to get to and access the calm and inner peace. If you’ve lived your life in the adventurous, the excitement, and all of that, you can actually be quite addicted to it, and not able to be or feel anything else.
Neuroscientists call it an emotional addiction – when we just have to have something, we have to do it all the time, and it’s at the expense of being, and living any other way (for more information go to my Blogs page and find my video/blog on Emotional Addictions)
And I do speak from personal experience of this. I definitely was living my life, before coaching, on adrenaline, and excitement, and adventure, and all of that. So I know how enticing and exciting that is, but also how much more rewarding when you can also access the peace and calm within yourself too. When you’ve got the balance, the calm the peace, the recovery, the rest, the time to enjoy the simple slow things in life as well.
“What helps overwhelmed CEO’s make decisions?” Nairy, London
I do work with a lot of CEO’s and I would say the number one reason they find it difficult to make decisions is that they’re not allowing allocated visioning and thinking time every single week. In order for our brains to work effectively, in order for the rational /thinking part of our brain – the prefrontal cortex to work effectively, we need to give it time and space.
Unless we give it space, it is not going to be able to do it’s job and make decisions, and in order to do that effectively, it needs to be free of distractions and stress. When you get stressed, the prefrontal cortex actually gets flooded with a stress hormone called neuropinephrone, and that stops you being able to make any good decision. The effects are what is widely known as ‘brain fog’ – when you literally can’t think clearly. So creating that space, that thinking time, at an absolute minimum of two hours a week, but preferably for half a day a week, is absolutely essential. Really making sure they’ve got that time to think creatively. No phones, no emails, nothing else. Dedicated visioning and thinking time. That is the key.
“What has been your greatest challenge during the past 10 years?” Trudy, London
The biggest challenge for me is to not be doing, working, grinding myself into the floor all of the time and this has been such a challenge because I’ve become my own boss. I used to do this when I worked at the BBC, but actually there, they loved it, of course, and you were forced to take time out as you had to go on holidays.
The most difficult thing is when you are your own boss and there’s no one else telling you, you need to slow down or you need to stop or you need to take a rest. So this has been the biggest piece of work I’ve done over the past 10 years is to actually rest, pause, do all the self care stuff that I talk about with my clients and I talk about on my videos. So really learn to take care of my mind, body and spirit. Really put my oxygen mask on first before I help others.
“What part of your work do you find the hardest to accept, and what is your coping mechanism for this?” Benedict, Lincolnshire
The hardest to accept. I don’t know if it’s hard to accept, but it pains me when I see a client really, really doing themselves a lot of harm. I don’t mean self harm, although I have actually had a client who that was an experience for as well, but when someone is really making their life really difficult, causing themselves a lot of pain. It’s causing them physical, ill health. It’s causing them bad mental health. And It’s making them to be anxious, stressed, ill.
That’s what I find really, really challenging, and by doing the work that we do, I know I can help them get out of it, but when I see a client in pain, I put my stuff on the back burner during it, and I hold them in it. And I have to hold on to knowing that they are creative, resourceful, and whole, and through the work that we do, they do shift that. They do because you always have a choice. This is the thing, you can always change it, and I absolutely believe that.
Even though I’m holding that, it’s called ‘holding the space’, the ‘safe container’ for them, absolutely afterwards, is when I allow that to come out and the way I cope with that is I make sure I look after myself.
So I don’t just rush from one session to another, I take time out, I allow whatever feelings I’ve got to run through me. I literally get up and go and have a walk in the garden. If it’s a Skype session at home, or if it’s in town, or within a company, I make sure I go and walk that through my body. That’s a really great way for me to be with difficult things.
And I have a supervisor, and I have a coach, so I take any issues that I’m dealing with, with my clients, to them and I work through and process my own thoughts and feelings, and then actually, that adds to me being able then to hold my clients even further in whatever they’re dealing with.
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