Back in 1998, I experienced 2 life-changing events. Firstly, I was made redundant. Secondly, I finally got a diagnosis for the complete lack of motivation, energy or ability to get out of bed that had been plaguing me for about 3 years: clinical depression.
Are You Sitting Comfortably….?
Then I’ll begin.
The redundancy was life changing because I had manifested it, artfully and deliberately. I had thought about leaving my then employers sooner, because it was obvious they were going to the wall, but I figured if I hung on, I might get a redundancy package sufficiently large to let me start my own business.
And so it was.
The added bonus, which I hadn’t calculated for, was that the package came with outplacement coaching. The money gave me the confidence to start out on my own, but the coaching showed me what I really wanted to do. To my surprise it wasn’t management consultancy, which I had been doing for about 10 years by then, or even becoming a full-time aromatherapist and bodyworker (which I had been considering), but coaching. I wanted to help others do what Helen, my outplacement coach, had helped me to do – to find my calling and direction and to plan how to make it happen.
The Great Depression was rather different. I’d had what I now realise was some kind of a breakdown back in 1987, when I managed to let life pile itself upon me, and ceased to function for a while. Back then I believed that mental illness was a weakness, so I fought through it without help, and got myself back on my feet. Or so I thought. But they were wobbly feet, and by the early ’90s I was a mess. I couldn’t create lasting relationships and I fuelled my existence with alcohol, cigarettes, ridiculous sexual adventures and the odd drug. On the surface, things appeared fine. I came across as a very cynical person but I was funny with it, so it was OK. People thought I was just fine because I knew how to pretend.
Things got worse when I embarked on a hormone treatment for Poly Cystic Ovaries (PCOS). The caring, compassionate, but rather ignorant gynaecologist put me on a hormone that – as it later turned out – was plain wrong. I fond myself weeping uncontrollably, not just at home but at work too. I finally admitted there was a problem, and found a psychotherapist, but really it was sticking plaster. It was good to know there was someone who had my back, and who I could talk to without burdening my friends and family, but it didn’t change anything.
So, in a bid to sort myself out without the benefit of help from the pharmaceutical industry, I embarked on an NLP course, which literally taught me how to take control of the way I thought about myself and about others. Thrown in with the NLP I also got hypnosis, a personal change technique known as Time Line Therapy, and an introduction to Huna- the spiritual, energetic and healing practices of the ancient Hawaiians. NLP, Time Line Therapy and Hypnosis got me out of depression, but it’s Huna that has kept me sane for the last 15 years.
So Why Am I Telling You All This?
I’m telling you this because it’s an incredibly important part of who I am that drives what I do. It also explains how I am able to help women be successful and happy in their careers and lives. As the Career Success Doctor, I could pretend that my life has been one long joy ride of success. It hasn’t. I’ve always held it together financially, but emotionally – well that’s another story!
I’ve had career successes, and I have had complete and utter career disasters (including getting laid off by Esso, because ‘you just don’t fit’). I was the square peg in a round hole. I know what’s it’s like to make it appear that everything is fine when underneath you’re just awash with inner conflict and confusion or – worse – numbness. And I’ve realised that pretending can only get you so far. I’ve pretended to myself that everything was fine, and done a good job of it, but the act of doing that took me away from my heart, my passion and my purpose.
In my own journey to career and life happiness, I’ve acquired a lot of skills, which have helped me get to a great place in my life, and which I now use to help others do the same. The main ones are NLP, Time Line Therapy, Clinical Hypnotherapy, Psychology, Coaching and Huna, together with a deep understanding of business and organisations and how they work. Understanding business and organisations is incredibly useful if you’re coaching people to career success and happiness!
Huna has taught me to bring spirit and connection into everything I am and do. The wonderful thing about Huna is that it isn’t just a philosophy, but it also includes practical tools and techniques for self-healing and, if you’re so inclined, which I am, helping others heal. If my clients have any kind of spiritual awareness, then I’ll bring in Huna techniques because they are practical and teachable, and they speed up the process. That’s empowerment.
The Other Bits
I’ve always been a traveller, literally and metaphorically. My parents were natural nomads, and until my mid-30s, so was I. I’ve lived in Malaysia, Brazil, Greece, and Holland, and I’ve worked across Europe on different projects.
I have shed-loads of qualifications, including 2 Bachelor’s degrees, 2 Masters and a PhD. In the process of acquiring them, I came to realise that, while learning can be fun and mind-expanding, you don’t need dozens of certificates to live life to the full and have a career that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning and live your life with purpose. The quest for more qualifications is very often an illusion, which convinces you you’re doing something, without making you address what’s really holding you back from achieving your dreams. But I’m a slow learner: it’s taken me half a life-time to work that one out!
As one of the first women into a man’s college at Oxford, I’ve suddenly woken up and realised that I’m actually proud of us (the women who accepted the challenge), the guys (who weren’t used to having girls around but adjusted) and to my college – Jesus – which came up with the idea, which was known as the Jesus Plan. 2014 is the 40th anniversary of this event, which ultimately changed one of the UK’s major academic institutions for ever. Looking back at 1974, it seems mad that this should be so pioneering that only 5 colleges dared do it, but back then they were the far-sighted ones and the ratio of women to men in Oxford was 1 in 8 – or worse.
My career has been, um, varied – sales and marketing in the oil and shipping industries, running a company in Greece, management consultancy, IT consultancy and management, cranio-sacral therapy and other hands-on healing work, clinical hypnotherapy and mental/emotional healing work, academic teaching, HR consultancy, and the thing that really floats my boat – coaching.
I love seeing the ‘aha’ when clients and students ‘get’ what ever’s going on for them, or how to change their lives. I love hearing of their successes while we’re working together, and long after. I love knowing I helped someone to have a happier life. And yes, I love it when people say thank you for something I said or did which made a profound difference, or they write me a wonderful testimonial.
I also get a huge kick out of working with teenagers – whether it’s coaching aspirant delinquents to stay aspirant and drop the delinquent, running group coaching programmes to help them change the way they look at the world to hep them get better results, or contributing my business expertise to programmes designed to make them more business- and workplace-wise. The great thing about working with other people’s kids is you get to give them back! I also believe passionately that helping today’s teenagers become effective members of society, find jobs they love and become the innovators of the future is really important, so I do most of this either on a voluntary basis or for very low rates of pay.
My Offer To You
If you like what you hear, and you want to know more about working with me, then I’d love to invite you to a one-to-one Career Strategy Session with me.
Your investment? An hour of your time.
Your return? Greater clarity, a sense of purpose and direction, focus, motivation and a plan of action.
Why? I like helping people. It has a powerful feel-good factor! If I think there are ways I can help you further, I’ll share them with you, with your permission. If I don’t I won’t.
All you have to do to kick the process off is to put your name and email address in the box below.