On the 12 August 2017, I was participating in a workshop in London when the words “I’ll do whatever it takes to help people live their best life” came out of my mouth.
I knew the moment I said it that something had changed in me.
My life was really good at the time – I was in my mid-forties, happily married with two great kids and I’d run a very successful leadership development and executive coaching business for almost 20 years.
I loved my work, it paid me very well and also allowed me the freedom to work a four-day week and take at least eight weeks off a year to spend time with my kids, travel and learn.
Although the coaching I’d been doing helped people immensely – I knew I was spread too thin to help people the powerful way I knew I could.
I wanted to work with people the way I knew was possible.
And if I was really going to help people live the life they really wanted to live, I needed the space and time to do this properly.
And this wasn’t going to happen without radical changes to my business and my life.
Little did I know as I uttered those words, that “whatever it takes” would mean selling the business I had created, loved and run for so long only 3 months later. No playing it safe. I was all in.
Little did I know it would mean going through the uncertainty and self-doubt that I now know comes with any significant life change that is self-chosen (rather than a result of a crisis or an opportunity you can’t turn down).
Little did I know that I was going through what all my clients would go through as they chose a life of more meaning rather than staying on the safe, but less fulfilling, path of what they already know.
Although that moment in London was when I committed fully to this path, the reality is this is who I’ve always been.
What’s most important to me has always been feeling like I’m really ‘living’ my life and helping others do the same. Whether that’s friends, family, clients or a random person I end up sitting beside on an aeroplane or talking to in a coffee shop!
The drive to challenge myself and grow as a person rather than take the easy or safe option started over 30 years ago when I gave up my place in Trinity College Dublin (where many of my friends and even my boyfriend was at the time), got on a boat aged 17 and left Ireland to study psychology in the UK.
It has since led me to jump out of planes, take two months off every summer (before having kids!) to backpack by myself round the world, sing out loud on my own on a busy street in London despite a lifelong fear of singing in public, hike to Everest basecamp, do a fire walk and take part in a Guinness Book of Records world’s largest skinny dip.
More importantly, it’s led me on the inner journey to evolve from a hard working, high achieving “good girl”, to someone who is working in a way that is true to who I really am, doing meaningful work and who prioritises fun and joy in my life as much as possible.
One very successful CEO/business founder realised he could have much more impact & was happier when not caught up in the day-to-day of running a business & so decided to exit the business & focus on & enjoy what was most important to him in his work & his life.
One entrepreneur found that he had drifted into living a life that was all about outer success & making more money but wasn’t making him happy & found the courage to start living a life true to himself – not what others expected of him.
One client stayed in the business but gave up his role as CEO & made the (not altogether easy at the time) transition to focus more of his time, energy & exceptional talent on creating a charity to make a difference at a global level.
And for those who want a fulfilling, balanced and meaningful life, but don‘t feel you’re quite ‘there’ yet in terms of outer success, that’s fine.
I also work with senior executives (typically C suite or Director level) who want to create this life along the way rather than wait until they’ve ‘made it’ to make these changes.
For coaching to work well, the relationship between the coach and the individual is the most important thing. It’s the “secret sauce”. That said, qualifications and credentials are an indicator of a coach’s experience and professional commitment.
I hold myself to the highest levels of professional practice as both a psychologist and coach through my ongoing accreditation, continuous professional development, professional supervision and my commitment to always learning from the best teachers from round the world.