As a teenager I thought I knew what a modern, independent woman had to do. My friend’s big sister had gone to University. She seemed smart and like she had it sussed so I decided I too would go to University. I knuckled down and worked hard.
I got a place on the course I had wanted, got my bags packed and set off to University. The freedom, the independence, the camaraderie, the growth.
I loved it.
I didn’t have a plan. My plan had only gone that far! So, I chose the conventional route and I got a job. My career was never consciously planned. I did what I’d always done. I worked hard. At times, too hard.
Opportunities presented themselves and I took them because I was scared these wouldn’t come by again, and I was flattered by the fact other people believed in me. I loved the challenge and diversity in the work that I did, I was passionate and driven, but I was also anxious and overwhelmed much of the time. This was not helped by the restructures, the politics, the relentless meetings, or the commute to work. I felt I constantly had to prove myself and discounted both my own abilities and the wider choices available to me. Looking at conventional measures of success in our culture - job title and salary - I was successful, but it was at a price.
I faced a difficult dilemma. I could not rationalise how I could be the Mum I wanted to be and continue this career path. Something had to change. The previous year, my husband had set up his own business. It was early days and a big gamble, but we decided I’d join Simon and for the next 14 years we grew the business, and our family, together.
However, many of the feelings and behaviours followed me. Life was busy juggling the kids and their many activities, work, the house, and the never-ending family admin. The people pleasing, overthinking and anxiety still haunted me. And I was bored and frustrated with the work I was doing.
There had to be more to life.
I met my cousin for breakfast. She could see I was struggling. She sent me an audiobook to listen to and from there I was hooked. For years books had sat unread beside my bed because I’d only get a couple of pages read and then fall asleep.
Now I listened to books whenever I was in the car and was ploughing my way through personal development books and making changes in my life as I went.
For years I’d facilitated businesses growing, finally I was growing. One day, an advert popped up on Instagram for a taster day for a Diploma in Transformational Coaching.
I signed up immediately and by the end of that Saturday knew what I was going to do next.
accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the Association for Coaching (AC), and am passionate about empowering and supporting other women to build a life that works for them, on their terms. I know first-hand the huge benefits of taking the time to really work out what you want from your life and consciously making choices to get you there. As women, we are conditioned to look to other people for validation.
Yet the only person who knows what’s right for you is you!