What Made Me Become A Coach?
The small plane touches down with a bump on the runway and I along with a handful of other passengers’ clamber down the small set of steps that fold down from the fuselage onto the runway. The heat of the African sun enfolds us like a heavy blanket. I have made it! I am about to begin my new life in Africa. It feels like the biggest gamble of my life.
A few months earlier I was sitting in in a cramped toilet cubicle at my office trying to hold my mind together. I could hear my colleagues talking in the office next door. I had escaped from my desk as I could not concentrate or think clearly. The same negative thoughts went round and round in my head over and over again, an endless painful mental treadmill. This was meant to be my dream job, working for a company that specialised in wildlife holidays, melding my two passions of animals and travel. I had taken a pay cut, had a long commute and found myself in a very negative environment amongst the team I was working with, this only fuelled my negative, fragile mental state. I felt hopeless, lost, lonely, very scared and desperately unhappy. I had been feeling like this for months and couldn’t figure out why or how to deal with it. It felt like I was hanging on to my sanity by my fingernails. I just couldn’t go on like this.
I kept asking myself 'Why do I feel like this? What's wrong with me?'
I visited the Doctor and although I had always been an advocate of complementary medicine, at that point I was prepared to take any pill to help me escape this eternal mental hell. I can’t remember much about that consultation; I just remember feeling desperate and crying in front of the small oriental lady who was a locum at my local doctor surgery. I walked away with no prescription or guidance on what to do to feel ‘normal’ again.
Much of this episode of my life was triggered by a bout of concussion that occurred during a weekend away with friends in France. I had passed out hitting my head on the stone cobbles, I woke up to the faces of two concerned ladies who had been walking by. Initially I felt ok but over the next couple of days I began to feel dizzy, woozy and my brain became foggy and I struggled to think clearly. I was diagnosed with delayed concussion. My brain was literally swelling inside my head, it was a very scary time but gradually those symptoms subsided.
I’m not sure whether the cause of my issues was the concussion itself or the fact that I read about and ruminated on the things that might result from this type of injury. I felt less and less myself and more and more unhappy and distressed. I remember meeting a friend for coffee and tears rolling down my face I said ‘I just don’t know what’s wrong with me'. I searched and searched for solutions and the more I focussed on the issue the bigger and scarier my situation seemed to become.
So, what happened to get me to this point and how did I end up on isolated runway in Zambia?
It’s strange what makes us decide to do something; for me as for quite a few others, I read a book by the Paul Coelho (Quelho) called ‘The Alchemist’. It was the tale of a young shepherd boy, Santiago, who, inspired by strange dreams travels to Egypt to follow his destiny. This story somehow gave me the courage when I was approached about a job at a safari camp based in a remote part of Zambia, to say ‘Yes, I really want to do this’, ‘this could tip me over the mental precipice I feel I am on the edge of but I have to give it a go’. I felt magnetically compelled to follow this path and figured it was ‘kill or cure’.
So, a new chapter in my life began. Throwing myself into a completely new job and new environment really helped. I had no time to think of myself I was forced to launch myself into my new work and environment. I was living in South Luangwa National Park surrounded by nature and wildlife my healing began.
Since that time, I have been fascinated with the human mind, I have studied Psychology and Hypnotherapy and continue to read and learn about neuroscience, health and wellbeing. I went on to learn a technique called Goal Mapping, a great tool created by Brain Mayne. This experience enabled me to find very clear direction in my life, something I have never had before. I was so impressed with Goal Mapping that I was taught by Brian and became a Goal Mapping Coach & Facilitator.
Since then I have trained with the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) to achieve my Level 5 Coaching qualification and more recently studied Relational Mindfulness for coaching. I continue to learn and develop my coaching skills and knowlege.
I have learnt so much dealing with various personal challenges from dealing with this period of anxiety and depression to overcoming low self esteem & emotional eating. I love to support my coachees to help them find their path and reach their true potential.
I am a passionate about nature and caring for our home, this beautful planet earth.
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