I have a confession to make - I am very happy and very content with my life. I wake most mornings feeling like I am the luckiest person in the world.
Yes, I still have days that aren't so good.
I can tell you that imposter syndrome strikes every now and again in the form of my self-doubt fairy, but generally, I feel good about my life.
But it wasn't always this way ...
My past life seems almost unreal now, but I was quite frankly miserable, I really didn't like the life I was living.
From the outside I must have looked incredibly successful, I'd had a number of great jobs, and was climbing up the career ladder. I was seen as an industry leader in the UK and even in Europe. I was invited to go to events, I had company cars, I travelled overseas with work. What could I possibly have to complain about? But I just felt dead inside.
Even when I went on holiday it would take me almost the whole week to feel even remotely like me and then I'd be back into my daily grind.
I was operating so far away from my values and beliefs, away from my dreams, away from my true authentic witchy wise woman that I had lost myself and I felt like I was tumbling down the rabbit hole grabbing onto quick fixes to justify my life - beauty treatments, nice clothes, beautiful artwork, alcohol, food, etc - whatever would spark that dopamine hit before I went back to feeling dead inside.
I kept thinking of ways to get out of it, but each wage rise, each promotion made me feel I had to stay.
I'd had plenty of warning signs - I had a mini-breakdown in my 20's when I started in my corporate career, but I listened to what everyone was telling me I should do, instead of what my heart was saying.
In 2010 I crashed completely - I was working away from home Monday to Wednesday. I was spending one night with a friend who had been diagnosed with M.E., so I'd spend the evening cleaning, shopping and helping her as much as possible (Ironically she wasn't diagnosed at the time, and was diagnosed after me) and another with a friend who seemed to have more traumas thrown at her in a matter of months than most have in a lifetime. I still remember trying to bustle her children off to bed so they didn't see their mum crying on the floor in the kitchen.
And then on a Wednesday night, I'd travel home (120 miles) and get up the next day and run my family farm, as my dad had been taken ill. Thursday to Sunday I'd run the farm, with help from my uncle, neighbours, my husband. In-between I'd do my job. Then Monday morning I'd head back down South to work in the office.
Not surprisingly I crashed...
The problem was I crashed as I was leaving that job to get another one closer to home, more pay, promotion, amazing company. I didn't return to this old job as I was so ill and then I was panicking as I started my new job as I knew so much was expected of me.
I was fortunate that my GP knew me well, and also my manager at the time spotted something was wrong. Soon I was on part-time hours and with the support of my GP and my company doctor, I was diagnosed with M.E. /Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Getting the help then, along with CBT meant I was soon working full time again and I carried on in this job, operating at a high level, running a team which eventually became 23 people, travelling overseas. But I was exhausted.
I would sleep all weekend. I literally couldn't have a social life, I only had enough energy for work, and in reality, I didn't have the energy for that.
Even though I try to be a positive person, I was spiralling down into a dark cloud of negativity. I felt that everything I did was wrong (though admittedly I do realise I was being seriously gas-lighted in some areas of my life, but didn't realise it), I honestly found getting out of bed each morning literally painful. And then my monthly periods would knock me for six. (I was diagnosed with adenomyosis and endometriosis during this time period too, that's another story).
I really wasn't a pleasant person to be around. My light was almost completely extinguished and I couldn't even see a speck of light at the end of the tunnel.
I'd lost my confidence so much I didn't think anyone else would employ me, so I felt trapped in a job I didn't enjoy, doing things that didn't link with my values and beliefs.
On 1st December 2016 I broke - driving home from work I almost crashed my car three times, I was so exhausted and tired. I got home and had an almighty row with my husband, something I don't do. I threw a cushion at him, he was lucky it would have been anything my left hand could reach. I stormed out of the house, it was a cold night, and I was only wearing a dress and a cardigan and slippers. I disappeared for a few hours. I was regretting not grabbing a set of car keys to just drive and find a quiet place, but I stormed off and stood next to my local pond. I still remember the feeling. I wanted to step down into the pond and lie at the bottom. Not to kill myself, just to have some quiet. I just wanted quiet.
When I came home my husband told me to quit the job. I made up the excuses why I couldn't. We couldn't afford it, No one would employ me. But I said I'd sleep on it.
The next day I was working from home. I'd had a weird week where I now realised I was being gas lighted and I was getting increasingly frustrated with the emails I was seeing.
I typed an email to my manager, HR, and some of my indirect managers and told them I was resigning and I'd give them 6 months notice to ensure everything was handed over smoothly. (It was also to ensure I got my bonus, and that I had 6 months of wages to give me time to think).
I got no response, emails kept coming from all of these people, even my resignation wasn't making them stop. I sent another email saying I was taking the rest of the day off with stress and switched off my laptop and phone. And told my husband what I'd done.
It was an amazing feeling. That night we had tickets to see the Shires in concert and I remember running down the promenade in Llandudno spinning and singing. I sang my heart out that night and felt so many songs were written just for me. I still remember my husband saying "I've got my girl back".
Over the coming weeks and months senior managers tried to persuade me to stay, and they refused to let me tell my team until after Christmas (to give me time to reconsider). I hated it. I remember my team Christmas meal and the team joking that if I ever left they'd come with me!! (little did they know I'd already resigned).
I felt so much guilt for letting them all down. I also felt lots of fear, what was I doing!!
Then there was anger, sadness that I felt I had to leave this way, and hurt that I didn't get the support I needed. I spent 6 months going through a rollercoaster of emotions. One minute feeling excited, the next thinking I should beg for my job back. But then also I discovered I was inspiring people. Other people I knew, some who worked for the same company, and some who didn't, took the plunge and just quit their jobs too! I actually felt guilty for inspiring them !
As I pondered what I should do with my life my team suggested I become a coach, as they felt I'd coached them so well. I was humbled they thought this, so I started to explore training in Myers Briggs and NLP and purchased courses for me to attend when I left the job.
Colleagues I'd had little interaction with, other than from a work perspective invited me for coffee, took me out for lunch, even bought me gifts because they said I'd made a real impact on them. Yet in my mind I hardly had anything to do with them.
Then people outside the company heard I was leaving and soon I was being offered work for other people as a consultant in my current field, even though in my head I was leaving this career path for good, but I thought I can give it ago and see what happens.
When I left I was amazed at the messages and gifts I received. I had felt so alone in this job, but so many people genuinely were going to miss me and felt I'd impacted their lives in a good way.
As this positivity came through, I felt lighter and more positive and the more positive I became the more positive my life became.
I left my job on a Friday and on the Monday did my first piece of consultancy work .
That summer I did training in many areas and remember getting feedback from some of my course tutors telling me to pursue my dreams because they would become a reality, they could sense I'd be a success.
In the autumn of that year I was awarded the outstanding contribution to the industry award. The highest accolade for an individual in the industry. I was blown away.
And then I became a Psychologies Ambassador, which was amazing (and still is)
But I also had things to watch out for.
Some people tried to take advantage of my success and my kind nature, and I still lacked confidence. I had to make some firm decisions and say no to people on a number of occasions. The coming years were sometimes tough because I was struggling financially but I always found the money in the end.
I worked on myself continuously with personal development. I knew only I could get me to where I wanted to be, but I knew I needed to believe in myself. It was hard, and often it felt lonely. I made new friends but often not close to where I lived. I was changing and growing but people close to me weren't. At one point I wasn't even sure my marriage would make it through. But I knew I had to persevere.
I still lacked confidence in my coaching, yet what I was doing was having a massive impact on the lives of people I was working with. They were leaving bad relationships, making career changes, quitting their jobs. Yet I was still doubting my ability to coach people to help them through their journeys. Who was I to coach people? Who was I to be the guide? And then one day it clicked for me. I didn't need to coach like the text books and like I was trained. I could use it, but I could make it into my own unique way of working.
i wanted to be there for people like me who were fumbling along reading self-help books and watching videos, but not really knowing what to do. I could guide them on their path and make their journey a little easier than mine.
Its coming up to 5 years since I resigned from my corporate job. And if I could tell the me then what I know now I'd say this " go for it, it will all work out in the end, you are in exactly the right place you need to be now, and you are going to have a bright future. There will be bumps and potholes in the road, but if I burst a tyre or I trip and fall on my face, I can pick myself up, dust myself down and change my route"
What I do know is I had to reconnect with my authentic self before I could make any of these changes. Personality tests helped me on this journey and so did the NLP and Time line therapy training I did.
In 5 years I've found myself again. I've embraced my inner witch to be my outer witchy wise woman. I own my power. I've written a book!! I've got a successful consultancy and coaching business.
Yes, I do have days of doubt, I'm still on my journey and have much to learn, we all do. But that's why I'm a coach, to help those who need to find their way home, so that they can create a new home that aligns with their dreams, values and beliefs.
I'm in my power and I want to help you to gain your power and shine your light bright by taking my learnings
Love and light