Fall down seven times - and get up eight.
In 2007 (at the age of 40-something), I formally re-trained as a Transactional Analysis Psychotherapist, spending the next four years working at MSc level, whilst managing 2-to-3 volunteer positions and a P/T private practice. I later moved sideways into the more holistic Acceptance & Commitment Training (ACT is designed as both a therapy and an integrated model for coaching) - and have had private therapy clients since 2008 (12 years now).
After coaching clients for two years, in 2018 I took a professional coaching training – because I truly felt (and still do feel) that many people can achieve more through being coached, than sitting in therapy for months, sometimes years. That is not to say that coaching works in all situations - it doesn't - and I make an assessment of what’s what early on in our sessions and may point you towards therapy if it is more suitable.
I used to dream of becoming “Therapist to The Stars” (howl with laughter!!) – as I had worked a lot in the music industry. I had a business plan mapped out for a mobile therapy bus backstage at festivals and arena gigs – for the artists, not the audience. It was Pete Townshend of The Who, who talked me out of it, reflecting that in such a setting, my bus would more likely be avoided that utilised! He had a point - and I was glad I had not launched the bus without doing face-to-face research first.
The real game-changer came when I just started working with regular folk – hearing their individual stories – and knew I wanted to work with absolutely anyone and everyone. My clients come from a variety of backgrounds: those stuck in their careers or relationships, some wanted to start new ventures, those with unresolved addictive behaviours or trauma, conflicted actors, some awesome single mums, people with no work/life balance, unhappy retirees, many who felt they had lost their identity, and I have worked with several adults with ADHD. Strangely, a large number of my clients have been French nationals (even though I am not) and, weirdly… more than a few clients have been part of our UK and US Security Services. Go fathom.
As I have mentioned before, early on I was drawn to working in public relations (for an old-school wordsmith, who had been editor of Queen Magazine and who taught me to write a proper press release), promotions and marketing - and then General Management as my last 'employed' role. I've organised European itineraries for touring rock bands, officiated at first class Championship sport events, and been part of the production team making sports documentaries for Channel 4 and the BBC and made the BBC documentary on the Bicentenary of the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club).
I have written and rolled out global marketing plans for a consultancy, set up and worked a stand at 6-8 engineering trade exhibitions per year for a manufacturer, developed and maintained corporate websites, and produced feasibility papers on ventures as diverse as planting a vineyard on the 18th hole of a new golf course and the manufacture of cardboard coffins (long before they existed).
Its been a lot of fun - but then sometimes it has not...
I am a few degrees dyslexic and very many degrees dyscalculic - which has caused me to say some howlers in my time and results in internal chaos with every exam I attempt. I used to read clocks back to front - solved by wearing a digital watch - and this seldom happens now, but these days I'm known to stop at traffic lights that have just turned green, because my brain does not easily process sequences: no-one has had an accident - only my husband, the passenger, blows a fuse! More seriously, in my late teens and twenties,
I suffered two severe cases of sexual abuse at work. I was laughed at and sacked when I reported the first one, and left my job instead of reporting the second; I abused alcohol to ease social anxiety as I started my first career in the music business, resulting in having every door closed in my face that I had so carefully networked open, and many years later experienced deep-red humiliation in front of a conference of international consultants, when junior partners found it strategically worth their while not to back the presentation they previously asked me to present on their behalf. I find that one funny now! But not this memory, which will stay with me forever - that of one of my old bosses who told me that I, "...should settle for second best in life, because I have." Sadly, some months later he committed suicide. And every day for the next ten years, I thought of him: Ken - what a waste of a very misunderstood man and incredibly talented educationalist.
"fall down seven times and get up eight".
The word "failure" is often on the lips of new clients, as if it is some kind of "given", some kind of rite of passage. For me, the only thing that resembles this idea of failure, is in the keeping-on-thinking that there is such a thing. There really is always a different way, an untrod path, to take a risk and become so much more - or at the very least to accept and detach from that repetitive and unworthy negative state. I hope you agree.