I wasn't always a career coach and artist.
For 20+ years, I held senior tax roles in FTSE 100 multi-nationals.
This is my story:
During my 20s, I enjoyed my career. I worked hard to qualify as a chartered accountant and quickly moved up the career ladder. I couldn’t believe my luck – how did I, the clever girl from the local comprehensive, find myself in a meeting with the Finance Director of a FTSE 100 company?
By my mid-30s, I had the sense I was looking for something but what? When I paused to feel the nagging feeling inside, I thought I needed a new challenge. So I took on a series of new tax roles. As I look back, I see I was trying to prove to myself that I was good enough.
By 40 and now at BP plc, I was working long and hard. I still had a social life but it was scheduled in around work and business trips. My six-figure-salary bought me lovely clothes and handbags, exotic holidays plus a gorgeous home in Guildford. I had it all, didn’t I? So why did I feel unhappy? I see now I was looking for more meaning in my life.
My sense of being ‘at sea’ grew when I took on a challenging change management role. I felt out of my depth. My gut told me my success depended on my ability to develop myself as a leader. I enrolled on a leadership development course with the ICAEW. A trigger came when in one exercise, I saw a theme running through my life: I saw bosses as ‘difficult’ and I realised this had started in my childhood with my mum who’d suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I started to cry and even though I was scared, decided to open what I then saw as the pandora’s box of my childhood. I somehow knew that the key to my success as a leader and my overall happiness lay there. A second trigger was the realisation that part of me was missing and was not being fully expressed in my work or life. I loved developing people (this was only part of my then role). I loved art & craft, colour and fun. I’d lost sight of these in all my busyness. It was time to look inside and change.
I took an intensive personal development course called the ‘More to Life Weekend’. It was a rollercoaster ride but when I got off, wobbly legs and all (literally!), the whole world looked different and I was freed-up. I entered counselling. I did further personal work. I unearthed unconscious beliefs that I was holding about myself including “I'm not good enough”. This belief and others had been playing out in how I lived my life as “nice, reliable, Jo”. I knew I was more.
Around the same time, I thought about what I’d really like to do with my life. Two golden threads ran through - my love of helping others develop and my love of art & craft. I re-trained as a coach and let myself make things again with my hands.
It took a crisis for me to leave my tax career. I suffered a serious brain injury after blacking out, falling down and hitting my head on a London pavement. I could have died and it was my wake-up call. I spent 10 days in hospital recovering and having tests, 3 months at home resting, and a further 3 months getting over the post-trauma depression. As I look back, I believe I'd burned out. I’d been over working for years and my body finally said ‘no’!
As I laid in my hospital bed, I had a strange out-of-body experience. Looking down from the ceiling, I saw all my learned ways of behaving playing out below me. I wondered why I was treating myself so un-kindly. In that flash, I realised I had to take responsibility for how I was living my life. It was down to me. Only me.
Nowadays, I love helping mid-life professionals like you re-think your life.
If you relate to me and my story, don't delay. Go ahead and book your free 20 min consultation with me now by clicking here.
What am I like?
You can get a sense of what I'm like from my testimonials. Click here to read them.
I'm a coach because I believe life's jounrney is about discovering who you are and becoming more your whole, best self.
Clients describe me as calm, warm, gentle and challenging.