Living life upstream
My late father was never a risk taker. He never had great ambitions to set up his own company. When I asked, he would give me the same answer ‘when I lie down on my pillow at night, I want to sleep soundly’ always implying that owning one’s business is tantamount to restless nights. I never blamed him. He was not brought up in a business family and for all intents and purposes neither was I.
Against this backdrop this step feels like a bigger, more daunting task. My inner critic is on overdrive. Launching my website triggers an unease I struggle to articulate. Yet, after having gone through the arduous process of becoming an accredited executive coach I know that it is exactly this unease that leads us to personal growth and development. Putting ourselves out there and stepping outside our comfort zones is exactly what triggers growth.
As I write this I realise that I should be familiar with this feeling as I am no stranger to change. Leaving the Diplomatic Service felt more like an identity crisis as it was all I knew and all I ever wished for. As I grieved my first career, I was well on my way to transferring my skill set to the HR space. From drafting government policy, I found myself drafting company policies. The shift was radical yet an opportunity to reinvent myself and this is what I did. I loved working with people, making an impact on their lives, transforming their opportunities and being there for their successes and failures. At times I felt like an agony aunt, at others an inspirational force, and others still like the bearer of bad news and tough action. Each challenge, every story taught me something about myself and about people.
After a few years transforming HR departments and capturing a new people agenda I chose to take the sum of my training and experiences and go back to my studies. My journey to become an accredited Executive Coach was a revelation. It taught me more about myself than ever before and allowed me to recognise the beauty of imperfection, of failing and picking myself up and of creating a safe space for me to be curious and challenge my perceptions. Most of all it taught me that we are all more than capable of figuring it out. What might be missing is the support system that enables us to take that first step of looking within for answers rather than outside. This is what motivates me. The belief that people should be able to go to work, feel safe and work within a non-judgemental space.
It’s all upstream
An Italian diplomat used to refer to me as ‘salmoncina’ – baby salmon, referring to my tendency to take the road less travelled and swim upstream. I have chosen to use this metaphor to mark my new beginnings as it represents my journey up to this point as well as the journey of many of my clients. Whether it is a consulting job in HR or a coaching client or a team, each job has its challenges and it is this process that allows for the best results.
Working with people and working people out has never been straight forward. Each company comes with its own culture and own practices. It’s not easy to get it right yet its very easy to get to wrong. The business side of things takes over and before you know it your workforce is disgruntled and increasingly disengaged. This is where I come in. With my years of experience and ability to connect with people I work hand in hand to understand the issues and assist with transforming them. We often talk of people engagement yet are never all that sure how to bring this about. We know we need it if we are going to operate at our best yet don’t really know what it looks like. Realising this is already a first step.
Stepping outside of my comfort zone has led to changes in my career and finally this move. Getting to this point would not have been possible without my own support system and allowing myself the space to reflect and grow. As a result of my own personal experiences, I am now excited to provide this service to my clients through executive coaching and team coaching. The transformation I have witnessed in myself and in my clients through this developmental tool encourages me to offer this service convinced that this is the most rewarding developmental tool for companies and individuals alike. A tool that focuses on self-awareness, reflection and behavioural change. It all starts with that first step and you will never look back.
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