How do I redefine who I am? Who will help me? Where do I find the motivation?
These are all questions I asked myself a few years ago.
I had an established corporate career, married, mother of an 11-year-old, I felt I added value and really could see the difference I made. I was raised in a loving close-knit family with strong values. And although my sister, mom and dad passed away, I have always used those experiences to help others, especially in my coaching practice.
I had a nicely arranged list of self-assured criteria, things that made me successful, worthy and feel accomplished and valuable. I consider myself a strong individual, with a continuous underlying positive attitude, regardless of what life throws my way and the ability to always bounce back.
I am an accomplished career and talent manager and coach, with more than 20 years’ experience analysing behaviour - what makes people do what they do, what makes them happy in a work environment and understanding company cultures. I have placed and facilitated 100’s of careers.
I have written and published an e-book (“Know Your Worth” (coach-sa.co.za)) in human behaviour that aligns with any psychometric testing out there BUT still I felt that this was not enough. They call it the “imposter” syndrome - so they say.
And yes – it’s real.
Then things changed.
I was retrenched and certainly did not deal with it the way I would have advised …. The retrenchment came as a huge shock, even though it wasn’t my first time, as I really loved what I did and believed I made a difference. So, the impact was magnified. I thought this was the worst thing that could happen.
Going through this experience was emotionally draining and intellectually challenging. Understanding how things works emotionally doesn’t cover actually experiencing it. Experiencing the actual emotions was a different story.
I persevered and started my own coaching practice, taking it day by day, whilst applying for new permanent positions. This proved to be a real challenge: ‘too experienced’ not qualified enough’ ‘wrong industry’ and, and, and…
Then, in January 2016, I found my husband’s lifeless body in his office - a shooting incident that altered my life. (case still open).
I still didn’t have a permanent job, but I stopped coaching. I stopped doing a lot of things. I don’t believe you can coach when you are not healthy. The challenges were endless.
I had to redefine who I am, what’s important to me, how to survive emotionally and financially and find a way to move forward. This journey made me second guess every aspect of my life and through the process I lost a lot of friends too.
I then decided to relocate from Gauteng to Cape Town, without any specific plan in mind, except change, knowing that nothing will be the same. With intent.
Since the move and with time I have been able to sort out my own demons, get healthier and continue my coaching practice.
So, I survived retrenchment, death, moving to a different province and changes in my personal life – all marked as traumatic life changes, and decided to share my story. Finding your way back is challenging but achievable with the right support.
Every day is still a challenge. The only way forward is to balance what we think intellectually and what we feel emotionally. Understanding does not mean accepting. Accepting takes time plus understanding.
As a career and life coach this has enabled me, on an even deeper level than before, to help transform other people’s lives. The personal cost, very high yes, but has given me the best qualification of all – true life experience that you will find in no degree or any textbook.
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