I am a former Headteacher with over 20 years’ experience in the field of education. In the 70’s & 80’s, I grew up on one of the largest council estates in London, statistically speaking, I should never have made it to university much less become a Headteacher. But I did! The how and why I can only put down to the Power of Three: The Power of a higher being, the Power of my ancestry, and the Power of my family.
When I reflect, it was the values, courage and wisdom of all three that put me through university despite the challenges of growing up in economically challenging circumstances. It was the same high values, courage and wisdom that held me up as even with an honour’s degree, I found myself aged 30 as a single mother, unemployed but determined to create a better life for my son. And it is the same Power that has seen me move from being unemployed to be a successful Headteacher, Coach, Mentor and Public Speaker.
There are often moments in your life that stand out like a folded corner of a page in a book - life defining moments. Often you don’t realise that they are until years after, but they are there. These are the moments where your inner power is revealed and what you are capable of. But often you get so caught up in daily life that you don’t take the time to reflect on the moment to really understand what you did right and how you can use the strength and power that you have within to create the life of your dreams.
One of these moments was when as a Human Resources Manager, I interviewed a young man who during the interview asked me curiously, how could he become a HR manager? I looked at this young man and I thought…why has no-one ever helped this young man plan his career goals? Why did it take until he was in an interview with me? That is probably where my journey as a coach really began. That simple question inspired me to take one of the biggest risks in my life (courage). It reminded me that all I ever wanted was to help others achieve their goals and if I was going to do that, I needed to stay true to my beliefs and values; the value of wanting to make the world a better place, to make a positive difference in the lives of others. So, I resigned from a very secure post, took a year out of work and re-trained as a teacher!
These moments stand out for me because they tell a story of what I believe to be an incredibly blessed life. It has never been easy but with the courage, determination and bravery that comes from the Power of 3, I have overcome tremendous hurdles and moved forward! At every moment, I had to believe that God was not going to let me fall and just like our ancestors had to do all those years ago, I had to find a way to overcome whatever barrier was put in front of me and make it work! My family, and by that I include an extended network of very close friends, have been the cornerstone that have held me up. They have been my cheerleaders, wiper of tears and the ones who can make me laugh even in the darkest of moments.
The power of three, has given me courage and determination to keep getting up when I felt I could not go on, to understand the value of continually developing myself, so that on my journey, when a gap appeared in the glass ceiling, that holds so many of us back, it made it harder for someone to say ‘No!’ So, over the last 20 years, I have moved from being an unemployed single mother to be a successful headteacher, coach and mentor to having 5* holidays to property investment.
A blessed life I believe…but along my journey, certain things just kept hitting me repeatedly…I found I often worked excessively long hours and the higher up the ladder I went, the less people I met who looked like me. By the time I became a Headteacher, I felt I was spending more time on exclusions, than on helping those I had initially set out to help. Then one day it hit me…I was no longer happy…financially I was in a great place earning a 6-figure salary but in terms of my emotional well-being, it was not the life I had dreamed of and it was not the life I deserved.
I realised that I had lost direction and focus of what I wanted my future to be and what my present life looked like. It was at this time a friend introduced me to a coach. With my coach’s support, I worked on developing a clear focus about what my next career step should be. Each session forced me to challenge some of the limiting beliefs I had about myself and a year later, after much reflection the answer was that I was not on the right path and it was time to follow a new direction.
Coaching with the right person, someone who I could trust not to judge me, helped remind me of the skills and strengths I always had within me to overcome challenges (the Power of 3). And brought me clarity and helped me regain my self-confidence. I can’t deny that the journey was challenging at times with some tears along the way but when the time was right coaching helped me to find the courage to act and to change direction.
On my journey, I found that I was also meeting so many amazing women who like me were also facing the challenges of having a career, being a parent and often informal carer to parents and even vulnerable siblings. These women were also struggling to achieve their goals and dreams. Over time, as others could see the success I was achieving, I found I was being asked more and more to mentor and coach others in need of support…there developed my life as a Personal Development Coach. Today after learning the lessons of my past, I am passionate about ‘giving back’, using my skills, knowledge and experience to help others achieve the life of their dreams quicker than it took me.
I believe that when you have been blessed as I have you have a duty to give back and pull others along with you. Coaching is a powerful tool that when used, gives you quality time to invest in your personal growth, to re-visit your strengths, set goals, act and achieve.
As an experienced coach, mentor and public speaker, I believe that we have one life and that we deserve to give ourselves the life of our dreams. Only by investing in our personal growth and being part of powerful networks are we going to achieve the impossible. So, I see the next stage of my journey is helping to empower others to be successful far quicker than it took me. Today I work with a diverse range of people at all stages of their lives, because what drives me is simply the need to create a fairer, happier world where there is greater equality of opportunity, in a society that is truly reflective of the diverse world we live in.