Why I trained as a Transformational Coach
Like all good stories, mine did not start at the beginning but at the end of a chapter. I didn’t know until fairly recently that the beginning was actually when I lost my brother in a car crash in 2002. As I turn 36 years of age next month, Kevin would have turned 37 today (12th June). This story is important to me, but the most important part of this story is that I learnt that it is in fact a ‘story’.
The story starts at the very end of a very long chapter in my life:
A few years ago, whist working away from home as a Social Worker, I was out running on one chilly evening after work. There was nothing special about this run, I could attempt to be poetic and tell you about the view and the sunset, but I won’t attempt it. I never run with headphones. I love being in my own space, with my own thoughts. On the way back of a 5-mile run, like a ton of bricks, a thought had hit me, or simply appeared in my mind. I could be really cheesy here and call it a light bulb moment or something similar! It was one of those life changing moments, that had come from now where and stopped me in my tracks, yet at the same time, it was as though a huge weight had left me. The thought…Insight…Light bulb…
I was not a bad guy!
I had held onto the belief that I was, or certainly could be a ‘bad person’ since 2002 and I hadn’t even realised. Not only did it come to me, but that part of my identity then disappeared. I’ll come back onto this part later.
Kevin died very suddenly in a car accident when he was 18 years old on a country road in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. Like most families, ours also had its complexities. I lived with my mother in Gosport, near Portsmouth at the time, and Kevin, and my eldest brother lived with my father and family in Pembrokeshire.
On the morning of the 22nd April 2002 I heard the phone ring, I can’t remember if it was the house phone or my mother’s mobile but she was in the shower and so I didn’t get up to get it. However, the other phone went, so for whatever reason, I thought it must have been important and so I got up and answered it. It was my eldest brother, he’s about 3 years older than me.
He told me there had been an accident, that Kevin had died in a car crash. He, along with my father were both at the scene. Like all significant events in our lives I remember the words he used, I asked him if he was joking, in which he replied that it “would be a sick joke”. Our memories are so clever, even as I write this, I can feel the emotions in the back of my throat and throughout my body as the memory creates my reality of that time within this present moment.
I waited until my mother was out the bathroom as I prepared myself to tell her what had happened. I recall that I went into her bedroom, and told her that I had something to tell her. Had I had more experience I would have told her that she needed to sit down, but I didn’t know what to do. I told her that her son had died. She collapsed to the floor as her legs gave way in such pain and agony. I can’t remember much after that, I remember being back on the phone to my brother, and my dad making an attempt to speak to me on the phone, but he just couldn’t speak, a Police officer took over the call.
We all have these significant events in our lives, if there’s one thing guaranteed in this world is death, but what I didn’t realise until running on that country road on that chilly evening was the story that I had created and carried with me for all those years. The story; my perception, my own unique experience of that time. I hadn’t realised that it limited me to the person I wanted to be.
Thinking back now, I remember not talking to anybody about my pain. I honestly thought that had I talked about my pain to anyone, I would transfer my pain on to them, and I couldn’t stand the thought of causing more pain and suffering to another person. Two weeks after the accident I returned to my position as a professional chef in McDonalds. Big mistake. I have no idea what had triggered it, but whilst on shift I completely fell apart, I felt the most horrendous emotional pain that even to this day I have yet to experience again.
It’s normal for people to feel hurt by the things we say, I don’t mean when we’re being intentionally malicious or just being a complete d*ck, I mean when we feel that we need to be honest which has some form of conflict by default. I’m sure I have said many hurtful things, most unintentionally and others when I probably was being a d*ck. However, I would avoid conflict, therefore avoid being honest with people for fear of hurting them.
That was the end of that very long chapter in my life. When that story disappeared, my confidence grew and I knew that I could be honest with people without feeling like a ‘bad person’, even if that honesty hurt someone’s feelings.
Of course you still shouldn’t be a d*ck, and I’m sure I still am at times, but this is in relation to my actions and behaviours and is seperated from my sense of identity.
But why did I have this light bulb moment?
As a Social Worker I have been intrigued by how people live their lives, the challenges and obstacles they have, not physically but mentally and emotionally. I would often be confused and reflect on why some people ‘choose’ to live their lives in particular ways, why they didn’t access help and support. So, I started looking into different ‘models’ such mindfulness and positive psychology. Everything seemed like hard work, always having ‘to do’ something. I’m not lazy, in fact quite motivated, taking action is essential to progressing your life in different areas, I mean
Surely for Your Own Mental Wellbeing You Didn’t Have to Pile More Things on Your Mind??
Then…I came across the work of Jamie Smart, and his Times bestselling book ‘Clarity’. It had never occurred to me that the mind has its own operating system. Everything works in a certain way, including our whole body, our lungs, our heart, everything has a certain way of working, and we learn some of this within the education system, yet I have never been taught that our minds have a way of working too.
So, what did I learn by understanding our minds operating system?
I learnt that I could not time travel.
Even though when telling you the story about my brother and how I passed that sad news onto my mother, I felt some of the pain as I wrote, my eyes even welled up a little, but never did I return to that time in 2002. I thought about that time, therefore I had feelings of sadness and hurt and my body responded accordingly. It all happened in the present moment.
I learnt that I create my own personal experience
No one has an experience like mine, and I don’t have an experience like another being. Our experience is created moment to moment from the 50k — 80k thoughts per day, most of which are unconscious thought habits that have been created over time by our beliefs.
And on that evening while running…It suddenly downed on me that I created a story of myself that had limited my ability to take my life in the direction that I wanted to go in.
There is nothing to do
When you understand how something works, you act accordingly. When the petrol gauge in my car shows I am out of petrol, I don’t go looking around the car wondering why it will not start. I know the gauge is telling me to put petrol in the car. When my mind is filled with insecure feelings, I know that I am having insecure thinking, and there is nothing I have to do. I can let my mind be, and it will resort back to its default position. A space of clarity, peace and wisdom.
Our sense of clarity, peace and wisdom are not conditional of our outside circumstances and situation
Yes, my brother died. Yes, I told my mother what had happened, but my whole experience of that situation was created by my own mind, I know this as I know that my whole family experienced the loss in their own unique ways, including my parents, my brother and five sisters.
Okay, so what’s this got to do with coaching?
Every single one of us create and own separate reality via the power of Thought taking form moment to moment
Why then would I want to give advice to people without understanding what their created reality is. Coaching is about asking deep questions and providing a space for genuine answers, dialogue and reflection.
We are always ok in the moment
Mindfulness is the practice of learning to live in the moment. The truth is, we only live in this very moment. As you read this, I can assure you that you live in no other time but now. One hour ago, is the past and you can think about that thing you have on tomorrow, but you do not live in the future. Coaching reminds people that they are not limited to their past or future experiences. Living in the past or/and future is nothing more than a great illusion. I truly know, that the person I have in front of me is okay, even if they think they are not.
There is nothing to do
Don’t let me confuse you here, it’s not that you should do nothing. Action still has to be taken if you want to change your life, and coaching is about holding a person accountable for their actions. However, understanding how something works makes life significantly easier. How many times do we now use Google to ask “how to do…?” but we don’t have to do anything to get a sense of clarity, for peace of mind, or to access our innate wellbeing…that’s the clue…It’s innate. It’s already inside you, you were born with it.
Why did I did I train to be a transformational coach? — because I believe in people, but sometimes, we need a helping hand to challenge the story we create so we can fulfil our goals and dreams.