We all get stuck in a rut but when your life is dictated to by the needs of your family it can be hard to see how to see where your own needs lie and to have the confidence to change things. Sometimes an outsider can help to set us on the right track by offering a different perspective. Two babyworld members worked with life coach Claire Hegarty to see if she could help them take action to change their lives.
Case history 1: ‘I want to know how to stand up for myself’
Michelle Bond, 21, has three children aged four, two and four months and lives in Great Oldham, near Manchester. She got in touch with us because of a problem with self-confidence. ‘Although I used to be a very social and outgoing person, I recently have suffered from issues of self-confidence,’ she admitted. ‘Normal, everyday outings cause me great stress, which often lead to debilitating panic attacks. I want to feel better in myself so I
can start getting out the house again and having a good time; this would benefit my children too. I also need to think more clearly about what I can do with my career; I have ideas but just feel confused about where to start.’
Case history 2: ‘My career has been accidental, rather than planned.’
Katie Paxton-Doggett, 41, is mum to four children, the youngest of which is only five months old. After leaving school with A levels and working in many different fields, Katie was feeling frustrated with her career; she wanted to make some big changes but was unsure how to do so. ‘I’ve worked in so many different fields throughout the years, from secretarial work
and IT to qualifying as a solicitor after completing a degree in philosophy with linguistics!’ she revealed. ‘Then I started my family, taking time off for each child and returning shortly after their birth because of our financial situation. However, none of the jobs really captured my interest. As a teenager I always said that I wanted to write but I wonder whether I will ever finish my novel, as my career has been accidental rather than planned.’
Claire’s approach: tapping into the unconscious mind
Claire revealed the tools with which she tackled Katie’s and Michelle’s obstacles. ‘When I talked to Katie and Michelle in their initial consultations, I knew which tools and approaches would most quickly address their needs. One very simple but empowering approach is Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), which basically involves a shift of thinking. In simple terms,
we all have two minds – the conscious and the unconscious – that work differently to each other. NLP focuses on how we can best work with both of them to get more of what we want and less of the undesirable things.
The ‘unconscious mind’ runs our body, houses our emotions, stores all our memories, looks after all learning, behaviour and change. This is the mind that we work with when creating change. Interestingly, this mind can’t process a negative, which is important to remember when making changes and setting goals.
People often make negative statements such as ‘I don’t want to feel stressed anymore’ but their unconscious cannot process this. It’s much better to think positively and say, for example, ‘I will feel happier from now on.’ This sort of approach would work well with both women’s problems.
‘I have talked with Katie and Michelle for around six to eight hours, sharing with and teaching them things that they can easily implement within their lives. They both responded very well to all the tasks I set them, such as being aware of their language and thoughts and taking action towards the goals that we had set together. Breathing and relaxation techniques, visualisation, working with their instincts and minds, etc, also are of great benefit.’
Michelle’s verdict: ‘I have beaten my nerves’
After a couple of months, we asked Michelle if she was feeling more confident and positive in her relationships with others. ‘I have managed to beat my nerves,’ she said. ‘Before our sessions we worked together, I was so nervous that I used to have panic attacks and even fainted once at the thought of going to the dentist. Claire taught me various exercises which
helped almost immediately and I actually managed to go to the dentist at the end of January without feeling nervous. I feel like a different person. I have also taught my four-year-old daughter the same technique and, although she thought it was funny doing it, I feel it will benefit her too.
‘I was also given targets to set within my career, and while on the phone to Claire I was able to visualise what I wanted to do. She showed me how to put myself into a trance and I felt as if I was actually ‘living’ my targets: by seeing myself doing them I actually managed to do so. I have now met my targets and I still set myself small ones. Claire also helped me clarify what I wanted to do with my career – I knew really but talking to her made up my mind.
‘I feel much more confident in myself and the way I look at things, I used to wake up on a gloomy morning and feel in a bad mood. Now I wake up and feel happy because I have learnt not to let the weather get me down.’
Katie’s verdict: ‘Ultimately it’s up to me to make it happen’
Where is Katie now in her career quest? ‘Much of the information Claire talked about in our first call was stuff that I’d read about before in books but theory is one thing: putting it into practice is an entirely different matter! Claire also advised me to look at my life more generally by preparing a life ‘wheel’ to see what other areas need to be further developed, such as relationships, health, wealth, spirituality, etc.
‘One technique she taught me was to achieve objectives through merely getting my words right! For example, one task involved approaching magazines to find new places to write for. I’d said that I’d find at least one magazine interested in me writing for them. In fact, I found two but neither pay their contributors (so a non-starter for the development of my journalistic career!). Therefore, my objective needs to explicitly say that I want to find magazines that will pay for my work. I also set myself a target to write 2,000 words a week for my long-desired novel but the pressures of life with small children have made this difficult. Nevertheless, I do have three chapters under my belt.
‘Whilst writing the novel and getting comments has been very encouraging, analysing all the other areas of my life showed me that I need to do something to bring in a more immediate income and improve my “wealth”. For now, the novel is on hold, but I intend to come back to it later in the year. Instead, I am working on a non-fiction book – watch this space! ‘Life coaching has been a very interesting experience and extremely useful in directing my life. Claire is very easy to talk to and gives examples of her own experiences to describe the various processes but ultimately it is still up to me to do the work to make it happen!’
Have Katie and Michelle done well?
After their three months of work, how pleased is Claire with Katie’s and Michelle’s progress? ‘Overall, I am extremely pleased,’ Claire enthused. ’We’re still working together to improve on all the areas in which they have seen benefits, and to hone the many new techniques that will lead to success in all areas of their lives. I hope they will keep using all the tools and techniques, and remember that everyone always has a choice in life. They also know that I am there for them as a support system whenever they need to call on me.’
Claire Hegarty is a full-time coach and therapist and the MD of her own company see www.tranceformations-pbe.com