I remember having a breakdown.
Or a `breakthrough’ as I prefer to call it nowadays. Of course - at the time I didn’t realise it was happening. I certainly didn’t regard it as a positive experience. On the contrary in the throes of all that emotional turmoil I was focused on hiding myself away from the world, trying to keep it together emotionally even while I knew I was failing at that.
I should have had it all. I had the posh education in a good school (I’m a public schoolgirl dontcha know although ponies were never my thing…). My mum had sent me to elocution lessons reasoning that sounding like an extra in an American soap (courtesy of the US school I had attended growing up in the Middle East) wouldn’t help me assimilate in the depths of South Wales. She was right - although I still stuck out as my RP-leaning tones do stand out in my home town of Newport!
All this gave me an appetite for performing, speaking and music – I was also an oboist, with a real love of music. I attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts working my way through all their exams.
What could possibly go wrong?
I found 4N at a low point in my life. There were lots of reasons I had got there, but very few answers that gave me any solace. My husband had joined and had urged me to join. Frequently. If you know him, you understand(!) So to placate him I’d gone along to a meeting during a visit to his family – the Romford meeting.
And during my first 40 seconds all my work - to keep things together, to hold on, stay sensible, stay poised, stay professional - fell apart.
I already know something ha to change. But I didn't know what. By this point in my life I had already had a great career working with volatile and difficult relationships - whether it was working at a centre with people who had learning difficulties, being a debt collector and then onto family law dealing with painful break-ups, allegations of child abuse and domestic violence and much more.
At that moment it was clear to me: The only difficult relationship I had really was with myself.
Meeting large numbers of people in 4N led me to eventually book myself into seeing a NLP specialist. Through 2 intensive days I got to the roots of my limiting beliefs. I found what was holding me back. I realised why things were the way they were. And I learned how to look at the world through fresh eyes.
And the next chapter in my life began...
At the age of 6 I wanted to be a teacher. I have this evidenced on Betamax when I lived in the Saudi Arabia with a strong American accent. Many of my close friends were teachers. I tutored for a bit but I never really found anything that I was passionate about…until now. I wanted to teach people how to get rid of their own beliefs that stopped them getting closer to where they wanted to be. I wanted to teach people how the unconscious mind dictates behaviour. I wanted to teach others that you can change not only your outcome but others too! I wanted to show others that these were simple and quick techniques.
And guess what? THAT IS WHAT I DO! I feel like I’ve won the lottery in life – doing what I love, what I’m good at and able to pay the bills by doing it too!
It never occurred to me that everything in my life – good and bad would lead to this. The breakdown. The work on language. The apparently varied career that had the same vein running through it – working on communication with people whose life is profoundly enhanced or damaged by the use of words, context and nuance.
Communication has always been my love. Sign language with disabled with people. Finding solutions for people in debt. Finding consensus in court. I’ve realised what an all-encompassing tool it is and how it can be used to fix relationships. Fix lives. Improve businesses.
We’re social animals. And as such communication is key to everything we all do, every day. Even failing to communicate is communication. You can’t not do it. And I’m glad to be at the heart of it all.