ABOUT YOU

You eagerly seek change in some area of your life, but struggle to ACTUALLY make that change happen. Whatever it is: losing weight, changing your career, being more confident, sorting out your head; it has been on your mind for a while. Wait, let’s rephrase that: IT’S BEEN ON YOUR MIND A REALLY LONG TIME!!

You might have kick-started your initial attempts full of enthusiasm, but after a while your motivation just goes out of the window and your energy levels soon wear off. So far you’ve given in and consequently given up. Looking back on these experiences, you might feel quite annoyed, guilty, down, or maybe even pretty frustrated about that. You still might feel like this at this very moment. And that’s OK. Because it shows that you care about these things. They matter to you.

YOU’RE NOT SUPERMAN, YOU KNOW.

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The big city: Rotterdam
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Fresh from uni this picture was taken at the start of my short-lived 'career' as a consultant in energy at a small consultancy firm in Rotterdam

I STRUGGLED WITH MAKING CHANGES AS WELL

I’m not sure how long it’s taking you to make a change, but back in my twenties it took me almost two years to build up the confidence to follow through on what I wanted; another career.  Freshly graduated from uni, I started as an energy policy consultant in Rotterdam. To any outsider it seemed like I made it, it seemed like a move that made sense. A secure income, an opportunity to work yourself up the ladder, a profession that could make a difference.  But after a while I realised it wasn’t for me.

Working behind a desk from 9 till 5, week in week out. Working on policy documents I sincerely believed nobody really read (and if someone did, it surely wasn’t followed up). I was writing about topics that at that time matter to me, topics like climate change and the energy transition. But the truth was, I wasn’t making any difference and it all felt so abstract, hollow and meaningless. Unfortunately, that feeling only grew as time passed…

 

I decided something needed to change

So almost two years into the job, I decided to be brave and  paid for an expensive 9-day NLP Practitioner training. That’s where – well let’s say – I had my epiphany and found the courage and confidence to chase that was on my mind for so long. One of the exercises we did during the retreat really helped with that: making a wooden inspiration board. No more than 15 by 15 inches. On one side, the idea was that you wrote all the good stuff you wanted to have in your life. The other side was specifically reserved for those things that needed to go out of your life. Fortunately, it wasn’t as big as the side that contained the good stuff. Sounds quite simple, doesn’t it? I spend a few moments at it over the next couple days and eventually I had my own visual inspiration board. A board that I could hold, almost like a compass telling me where to go. My trigger words were sun, sea, beach, adventure, action, focus, love, swim, cliffs, follow your guts, trust yourself, action, start a business, the outdoors, etc. (I included the original board – sorry it’s in Dutch –  in one of the images on this page).

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Looking back on it, most of those words stemmed from a truly glorious holiday experience in Wales only six months earlier. That inspiration board, as simple as it was however, gave me some clarity on what I wanted to focus on. It created some space from thoughts that usually stopped me in my tracks. Thoughts like ‘just be grateful for your career‘, ‘what would your parents think if you didn’t use your degree properly‘ or ‘Stop being so stupid, childish and selfish Nick‘. In one way the board committed me to submit an application letter to a local coasteering business in Pembrokeshire, Celtic Quest Coasteering. And yes, after a few funny email conversations with the business owner Cleo “I’m wondering accommodation and transport, etc. Netherlands to Pembrokeshire is a mammoth daily commute….”, I got lucky. I was given the opportunity to fly over for a job interview in the sea.

I decided to take on the gamble, booked a flight and traveled over for to West Wales for two days. Long story short, I got lucky and got the job and two weeks later my life was totally different.  Instead of sitting behind a desk I was out in flip-flops on the beach in Abereiddi. Sure, the pay was a lot less but the main thing was that I was happy again about what I did on a day-to-day basis. Every day I felt more confident that I was doing the right thing.

 

The morale of the story?

Actions of confidence come first, feelings of confidence come later. Everybody’s story is different, but most of us have something going on in our head that we aren’t really willing to share yet. A thought that continues to linger in your mind. Maybe a picture of where you want to go, a person you aspire to become, or something exciting you just would like to try. Deep down, just like me, you know the change that’s on your mind might be worth pursuing as well. I didn’t know at the start that my move was a particular good one. It looked quite stupid at the start to be frank. After being an outdoor pursuit instructor I became a behavioural therapist. After worked for 18 months as a therapist I was ready to progress into a role as training advisor for adolescents.  Now I’m a life coach, trained ACT therapist and NLP practitioner.

As Steve Jobs said, you can’t connect to dots going forward. You can only connect them going backwards.

All I’m trying to say here is that although we can’t stop complaining, stop worrying, stop being fearful, stop having doubt in our hearts. It doesn’t mean you cannot make that initial leap, let yourself be vulnerable and just follow that gut instinct and give it a go. Take an action, no matter how minuscule it is. Try and set a few new dots & keep moving forward towards it and see where it takes you. It’s better than doing nothing, isn’t it?

SO, WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU?

Although you’re the expert of your life sometimes you just need that little bit of help to deal with the challenges life throws at you. A gentle nudge in the right direction so that you can clearly see and figure out the exciting path that lies ahead of you.

A coach can be that person for you and is someone who:

  • makes you feel able and confident enough to step outside your comfort zone such that you’re able to overcome your fears and start to enjoy life; not be afraid to do things on your own.
  • is a sounding board that will try to unravel your story and help make your thoughts and mind a bit clearer
  • helps you begin to see and become more self-aware of your amazing potential and resources within you (yes, it’s really there!)
  • encourages, holds you accountable and regularly follows-up on your goals. If you want to do something tomorrow you’re going to do it tomorrow.
  • questions whether your motivation, your desire to do something,is true to yourself and therefore never runs out
  • doesn’t fall for the lame excuses or stories you keep telling yourself which are currently holding you back
  • leaves you with an action plan after every session; something practical to take away and use to actively make a difference in your life

My credentials

I have plenty of academic baggage to show you how to make behaviour change happen and last, but purposely try to remain down to earth and practical. You don’t want some academic talk full of jargon, you want simple tools and techniques you can practice yourself and take home immediately.

That said, professional development and understanding the theory behind behaviour change is very important to me. Therefore, I have obtained the following qualifications and experience:

In 2017 I completed my final assessment in Cardiff to become a Qualified Life Coach with ILM (Instute of Leadership and Management). I'm also listed on the UK life coach directory, a nationwide database of qualified coaches and NLP practitioners.
ACT stands for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and is part of the so-called ''third wave'' of (evidence-based!) behavioural therapies that places special attention on committed action. Behaving towards the stuff that matters to you, the stuff you stand for (but perhaps struggle with so far). I'm listed as an ACT Therapist on the ACBS, the Association for Contextual Behavioural Science. Specific ACT Training I have completed in the last two years: Happiness Trap Online Programme (8 week programme, 2019), ACT for Difficult to Engage Teens with Ben Sedley (2 hr workshop, 2020), Telehealth: How To Do ACT Well Via Video or Audio with Russ Harris & Joe Oliver (2 hour workshop, 2020), ACT for Adolescents with Dr Russ Harris (16hr online training, 2020), ACT for Adolescents with Dr Louise Hayes (12hr workshop, 2020)
In 2015 I completed a nine-day training to become a certified NLP Practitioner. I learned various NLP techniques, including submodalities, Swish patterns, anchoring, learning strategies, metamodel, milton model, and your subconsciousness (time line therapy, hypnosis). Also other techniques were included, such as Mindfullness, EMDR, EFT, TA, Hypnose, Timeline therapy, RET, and Wim Hof (Iceman).
As a former Behaviour Therapist working for Skybound Therapies, I dealt with behaviour change and motivation on a daily basis. Using applied behaviour analysis (ABA) I provided fun and positive interventions for individuals with learning and/or behavioural needs. ABA forms one of the building blocks for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT is at it’s core a behavioural therapy: it’s about taking action.
I have a Master degree in Consumer Studies (Wageningen University). My specialty lies in Behavioural Economics, a branch of economic research that adds elements of psychology to traditional economic models in an attempt to better understand decision-making.
Since September 2020 I have started to volunteer for the The Old Mill Cancer Foundation. I provide Acceptance and Commitment Therapy sessions for individuals (or family members of) coping with cancer. I do this in Narberth every other Monday afternoon. So if you know of someone who is going through this tough journey and might benefit from additional emotional support get in touch with the Old Mill Foundation.

HAVE A LOOK FOR YOURSELF

To see how we can work together and see if life coaching is something for you.