I didn’t always know I wanted to pursue a career in Executive Coaching and I’ve been on a journey to get to this point. It started in my 30s when I noticed joint and back pain along with mental and physical fatigue. I put this down to ageing and fatherhood, but in 2009 I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) - a degenerative autoimmune condition of the spine, triggered by a rare gene I happen to have (HLA-B27).
At this point I was running a successful market leader property company, but at the same time as my diagnosis the property market was struggling following the financial crash which caused a lot of additional stress. I was at a low point. I’d just turned 40, I was two stone overweight with a poor diet, overstressed and put all my energy into my business whilst supporting a young family with 4 children. I drank too much, didn’t get enough sleep and had a medical issue I knew little about. I was in a mess, feeling anxious and sorry for myself.
I knew that I needed to take action, and with the help of my wife Gaby, we concentrated on four areas: exercise, nutrition, sleep and most importantly, stress management.
I researched general wellness, behaviours, habit forming and changing and established a basic understanding on how we’re wired. I learned that the mind and body are very interlinked and that our emotional health has a huge impact on our physical health and vice versa. It really is “mind over matter”.
Immersing myself in learning from those who have achieved greatness in the face of adversity, I found two dominant themes on what made these people excel: complexity is the enemy of action, and it’s all about consistency, not intensity.
I began visualising my life with more energy, no pain, less stress, more quality time with my family and time for fitness and relaxation. I then decided to build and sell my business as I needed to re-think my own time inefficiencies, habits, beliefs and personal values.
Through books like The Morning Routine by Benjamin Spall and The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, I learned the importance of morning routines for me. By getting up earlier I could read, exercise, stretch, meditate and journal what was working well or what I could improve on. This really helped me in my recovery and I still do this daily.
I went on to lose 14kg. I sold my company in 2015, completed the London marathon, won my first karate black belt competition and more importantly spent more time with my wonderful family.
I’m amazed at how incredibly resilient we all are and how adaptable and changeable we can be. The human species is the only mammal that can change in many environments - we have an innate ability to change and heal ourselves if we allow it.
In pursuing a career in executive coaching, I’ve also learned that we hold many of the answers and solutions to our challenges. As a coach all I am doing is lending a hand to look for the key to open the door.