I consider myself to be a very fortunate person. I had a stable family, was a bright student and learned very early that there is great value in hard work and perseverance. Life has thrown many challenges my way, losing both my parents by my mid-twenties was the start of really growing up—the beginning my journey of adapting to a changing world.
I had to come to terms with grief and anger. Letting go of the resentment that this had happened to me. It was my first realisation that I had the ability to bounce forward from adversity. The key was to accept the reality and work with it. This understanding enabled me to take the brave step a couple of years later to divorce my husband, accepting the picture book happily ever after was not happening for me. Finally, I was standing on my own two feet. I started to take more risks trusting myself that I would be OK and capable of dealing with what life had to throw at me.
I was determined to open up to opportunities. Not to ‘be small’ and fit into other peoples’ expectations of me. I started my own business, experienced new levels of anxiety and realised my strength and determination. I have been self-employed ever since.
I have grown the confidence to make decisions and changes in my life, holding myself responsible for my actions, successes, and failures, which I have had along the way. Someone once said that I was like a chameleon, with the ability to adapt to different situations and groups. Their description started me thinking about chameleons and focus on their positive aspects. They are uniquely able to turn their eyes in different directions simultaneously, so they can look behind and see where they have been, and they can look ahead to see where they are going. This ability seemed incredibly useful. My chameleon-self can look back and reflect on the past and acknowledge the learnings.
There is a saying that there is no failure, only learning, and I have decided to adopt this as a positive message for myself and my clients. I can look forward and make decisions that will take me towards the vision I have for myself and my future.
Over the years, I have reinvented myself many times as my life changed. I have been an international salesperson, a trainer, a consultant, a change and transition specialist and now a coach and facilitator of individuals, teams, and organisations, where I can bring all my skills and passions together.
I remarried, have three amazing children, and moved to South Africa when I was in my early forties. In recent years, my children have returned to England, my husband passed away, and I was again on my own, but never lonely. I am an explorer, always up for an adventure, working and travelling in Africa and Europe.
The lessons I have learned have enabled me to be comfortable in diverse communities, and I am able to encourage and inspire my clients to go on their adventure, whatever that may be, without judgement and to develop their own inner chameleon. The COVID-19 situation has brought new insights and learnings, and now at nearly seventy, I have recently moved back across continents to England to be nearer to my family. It is a new adventure, and I know that I can adapt to whatever comes my way. I look back over my life with gratitude for all the lessons – both happy and painful – and I look forward to the new learnings and experiences.
This article was initially written for Sybil Magazine – Connecting, supporting and promoting the wisdom and insight of women since 2004