It wasn’t meant to be this way. I was a high flyer. Living and working in Asia, running not one, but two companies. My Superwoman pants were firmly on the outside and I thought nothing could stop me. I thought I was indestructible. I thought I thrived in the intensity of it all. Partying hard at weekends with friends. Airports my second home as I to a different country every week. My real home a temporary pit stop for weekly washing and occasional unsatisfactory one night stands.
I still remember that day well. I was running a high profile, five-day programme. People had flown to Singapore from all around the world. On day two I couldn’t get out of bed.
I remember thinking “this isn’t where I’m supposed to be”.
Yet here I was. Body crashed.
With a final defiant flourish I worked in bed for the rest of the week, and dragged myself out to party with a girlfriend on Friday night. Little did it was to be my last night out for a long time.
I call it the “enforced pause”. When you have failed to listen to life’s little warning signs for too long. Even as the signs get bigger the denial runs deeper.
Eventually in the absence of your ability to listen, life has to wake you up. It often does it with a shock. A redundancy, ill health, a relationship breakdown, depression, anxiety, bereavement.
The list is large. So is the impact.
My extreme lifestyle needed an extreme recovery. I returned to Cornwall and for three months I retreated. Only leaving the house to see my therapist in London once a week and to visit my friend for the occasional cup of tea. No phone, no Internet, no connection with work or family. A complete rethink on my life.
I slept a lot.
I learned how to eat again.
I found out what my body and soul needed.
I learned that in doing ‘nothing’, ‘something’ happened.
I also met my boyfriend. After seven years of being single, I finally slowed down enough to create the space needed for a relationship
Looking back I realise it was exactly where I was meant to be. It just looked different to the picture in my head.
If you find yourself at a crossroads or life throws you an unexpected curve ball don’t panic!
It’s quite possible that life has a bigger plan for you. One that you can’t yet see.
Here are my lessons learned from my enforced pause. I hope they speak to you, especially if you woke up today thinking,
“This isn’t where I’m supposed to be”
- This is where you are. Even if you don’t want to be. Take a breath and let that in. The more you try and fight reality the harder it will be for you.
- I know it’s the last thing you think you can do right now but take a couple of days off work. The more you “keep busy” the less breathing space you have. Just give yourself a couple of days.
- Use those days to be in nature or a peaceful place and be with yourself. Give yourself some thinking time. Let yourself feel your emotions. The more space you create the more clarity will come.
- If your crossroads involves making a decision, then give yourself a deadline and then choose. Not making a decision will be more of an energy drain than you realise.
- Be gentle with yourself. Tell one or two trusted friends what has happened. Ask them for support. You don’t have to go it alone, but equally you don’t need to involve anyone who won’t be in support of you – choose your team wisely.
- Let yourself rest. Cancel any after work engagements and swop them for a bath and an early night. If you are struggling to sleep read these tips for a restful night: http://wp.me/p4NNjn-6j
- Support your body with real food. Chocolate makes for a nice treat but right now you need to fuel your body with good nutrition. It will build your strength especially if you’ve been running on empty for a while.
- If a relationship has ended stop stalking the other person on social media. If they are meant to come back to you they will. Stalking them creates more pain.
- Buy a beautiful journal and write about what’s happening. Create a sacred space for you to write down your feelings. There doesn’t need to be a set rhythm to it unless that helps you. You can simply write when you feel moved to.
- Find a trusted guide to support you. A counsellor, coach or therapist who can be completely there for you.
Danielle has a long work history as a highly successful executive coach in the corporate industry, working with top-level executives at household name companies such as HSBC, Tesco and Cadbury. After gaining more than ten years experience working with leaders in twenty different countries life gave her a wake up call – burnout. Three years in Asia setting up a pioneering coaching company and award winning change management consultancy had come with huge successes, but not without cost.
After learning that goals and ambitions could be just as happily and successfully achieved when simply allowing the body and mind to pause, she adapted her coaching style with both personal and corporate clients to flow rather than fight against the ups and downs of life.
With a solid business background blended with a deep understanding of the psychology of human development, Danielle can bring the best of both worlds when coaching, understanding business and personal needs at the same time.
Danielle has coached hundreds of people to adapt to this methodology in her renowned Pause Retreats.