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Live the dream

When Nicky Hambleton-Jones was made redundant for the third time in two years she decided that she needed to turn her life around.

Nicky wanted to change her life – she was 30, single, with a large mortgage and no job. But even though she was at rock bottom, she knew that she was destined for fame and fortune.
‘Somewhere deep inside me, even though there wasn’t any evidence to support it, I believed that I was special, that I was different and destined for greatness (whatever shape or form that took,)’ says Nicky in her new book Top To Toe.

She took herself on holiday and wrote descriptions of her ideal lifestyle, her ideal job, her ideal man. ‘I am still marvelling at how, in less than five years, most of those dreams have become reality,’ she says. So how did she do it and how can you turn your life around in a similar way?

The ‘eureka’ moment
Nicky knew that she needed to make some big changes in her life, but it was when she was watching Tim Henman play tennis at Wimbledon in 2001 that she realised, that like Tim, she needed an expert to help her turn her game around.

So she contacted well known life coach Suzy Greaves.

‘I’ll never forget my first coaching call with Suzy. The first thing she asked was what I was passionate about?’ To which I immediately replied, “Fashion!”, without thinking about my answer at all.

I remember being so taken aback by my own reply that I looked around the room to see if someone else was there. What was I talking about?’ But Suzy latched on to this. She could see the potential in Nicky and realised that fashion was the key to unlock it.

‘Nicky was a management consultant but was made redundant in the first week of our coaching together,’ says Suzy. ‘It was the third time this had happened to Nicky and she never wanted to be in this position again. She said that she wanted to create her business and brand around something she was passionate about.

‘So I simply asked what she was really, really passionate about – and she replied “handbags and shoes”. So I asked her – what would a handbag-and-shoes business look like? Within a week she’d come up with the idea of her styling business Tramp2Vamp.’

What lies beneath?
Life coaching is not about making decisions for people. If you go along it will be up to you to dig deep and ask yourself some searching and sometimes painful questions.

‘As a coach, I don’t make suggestions,’ says Suzy. ‘A life coach isn’t a consultant who has all the answers; they make you do all the work and find your own answers. A life coach’s currency is the questions they ask, rather that the answers they give.

So I asked Nicky lots of questions like these:

What was your childhood dream before everyone told you that what you wanted to do was ‘unrealistic’ and to take your head of the clouds?
Is there anything you’ve seen on the television or read about in a magazine or newspaper that stirred your interest?
Who did you viciously envy recently and why? Envy is a ‰ great tool to tell you what you really want – especially when you ask yourself, what have they got that you want?
What do you love doing – when you do this, does time seem to slip past effortlessly?
What are you passionate about? This will focus your thinking.
What did you love doing as a young child?
What are you naturally good at – what do you do effortlessly?
If you didn’t have to provethat you were good enough, what would you do with the rest of your life?

‘Nicky was very determined, and did everything she could to make her business a success – from handing out leaflets at tube stations to being brave enough to contact national newspapers about her services. She followed her heart and her instincts about what she should do next. I think this kind of heart-inspired action is the recipe for mega-success. Do what you love, take lots of action, tune into your intuition and take some more action!’ says Suzy.

Will it work for me?
But it’s not just Nicky who can benefit from this. If you want to make a change then find out what it is you really want to do. ‘Be brave, be determined, listen to your gut instincts and think big’, explains Suzy. ‘Nicky also has a great network of friends, who supported her when things were tough in the early days so make sure you have supportive people around you who will encourage you along the way.’

If you need some help then go to a reputable life coach. ‘A life coach is essentially someone who’ll help you get from where you are now to where you really want to be – whether that be in your career or just life in general. Most life coaches work on the telephone and you arrange to talk for 30-60 minutes once or twice a month,’ says Suzy.

Try thinking out of the box
‘Your coach will ask you questions,’ says Suzy, ‘which are aimed to make you think out of the box. How do you really want your career to look? What would you have to believe about yourself to get your dream career? If you won the lottery, what would you do with your life?

‘Many of us grow up living life by someone else’s rules, playing the roles society demanded we played in order to be “happy”. We passed exams, launched ourselves on a career then bought the car and the house to go with them. But then we can’t understand why we are so desperately resentful and unhappy. Coaching helps you to identify or rediscover what you really want in life,’ she adds.

Top five changes that people want to make

Fulfilment at work.
To find a life partner.
To lose weight.
To fulfil a life-long ambition, be it writing a novel or climbing a mountain.
To identify what it is they really want. (Often people know they are discontent but need help figuring out what will make them happy.)

Be prepared
‘Coaching is not for everyone’, says Suzy. ‘You have to be prepared to dig deep to discover what drives you and what stops you moving forward. And you also have to be prepared to take action – and lots of it. Coaching follows the old adage, if you keep on doing the same old stuff, you’ll keep on getting the same results.

‘So you are encouraged to take lots of action but perhaps approaching things differently to how you would normally. From ridding yourself of the energy drainers in your life – from the coffee you drink to the clutter which saps your energy – to discovering your vision of how you really want your life to be.

‘You have to be willing to shift from victim to creator, to take responsibility and make new choices. And from there “do differently”. If you’re not willing to step out of your comfort zone, get a little scared and experiment with new ways of being, living and doing, coaching is probably not for you,’ says Suzy.

‘I became a life coach 10 years ago’ she adds. I was a health editor of a national magazine and could try out all sorts of treatments and therapies for free.

‘I got a free life coach for a week and was so blown away by it – I hired her for a year – and completely turned my life around. I stopped drinking and smoking (despite being a health editor, I lived a very unhealthy lifestyle), I improved my relationship with my husband, and I doubled my income. I became such a fan of life coaching and its benefits, I trained to become one, and in 1998 started my own life coaching business.’

I will survive
‘You don’t need money to pursue your dreams but it is important you have a way of supporting yourself financially while you are on the journey to fulfilling your dreams. There is nothing that stops you quicker than constantly worrying about your survival needs,’ she adds.

‘Get these met first and then work in the evenings and weekends to start building your new business or work on your idea or novel – whatever your dream is.

‘It can take three years or more to build a business to the place where it can support you financially. I encouraged Nicky to work part-time to pay her survival costs while she built up her business – this not only gave her some level of financial security for daily living but also allowed her to mix with other people as she was finding working on her own too isolating.’

photos Shutterstock

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