Before My Map to Freedom, there was a woman who played small. Happy to blend into the background and scared to death of coming out of hiding...
In my early career, I didn’t even realise I was hiding. I just had a vague sense that there was something missing in my life. On the whole, I was busy just getting on with life.
I began my working life in what is lovingly called ‘the rag trade.’ My first job out of University was as second in command to a forceful entrepreneurial woman called Patti.
For three years, we worked side by side and built a very successful business. I loved the job even though the hours were long and the work was physical. I was happy to bask in the shadows of Patti’s success.
When Patti sold her business. it was a sad day, but the timing was good because I wanted to have children. So, I took a break to become a mother. During that break, a good friend suggested I become a teacher, so I retrained.
When I had finished my training and the children were old enough I got my first teaching job, teaching fashion and soft furnishings in a local Further Education college. I loved it.
Not only did I learn how to teach but I was also able to work closely with the section leader. She was an inspiring, strong woman. I worked hard, gave it everything I had and was very happy to bask in the shadows of her brilliance.
(Starting to see a pattern? That’s more than I did!)
And then I got my chance to step into the light. I got promoted to Head of Department. At last, I had been recognised, at last, I had my chance. But something unexpected happened.
I hated it!
I was plagued with self-doubt.
I felt lonely.
I felt stressed and I was overwhelmed by the pressure.
I felt confused.
Wasn’t this what I wanted? Surely this was the ‘thing’ that had been missing in my life? Wasn’t this what I had worked so hard to achieve?
What I couldn’t see at the time was that the ‘thing’ I was looking for had nothing to do with getting promoted and achieving status. Nothing at all...
So, when the opportunity to leave the college came I snatched it with both hands and I went into business with a truly charismatic woman, Jo Lord (who is my best friend even today).
She is quick thinking, full of energy and totally inspiring. Together we built an amazing training business that served the leadership needs of small businesses (and some pretty large ones too), winning multiple government contracts along the way.
These were happy years and I was… you guessed it… ‘happy to bask in the shadow of her brilliance’.
Then, one day in the hairdressers of all places, as I flicked through the glossy magazines I got a glimpse of something. It was a tantalisingly short glimpse, but as I gazed at the beautiful people in their beautiful houses with their inexplicably white teeth, it finally hit me.
What I saw in those glossy magazine pages was that we are all hiding our real self behind something, whether that is an image, a role, a title. We are all, to a greater or lesser extent, faking it.
The only difference between me and the celebs was that I was not hiding behind the trappings of wealth, I was hiding behind ‘success’ and ‘powerful’ women.
I realised that I had been hiding and that the ‘thing’ that was missing in my life was me...
Over the next few years, I attended many workshops and read hundreds of books.
I spent time with people like the amazing Nic Askew learning to make films about hiding! (Resulting in the video you can see below… a step in my own journey in coming out from hiding)
I worked with all manner of experts in the fields of coaching, psychology and personal development from all corners of the globe.
From learning about transpersonal coaching with Sir John Whitmore in the UK, NLP with Robert Dilts, The Enneagram with the best in the US, and even learning how to ‘Unleash the Power within’ in Italy…
For many years, I learned how to put into practice what I had learned and then the teacher in me began to consider a new possibility; “Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a visual tool that could show you not only HOW you are hiding but WHAT you are hiding – and how to find it?”
And wouldn’t it be even more amazing if that tool could show you how you could get more from your life simply by being your true self?
So, I settled down to create a tool that would do just that and using everything I had learned and personally done to allow me to come out of hiding and live in a way that allows me to feel the rapture of being alive – ‘My Map to Freedom’ was born.