Have you ever had a day where you’ve struggled to get yourself out of bed, knowing there’s nothing to inspire you to want to make the effort? Feeling unfulfilled and directionless? Realising that you’re not truly activating your full potential or living with passion and purpose?
This was how I felt in autumn 2016. I’d just returned to work in a corporate environment after a holiday. Although moderately glad to be back, I was still trying to come to terms with a miscarriage that had occurred in June, which coupled with a toxic work culture and a series of unexpected events at work, culminated in me becoming chronically depressed. I wasn’t sleeping well. I was drinking wine practically every evening, and sugary desserts were my go-to to make me feel better. I would frequently cry uncontrollably, and every day was a real struggle to get out of bed. I was deeply unhappy and unfulfilled.
My goal since 2003 had always been to help others activate and harness their full potential, and I wasn’t even able to do that for myself. Unable to cope with the pressures at work and the emotional turmoil I was experiencing, I ended up on sick leave.
Around the same time my dad, Michael, was suffering with his health. Diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and only 30 per cent lung capacity, my dad and my mum were really struggling. After 50 years working as a Chartered Electrical Engineer, a job he was passionate about, his retirement resulted in both my parents living a much more sedentary lifestyle and his health was really deteriorating.
In March 2017, after receiving help in the form of High Performance Coaching, I made a commitment to take back control of my health and wellbeing, become the fittest I could be and realign myself with what I was passionate about – helping others activate and harness their full potential. I decided to leave the corporate environment, and, having found the coaching so transformational, I signed up to become a Certified High Performance Coach myself. I set about re-branding my own business with a greater focus on health and wellbeing, using my personal experience and expertise in leadership training and program delivery to help others.
When you align with your passion and purpose, the ripple effect starts.
In April 2017, with a clearer mind and more mental capacity to focus on what was important to me, I helped my dad reignite his passion for telling children’s stories. I committed to help him publish his first book 'Peter Pixie Visits the Rescue Centre.' I found a professional illustrator through a friend and helped him write down the stories that he used to tell us as children.
In June 2017 after leaving the firm, I relaunched my own business. Undaunted by the technological challenges that lay before me, I built my own coaching website from scratch and set about developing an online course to help others learn how to generate more happiness in their lives. Flying to the USA to develop the video content, I filmed my first free short course ’Hope to happiness’ in September 2017. I was initially terrified of being in front of the camera, but appropriate coaching and constant practise, as well as great feedback, helped my confidence grow.
Whilst in the USA I heard a talk on brain health by Dr Daniel Amen at the Amen Clinics. I was fascinated by the medical images presented on brain function showing how our brains, and hence mental health and wellbeing, can be affected by a multitude of things. I realised that focusing on brain health would enable me to link my previous experience in medical imaging with my personal journey on improving my wellbeing and passion for helping others. I decided that I would focus on getting the skills necessary to set up a brain health imaging clinic and supporting community in the UK and Europe.
By November 2017 I had lost 27lbs. My dad’s health was also improving steadily due to his new sense of purpose and doing something that he was truly passionate about. Astonishingly, both my mum and dad joined a gym. My dad was doing daily breathing exercises to help him boost his lung capacity and they had both started dancing. His health was greater than many not suffering from COPD and he continued to work on his children’s stories (more than six of them)! His imagination and creativity knew no bounds.
In April 2018, my dad, mum and myself founded the company Peter and Paula Pixie Limited, in order to develop a brand around the story characters’ adventures. By then I was the fittest I'd ever been.
Then my own miracle happened. After returning from a ski-trip touring across the French Alps, my husband and I were delighted to discover that it wasn’t just the two of us ski touring, but there was a little passenger on board. I was pregnant again!
Fast forward to today. I'm a Certified Brain Health Coach through the Amen Clinics and Institute for Better Health, as well as a Certified High Performance Coach through the High Performance Institute. My online courses and transformational coaching programs have helped my clients increase their effectiveness eight-ten fold, lose weight, find their sense of meaning and purpose and be equipped with the tools and techniques to weather life’s storms.
My dad's children’s book 'Peter Pixie Visits the Rescue Centre,' aimed at 3-7 year olds, written by Michael J Woodward and illustrated by Alison Lingley, will be published on 28 October 2019. It is available to order across major UK book stores and as far as America, Australia and Japan!
I am now also a mum to our beautiful daughter Lilly, born on Christmas Day by caesarean section, 12 days late. She brings joy everywhere she goes and has truly ignited my desire to live my life with passion and purpose.
Living with passion and purpose is part of our spiritual health, which, in turn, optimises your brain health. My experience has helped me understand that it’s really important to live each day purposefully and pursue what you are passionate about. Doing so helps you build mental resilience and equips you to deal with life’s challenges, so that when you are thrown off course you can easily correct it rather than feeling lost at sea, at the mercy of the elements, not knowing which port to head for or why.
Very sadly my dad passed away suddenly on 17th September 2019 as he was excitedly preparing for his debut book launch. He leaves a legacy of three children and six grand children, as well being a children's author, which he was truly excited about. Whilst he may have gone, his stories will live on - there are many more yet to be published! His goal was to inspire 1 million children through his stories, which we know from feedback so far, he will accomplish.
What legacy do you want to leave?
Are you living a life of passion and purpose?
For more information about the children's book 'Peter Pixie Visits the Rescue Centre' and to order the book, visit www.peterandpaulapixie.com or any major book store.
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