I hit rock bottom about three years ago. I felt like it was the lowest point in my life. And for the first time ever I sat there and thought, what’s going on? Not what’s going on with the situation, but what’s going on with me? I treat people well, I have a good heart, I care. It was the story of my life. And I was like, you know what? I can’t do this anymore. The universe works in amazing ways because that’s when I met Jordan. He taught me that there was a pattern I had done all my life. For 37 years I’d done the same things based on learned behaviour.
All the decisions I made stemmed from my childhood where I felt like I needed to prove I could do something, or didn’t want to fail and let anybody down. I craved validation. And whenever I didn’t get that validation, I would spiral into anxiety and depression. That gut feeling when your stomach sinks and it carries on for days or weeks. And life turns into these moments where you grab the highs and hold on tight, you feed it for a bit, and then you slip into the lows again.
I was born in a little fishing village right at the end of England, in a place called Penzance in picturesque Cornwall. My Dad and Grandad worked on the docks and were both ex footballers so I was kicking a ball while still in my nappy. I loved the game. Lived and breathed it. My life was built around football. So when I turned 16 I left Cornwall to play professional. That’s how the system worked back then. The club would take you in and you lived on your own and you trained every day, hoping to make that big contract at the end of it.
I owe my Dad everything, and he pushed me a lot. I was his pride and joy. But with his love, I unknowingly also felt a lot of pressure. He had been semi-pro but broke both his legs and had to retire early, so he wanted me to make it as a professional footballer. I didn’t want to ever fail. I didn’t want to come home unsuccessful so I made decisions, like to sign that contract, because on paper it gave me validation even though it wasn’t the best for me.
My career wasn’t going anywhere and I fell out of love with the game. If I really believed in myself as much as I should have done, I probably would have stuck at football and made better decisions. But I went to work for a recruitment company in London. And it was fast paced, it was lots of money, it was like the Wolf of Wall Street and I’m in my 20s thinking yea this is it, I’m going to prove I can do this. So I took it on and five years later was approached to come work in Australia.
But what I learned is that all my decisions were to prove this, to not let anybody down, to please other people, to seek validation. All traced to my childhood. And that led to immense anxiety. Some days, I couldn’t function. I couldn’t work. I had to take time away from things because my mind was fixated on getting that validation back, of getting someone to love you, to like you. I was constantly having these battles in my head and those battles would get worse and worse and worse because of the overthinking.
Jordan doesn’t promote himself as an awareness coach, but that’s what he is. He led me down this path which was really conflicting. He says, let’s look at your friendship groups, let’s look at the managers you’ve worked with, let’s look at your parents. We had everything we wanted growing up and never went without. But the pressures of life with Mum and Dad together - they both went through a lot - and what I learned about self-love and love choices was based on them. A complete push-pull-push-pull. So for me, it was normal to meet someone and feel like I could fix them.
The lightbulb moment came when I realised it was all connected. If I wasn’t picked in football, if I didn’t get that contract, if I wasn’t successful at work, if I failed at something, if I thought I let someone down, if someone left me in a relationship, this feeling of rejection is the complete opposite to this feeling of validation. And if I’m built to constantly seek validation based on my learnings, I’m going to spiral into this depression where you feel you have no one to turn to and no one understands you.
Our brains are trained to act and to love and to feel from our parents who did the best they could with tools they had. So I can’t get angry. I look back and have nothing but compassion for Mum and Dad. When you become more solid with who you are, people change around you. They can trust your energy. Instead of getting angry with my past, I understood that only I create the reality around me, and could turn around and say to my parents: are you ok? Is everything alright? You’re doing a great job, we appreciate all you do. And the shoulders drop. And they open up to you.
I understand people so much better and hopefully they trust my own energy more. This is the reason I started my business. Five years ago I wasn’t truly confident, just like my football, to feel like I could do it on my own because I constantly needed validation or someone to tell me I could do it. But this time, nothing bothered me anymore. I couldn’t wait to start. I didn’t know how it would work but I was confident it would work.
The old me would want everyone to know I’ve started my business, my name in lights and to prove to those that don’t matter that I’ve done this. Now, I don’t care what people think. I don’t care about a legacy built on validation. I’m starting small, building the finance first, growing from the top up. I want to help people find jobs, sell the business, have a family, do the things I want to do and be my true self.
People say we must change, but the truth is you don’t need to change who you are. What we need are the tools to become more self-aware of our triggers and how we’re built, so we can come from a place of compassion and choose a better way to act and communicate. I’ve had the best three years of my life if I’m honest with you. I’ve never felt so happy and comfortable with myself and it’s based on really understanding my core patterns. I’ll give you an example. I didn’t want my dog to be anxious. If I had a dog five years ago I’d probably project my anxiety onto him. If I’m angry then he’s going to feel that. But I know he feels trust with me. He feels safe, and that’s why he’s such a happy dog. It sounds silly but it’s all connected.
You can’t change the past but I understand the past a lot better. Yes, I would have loved to play football longer and not signed that contract but this is where I’m meant to be right now. I feel I have become more solid in who I am, my energy feels better and my conversations with people are different. This path to self-awareness changed my life. I choose to be curious, rather than assume. I’ve got the buzz to get up every day and do this. And although the world outside feels less connected, inside, the future feels great.