It is difficult to know when to pinpoint the start of this journey. Writing a book, who would have thought it! I can’t say that I have known I was always going to write a book like some people. Eventually it just became the right and next step although for me it started way before that.
A Path Travelled is a book exploring how we are shaped and influenced by the lives that we lead and then how this can play out in terms of our thinking and behaviours, both positively and negatively. We have phases and milestones in our lives which can reveal our true selves. In the book, I have brought together much of what I have learned and experienced in a palatable way for you.
The reason for me writing this book started a long, long time ago, although I didn’t realise it at the time. It starts as far back as my school days where I was being influenced by what others thought was best for me and at that time, I did not have the self-assurance to know what was right for me. I had doubts that I could achieve much, however deep down I knew that there was more.
I began a new chapter of my life by moving across the country. Around this time, I started to read self-help books and began exploring a different approach, although I was unclear about what it would mean. By moving geographically, I was standing so much more on my own feet, so started to branch out and to trust my own instincts and decision making. This led to changes of job direction and my career changes became part of the journey that got me to where I am now.
I embarked on a career working with people and their behaviours. I trained as a counsellor and CBT therapist, a Master NLP Practitioner and a Clean Language Coach – all giving me a unique set of tools in my toolkit. As all these qualifications were gained through an experiential approach, my confidence and self-belief increased.
I worked in the NHS for 24 years and during that time roles included domestic abuse, drugs and alcohol, public health, young people projects, and latterly the lead for safeguarding. While I had enjoyed my personal progression through these roles, I started to realise that I needed to do something new and different. I started by reducing my hours so that I could give one day a week to starting my own venture. I knew straight away it was the right decision. In 2010, I now had the confidence I needed, I left the security of a regular salary, permanent post and pension to set up my own business; 2minds.
The next chapter of this journey started when a client called Betty said, ‘I wish you would write all of your wisdom and knowledge down and share it with us all’. I used to recommend some of my guru’s to clients and friends to read and quite often the feedback I got was ‘its too American’! So, I decided to think about writing some of my thoughts and ideas down, knowing that it would at least be for the British palate! From that point, spreading the word became my vision.
A Path Travelled, my first published book is a combination of a lifetime of knowledge gained from working with my clients, books, training and courses, people I have met who have taught me so much, as well as my own valuable personal life experiences. It is full of theories, ideas and tips to help you along on your wonderful journey of life.
I then continued to write in various locations off and on for over 8 years: at home, in cafés, at friends’, at my hairdressers and in outside the UK. It has taken me quite some time! The trick of balancing my work and home life, along with the huge learning curve of writing a book made it quite a task. There have been big gaps between writing and it needed the appropriate time. It needed to be authentic and many more wonderful people came to see me showing courage and vulnerability to be able to take the steps to change their lives.
For many years, I used to just type and type…I literally had pages of text, headings and ideas. I used to write about a topic like people pleasing or managing insecurity. The problem came when so many pages of text had no structure, no chapters. I often used to open my laptop, become overwhelmed with the task of turning it into a book and close it again. Months and months would go by with no work, partly because I was busy and partly because I didn’t know what to do next. I was then introduced to a book mentor who was able to support me to create a structure and chapters. Having a monthly check in meant that I had deadlines rather than it just being myself. It was a big step sharing my work with someone else as previously it had been like a big secret.
I started editing my work and felt like I was doing the final edit forever! It became one of those topics that people would ask ‘when will your book be finished’ and I would always have the same answer ‘I am not a fulltime author, so it will be finished when it is’. Not the best focus to get something finished although that was my reality. The book then went to the typesetter which was exciting as it now looked like a book. The final edits are happening, content pages are being created, ISBN applied for and the marketing strategy commences.
Although I worked hard on my manuscript, in the beginning I never truly thought it would become a real book, so ‘never say never’. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it, believe in it and take action. Life is a journey and writing this book has been quite a trip. If there was ever book 2, I have learned some extremely valuable lessons.
Publishing this book is a massive personal achievement, I stuck with it even when it felt too overwhelming and kept believing that I could do it. I felt compelled to share my experiences, knowledge and wisdom as I believe that through sharing my learning with others, people can start to free themselves from barriers, realise their full potential and allow them to have the life they want and deserve.