This month’s interview is with Louise Colbridge. Her story is one of many steps, from moving to Singapore to taking some time off to have her children, to discovering NLP and coaching and then to finally making the decision to quit her job and set up her own business last year.
Watch the full interview below or read on to find out more about the different decision points along the way, the challenges she faced in particular when it came to her mindset and confidence, and how she has transformed her life and found a way to build a business that works perfectly for her young family and allows her to make an impact in the world as well.
How to become a personal life coach
Louise quit her 9-to-5 job in August 2018, after more than 14 years working in communications and marketing. She had moved to Singapore because of her husband’s job, taken some time off to have her children, and then found when she returned to work that her priorities had shifted. Today, she’s a personal coach for people who are on the verge of embarking on “something big”, exciting clients who bring energy and enthusiasm and are ready for change.
1) At what moment did you decide it was time for a change?
I moved to Singapore ten years ago with my husband, so my career moved as well, and I carried on working in PR and marketing here. I had my children, had a bit of time off, and went back to work for four or five years after my youngest daughter was born. I noticed a shift in what I was passionate about and how my values had completely changed from being quite career-orientated and wanting an exciting job to needing something that was more in line with who I felt I was becoming. I don’t know whether it was a case of just getting a bit older and having children who were a bit older, but I felt a real shift in my life and in what I needed.
Coupled with that, I was going through a really stressful time in my job and I realised that whilst I loved the people and I loved being part of the team every day, the actual job just wasn’t ticking the boxes for me anymore. I was working really long hours, my children weren’t seeing me, I was really stressed, I wasn’t exercising, I was getting sick, and I thought there must be something more…
A friend put me in touch with a coach and I had just one conversation with her to start with and literally my whole mindset changed, and I realised that of course it was possible to do something different! But I struggled for about two years with finding out what that was. I knew I wanted to work for myself, I knew I needed more time at home with my family, I knew I needed more time for myself; but it took about two years.
I enrolled in an NLP course and I loved that, and I loved working one-to-one with people, but I didn’t want to fully jump into the world of NLP. So, I started looking at coaching courses and as time and fate would have it, I was talking to another mum who I’d known for four years. I enrolled on the same course that she had done because I was so inspired by her and what she was doing – and I haven’t looked back!
I made the decision to do the course and to set up my own business, but actually handing in my notice was still quite difficult. I spent a long time talking about it and not doing anything and then, again, things just kind of ‘happened’. My boss at the time wanted to change my hours, to extend them, and that was enough for me to say, “Actually, this is not going to work for me and there’s something else that’s calling me.” So, I handed in my notice.
2) What was the biggest challenge you faced in making the change?
I think it was gaining the confidence to accept that this was going to be my next move, and stepping into that. I’ve found that every step of the way the energy that I put out comes back. As soon as you open yourself up to the possibility of things happening, I think they start to happen; they were probably happening anyway, I just hadn’t been in the right place to acknowledge them. And that has been huge for me, just getting over those mindset blockages of what is and is not possible.
Moving into a new career and getting myself accredited and all of those things has been great and kind of a supported process. Then there’s the whole business bit and nobody tells you what you should be doing. In spite of my career in communications and marketing, I still wasn’t able to do any of that for myself – that was really difficult.
I have also kept quite quiet about everything that I’ve been doing, and I’ve been a bit scared in terms of putting myself out there, so I’m definitely still working on that.
3) Where did you get the support you needed to make it happen?
My husband. Knowing that I had somebody at home who said, “You go and do what you need to do.” That was a huge foundation for me to be able to go and explore – that was the biggest support for me.
I also found that doing the courses that I did, you suddenly build up a network of like-minded people who don’t know your history, don’t know your background, but know that you’re really excited about something. I’ve made friends here that I’ve only known for a year but we’re on this journey together and that’s been amazing.
4) What’s the best part of your lifestyle today?
I feel like my life has completely turned around! I mean, I have built a routine that is just perfect for me. I get to drop my kids at school, I exercise every day, I meet with really interesting people who inspire me so much to be better and learn more. And I just feel like I’m having a positive impact on the world in terms of my work.
I feel like my life and work have merged into one, which I guess could sound quite scary to some people; but I feel like I’m living and breathing it more. It’s no longer about work and home, it’s just: this is my life and this is how I’m choosing to live it.
So for me, the main driver was having an impact and being able to spend some quality time with my children and not be stressed, and busy, and sick and worrying about balancing everything. Achieving that has been life changing.
5) What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is considering making a big career or lifestyle change?
Give yourself permission to explore and be open to opportunities and realise that anyone can do it. I thought that setting up and running your own business you had to be an entrepreneur, or you had to be young or you had to be always coming up with new ideas – and I don’t think it’s about that. I think it’s about finding what passion you want and what you want your life to look like and then working backwards from that.
Somebody said to me, or I read somewhere as I was starting out, that you should “Start before you’re ready.” And I’ve used that a lot more recently. Previously, I would have always researched and made cases for and cases against. Actually, I think there’s a time and a place to just do it and then work it out… and if you put the energy and the effort in, it will all come together.
Find out more about Louise’s coaching on her website, We are Limitless.