I’d like to thank this week’s guest feature, Caoilfhionn (“Kwee-lin”) Buckley, for letting me re-share her Medium blog post! In this feature, Caoilfhionn talks about her drastic lifestyle change, from corporate consultant to mental health coach (with the trip of a lifetime to southeast Asia along the way). Continue reading to find out how she’s now empowering people to manage their own mental health!
Writing a blog, sharing my story is not something I would normally do — but then again it’s a funny time of year to launch a business within the strangest of years. Although somehow it all feels strangely fitting.
I have always been fascinated by people. Growing up in Ireland with a large family, I moved across both borders in the shadow of the Good Friday agreement. Trying to understand the world around me, I became good at changing my accent, my style and adapting who I was, depending on where I was.
University and consultancy cemented this behaviour. While majoring in Marketing at the University of Strathclyde, I had the opportunity to dip my toe into behavioural psychology and consumer behaviour, and a fascination with how this applied in business led me to take the path of management consultancy. Moving to London, I spent six years specialising in Digital Strategy for a Fortune 500 global company.
The environment itself was fast paced, dynamic and filled to the brim with ambiguity. On the surface I was excelling, however underneath I was dealing with anxiety, perfectionism and low self-esteem. Clients gave positive feedback on my ability to flex my style, to really hear their problems and to provide empathetic support. I pushed myself to the limits to adapt to every client, every Managing Director’s style and every emerging thematic trend…all the while knowing it wouldn’t feel or be good enough. Constantly learning and aiming for moving targets, I was building a narrative for success that I had created for myself.
My life changed forever in 2018, for reasons that — especially in a debut blog, I won’t divulge just yet…. we’ve only just met…! I was led to re-evaluate the way I was living my life and invited to really reflect on my super-charged adaptable qualities. In a classic ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ move, I made the decision to leave my consulting career and adventured solo throughout S.E Asia. This was the start of me observing people, their cultures and behaviours — just simply to understand and enjoy the process of learning. It was inspiring to note so much that was different yet at its core so very similar.
Unfortunately, it ended with quite the bang. October 2019, I broke my shoulder in a scooter accident on the beaches of Vietnam and was forced not just to escape my life as it was, but forced to STOP, to recover, to slow down and prematurely go home. Unsurprisingly this helped me to give myself permission to reflect and invest time in thinking through my values and how I wanted to spend my time once I was well again. During my years in the corporate world, I had developed a passion for managing and mentoring others, so armed with some experience and my life-long interest in human behaviour, I decided to choose a career in coaching.
One non-eventful evening I found myself in conversation, with someone who turned out to be a coach from The Thrive Programme® [TTP]. He explained the programme and after some thought I approached him and asked him if he would coach me through the process. With TTP, not only was I taught how to think and feel differently — I felt like I had learned the skills to understand and more fully appreciate myself. From day one, I welcomed the structure and predictability within the programme, and was pleased by the absence of psycho-babble, within the coaching relationship. A simple and accessible approach, it really helped to break down the barriers to change enabling me to believe that I could grow and own my mental health. It was freeing to understand that mental health is not wired into our DNA, or a fixed entity. Rather through simple changes and choosing to re-form my beliefs and unhelpful habits I could thrive as an individual.
Yes, mental health is being spoken about now more than it ever has been before and it is undoubtedly helping many people seek out treatment that puts them in control of their mental health. Research demonstrates that people feel calm, relaxed and happy in situations where they feel powerful and in control, yet most people aren’t really taught how to cope with the everyday challenges of life. This means many people end up feeling anxious and powerless, or with debilitating mental health concerns. A fundamental aspect of the programme is teaching you how to be empowered, confident and calm in any situation, giving you the freedom to really make the most of life.
Quite simply, TTP offers you the skills to understand, respond and master your mental health while building the foundation of a happy healthy, thriving mind.
I’m really excited to be launching my new business today. It has been a journey full of personal learning and growth. I feel very grateful to be where I am now. I feel powerful and in control of my thoughts and feelings, I have the skills to cope, feel good about myself. I know I always have a choice about how I perceive situations. These are all skills that I have been taught through completing and living The Thrive Programme®
Never has there been a better time to learn these skills, for yourself and the people around you. Do get in touch if you have any questions and I would really appreciate any follows or shares…… in this period of uncertainty, it might be tough to set up a new company, but it feels authentic and right to to be in the business of helping people when they might need it most.
Thank you Caoilfhionn, for sharing your story! Readers can connect with Caoilfhionn and learn more about The Thrive Programme® by visiting her page on Instagram (@thrive.with.caoilfhionn).
P.S. Want to remain updated about all-things Free to Spiel? Find us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn today (and don’t forget to subscribe below, so that you never miss a live post again!).