I met Bob during 2018. We worked together on some counselling, something that I am a huge fan of and am never afraid to talk about. Counselling has saved me many times in my adult life, literally saved me from darkness and depression. From dark dark days at university after my mum and dad died to a career crisis during my late 20’s. And now to a challenging time in my early 40s.
We spent a couple of months exploring some deep seated issues during 2018. Bob gave me coping mechanism for managing a busy life, trolls, business growth and the death of my parents. We have recently spend some more time together recently dealing with more stuff.
Bob has just shifted his business over to more life-coaching and I wanted to share his inspiring story on Mrs Mummypenny. He is an incredible man, and has achieved so much with his life so far, with much more to come. Another post in my series of the leap from corporate life to self-employment and the creation of a business.
Over to Bob….
How long were you in the employed world and what were you doing?
I served almost two-decades in corporate life, but it’s not what many would consider ‘corporate’, having a career in an ambulance service! Trust me, it’s a corporation too!
At what point did you think, it’s time to leave and go self-employed? Was there a trigger moment?
I ‘broke!’, both mentally and physically just one too many times. I realised it was time to listen to my body and my emotions and that to continue could leave me irreparably damaged. Leaving aside the demands of the job, I had endured and lost the ability to rest because of the physical pain of a worn cervical spine for so long. One night in the early hours and immediately after having responded to an emergency call as an ‘on-call’ response officer, I experienced the most incredible hallucination!
The next day I saw a G.P and was prescribed some sleeping pills. I’d been surviving on 3-5 hours sleep for so long, my body and mind called ‘time’.
What plans did you put in place before leaving, e.g. training, saving money, building customer base?
Following a ‘battle’ with an adjudicating body I was granted disability status that allowed me to effectively take early retirement and claim my pension – and a lump sum. I was still under 50!
Prior to leaving my career I had been heavily involved in various aspects of mental health training and stakeholder agency liaison. I had become a governor of my local mental health Trust and I undertook training in counselling and psychotherapy, adding cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) soon after. I also continued digging deep into my own life narrative and the psychological and emotional health challenges that had beset me through my life.
Maintaining my calling to continue being of service was key and to value to individual’s health and that I really loved the diversity working in emergency medicine had provided for me. I needed something that would continue to provide me with intellectual stimulation and continued growth, but without the operational aspects that continued to curtail me physically.
I had ‘awoken’, and having learned what it was to heal, it became obvious that I should share my learning with others. The website was built by me and I launched my private practice counselling service at the beginning of 2012, and it has progressed from strength-to-strength ever since. Now my personal development has reached a new level and I have added a new business, that of life mentoring or coaching to the unfulfilled ‘wealthy’.
Tell Us about your New Business
The new venture is specifically designed to serve those who feel they ‘should’ be content, given the wealth they have. This genre of client may feel a sense of shame and as such, unable to express and share with others their unhappiness. Our societal conditioning says we must make ‘big’ money and attain lofty career positions if we are to be ‘happy’ and ‘successful’.
However, the reality for many is that they need to be ‘happy’ before they become financially and positionally successful! Money, it seems, really doesn’t make us happy. Neither does celebrity status or other positions of note. We only must recall the sad cases of ‘A-listers’ who appear to have the world at their feet, only to, in extreme circumstances, take their own life. Sadly, there are others deemed less newsworthy who also struggle, emotionally.
Whether it’s a sense of shame or just a need to scratch a psychological itch that assumes ‘it’ll be alright ‘when’ …
Or, maybe the individual perceives a sense a feeling of incompleteness, lack of purpose and loss of motivation. My program, conscious living by design calls on an eclectic mix of my coaching knowledge, my mindfulness training and practice, my medical and psychological knowledge and experience, and is unique and bespoke, lasting a minimum of twelve-months. This program is ‘reassuringly’ expensive because it calls for exceptional accountability to achieve exceptional and sustainable life-changing results. Helpfully, the fees also support my desire to keep my counselling services affordable to all.
Conscious living by design establishes a full appreciation of at least twelve areas of life. We explore foundational values, beliefs, and ‘conditioning’, before moving onto short-medium and long-term goals, each of which is continually measured for efficacy, and adjustments made where appropriate.
We’ll cover areas such as emotional life, social life, career, financial horizons, parenting and relationships, health, fitness and overall well-being. You can see the main list and take your own free brief assessment here.
How is your business progressing?
The counselling practice is fully established, and I continue to grow this and will be adding a practice partner. The coaching business is ‘fledgling’. As I transition a portion of my working week to my own self-development, building awareness, credibility, authority – and reputation.
Can you share three business successes?
- Creating a business where nothing exists in a rural environment, and in a sometimes-stigmatised arena of health, has been my most major challenge and one that I very proud to have succeeded in.
- Finding the ‘right’ people to work with me has been critical to the success of all I have achieved. Not trying to ‘do it all’ is the most liberating aspects of my businesses.
- Maintaining a public voice that is congruent, authentic, and with integrity. Feedback from those who have observed me over the years and who subsequently meet with me is that I present as I connect, online and in-person. I believe that’s a huge compliment and I take that as a major success.
Can you share three learnings?
- Without good emotional health, life is going to contain more suffering and sub-optimal behaviours than may be necessary.
- To find acceptance that one of life’s meanings is to have some degree of suffering; It’s inevitable. However, what we make of difficult emotions and suffering IS within our power, and this is where suffering provides growth, be that spiritual, psychological, and even physiological.
- Being ‘present’, mindful and awake is the most wonderful place to be! Clarity exists in the ‘here’ and ‘now’, whatever I may be experiencing.
What things do you miss about the corporate world?
I miss the connection with colleagues at work – and socially.
What things are you grateful for now that you didn’t have whilst employed?
Choices! I love being able to address business and processes that contain inertia, I’m a huge exponent of ‘performance improvement’. Being my own boss means I am solely responsible; I embrace accountability. I can’t help but mention that I also love choosing my work-life balance and working hours!
What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking of leaving the employed world and setting up their own business.
Vigilance to your health and maintaining balance while starting out. We tend to over-perform with a sense of obvious urgency, sometimes at the cost of social and family relationships, and general health. Maintaining connections with a positive support network is crucial. Otherwise, it’s can be a lonely place to be.
How do people find your business website, social media links?
Right from the outset of my first business I learned the importance of social-media – and having a well performing website. Engagement on social media is now a critical component to driving traffic to my website, especially in the early days!
Now though, most of my clients are through word-of-mouth – and the website is a place they can get to know more about me in advance of our first meeting. I used to blog more frequently but now I almost exclusively have guest posts. I also have an eight-week mindfulness training platform that provides another avenue for traffic and authority.
bobbrotchie.com – Life Coaching and Mentoring
Thank you Bob. An incredibly insightful interview into your life and why you are driven to do what you do, so incredibly well. A huge thank you to your for you guidance with my mental health. LJ.