once upon a time….
Up to my mid-thirties life was pretty much how I expected it to be. I had grown up in the West of Ireland, left there to go to University College Dublin, spent a year in the EU and, a little reluctantly, stepped onto the career ladder at 23.
Through my twenties and early thirties I kept landing great jobs. I works in the arts, I was the first PR and Marketing Manager in the National Concert Hall. And at 30 I was approached to work with the (former) President of Ireland Mary McAleese, as her Projects Co-ordinator.
and then everything changed...
In my late thirties my life was upended. When a personal crisis hit I was forced to stop and in stopping I realised a couple of things: I was addicted to busyness. I didn't know how to pause, never mind stop. I was keeping up appearances, even to myself.
Despite my high performing career and the illusion of “she’s got it all”, deep inside I felt disempowered and not good enough. I was operating in a holding pattern of strive/drive, over functioning, exhaustion and overwhelm. I had no self-care. I never really stopped to question or reflect.
I had lost connection to my values and my soul.
I was burnt out.
I wasn't paying attention.
Something had to change.
disruption that transforms…
Arriving at that place of questioning and insight was both terrifying and liberating. I knew I had to change how I was living. I started a daily mindfulness practice. I became a yoga & mindfulness teacher and executive coach.
In 2007 I set up my own business.
I started coaching women and became interested in our relationship to success, performance and wellbeing.
failure or fallback…..?
In the financial crash of 2008 my business took a nosedive. I returned to organisational life as an employee. I kept my coaching, mindfulness and yoga business going outside office hours.
It initially felt like a failure (spot the perfectionist) but I choose to reframe it as an opportunity to put what I had learned to the test, back in a workplace setting.
Those three years as an employee showed me how radically the world of work was changing. I also observed a new leadership and organisational culture that was emerging in order to navigate the complexity of that change.
In my “other life” I became curious about ancient Celtic wisdom and how it might resource us in the contemporary culture.
With the country on its knees in the wake of the economic crash I also knew I had to extend my daily practice from the yoga mat and meditation cushion to actively engage with social change.
I co-created the ireland:iceland project bringing Irish and Icelandic people together in the wake of the crash.
And I went in search of a professional training that would challenge and develop me, so I could have an impact on the changing world. I found the Integral Facilitator Programme in the US taught by Diane Musho Hamilton, a master facilitator and Zen Roshi.
This opened me up to a radical way of working with complexity, human potential and transformation.
It also connected me to a worldwide practice community of consultants and facilitators who are also working at the emerging edge of organisational and leadership development.
It continues to inspire my work with individuals, groups and organisations.
In October last year I launched a global year long online training for women based on the Celtic Wheel.
Reconnecting with the myths and wisdom of my Celtic ancestors had a profound effect on how I was choosing to live as a women. I wanted to share that. It booked out in days with women from 3 continents connecting together. The body of work weaves together much of my work over the last 14 years.
In those 14 years I’ve chosen to walk the path less travelled. It has come with the daily choice to live congruently with my heart and soul. It has often been challenging and uncertain but always enlivening.
I believe more and more people are being nudged onto new uncharted paths, and I celebrate that, because I believe this is how we will carve out a new flourishing future for our world.