The Christmas break was coming to an end, and I just cried.

The thought of going back to the job I had been doing prior to the break simply sucked the life out of my soul. I didn’t just not want to do it – I was exhausted. I physically couldn’t....

My Story

The world had been through almost a year of the pandemic, and I’d been busy trying to do it all. I had a preschooler. I was homeschooling my 6-year-old daughter. I was studying for a health coaching diploma and a second nutrition qualification. I was the secretary of the local school PTA and running online events. I was checking in regularly on my elderly parents nearby. I was trying to keep my house clean and organised, shop for food and cook healthy meals. And on top of that I was sitting at my desk, working from home six hours a day between school runs doing a job I didn’t enjoy, with virtually no breaks.

I wasn’t eating or sleeping enough, I was forgetting to drink water, and I lived in constant brain fog with a permanent mountain of stress pressing on my chest.

It was a walk through a church graveyard in town with my daughter that first woke me up to what was happening. Pandemic life meant we couldn’t do any normal social activities, but fortuitously, our daily walk – and seeing all those lives laying expired in the ground – was jarring.

There was no doubt about it: I was going to end up like just like them one day. Was this really how I wanted to spend the precious time I had been miraculously granted on this Goldilocks planet spinning its way through space? Did I really want to model this life to my kids?

It wasn’t. And I didn’t.

So early January 2021, I quit the job, pushed back on my other obligations, and took some leave.

Some interesting things then started to happen.

  • For one thing, the world carried on turning. Yes… really!
  • My colleagues were very kind to me and they understood that I was struggling.
  • Other people picked up things I had been doing, so I didn’t have to.
  • I spent more quality time with my children, and was more focused for home schooling.
  • I was better able to study for my own courses.
  • I took more time to think, and started to develop a better understanding of how I had got here, who I was and what I wanted next.
  • I had the energy to start my health coaching business, and found a health coaching job in the NHS that would give me the chance to learn and grow.

By pushing out things that were causing me unhappiness, I created space for more things that didn’t.

Just as things got better…

Unexpectedly, the next two years proved to be my toughest yet. My mum’s health rapidly declined and she died of Alzheimer’s. And my dad died suddenly three months after that. I found myself completely exhausted, numb and still reeling from burnout.

I think it was at that point that I completely gave up doing what I ‘should’ – you could call it an unravelling, a midlife crisis, even a dark night of the soul – and I just allowed my weary soul to be pulled towards whatever lit a spark in me instead. I read book after book that called me; I listened to podcasts and watched TED talks by interesting speakers. I reached out to new connections that felt like ‘my people’ and started to build different relationships.

I essentially began to trust a deep knowing that I had inside, that if I could just find the pieces of the puzzle, the big picture would become clear.

“A quiet mind is able to hear intuition over fear.”

Yvan Byeajee, Zero to Hero

The last piece of the puzzle.

It was at 3am one Autumn morning that I found the last piece. I’d had a call that day with a coach to get advice on my business, and it had left me confused. They’d told me who I was and what I should do with my coaching.

It was exactly what I thought I wanted. Except something in me felt it wasn’t right.

Lying in tears that night, I just didn’t know what to do. Here was this very experienced coach, who had worked with hundreds of people, telling me what I should do. How could they be wrong?

But my intuition was trying to tell me something different.

So I cleared my mind. And I thought: Katie… what do you want?

I didn’t want to tell people what to do.

I fundamentally believe that we all know what we really want for ourselves. We sometimes just need support in finding it.

I thought: I want to help people to think and decide what they want for themselves… I want to be a thinking partner.

Is that something people can be?

Finding Time to Think

That’s when I found it: a book called Time to Think by Nancy Kline, and her groundbreaking coaching method, which she calls the Thinking Environment.

For me, this method is like coming home.

Nancy has spent decades researching the ideal way to listen and question others in support of their independent thinking. And her stories reveal how powerful the approach is.

The method she has perfected is elegant. It’s brave. And it’s so empowering, so encouraging, so respectful of the thinker’s own mind.

I knew straight away that it aligned with my personal beliefs, while providing the discipline I needed to help women like me drive their growth and choose their own future, on their own terms.

Hear Yourself Think had been born.

Qualifications

Time To Think Coach, Evolve Leadteam Ltd (2024)

Thinking Partnership Course, Thinking Cultures

BTEC Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Nutrition and Health Coaching, International Institute of Nutrition and Health

Nutrition Network Advisor in LCHF/Keto Nutrition, Nutrition Network

Basics of Counselling, Eastleigh College

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