I never knew whether my therapist was married, or had children 🤷♀️
How she'd decided to become a therapist.
How long she'd been doing it.
Or if she'd ever done anything else.
In fact, when we said goodbye after THREE YEARS of twice-weekly therapy, she refused a hug, and shook my hand instead.
That's the therapy approach: keep the personal stuff out of it...
But I am a coach, not a therapist.
Who I am as a person, where I have come from, is part of what makes me the coach I am 🤗
So, here goes! 😁
I am 43 years old, married, with one daughter (aged 7 as I write this), three grown-up step-children and four step-grandchildren similar ages to my daughter.
I was born in South Africa but lived most of my life in London, apart from two years working in Brussels.
I moved to Suffolk (rural East of England) in 2010, which is where my husband is from (we met in Thailand in 2009).
I now live in a little village on the edge of the lovely market town of Bury St Edmunds, in a house that we renovated (that's full of teal and orange, as well as two jukeboxes). We have a field behind us that sometimes has sheep in it, and are right next door to the amazing National Trust Ickworth Park, a huge area of woodland 🌳🌳🌳
🤓 Career adventures
I started my career in the Civil Service. I spent ten exciting and rewarding years working, first, on European single market issues (including two years in Brussels negotiating with the EU for the UK, and a year working for the Prime Minister's European Advisor).
This was followed by a move to the world of law enforcement, doing strategy and policy work around organised crime. I was part of the team that set up what is now the National Crime Agency, and I set up and led the Strategy Division for Proceeds of Crime (an entirely new function in a law enforcement organisation).
My career was intense, and deeply satisfying, but also extremely stressful.
And above all, my approach to my career (my perfectionist, driven behaviour, because of my Imposter Syndrome), exacerbated ongoing mental and physical health issues 😩
😱 Chronic fatigue and panic attacks...
My chronic fatigue started when I was 16, after a bout of glandular fever - I was a driven overachiever even at that age, going to the top school in the country at the time, followed by Oxford University...
I suffered with it cyclically from then on - bedridden for a few days every 6 weeks, and for about 3 months at a time every few years.
Starting in the Civil Service triggered severe panic attacks, with which I suffered for years, without telling anyone. They were truly horrible.
But eventually, and after three years of the twice-weekly therapy I mentioned, which helped but didn’t cure anything, in January 2009 I found the solution: the Lightning Process ️⚡️
This, followed up by an amazing retreat in Thailand (where I meet my husband 😍), taught me that thoughts aren't real, and I get to choose the thoughts I allow to take space in my head 💡
As a result, I went on to successfully deliver my hardest job without once getting ill - and I haven't been ill once since.
It completely changed my life 😁🌟💪
😁The birth of Kirsten Goodwin Coaching
In 2010 I took a career break, which then became early retirement when I had my daughter. But when she started school I knew I wanted to get back into the workplace:
🌟 I want to make a difference in the world
🌟 I want to contribute financially to my family
🌟 and I want to be a positive role model to my daughter.
I realised the thing I loved most about my civil service career was supporting and mentoring my staff.
Plus (given my experiences working in the male-dominated world of law enforcement), I felt deeply called to help women succeed in the workplace 💖
So I decided to re-train as a coach, and launched Kirsten Goodwin Coaching in April 2018.
I am also an International Master Trainer for HSBC, delivering their executive training programme globally.