My Journey

First steps

I’ve been reading self-help and coaching books since I was 13. I love to learn and I was really shy, awkward and was bullied at school. I felt like I needed all the help that I could get.

I was very hard on myself and highly responsible. The ‘be a good girl’ thing wasn’t working for me. 

My first job out of uni was in a Merchant Bank in London and I realised that there was no way I wanted to live my working life there and then retire one day with a carriage clock.

The Navy and teaching were the other ‘responsible’ career choices that I made.  The Navy wasn’t a good fit for me and in teaching jobs I felt maxed out and critical of myself even though others thought highly of my ability.

Claiming creativity

There didn’t seem to be any time to do creative things outside of my teaching responsibilities. In a desperate attempt to reclaim my creativity I began piano lessons.

I got married and my husband’s job meant we moved ten times to new parts of England. Each time we were somewhere we would move again. All the moving made it really difficult to feel sense of home.

Frequent moves from teaching job to teaching job meant each time I felt like I was starting over. Each school needed new planning, new ways of doing things and I needed to earn the respect of the parents and pupils all over again. It was so hard to keep leaving behind a community that I cared so much about.

On one of the moves we got a puppy, a beautiful flat-coated retriever, and I made the decision not to go to the school that had invited me to talk about a term of supply. I chose instead to stay home with the puppy and somehow figure out what I was going to do with the rest of my life.

Then I was on my path and started to follow my intuition to my right life, or what Dr Martha Beck calls ‘wayfinding.’

I worked through Julia Cameron’s book ‘The Artist’s Way’ and started to listen to what it was that I wanted in my life. I started writing again.

 I remembered that old part of me, the part of my that wanted to create, the part of me that identified with Jo in ‘Little Women’ and wanted to have a trunk in the attic with my writing in it.

I had played the lead in two musicals, one aged 17 and one in my early thirties, but then stopped singing as I didn’t believe in my creativity or talent. I stopped music being a part of my life even though it lights me up. I didn’t even sing round the house anymore.

I slowly began to reclaim my creativity. I took courses in floristry and photography and did a second degree in Art History and Creative Writing.  I took more piano lessons.

Learning to flourish 

As creativity started to flourish more I became a mother which started another journey of finding myself in that new and special identity.

There are been so much learning for me about self-kindness, dealing with my inner critic and allowing my creative self to come through. Things need to have much more flexibility and this is something that I learn at deeper and deeper levels.

I needed to figure out a way of living and working that would work for me as a a sensitive creative person who was parenting with all her heart.

I worked with a coach and she helped me to recognise that I had been reading coaching books all along and was passionate about coaching and self-development. I hadn’t been allowing myself to train as a coach as I thought the training was too expensive and coaching sounded kind of ‘flaky’. 

It wasn’t one of those ‘responsible jobs’ that the good girl part of me thought I had to have.

I worked on all of those limiting beliefs and allowed myself to become a coach.

Becoming a coach

In 2013, I took Martha Beck’s Wayfinder Life Coach training. I was following my heart’s path.

I built a business where I can work from home and have balance and creativity in my life. I can go to sports matches at school when I plan for them and am enjoying taking singing lessons. 

I look after myself with good nutrition, exercise, meditation, time in nature and sleep. I continue to work with my own coaches and read self-help books to continue to grow and share what I’ve learnt with my clients and use the skills, tools and ways of being that I’ve learnt to be more grounded in my everyday life.

I have work that I enjoy, more self-compassion and self-care. I’m still a work in progress, but we all are and always will be.

Coaching experience

My coaching experience has involved me working to coach and mentor coaches, parents, creatives, writers, editors, lawyers, holistic entrepreneurs, university students, people changing careers and people building a business foundation.

I worked as a career coach for Alison Cardy’s Career Coaching Team (Washington based) and as a Business Mindset Coach in Carolin Soldo’s ‘Brand Your Passions’ Programme.  I was a Copy Coach Assistant on Jenny Shih’s program ‘Making it Work Online.’

The latest development in my journey as a coach is taking Abigail Morgan’s ‘Mindbody Magic’ coach training. This has opened up many new ways that I am able to help my clients. I’m now an Endorsed Mindbody Magic Coach as well as being a Certified Wayfinder Life Coach.

Stuff I’ve done that helps me help you.

Certified Wayfinder Life Coach

Endorsed Mindbody Magic Coach

Fully qualified experienced teacher.

Member of Evolve community with Carrie Contey PhD for three years – focus was conscious parenting, partnership and personhood.

Certified Organisational Specialist

Career coach for a top Washington based company.

Business Success coach for top US based coaching company.

Business trainings including Marie Forleo’s B School, Jenny Shih’s Making it Work online and Linda Bucher’s Confident Coach program.

Ready to work together?

email me at deborah@deborahchalk.com


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