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Sophie's Freedom Journey

January 13, 2023

Sophie's Freedom Journey

After looking for a keynote speaker to talk about the toxic burnout culture within the legal industry, but with a “happier” spin, Sophie booked me for an event, thinking I don’t need this; it’s not for me.

But it didn’t take long for Sophie to realise that every burnout symptom I talked about on stage rang true in her own life and coaching actually was for her after all.

“Although I didn’t realise it at the time, I definitely booked Penny because of a need deep down to address what was going on in my life. I am a lawyer and take on leadership roles within my community, so stress and busyness ‘go with the territory. It's not unusual to wear “busy” as a badge of honour."

Hearing Penny speak, I realised I was running on adrenaline, and I could feel myself spiralling. I didn’t make time for anything that was just for me. I didn’t know who I was when I’m not ‘Sophie the lawyer”. I knew something needed to change, but I don’t know what that change was.

I’d always thought “I should be able to fix this by myself. What’s the value in someone telling me to do sensible things? Like creating a routine of going to bed earlier or finishing work on time? Can’t I just print off worksheets and coach myself?”

Penny understood the corporate world and pressures of my industry, and I understood that I couldn’t do this alone; I needed an accountability partner. I may not want someone to follow up and check I’m implementing the techniques in my life, but I definitely need it.

Penny helped me shift my mindset, challenge my unhelpful habits and change my negative self-talk. I now understand my values and how my work can align with them. My workload hasn’t suddenly disappeared, but my confidence in my ability to cope and what is reasonable to achieve in a day has.

At first, the list of things to experiment with seemed small, but it meant they were manageable. It didn’t feel like I was disrupting my life; I was surprised when I saw an immediate impact.

During my coaching journey, I had the opportunity to travel for a work opportunity, and if it hadn’t been for this program, I would have just stayed for a long weekend. Instead, I took a week of proper leave and took the time to disconnect from digital distractions and practice relaxation. Even now I can’t believe I did that.

If you’re thinking about coaching, you need to know this…. Go in with an open mind and be realistic that the changes that you want to make are really what you want.

I realised how much the things I thought I wanted or needed were the “standard pathway to success”. Now I’m better at listening to what will genuinely make me feel fulfilled versus the appearance of success.

Nobody is going to advocate for my well-being like I can. I came away with the tools to advocate for myself. I’m better at not taking things as personally; I now feel I have the ability to ask for what I need.

I’ve always been very good at doing things solo, but just because I’m good at it doesn't mean I don’t need balance and support sometimes.

Penny didn't wave a magic wand and fix my life; she gave me the tools so that I can shape it myself.