I haven’t always been this confident and cheerful! I was a shy child, introvert and anxious. I was rebellious at secondary school but I discovered that I was sporty and I ran for my school, my club and my county. I loved being part of a team and I started to grow a little in self-esteem. I didn’t enjoy the academic side of education and I couldn’t wait to leave school at 16. I started work in the local Jobcentre, the first of several boring administration jobs.
I met my childhood sweetheart at school and married him when I was only 20. After a few years of holidays and partying we decided to start a family. I stayed at home to look after my kids. This was a joyous time for me. I worked a little and when the kids went to nursery I went to college. I learned something new every year. I still do. Psychology; yoga; anatomy & physiology; travel & tourism; aromatherapy & massage; reiki & crystals; counselling and coaching; belly dancing; sociology; first aid; digital photography… I scoured the local libraries and bookshops for self-help books. They captivated me and made me ponder… I became aware that I could do more with my working life. I trained to be a teacher of English to speakers of other languages. I worked with adults from all over the world. It was brilliant! I learnt so much and made some great friends.
Sadly, over several years, my husband became alcoholic and we finally divorced. The children suffered. I was distraught. I started to experience severe stomach pain. I ricocheted from doctor to doctor for ten years before I was finally diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. By this time I was in constant pain, working full-time, too busy, exhausted, tearful, skint, broken, miserable. I was stuck at rock bottom and I didn’t know how to change things for the better. I only knew I couldn’t continue like this. I racked my brains but I couldn’t find the answer to my problems. One day I decided to have a clear out, de-clutter the house. I bought lots of bin-liners, put on some music and got stuck in.
It was immensely therapeutic and I loved the process! I felt a little bit better. I threw some stuff out, I kept what was precious – mostly the childrens’ drawings – and I gave a lot away to charity. I was left with a mountain of notes, files and folders from my many years of learning. I couldn’t bear to throw them away. I grabbed a coffee, sat down on the sofa and started to flick through them. I realised that the answers to my problems were in those files. I read about the power of positive thinking, intelligent action, forgiveness, saying NO, being kind, living in the Now. I started to make a list of what I was grateful for. I started to realise that I was creating my own kind of hell and that I could therefore create my own kind of paradise.
Simple! Not easy though… I did start to move forward in my life but it was a bit of a slow process. Then my dear friend Mary Taylor told me to read Sue Stone’s book ‘Live Life, Love Life’. I enjoyed it immensely and I signed up for Sue’s video series. This lead to a Skype session and then training with Sue. Her energy was amazing and she told me how I could work on myself and improve my situation. My life took off! Fast forward to today. I work part-time as an Accredited Happiness and Empowerment Coach for the Sue Stone Foundation North East. I have a loving and supportive partner. I spend my free time with my family and friends and my summers in the mountains of Italy. I am living my awesome dream life. And, believe me, if I can do it then so can you!
Joan Pattison has been coaching for many years in different sectors and it has been an absolute delight for her to work with some amazing people of all ages from around the world including singers; musicians; actors; authors; bankers; business owners; CEOs; hospital consultants; a judge; lawyers; photographers; scientists and members of the aristocracy.Joan’s Website