The Jigsaw Puzzle that is Kay
Who is Kay Gilby? What is my story? Explaining it is like making a complicated jigsaw puzzle without a picture to work from. Some of the pieces morph into different shapes and over the years, the picture continues to grow and evolve. I’ve even chopped out bits I didn’t like as my core values clarified! Some bits are invisible though they may become important later. It’s not a complete picture yet and I hope it won’t be till I die as I have every intention of continuing to embrace change and self-development!
My childhood was full of surprises, not all of them good! I’d think we were settled somewhere and I’d begin to feel really happy but then it would all change, we’d move to a new place or even a new country. And worst of all I’d have to leave my friends and make new ones again. There were many good things about these new experiences but parts of me struggled. Achieving only a mediocre set of results from disrupted schooling, my first stumbling block was deciding what to do when I left school. There was only one career in all the information I was given that didn’t repel me (and no internet to help me widen my search!)
Initially I trained as a Speech and Language Therapist, then over the ensuing years undertook many roles including becoming a Wife, a Mum (whose first baby only lived for 3 days), an NCT Breast Feeding Counsellor, a Campaigner for parents experiencing stillbirth and neonatal death, a burglary victim, gaining an MA as a Child Psychologist, became a Divorcee, an Environmentalist, a depression sufferer, a Lecturer, a Project Manager, a Network Marketer, an Examinations Invigilator, a Mentor to other business owners (not all in Network Marketing!) and many, many more things along the way. Often I was at or very close to the leading edge of things; parts of my jigsaw puzzle grow best with challenges and taking risks.
However, I never felt very peaceful inside, I felt I wasn’t good enough; didn’t know enough; was fooling people if they believed I did know what I was doing. My coping mechanism was to keep lots of things private; to pretend all was well; to appear strong and confident; to smile in the face of adversity. Initially this seemed to serve me well but I couldn’t find an authentic-feeling picture of me. I still struggle with this, even tho’ I’m now semi-retired. I’m working on it, I still want some jigsaw pieces to surprise me!
I’ve had a variety of influences in my life, for example:
- where I lived: born in London, then moved to Belfast, Calcutta, a Sussex village, spent a year at boarding school in Cheshire, 3 years at college in Leicester and have been living, working, studying in Nottingham since my early 20s;
- my fragmented education; I’d attended 6 different schools by the time I was 18;
- I’ve witnessed incredible poverty and wealth; different cultures and the impact of conflicted religions;
- experiencing the unexpected death of my first daughter when she was 3 days old took me along a path that was often dark and tough but was illuminated by my wonderful daughter and son who followed.
All these and many, many more are rich experiences but they don’t especially follow a planned and purposeful route, although I’ve identified many links and patterns weaving their way throughout my life-puzzle.
The way for me has often been unpredictable, driven by my determination to be independent, to help others, to keep learning, educating and developing myself, moving with the challenges thrown my way rather then being completely bowled over by them. I’ve had some major stumbles, needing support, counselling and a period assisted by taking medication.
More recently ‘voluntary’ redundancy was followed fairly speedily by global recession which fired me with enthusiasm and determination not to be defeated by it, to use it to improve my eventual retirement rather than allow myself to sink into the depths of depression so often associated with challenging times . . . but how to do it???? What would this bit of the jigsaw develop into?
I embarked on running my own business (fulfilling an ambition secretly held since I was a teenager). I began Network Marketing and still have a small business that I thoroughly enjoy – the best bits are the people I meet and the wonderful products!
Helping those in my team has been magical for me but I was reluctant to call myself their coach without having a coaching qualification to my name! My true appetite for Network Marketing (MLM) dwindled; it just doesn’t fit well enough into my lifestyle (which I’m not prepared to compromise). . . I was still searching for the right shaped jigsaw pieces for this part of my life!
Initially I simply thought I’d like to try blogging as a way to share my enjoyment of a wonderful 6 week trip to Australia & New Zealand at the end of 2009. I’m fortunate to have a friend, Rebi Gove-Humphries who is a fascinating Blogger so she helped me get up and running. I promptly forgot it all but she was brilliant, patient and helpful in getting me re-started as often as I needed. However I wasn’t motivate enough, my frequency of blogging was/is erratic and became infrequent as other aims and thoughts flooded my mind.
I spent ages fighting for clarity in a murky morass of over information; acutely aware that many others are duplicating this process all around the world. I began by watching others online rather randomly, especially those who seemed to be successful and were relatively easy to find. I soon became bothered by the strident approach of many online marketers, the virtual bullying to do what they do or fail (so they say) and of course wanting me to sell their own or affiliated products along the way. . . those sort of pieces won’t fit in MY puzzle.
I felt as if was drowning in relentless messages dropping into my email box, some with useful free snippets, stacks of it simply evaporated my available time as I thought they were offering help but they rarely came up with what I was seeking . . . however, I kept on looking and purchased some of the products that I thought might help me locate those mysterious jigsaw pieces I was hunting for.
Advice from the internet that positively attracted me focussed on developing my own brand of ‘ME’ rather than concentrating on my specific business, also making me aware that I might be inadvertently helping someone else’s business rather than building mine along the way. It’s ‘me’ people will buy (or not).
Really I knew this; my own experience exactly reflects it. . . I’d been watching others and seeing who I liked, who said things that made sense to me, who I felt suspicious about, who I disagreed with. . .
I had to look inside myself to find things that others may want. However, I swiftly experienced a major wobble – what have I got that’s unique or of value to someone else? Then Coaching Cognition came to my attention and I felt an instant connection, felt that I’d found a missing jigsaw piece that had been eluding me! Here I could continue to develop myself and learn to share my skills with others. Since enrolling to study coaching and become a Certified Coach, I’ve worked with some great experts and great trainee coaches who have helped me clarify my next steps and supported me as I’ve been stumbling around.
My ‘self’ belief is blossoming as I’m helped to re-frame disabling perspectives and get over significant self-imposed obstacles that I hadn’t previously realised were holding me back. Those voices on my shoulder, whispering discouragement in my ear are treated very differently these days! More pieces are falling into place as I’m building a tool-box of options I can dip into when I feel overwhelmed and I’m so excited that I can confidently share all this with my clients!
I can be anywhere I want to be, using Skype to talk to clients around the world, using my skills to help others enjoy their entrepreneurial business and personal lives to the full. I don’t have to have consulting rooms; I can coach people who can’t physically travel to meet me. And the Coaching Cognition Platform is helping by bringing potential clients to me while I establish my own brand too.
Working with Coaching Cognition has enabled me to tweak this part of my jigsaw again, this time with shapes and a picture I’m truly proud and confident to be making. Now I’m privileged to be able to skilfully encourage and assist others who want to make their own jigsaw pieces fit where they decide they want them to go, especially those facing change, transitions, challenges, feelings of overwhelm . . .
Gosh life is such an adventure . . . let’s get puzzling it out together!
Kay turned to Network Marketing / MLM (Multi Level Marketing) during a turbulent period in her life in her late 50s when she was suddenly offered ‘voluntary redundancy’ as the department she worked for was being closed down and there was nothing of interest to move into. So what she thought was a secure job leading to a comfortable pension simply disappeared, her pension prospects shrank and another job didn’t provide a viable long term solution.
Using her redundancy lump sum as a buffer, Kay began her Network Marketing / MLM career absorbing as much advice as possible, attending numerous trainings, reading books, listening to self development CDs etc. However after three years she became restless as her business was developing less rapidly than she had hoped. Niggling away at the back of her mind was the feeling that the world was rapidly changing; the internet had to be the way forward. Techniques that had worked in previous decades such as talking to everyone within ‘three foot’ weren’t so easy when much of the population is plugged into mobile phones and music players! Warm market contacts were not forthcoming in any great numbers, engineering ways of meeting and keeping in touch with potential ‘prospects’ was time consuming, often nerve wracking and rarely rewarding. Whilst totally appreciating personal contact must not be neglected, moving into social networking online seemed to be a logical way forward.
Although IT literate to some extent, she was daunted by the prospect of going it alone and struggled to see how to use the internet to build her business as the company she worked alongside had strict marketing policies. She began exploring and monitoring what others were doing to develop businesses online, registering for ‘free trainings’ and buying some more detailed products.
By distilling ideas and information from these, she began developing her own pathway online while continuing to use traditional methods too. Endeavouring to avoid ‘keeping all her eggs in one basket’ she firmly believes that for sustainability it is essential to use a variety of routes and techniques.
Initially forays into social media were sporadic and random, without a clear focus but served as useful learning experiences as she became more confident and competent with using different media – Emails, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging etc all needed time and attention. Learning to make videos, MP3 recordings etc are also on the agenda to give variety to the written word.
Self development was, and is, the key. Kay wasn’t satisfied, wanting to help people more effectively. She enrolled with Coaching Cognition beginning a new path to helping others identify their strengths while continuing to work her Network Marketing business.
For some time she kept this all to herself, concerned that colleagues would see it as selling out, as not following the excellent tracks that had been provided to run on. However it is about time to launch out into the big wide world!