Nursing coach and author Claire Westwood explains how she came to help nurses lead happier lives.
In October 2006, I was a full time nurse, enjoying it, but knew I had more potential. I was already writing for the Royal College of Nursing website and nursing journals but my passion for personal development had been lit and I was beginning to see the way ahead for my life.
I started a year-long coaching course and through this got a clear idea of how my nursing and personal development project could evolve. I launched the Happy Nurses project, and began sharing my passion for personal growth with fellow nurses.
I knew that I would never reach my full potential staying where I was. I felt the pull to live a life with more freedom and creativity than I had in my life at work as a nurse, a life that would really let me be myself.
I left work in September 2007 after 10 weeks off with a broken wrist. I had spent time thinking and planning, and decided that the time was right. I had been asked to present at a Money Gym day and knew that I had to be free to say “yes” to the offers I was getting. My articles were getting published, I had a fabulous plan, formulated with the help of my coaches, and knew I would be able to reach more nurses and make more of an impact on the world by being free to accept the offers that were coming to me. I re-organised my finances to allow me to live off savings, until I started to make money. The big launch was in January 2008.
There were a few turning points along the way. Reading books started me on a journey of learning - The Work We Were Born To Do, Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway, The Road Less Travelled, and my first ‘life coaching’ book all helped me to look at my life and what I wanted to change about it. I also thought coaching would be a great job to have.
I now feel I am here to help nurses live happier, healthier lives. My role is to link the worlds of personal development and nursing, to teach nurses the skills and open their minds to some new ideas, tools and people that have helped me to create an amazing life for myself.
I love the fact that I am doing something amazing, that satisfies me and uses many of my skills. I am in charge of what happens, and there is somewhere for all my ideas to go. Working with my mentors and heroes, like Nick Williams and Nicola Cairncross, to really help other people live amazing lives for themselves, whatever that means for them. To be a role model for other entrepreneurial nurses, and business women. I feel I am truly making a difference in many people’s lives.
There were many obstacles to launching Happy Nurses – doubt, fear, resistance, bereavement, illness - but I just kept on thinking, reading, learning and then letting myself have a break and going easy on myself for a while so I didn’t become overwhelmed.
For anyone wanting to make a change, my advice is to read, read, read! Learn as much as you can. Thinking you don’t know all the answers can stop you, but they are out there somewhere. Get a group who will help and support you. Find a coach. Keep going and take tiny steps if that feels right for you.
Always know life can be different to how it is now.