My Journey with Rachel Hill
It feels like the right time to be doing this. I’ve been working with Rachel Hill Business mentor and coach since April 2018. I didn’t know what to expect, I had only worked with psychologists and psychiatrists on my mental health issues in the past and I wondered what her approach would be. I wondered whether she would listen, empathise and make all the right noises when it came to the things I obsess about. And so I also wondered, what would I get from this? Would I really get the breakthrough I deserve? (her brilliant tagline) It seemed like an impossible task. But I was ready to give it my all…
What did I want from my time with Rachel?
I wanted to stop losing sleep because of the pressure I was putting on myself in the office. I wanted to stop panicking every time I opened my emails. I wanted to stop answering emails at 2am because I was so terrified of being fired. I wanted to stop myself from devaluing everything I do for clients. I wanted to stop telling myself that I was worthless. I wanted to stop telling myself I didn’t deserve the job that I have. All of this was making me sick, year in, and year out.
Our first session rolled round and because Rachel does everything online, I got to wear my pajamas, wrap myself in a blanket and sit by my heater while we talked laptop to laptop.
Rachel asked me to talk to her about someone in my life I respect and admire. So I spent the first hour rambling about Shirley Manson, who I’ve loved since I was 16. Why? Shirley is the lead singer of Garbage, a band who were huge in the 90s. I first saw them live when they performed for the opening of the Scottish parliament in 1999. I didn’t know that much about them and went because it was a landmark moment for us Scots that year. Then, at about 6pm on the main stage Shirley burst out in all her Scottish-ness, with her bright red hair tied in a Mohawk ponytail, full sequined top, wrist bands and karate kicks and I was done. I was in love. I watched her stomp around, commanding the stage, demanding that the Scottish Parliament didn’t let us down and singing at the top of her lungs with an aggression I had never seen in a woman. A true rockstar.
By this point Rachel was getting a good picture. I admired Shirley because she was everything I wanted to be. Confident, influential, fearless, a leader. Far, far from what I actually thought of myself. A fraud, weak, stupid and completely undeserving of success.
I was also really guarded in my first conversation with Rachel. How much did I share? Would she think I was crazy when I tell her just how much I struggle in the office on a daily basis? Would she judge me if I told her I don’t lunch with friends during the week because I’m scared I’ll lose my job? I didn’t know, but I was still ready to find out.
The second session blew my mind; Rachel fed back to me some of where my anxiety was coming from. Why it was persistent and ways we would start to manage it. She assured me that I wasn’t broken, and this was key. I always referred to myself as ‘crazy’, ‘damaged’ and ‘abnormal’. Rachel had a way of challenging this and letting me see that I was just human, nothing more, nothing less. It was then I knew that these sessions really were heading towards something amazing.
In the next few weeks we worked on techniques I could use to become the person I wanted to be. I tried on a persona similar to Shirley and applied it to everything I did day after day. I learned about power posing and we used some NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) to help me deal with my inferiority complex around colleagues and with clients.
Slowly but surely, I was walking into work with more and more confidence. As I started to see things from a different perspective I realised that what Rachel was doing was working. I was getting up in the morning and instead of wishing I was dead rather than go into the office. I was excited, I was making my bed, I was eating breakfast and I was leaving on time with a full face of makeup and my hair brushed. These things might seem minor, but to someone who deals with anxiety, a morning routine is usually non-existent. But, now I had one. Talking to Rachel was working!
As we’ve continued to work together we’ve talked about my position as a victim, we’ve talked about the language I use which encourages that victim status and we’ve talked about my endless catastrophising and my addiction to drama. It all sounds like Rachel’s been pretty mean to me but I can tell you now, we’ve done nothing but laugh at my ridiculousness. And, her honesty has been the key to me learning new skills. Had she nodded sympathetically and told me she was sorry I felt this way, and that everything was going to be ok - I would never have made the progress that I have.
She’s taught me about my place in the world. She’s taught me the difference between introverts and extroverts and how we can work better together. She’s taught me how to get the best out of my clients, my friends and most of all she’s taught me how to get the best out of myself.
After 4 weeks of a consistent morning routine, several incidents with difficult clients and me not breaking a sweat I knew, I knew I was getting the breakthrough I deserved.
Since April, life has thrown some curve balls. Rachel is always the first one to tell me that this will always, always be the case but what’s actually important is nurturing my new skills and maintaining the resilience I’ve learned with her. I have changed so much since starting with Rachel that I’m looking at old Facebook posts to remind myself who I was before:
I was someone who was self-sabotaging and moving no further out of adolescence than I was in my twenties. Terrified of 'getting in trouble'. Scared of everything and anything. Constantly thinking about the worst-case scenario and making myself mentally exhausted and sick.
Rachel has taught me to be an adult, to visualise and become what I always wanted to be.
Someone who can handle tough situations, someone who’s allowed to make decisions, challenge people and someone who’s allowed to sleep through the night and answer emails between 9 and 5pm, not at 2am. It’s been revelatory for me and has really genuinely changed my life. I actually feel 34 now, I feel like an adult.
I’m not sure Rachel knows just how much she has done for me but writing this should hopefully give her some idea. I’m lucky enough to consider her a mentor, but I also consider her a friend and love our regular catch ups, sharing my wins with her and telling her over and over again just how different I feel in such a short space of time.
Thank you Rachel, you grew me up and I’m forever grateful.
To talk to Rachel and find out what she could do for you, click to visit her website below.
At ease. SC x