My guest is Patricia Brooks, an author and life coach who recently stepped up her game by moving to France and unexpectedly jumping into a coaching business. Almost a year ago, after training as a coach and writing a book, she left her corporate job with the idea that she would find a new job in France. But when a friend asked how the search was going there, she realized she really didn’t want a job. And that she’d resisted becoming an “entrepreneur” due to a limiting belief that entrepreneurs always struggled.
Today as “The Courage Catalyst,” she coaches business professionals who have lost their way and feel unfulfilled. While her clients have been successful in many ways in the past, they have hit a wall. She works with them to uncover their true passions and build a plan to do more of those things, whether making a career shift or taking on a hobby.
Redefine Your Stumbling Blocks
Patricia’s mother had always told her, “You don’t quit a job until you have another job in hand.” Thoughts that her mother would not approve of entrepreneurship held her back from working her coaching business for three years following her training.
Unemployed in France, however, Patricia had to do something. Knowing the value of coaching, Patricia hired an executive coach to get the encouragement and fresh viewpoint she needed—plus a reframe. The coach said “entrepreneur” was a French word that meant having ideas and implementing them. Patricia realized she has always had tons of ideas—and implements them. So she finally allowed herself to become excited about her business and dove into filling in her entrepreneurial blind spots with business and marketing courses.
Like Patricia, so many of us, in longing to make a smooth change or transition, find ourselves held back by “rules” we have internalized from our parents, our culture, our education or the environment we were raised in. Looking at words or situations in a new light can open the floodgates.
By redefining the word that hung her up, she was able to identify a known strength of hers and recall that she’d accomplished this sort of task before. Reframing is a powerful technique that reconciles the logical mind and the intuitive mind, which then work together. At that point, you can only be successful.
Have the Courage to Listen to Your Heart
Patricia knew as early as 2015 that she wanted to move to France. Because it wasn’t logical, however, she didn’t take any action. Resistance, Patricia says, is what we feel before we even realize we’re stuck in a limiting thought. She looks at resistance as a perfect trigger for asking yourself: why am I feeling this way? What are my thoughts about this situation? Then reframe.
While Patricia had relied on logic for most of her life, now she looks back and can see logical actions that went against her intuition and didn’t work out. Today she listens hard for her intuition (such as the pull to move to France) and acts on it, rather than rationalizing it away.
The word courage means “coming from the heart,” and after hiring a coach, Patricia did begin to listen to her heart. She stopped making decisions based on reasoning or on her mother’s values, and listened to what was resonating with her. That is a huge step! Of course, she follows up all intuition with research and logical actions.
Coaching Brings Accountability
Before hiring a coach, Patricia had been afraid to look at her finances to see whether moving would be possible. Unsurprisingly, her coach assigned her that task. Once she got past the fears, it was easy. And it was a “yes.”
The coach also helped Patricia sort out her many moving tasks, but Patricia says the main value of coaching was having someone to be accountable to. If she says she’s going to do something, she’s going to do it. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t need support along the way.
Finally, as she was preparing to go, her Uncle Bob said, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” which helped her feel at ease with her decision. Another powerful reframe!
Exercise Your Courage and Confidence
A big part of courage, Patricia says, is feeling that you will be able to be successful. First, in making the decision, and second, in taking action—which is where courage really comes in handy. Today she helps her clients discover and deeply know that they are capable of what they fear, even when they have self-doubt.
Dig into your past successes for evidence of this. Start by remembering where you have succeeded even when you weren’t sure or were afraid. We have achieved so many things in our lives, Patricia says, but we tend to forget.
Confidence is a muscle you can build, Patricia says. When we can get comfortable with not being good when we first try something, then our small steps can lead us to bigger steps and eventually we can make a leap. She vividly remembers standing in Dulles Int’l Airport with tears streaming down her face because she was finally following her dream to move.
Change Opens Unexpected Opportunities
After the death of her father eight years ago, it struck Patricia how short life is. She felt she was just going through the motions and wasting her life. It became unacceptable to her to not follow her heart. That’s when she started more purposefully improving her life and growing.
The beautiful part of change, Patricia says, which might pass us by if we are afraid of it, is this: when we take those bold steps we are longing to take, we open up a world of opportunities that we could not have imagined. Moving to France has opened up so many surprising avenues for her, including becoming an entrepreneur and podcasting. (I know I can’t even imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t moved to the US.)
Patricia’s Book Recommendation: As a Man Thinketh
To embrace change and follow your own path, Patricia loves rereading As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. It’s an old book in the public domain—get a free copy right now on Gutenberg.org. This book reminds her how thoughts create life. We can choose to think negative, restrictive thoughts that will keep us away from whom we were meant to be. Or we can think positive, constructive thoughts that will propel us into our potential.
It’s a good reminder for us to be aware of our thoughts. It’s so easy to be unaware of them! Yet everything in the world starts with an idea or thought. Choose them wisely to build a positive level of energy and happiness that supports your life.
Patricia’s Recommended Tool: A Values Assessment
A powerful valuable tool that Patricia recommends is a values assessment, and she offers one on her website. “When you have adopted something that isn’t in line with your true values,” Patricia says, “It’s a recipe for unhappiness.”
The exercise goes like this. Ponder a list of values, principles or ideas and then circle the top five that are important to you. Then write out why each one is so central. When you know your top one or two, then these values can inform your decision-making.
We often know what others’ values are (like her mother’s favorite saying) and we often take them on as our own without examination. Yet it’s powerful to know your own values. It grounds you in yourself again. It’s key to having the courage to live your own life your way!
Contact Patricia Brooks at: TheCourageCatalyst.com
Listen to her Discovering Courage podcast, full of inspirational stories at: DiscoveringCourage.com
And find her book, Growing Bold: How to Overcome Fear, Build Confidence, and Love the Life You Live, at: OvercomeFearBuildConfidence.com