Interview with the Life Coach, Annette Earl
From stresshead…to stressless wonder!
Annette Earl is a life coach that has the goal of being a better person in the next 18 months. She is also the author of the self-development book, The Elephant in the Mirror, which you need to check. As you can see in the picture above, this includes the improvement of different aspects of her life. The best part? She wants you to join her!
Are you looking to improve some areas of your life? You don’t know where to start with? Then, why not doing it step by step together with a professional life coach, from home and for free?
1. How did you decide to become a Life Coach?
It was the spring of 2011 and I had just spent 6 weeks in South Africa so had lots of time to think about what I enjoyed doing. I didn’t have a job to come home to but circumstance meant I met someone and within a month, he moved to London. Nothing to kept me in Devon, with no job on the horizon so I thought about moving to London too. When researching different career paths, I knew I wanted to do something that would bring value to others and in turn, would bring fulfilment to me. I kept coming across different websites and blogs about coaching and found a free, short course to attend. The content was fantastic and I knew that coaching offered a different take on helping people from other interventions such as counselling and decided it was something I wanted to pursue. I signed up that summer, moved to London which allowed me to attend the training more easily and in July 2012, I qualified as a life coach.
2. What are the most common problems that you think society is facing nowadays (anxiety, low self-esteem …)?
I think conditions such as anxiety and low self-esteem are just two symptoms of a much bigger problem. The media likes to say that the next big health epidemic we should worry about is obesity but I completely reject that. I think loneliness is the silent epidemic should worry about. Loneliness is often associated with older people but I’m not convinced this is true. I just think it’s more easily observed in an older generation. It’s assumed that if you’re younger and have a family and friends then you’re not lonely but I just don’t think this is the case.
Being surrounded by people, online or offline, just means you are able to interact with others but that’s not the same as connecting with them. Ironically this is probably why social media is so popular. It allows us to connect with like-minded people in a way that’s so much harder in ‘real’ life. But human beings are naturally social creatures and we need to feel a sense of belonging in all aspects of our lives. When we feel we don’t belong, it undermines our sense of esteem, affects our confidence and we tend to internalise these feelings into the emotions and behaviours we associate with overeating, drinking too much, spending too much, etc. These are external behaviours – low esteem and anxiety are internal behaviours. But as I say, these are symptoms of a much bigger cause. My belief is that if we ever decide as a society to focus on belonging, connection and inclusion, a lot of the common problems we seem to experience will start to lessen.
3. Do you think women tend to have more issues than man?
No, but I do think women have more socially visible issues than men and the expectations placed upon them are different. Whether we like it or not, the appearance of a woman is still intrinsically linked to how successful she is viewed, compared with a man. And although it’s now far more acceptable for men to be become stay-at-home dad’s, in reality women continue to be the ones it is assumed will provide full-time childcare, in addition to any job they might have. It means women have a lot more roles to fulfil that are on public display and therefore are more easily subject to scrutiny. I think men have multiple roles and just as many (albeit different) expectations to fulfil but I don’t think they are socially exposed as women.
4. In your book, The Elephant in the Mirror, you guide us to understand our current situation in order to decide whether we want to stay the same or change. Did you experience these stages in your life?
Yes, absolutely. The book is divided into three main sections which mirror the tagline of my logo – Acknowledge, Appreciate, Accept. I firmly believe that in order to live an authentic life full of meaning, purpose and fulfilment, we first need to acknowledge where we’re currently at, appreciate all the different factors that have led to us being there and accept that where we go next is within our control. Which is actually a double-edged sword. It’s fantastic to realise we can choose the path we want to follow and that in doing so, we will be happier, healthier and more fulfilled as a result. However, it also means that in order to do that, we have to take full responsibility for our actions and accept the consequences that come with them.
For most of us, that means leaving our comfort zone which very few people are happy to do. But if we want to truly accept ourselves, we’re probably going to have to leave our comfort zone in order to figure out who we even are.
I’ve definitely experienced this in many areas of my life – money, relationships, etc. One example would be work: I’ve never been able to hold down a job and I couldn’t figure out why. Not that I’ve ever been sacked, I just get bored really easily and leave after a few months, it drove my parents insane.
As I got older, I realised that outside my little world, lots of people were doing the same and it wasn’t just me! I was able to acknowledge that the expectation of a job-for-life that my parents had for me, wasn’t what I wanted. I appreciated that I had only been exposed to a certain type of work which didn’t suit me. Then I began to understand that the value of work meant something different to me than to the people around me. At that point, I was able to accept that I wasn’t like my family and friends and was able to choose a different kind of work-style that involved short-term contracts and have been much happier ever since!
5. Tell us what motivated you to start the next step in your coaching career and launching your new website
Easy – I’m still working on the ‘Accept’ part of my tagline! I’m in a pretty good place in my life and am happy but not as healthy as I could be. I know that it is totally within my power to change that and my 40th birthday is approaching. I refuse to get older any less healthy than is possible but to do that, I have to change some things in my world. But I also know that I’m nothing special – the things I struggle with, other people struggle with too, especially women. So I decided to set myself an 18 month challenge to get fit and healthy. To make sure I actually do it, I set up a blog and website so that others can follow my journey, get involved if they want to and if nothing else, hold me accountable!
6. What is The Stressless Wonder Challenge?
It’s an 18-month challenge to myself to figure out how to deal with my stress in a healthy and positive way. I tend to get stressed and anxious quite easily and I’m sure it contributes to all my health niggles such as sleeping badly and not having the energy I’d like. I’m really keen to see whether there is any link for me between feeling stressed and comfort eating because, as I like to put it, I ‘eat’ my emotions. So I’ve devised 6 small challenges, each lasting 3 months, to test the theory. I’m going to focus on sleep, exercises, relaxation, laughing and hydrating to see if I can manage my stress levels through developing healthier habits. At the end of it all there will be one last challenge around clean eating so I can skip into my 40s full of energy and vitality. I hope…
7. What would you like to achieve with the challenge?
There are three things I’m hoping to achieve with the challenge. Firstly, to quieten the noise in my head when I get stressed or anxious. Which is pretty much daily. I know there are better ways of dealing with it than I currently do and I’m hoping to find out what these are and what works for me. Secondly, I’m intrigued to discover whether there is any kind of link between being stressed and comfort eating. Basically, if I’m less stressed, will I eat less. There’s no science behind this but the test will be. After 15 months of focussing on my health but not dieting, do I naturally lose weight? Lastly, but by no means least, I’m really hoping the challenge will lead to me forming new connections with like-minded people. If I’m super lucky, maybe even some new friends!
8. There is a community of followers that are joining you to do the challenge. What do you expect from them?
I’m not sure I have any expectations of anyone but myself as it wouldn’t be fair. What I’m hoping is that people will support and encourage me as I try to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t on my journey to being really well. I don’t think health is a one-size-fits-all and that what works for one person may not work for another. I’m hoping that when people disagree with my methods or conclusions – which they will – that they will be constructive critics and not destructive ones.
The other thing I’d really love is for people to do each of the challenges alongside me. Each challenge focuses on a different aspect of health so there’s something for everyone. If there is one person out there who is healthier, happier and living a more fulfilling life as a result of connecting with me then that would blow any expectations I ever had out of the water.
9. Where do you see yourself in the following 6 months?
Sleeping better and a lot fitter! I’ve signed up to the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge the day before my birthday in September. Right now, I wouldn’t stand a chance of finishing but as it’s 6 months away, I have to train and prepare. I’ve never completed any kind of exercise challenge before and definitely not successfully so if I manage it, that would be a massive achievement.
10. and… where do you see yourself in the following 5 years?
A 43-year-old who is the fittest, happiest and healthiest she has ever been. Living in the country, with 7 cats, writing books and helping other women to figure out what their individual challenges are and how to overcome them. I want to start a conversation that ultimately concludes that living an authentic life is ultimately the route to a healthy and happy one 🙂
We hope you enjoyed this interview. Annette, will share with you her experiences and will constantly talk to you through her social media channels, specially through Facebook Live! Have a look at her website and if you are still in doubt, don’t hesitate to comment below or reach us through social media 🙂
Lots of love,