The following blog was contributed by Naomi Rothwell-Boyd founder of Tribe And Seek, a poignant story on overcoming trauma and using it as ammunition to fuel a fight.
Naomi’s company ‘Tribe And Seek’ strive to help people in their 20s & 30s to overcome their crisis and design their perfect career so they can lead happy and fulfilling lives. Their ethos is “Anyone should be able to design a life that gives them meaning, that makes them feel excited every morning”.
Let me start by saying that I was never the kid at school who had their whole life planned out in front of them. There were certain subjects I was interested in and better at, but I had no clue where to even begin with making any big decisions about my career. I was fairly sporty and also enjoyed the related subjects – anatomy and physiology and sports psychology – so I made the decision to apply for sports science courses at university (without really knowing what the real-world application might be at the end of the process). This gave me a focus for the next 3 years and I agreed with myself that I would figure the whole job thing out later on.
This plan barely got off the ground when I broke my neck in a serious accident at the age of 18. This life-changing event forced me to make different choices about my future. After 12 months of intensive recovery, I still chose to go to university, but to study a broader discipline – politics… in the hope that it would open a variety of career avenues at the end. And something else had changed… surviving my accident had left me with deep gratitude and so I’ve been driven to help other people ever since. This made me realise that different experiences shape who we are and the future choices we make, and this was one of those shaping experiences that will stay with me forever.
Fast forward a few years to when I started my first career in the International Development sector. I focused on this sector because I hoped it would align with my value of helping others (this is pretty much the only thing I was really clear on), specifically less fortunate people in the developing world. This was my career for the first 5 years of my working life.
After a few years, I started feeling like I wasn’t getting what I wanted, but I couldn’t put my finger on what that was. That thing was a lack of fulfilment. I was too far removed from the people I was trying to help and too close to poor corporate leadership. This situation was compromising the one thing I knew I needed from a career. Every morning was a battle to wake up and put my game face on in the office. I was drained. But I wasn’t prepared to settle for potentially feeling this way for the rest of my life. I wanted to lead a life with impact.
So I made the choice to leave the industry and pursue something new even though I’d invested two degrees and five years of my life into that sector. I needed to take back control. The next thing needed to be the right thing or at least a step in the right direction.
I didn’t know it at the time, but what I needed was a coaching system that would have given me the right tools and techniques to guide and help me better define my values, my goals and understand who I wanted to be, how I would feel fulfilled. It wasn’t until much later that I was introduced to coaching, the frameworks used and how it could help me reach my full potential.
I’ve spent the past few years in the learning and development industry, working alongside Olympic athletes to deliver learning and development services. I realised that hard to define concepts such as change, fulfilment and values can actually be quantified. I learned there are easy to understand techniques that can show you the path to taking control of your career and build your confidence in the process. So while I didn’t learn about this until after I had experienced big changes myself, I want to help as many other young professionals as possible to avoid struggling through these big challenges as I did.
Looking back on my accident and my career changes, I’ve also learned that to achieve anything, people need to treat personal development just like physical development. It takes a lot of consistent work with a plan. People work out in the gym for physical fitness all the time, why not apply the same rigour to mental fitness?
Only by working with a structured, methodical system was I able to find my way, and now I have the life I dreamed of that I can enjoy knowing that it’s right for me.
I systematically figured out what my ideal situation would be and then the steps to achieving it. I designed my life, I didn’t just tolerate what I got by chance.
So really this is why I created Tribe And Seek, to help other young professionals to uncover and plan their way into the perfect career. We spend the best years of our lives working. Everyone deserves to enjoy a happy working life with purpose.