It’s with reluctance (and a little embarrassment) that I admit that Donald Trump inspired me. But before you shake your head, judge me, and start to lose your cool, let me give you a little context…
The summer and autumn of 2016 was a difficult one for me, as it was for many people across the UK and US. Waking up on Friday, June 23rd, 2016 to the news that the majority of my fellow UK citizens had voted to exit the EU, left me overwhelmed with emotions – confusion, surprise, incredulity, and, to be honest, sadness. Come Tuesday, November 8th, 2016, I was not going to let that happen to me again. I decided to wake up in the middle of the night to confirm that Hilary was all good – that the craziness of the previous 18 months was finally over, and we could get back to reality. Unfortunately, what I witnessed at 2.30am was a sign that things were not to be as I hoped. That last thread of hope was shattered just a few hours later when it was confirmed that Hillary had lost an election that, for me, felt impossible for her to lose. On top of all of that, I was right in the middle of my first (and unfortunately not last) work-related burnout. The news hit me hard! The jokes about Trump were no longer funny and the world honestly felt a little darker. The country that I’d spent 6 years of my childhood growing up in now felt foreign to me.
My BFF: Denial
I went through my version of the 5 stages of grief, which was basically made up of a long, multi-month stint in Stage 1: Denial. I ignored conversations about “He Who Must Not Be Named”. I quickly became aware that the mere mention of his name put me one foot into Stage 2: Anger. But I refused to be that person, the one who spends their energy in anger. So I quickly retreated to my comfort zone of Denial. Where Trump & the US were concerned, Denial and I were BFFs. Here’s how bad it was: I couldn’t even watch The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Yes, the wound was that deep. Stage 3: Bargaining was a waste of effort - we had already spent two years trying to convince the American people to elect the most qualified person ever to run, over the least. And Stage 4: Depression never really came because I’m not a US-citizen or resident, so living on the other side of the pond reminded me that it could be worse. Besides, Canada is just as easy to get to for my IHOP fix.
And then the Summer of 2017. I woke up one day to a bright light shining on Stage 5: Acceptance.
Acceptance gave me the clarity and newfound realisation that led to what became one of the greatest journeys of my life. Donald Trump, who I believed to be highly unqualified for the job of President of…well, pretty much any institution, was now President of the United States of America. Then it came to me like a lightning bolt: If Donald Trump can become POTUS, then I could be, in the words of my 5-year old niece, "anything that I want to be!” Honestly, what excuse did I have for my self-doubt and lack of confidence? For hesitating; for avoiding taking the “risk” of doing what I truly wanted to do; for playing it safe. The only thing stopping me was ME.
My New BFF: Coaching
Five months later, in January 2018, I handed in my resignation to McKinsey, having no idea what lay ahead, but excited about the unlimited possibility that my future held. For those who know me, to say this action was out of character was a massive understatement. Yet I had never been surer about any decision I’d taken. The confidence push I needed was just the first tiny, but significant, step forward. What followed was a series of serendipitous and fortuitous connections that led me to experience professional coaching, initially as the one being coached.
It would take a whole book to explain the impact coaching has had on my life. I believe that I am a highly ambitious person who loves a good challenge. But my personal coaching journey took me from what I hadn’t realised was a limited view of the possibilities the world has to offer to one that is truly limitless.
Pre-coaching, I had been blessed with multiple successful corporate careers, which I enjoyed, but knew deep down that they didn’t fully reflect what I desired. Hence my constant search for the next buzz. I lived a very happy life. Yet looking back, I was compartmentalising who I was and not 100% expressing myself. Simply, I was living with limiting beliefs about what was realistically possible. For example, believing that nobody really has a work/life balance, as well as a financially-viable career that aligns with their true purpose.
Through coaching, I gained the clarity, awareness and focus to not only discover what I wanted but to bring my desires to reality, creating a holistic life for myself where I’m living the life that I want. The icing on the cake? Coaching not only transformed who I am, and therefore my life – career, relationships, enjoyment, finances, health, faith – but through the process, I also discovered that I am a coach and coaching others is my life’s purpose.
Yes, I Can
Fast-forward to September 2018, with months of self-exploration, amazing connections, and a fresh Yoga Teacher Certification in hand, I founded OTITO Executive Coaching & Consulting. I am now a Leadership Coach doing what I truly believe is my Ikigai (life’s purpose) with an expansive vision of what the future holds. There is nothing special about me – at least nothing more special than you or anyone else. The only difference is that I let go of my limiting beliefs, tapped into some Donald Trump-level unadulterated confidence to discover what I truly wanted, and am taking bold steps to get it, enjoying every part of the journey.
So, as painful as it may be to admit, I owe Donald Trump my gratitude. Because if he could achieve what he did, the only fitting response from me was, and will always be: "Yes, I Can".
"The most dangerous risk of all -- the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” - Randy Komisar
Connect with Me
Done with being held back by self-doubt, lack of clarity, or a plan that’s just not working? Interested in exploring how coaching may benefit you, a colleague, or friend? Or maybe my words just resonated with you in some way: Comment below or contact me at email@example.com.
As a Leadership Coach, I specialise in helping high-performing professional and business leaders develop the clarity, confidence, and strategy you need to accelerate to your desired goals.