Looking back over your life, how confident are you with your own answer to these questions? The following is my rationale; how does this resonate with you?
I’m Susie Briscoe, the founding chair of Acer Coaching Associates; and I’ve learnt throughout my life the importance of giving back and have been involved in voluntary work for several charities over the last 40 years.
The area I want to focus on now is supporting business leaders and entrepreneurs in attaining clarity around their higher life purpose and showing how they can spend or leave their money to greatest effect.
Brendon Burchard says that when we come to the end of our lives we ask ourselves 3 questions: Did I live?, Did I love?, and Did I matter? All three get addressed when we make a difference that makes a difference to others and ourselves; I call this “love in action,” as it has us become more fulfilled.
It can come about in many creatively different ways. – i.e. setting up a trust, non-profit, or charity, as well as selecting appropriate ones for clients to support in order to discover their philanthropic passion – how they will manifest the vision, aligned with their values, for their own legacy.
When I was turning over in my mind what I would share with you, I suddenly remembered a completely random connection I made nearly 10 years ago. This was to change my life completely as well as bring me much joy as it combined several of my passions: helping people, personal development, and giving back.
I had just returned from a fact-finding tour in Southern India, but first, let me take a few steps back…
My friend Gloria’s daughter, Flora, had decided to go walk-about for a year and on arrival in Kenya, met and fell in love with Daniel, a Luau tribesman. They married, set up home on the banks of Lake Victoria, and had two delightful daughters.
All was well in their world until Flora and Dan had a tiff, which brought her back to the UK for a short time. Whilst gone, he played away and very sadly caught Aids. Flora returned to the marital home, and Gloria visited to say farewell to her son-in-law whom she had come to love dearly.
Attending a christening for one of Flora’s friends, Gloria asked where she could go to church on the following Sunday; the priest recommended the larger and well-known ‘white’ tourist churches but Gloria wanted to worship in a village with a real community.
That is how the friendship started with Jeremiah Kibobi. Gloria was terribly moved by the work he was doing as a pastor, running an orphanage as well as Magnet High School in a suburb of Nairobi called Ongata Rongai.
She asked me to help her set up a small charity to educate Aids orphans and necessitous children. We were already connected and working with Bishop Kibobi, as he now is, as a result of Christening.
Whilst setting up the charity back in London, we were introduced to another amazing man by chance: Father Xavier Alphonse, a Jesuit Priest. When we met him in 2003 he had set up approximately 78 community colleges throughout all India, and since then this number has reached over 700 and extended into parts of Africa as well. His HQs are in Tamil Nadu, Southern India which is where we began this narrative.
He invited us to visit him in Chennai, India, where he would take us around the various colleges in the local area. We would see what he was actually doing and whether this would translate across to Kenya. I could go on and tell you much more about our amazing 3-week trip, describe all the wonderful people we met, but it is now time to fast forward.
Arriving home, I was on a totally different time clock – 2 a.m. in the UK was breakfast time in Chennai! Coming downstairs, the cats were delighted to see me. Ooo! Goodie, a lap to sit on! I put on the television as all I was seeking was mental chewing gum… white noise if you will … and then made myself a cup of tea.
On returning to the drawing room, I settled with my purring cats, and suddenly realised that my husband had been watching Newsnight before he went to bed, which then led on to programmes for the Open University – definitely not trashy enough for my taste. I was just about to turn the channel over seeking a murder mystery for preference, and suddenly I found myself totally hooked.
For the next 4 hours I was mesmerised by Ros Taylor, a chartered psychologist who was teaching for the OU, demonstrating how she worked with individuals and small groups of people from her London apartment. I sat through 4 one-hour programmes. By 9 a.m. I had looked her up on the web, been on to the BBC website, purchasing every book she had written. By 10.30 a.m. I was having a telephone conversation with her.
At the time my husband was not working, having been found surplus to requirements from his city job and was finding it a struggle to adjust to his new circumstances. I thought that, perhaps, Ros would be just the person to give him a boost. Sadly for me, her fees back in 2004 were two and a quarter thousand dollars ($2,250.00) for 3 hours, and Albert, of course, couldn’t see he needed that help.
However, I shared my experience with our daughter, Lara, who sweetly suggested that I should retrain and do that kind of work. Bless!! I pointed out that I’d probably be very nearly in my grave before I’d finished my training let alone get to the level that Ros was working at.
I thought that was the end of that, but Lara emailed me a link to a coaching college, who were hosting an open day in London. I checked out the link simply because Lara had taken the time and trouble to look it up for me. I booked in, literally signed for the course on the spot and the result was that I had a new career open up for me in my mid-fifties.
Qualified as an accredited Coach, I set up a Coaching Hub in the south of England; I started promoting the College as I was very impressed with what they offered, then went on to do a Marketing Course, followed by a Mentoring Diploma and finally a Coach Supervisor Diploma.
The College held a Health and Wellness Seminar in London, a buzz topic, as it included Work-Life Balance as well as healthy lifestyle and all that that implies. The Daily Telegraph newspaper decided to attend and wanted to do an article on what was a new concept at that time – Coaching had arrived in the UK!
I was fortunate enough to be one of the coaches featured in the article; shortly afterwards another journalist featured me in the week-end supplement of the Telegraph magazine, and this then led to me being interviewed for Psychologies magazine. What a tremendous start for my coaching career!
When I started talking to you about my topic I explained that it was not only to introduce me to you and tell you a little about what I do, but also to demonstrate how random events and people can have a profound effect.
If I hadn’t started the charity with Gloria, I wouldn’t have been visiting India on a fact-finding trip, and therefore wouldn’t have been on the wrong time clock… Normally, I would have been fast asleep ‘zed-ding’ for England at 2 a.m…
I am so grateful for this chain of events. Without it I wouldn’t have had this fantastic career open up for me!
So, the questions I’d like to leave you with are:
- Who has helped you in your life?
- How has helping others impacted your own life?
- What might never have happened if you hadn’t been open to the influence of others?
I’d love to hear from you. Be sure to visit me on Facebook and LinkedIn.