Thrive Consultant Zoe wasn’t always thriving and taking on endless challenges! She came to Thrive struggling with anxiety, panic attacks and depression, losing her self-confidence and zest for life. In this blog, she talks honestly about her own Thrive journey, about the ups and downs of not initially maintaining effort to continue Thriving after the course, and how dramatically different her life today is. Whether you’re not yet Thriving, or one of our Thrive community already, read about life before – and after – Thrive for Zoe;
“I have been meaning to write about my experience with The Thrive Programme for some time now. I guess I was waiting for a time where I felt like I had truly ‘completed’ it (bit of that old perfectionist creeping in) but I recently realised that my relationship with this incredible programme won’t be coming to an end. The skill set I have developed since completing this programme has influenced every aspect of my life and I intend for that to continue. For the first time in my life I am in awe of myself and what I can achieve. As a recently qualified Thrive Consultant I now want to pass on this amazing opportunity to others.
So how did I come across The Thrive Programme? I was 21 years old, at an age where the social norm says you should be ‘having the time of your life’. For me, this couldn’t be further from what I was experiencing. Back then, I felt like it just came out of nowhere. I experienced my first panic attack and the following days were full of anxiety. I didn’t know how to cope with this new feeling, I felt like it was happening to me and I had no control over it. Feelings of powerlessness soon spiralled into depression, my emotions had consumed me and I had no fight in me left. I would frequently avoid social situations, would always retreat to my comfort zone and sleep to make the days seem shorter. All in all, I didn’t like myself anymore and no matter how many people pointed out all the good I had in my life, how pretty, intelligent I was… it all fell on deaf ears.
In my eyes I was a failure. I was falling foul of perceived pressures, the need to have a successful job straight out of uni and/or to be travelling the world became greater. I had totally warped perception of what ‘happy’ was and continuously compared myself to others. I allowed social media to remind me that I just wasn’t blessed with happiness and just began to fall into a very dark place where life just became a chore.
I remember going to see a good friend of mine, I had just done some modelling for her shop (all the time wondering why I deserved to be there), and told her how I had been feeling. She told me about a lady called Bim who does this Thrive Programme. At this point, I had been on anti-depressants for nearly a year, I was a socially anxious mess and on a long waiting list for some counselling… ANYTHING was worth a go. I emailed Bim that night and heard back straight away and we arranged a free consultation so I could find out some more about the programme.
Meeting Bim gave me more hope than I had all year, the way in which she spoke about the programme and what it could do for me resonated with so much. Something just clicked. I remember going home and speaking to my parents telling them that I have found the thing that’s going to help me, I was excited for what felt like the first time in ages. The six weeks I spent with Bim completely changed my life around, I came off my medication and was no longer depressed. I was cured! Trouble is, I was in such a rush to get better and everything I learnt I began to forget, I didn’t put any effort into maintaining the new skills I had learnt and gradually fell back into old habits. New challenges in my life shook my newly built foundations, I broke up with my boyfriend of five years and experienced real grief for the first time.
Before I knew it, I was back to where I started. One thing did remain though, that this programme absolutely does work it just needed my persistent effort… oh and patience. So, I went to see the man himself, Rob Kelly, who gave me the kick up the a**e I needed. I realised that I could read and perfect the book as much as I liked but until I truly challenged my thinking/behaviours and grabbed this with all I had I wouldn’t get where I wanted to be.
I started to wake up every morning, ask myself ‘what can I do today in order to challenge my rubbish or unhelpful beliefs’ and action it. I would put myself in uncomfortable situations, tolerate them and praise myself for doing so. Continuously building that belief that I had the power to influence how my life played out. I worked hard at my self-esteem, I decided to not care what others think and really tune into what I thought of me and made damn sure it was positive. I began to like myself again, compliment myself and that confidence just started oozing out into all aspects of my life. I was single and excited to be so, I no longer felt like I needed anyone but me and that anyone should be grateful to know/date me. I became my number one fan! I was living for me and was no longer worried about impressing others but showing myself what I could do.
I sat back and pondered over things that I have always wanted to do but either been to scared or negative about and just decided I was doing them, no matter what it took. I was going to prove to myself that I could achieve ANYTHING if I put my mind to it. Here was just some of my goals/challenges:
- Do a skydive and raise money for charity (on 22nd September!)
- Begin long distance running and enter a race
- Become a Licensed Thrive Consultant
- Move out
- Make the most of my summer, go to festivals
- Learn to play the drums
- 30 days of yoga
I took my new found internal attitude and put it whole-heartedly into each of these. I exercised my growth mindset, I had never played the drums but knew if I practised hard enough and put that effort in I would be able to. I knew that if I did 30 days of yoga I would have no choice but to accept that some days I wouldn’t be able to nail every move and would have to tolerate that. I knew that if I started challenging myself socially my anxiety would shrink to nothing and that bubbly confident Zoe would flood back. I knew that if I began my studies to become a Thrive Consultant I would prove to myself that I can help others as well as myself and do something I am truly passionate about that will make a difference. I was constantly reinforcing that I was in control of the direction of my life, that social anxiety can be tamed, that little voice in my head wasn’t truth, that I was achieving so much, that being perfect is a unattractive quality and above all that I was awesome.
I cannot express the huge positive impact that setting myself goals and achieving them has had on me. It’s all very well and good learning all your ‘thrivey’ skills and feeling better but why not make the most of them? Reach your true potential and really THRIVE in life, inspire others and constantly open your eyes to what you CAN DO.
Since becoming a TC myself I really encourage my clients to focus on their goals as I feel it ties in everything the book and programme aim for. You are constantly working on your Thrive Factor, overcoming whatever problems brought you to the programme but also working towards a life that is exciting and full of possibility.
So, my newly found Thrivers (or soon-to-be Thrivers!)… once you’ve got the skills and knowledge you need, what now?
Show us what you can do.”
Zoe Walker is a fully Licensed Thrive Consultant in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.
You can see her Skydive fundraising website (raising money for a creative writing mental health organisation) here: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/zoewalker2
Visit Zoe’s Thrive website here: www.thrivewithzoe.co.uk