Founder of True Potential Hypnotherapy Claire McKeown started out on a very different path in life and has come to terms with debilitating disease, as well as losing her life savings, along the way. Here’s what she told me about discovering her own potential and switching career later in life.
Having children very young meant Claire had to find work that fitted in with her family, working first in retail and later on running pubs (something of a family business, as it happened). She learnt IT early on, installing the very first in-store computerised stock management system and training staff how to use it.
She turned out to be good at it but the move to a career in training and education came later, after a major health issue resulted in Claire being wheelchair bound for three years.
“It literally wiped me away. I couldn’t do much at all.”
During that time she volunteered at her local community centre, soon becoming Chair, and through that work came in to contact with her local college. After learning to manage her health condition Claire no longer needed a wheelchair and she trained to be a tutor with the college, working her way ‘up the ranks’ until she was head-hunted by a private training company, becoming Senior Manager.
After 30 years in the training and education arena Claire felt she’d done all she could do; the company she managed had attained all the highest accreditations and awards in its field but she wasn’t thinking of leaving.
She did want to continue her own learning though.
Looking for something new to expand her Continuing Personal Development she took a course in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) thinking it would improve her management skills. There was a lot of emphasis on hypnosis in this particular course and she found she was especially attracted to it (the founders of NLP incorporated much of the work Dr Milton Erikson had done on the subconscious in to their processes).
“I’d started to recognise how stressed I was, and how unhappy I was at work … I felt I’d done as much as I could. For me the joy had gone out of it.”
She also knew her health was being affected, with more bad days than good days, so it was also about choosing a better quality of life for herself.
She handed in her notice because she now had the promise of a partnership with another training firm where she’d be teaching NLP and hypnotherapy.
So what made Claire take the plunge and go it alone in the end?
Well partly out of necessity. By now she’d given up her job remember and she’d spent a considerable amount of money on developing her hypnotherapy skills, also investing in the new training company, which unexpectedly went bust.
Suddenly she found herself with all these fantastic skills and no employment, but without her savings behind she was fearful of setting up on her own.
At first her mindset was quite negative (even though she’d been self-employed before) and Claire started putting out feelers about contract training or teaching work. Having her own hypnotherapy business just seemed impossible; how could she market herself, rent premises and build a client base with no financial backing?
“I had to think very quickly about how I could get going with no overheads. I had the mindset of a senior manager and thought I needed an office to be ‘professional’ and for people to take me seriously. It was quite a battle I had with myself!”
She realised that she had enough space in her own home to dedicate a room to her therapy clients (as well as having an office there too). And True Potential was born.
I asked Claire to describe what she does now:
“I help people to overcome challenges that have held them back for years.”
Claire has developed two areas of particular expertise in her practice: weight loss and dealing with depression and anxiety; building highly effective programmes that combine NLP, hypnotherapy, coaching and Law of Attraction techniques.
And what does she think stops other women from taking the leap?
“Fear of change is the big one. And ‘I’m not good enough’ is another.”
While we were talking about this Claire had a ‘lightbulb’ moment herself; she saw that if she had felt ‘good enough’ she would have started up on her own earlier, rather than investing her savings in someone else’s training business.
But we also talked about the women we’ve both worked with as coaches who are in jobs they hate but who feel tied by the need for financial security.
Finally, I wanted to know who inspires Claire.
“People who’ve made changes. I really admire anybody who’s prepared to get out of a broken marriage or an abusive relationship.”
What a great answer! When we talk about our heroines we often forget the women who don’t change the world but do change their OWN world. After all, that’s what coaching is all about.
True Potential is based in Telford, Shropshire you can contact Claire here: