Whenever I read these ‘about me’ pages I always wonder whether the person behind the website is cringing a little bit. It’s basically saying, ‘I’m doing my best to bring some wisdom into the world and I’d love it if you’d be interested in working with me.’
Well, that’s what I’m going to say, while telling you a little bit about who I am and why there’s an eclectic mix of offerings on my website.
I used to keep everything separate. I was frightened that if people knew about the different aspects of what I do, they wouldn’t think I was committed to the work I was doing with them. I was wrong. We’re all multi-faceted beings and we bring our ever-growing collection of experiences to everything we do. I also love the different elements of my work so much that I could never choose between them. I’ve been told by numerous people that I *should* focus on one thing, but for me, everything I do is intrinsically linked and I want people who work with me to see that you can do things differently, you can find your own way and if the dream job hasn’t found you yet; create it.
I used to have ‘proper jobs’, I worked in sport, I worked for the Department of Education – the less said about that, the better – and thanks to a kick up the arse from my wonderful Grandma, I wrote my first book in my early thirties. Writing was always a hobby, not a ‘proper job’ but I had never let go of the dream of seeing my name on the cover of a book. I would walk around bookshops imagining what it would be like to hold a copy of my own book in my hands. That’s just a little insight into my rock and roll lifestyle, but I can now tell you; holding a book that you have poured your heart and soul into, seeing your name on the cover and smelling the pages – we all do it – is beyond incredible.
While I’m briefly talking about ‘proper jobs’, it’s worth mentioning that I have ‘proper qualifications’ too. It matters to me that I invest in myself, that I continue to learn and that I earn the right to work with you. I have a really useful BA/BSc in Theology and Sport Science, I have a Masters in Disability Studies, neither of which are really useful to me any more, but they have given me a holistic understanding of the world around me and they taught me how to learn, how to research and how to question, with respect, what I am being told. I have diplomas in personal perfornce coaching, youth coaching, dog behaviour and I’m a full member of the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers. Why? Because I don’t believe that life experience is enough when you’re asking people to trust you to help them and working with dogs solidified that view! Having dogs all your life doesn’t give you the transferable skills to work with other dogs. I’ve managed to successfully keep my teeth in my head all of my life – so far – but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t trust me to be your dentist! I’ve trained as a tutor for the Football Association and Sports Coach UK (now UK Coaching) and I even have my Prince 2 Project Management certificate; there’s a week of my life I’ll never get back. That’s not an exhaustive list, but it tells you a little bit about who I am. I care about being the best I can be and continual learning is a huge part of that.
My first book, Reggie & Me, reached the final of The People’s Book Prize and that book has grown into the Dani Moore Trilogy. The message, exploring the relationship between a young rape survivor and her rescue dog in order to recover and build resilience, captured the imagination of readers. The more I immersed myself in understanding the human-canine bond and the study of resilience, the more I wanted to do to share the information in a new way, a way that could make tangible changes in behaviour. My social enterprise, Canine Perspective CIC, was born.
Sharing our story, being who we are and daring to do things differently is how we can make a positive difference in the world. Every experience I have had, everything I have learned about who I am and every risk I have taken – some have been significantly less successful than others – has brought me to where I am. Helping other people share their story, tell their truth and make a positive difference in the world is a privilege. Being able to turn my own books into a social enterprise that helps people build resilience in an ever-changing world is something that is continually evolving and I am proud of what it has become. I have written and co-written – and ghostwritten, but shhh, they’re secrets – more books. I deliver author visits with a twist on resilience and not being afraid to be true to who you are. I talk about surviving with purpose and try – and sometimes fail – to practice what I teach. We’re all a work in progress though, right?