From confidence crisis to transformation coach: Hayley's story

By Hayley Austin,
updated on May 18, 2020

From confidence crisis to transformation coach: Hayley's story

Following the birth of her son, Hayley found herself extremely anxious and stressed. But thanks to a fresh start in 2013, she had the opportunity to create her own business, and discovered the power of coaching

It was in May 2012, after the birth of my son, that my entire world changed. Having my son gave me a purpose again, and I had a massive light bulb moment. I felt love, and the need to protect, and a sense of purpose. Sadly, it was also when my anxiety went through the roof...

I was born in the Lake District in 1980, but didn’t stay there very long. My mum moved us to the Isle of Man, and I lived there until I was around four years old. I witnessed my mum being abused, and the shouting used to make me cry at night. Mum couldn’t afford food on some occasions, as my dad was bad with money, and after my brother was born, she decided to do a moonlight flit back to the Lake District, where I stayed until I was 22. I never saw or heard from my birth father again – he just didn’t want to know me. It was his choice.

I’d been working in the hospitality industry until I decided to leave home in 2002 to start a new life down south. But it wasn’t the fresh start I’d hoped for, and the next 10 years weren’t easy. I had my fair share of bad decisions, failures, and a divorce. So I put all my energy into my career.

I used to be one of those stressed out employees. I had travelled the world with different high-pressured jobs, and like many of us, I dreamt of having a happy and successful life.

Hayley and her son

When I hit my early 30s, I decided my previous marriage had failed and started a new relationship. In 2011 I became pregnant, and was dating the financial director. The company I worked for we’re not best pleased about our relationship, and I ended up having to leave work early while pregnant as my stress levels went through the roof.

Anxiety was here, and it was here to stay – well, that’s what I thought at the time. During my pregnancy, I was crippled with anxiety and stress. I was too afraid to go out. I was frightened that someone would attack, hurl abuse, or follow me. On occasions I would have to pull over in my car as the first signs of a panic attack started to bubble under the surface. I had created many fears in my mind, and to me they were real, my reality.

These panic attacks went on for years after having my son, and I stopped myself from driving on the motorway as I was so afraid for my life, as I’d convinced myself that I was going to crash. This was a fear I developed during my worst stage of anxiety. I stopped socialising, and only had a handful of friends. I constantly found excuses to stay in with my son instead.

While my son was still a baby, I was also going through a court case – suing my employer for pregnancy discrimination. Then there was also my divorce from my ex-husband. It’s not surprising I was stressed and anxious! So at the time when I should have been enjoying spending time with my son, instead I was lonely and had lost my confidence. My former self was gone.

Who knows what life will throw at me next, but I am ready to take the journey of life head on and win

But then an opportunity arose in 2013, when my family had to transfer to Yorkshire for my husband’s job. It felt like our opportunity to start our life again. I had the idea to start my own network marketing business, so I wouldn’t miss watching my son grow up. I quit my senior management position at my corporate job, and built the business from the ground up. I could make new friends and connections, and put all my corporate management skills to good use. My business was booming.

I’d been handling a team for about four years, but always felt that there was something missing. I had to find a bigger why – a meaningful purpose. This is where I discovered complementary alternative medicine (CAM) coaching. I decided to train with the UK Life Practice in Hitchin.

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) CAM coaching uses the premise that our life experiences are based on our interpretation of the world around us. Thus, if we change our programming, we therefore change our experience of life. When we change our thought patterns, we not only change our reaction towards events, we also change our overall actions and behaviour. NLP gives you back the power, and provides you with tools to make instant changes in your life.

I learnt about how the brain responds to memories. Neuroplasticity is the change in neural pathways and synapses that occurs due to certain factors, like behaviour, environment, or neural processes. During these changes, the brain engages in synaptic pruning, deleting the neural connections that are no longer necessary or useful, and strengthening the necessary ones. When creating these neural pathways, the brain doesn’t know if the memory was real or created. I learned this in NLP, and how to break down neural pathways to rewire the brain.

Today, I am a fully-certified life transformation coach, author, educator, and tutor. After two years of hard work and dedication, I was offered a position as an online tutor at Mark Shields’ UK Life Practice. The academy is award-winning, and now I help to educate future life coaches. With a renewed sense of focus, my clients will be able to let go of any limiting beliefs and move forward with a clear sense of purpose and confidence.

Hayley's book cover

Becoming an author has been a great achievement for me as well, and a platform for me to reach out to help others who have gone through struggles. I wrote my book Freedom from Anxiety as a personal development book, with tools and strategies to take on anxiety and win. I’m so pleased to say that I’ve finally found my passion. And it’s a passion with purpose.

Perfection is a word that is thrown around a lot – the perfect life, the perfect family – but there’s no such thing. Everyone has their ups and downs on the rollercoaster of life. What’s important is how you respond to events in life.

We all look at the world differently, and I’ve learned that I need to stand by my own beliefs because it’s not my job to satisfy everyone’s needs. Who knows what life will throw at me next, but I am ready to take the journey of life head on and win – free from anxiety, and free from stress.

Rachel Coffey | BA MA NLP Mstr, says:

Hayley’s story is testament to the fact that we all have the possibility – and indeed the ability – to change. Her journey involved many twists and turns. What she learnt was that taking care of herself would ultimately enable her to help others.

Anxiety affects many in society – and it doesn’t discriminate. As Hayley discovered though, by using practices such as NLP, we can lessen that anxiety, even making it disappear for good. Our brains are designed to evolve and learn. If you find yourself suffering from anxiety like Hayley did, reach out – your solution could be just around the corner!

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