"The sessions have gone so far beyond my initial objectives when coming to see Simonne. I vividly remember the despair I felt when I first searched for help with my financial untogetherness - which I then thought was a problem of numeracy and organisation. I got up in the middle of the night as I was so stressed I couldn't sleep, but didn't even know what words to put in the search engine as I didn't know that financial coaching existed.
It was the start of an extraordinary journey which has taken me from steady practical progress to new worlds of self-discovery. The 'little stuff' has been life changing: opening bank statements, filing things, knowing what's in our accounts, managing a house-hold budget, sorting and separating our finances. Understanding that money is not maths. These have all enhanced my confidence and hugely improved my relationship with my husband.
The 'bigger stuff' has been quite magical - I felt really profound shifts in my self after the NLP and some of the excercises. Above all the Life Planning process has been one of the most inspirational and valuable things I have ever done. I've never felt greater clarity about my goals and my true vocation, and who I am. I found it transformational and have felt a great sense of presence and calm after each session.
One surprising benefit is that I've felt more tolerant and compassionate with others - people I know who are obsessed with wealth, who worry all the time about money, who are flippant with money, who constantly get into debt - realising that everyone has emotional baggage surrounding money and many are not even aware of that.
Throughout the journey my thinking has taken great striding leaps forward, while my behaviour has sometimes lagged stubbornly behind. Just last week I spent nearly £100 on new boots on a credit card I'd taken on as part of a debt repayment plan, and haven't told my husband. But I have come a long, long way from when I started this journey. And I do behave differently with money, with more awareness and more organisation and - normally - more honesty. Some things feel like such tiny triumphs in retrospect (I did buy that hole punch and do file my statements, even set up internet banking) but they were huge problems once.
One of the major things we have worked on are my 'blocks' in sharing my writing. I have a sense of vocation as a writer and have always written but rarely finished a piece of work. In the process of the Life Planning sessions I worked through my files and notepads and found more than 30 unfinished projects - ranging from poems and songs to short stories, novels, plays and film scripts. I understood that not finishing things was a way of protecting myself from my fear of sharing my writing. This very understanding enabled me to start working through my projects, and to finish them as far as I can and to share them with others. I have changed from being terrified of other people reading my work, to feeling actively excited about sharing. My work has begun to feel like a treasure chest, not an lumpy mountain of unfinished scribbless. I had a sense of each piece as a caged bird that I could now hold in both hands and carry outdoors and release into the world.
Most importantly I have more understanding of myself, I have gained amazing perspective on my own behaviour. Even when I'm 'bad' I understand more about why and believe that awareness is the first step to change. And for so many years I've felt stuck with what I thought were separate 'Problems' in my life: my money, my dog and my driving being just three examples; now I've learnt that they're all interconnected, that lack of trust in my self is what's getting in the way of me overcoming the obstacles to realising my potential. I've learnt that believing in yourself in one area of life has a compounding effect on other areas.
Initially I understood that the purpose of our sessions was to clarify and understand my relationship with money, to assess whether that is working well or not and to address problems in that relationship. I came to realise that that is just the starting point and it's about a much bigger, more holistic picture than that. Through the exploration of one's relationship with money - encompassing childhood attitudes, emotions, current relationships with other people, perception of self, values - it actually becomes a process of clarifying and understanding your relationship with your true self: the person you are meant to be. But you don't lose sight of the money stuff - it's not delusions of positive thinking, but practical sure steps towards the life you should be leading and learning how to use money as the structure to support that life, rather than an end in itself.
The nature of the sessions is fascinating as Simonne has an awful lot of strings to her bow and techniques in her toolkit to help you navigate this journey in a safe, positive, life-enhancing way. It's easy to stumble through life quite blinkered, making assumptions, stuck in perceptions and seeing things only one way - whether out of habit or fear or simply not knowing there are other options. The sessions contain a lot of questions which turn you around and upside down, taking a fresh look at long-held assumptions and beliefs, asking are they really true for you now, and are they doing you any good or holding you back?
The changes and benefits have been surprising, multi-layered and intertwined. I have immesurably more confidence overall and a greater sense of self-efficacy. All sorts of things have started falling into place that seemed unconnected to my initial objectives: phobias diminishing, skin texture changing, creativity flowing, trust in intuition. Above I have a far greater understanding and acceptance of myself, which has given me the power to begin to take small steps to change whatever needs changing. I always feel physically different after a session - upbeat and energised, like I've had some kind of energy transfusion."