Today I met up with Christine Lithgow Smith, a local Marlow mum who has recently launched her own business, Chrisalyst Coaching. She has agreed to write some articles for Marlow Mum’s and share some tips to help and inspire us to live what she would refer to as ‘a life well lived’. I chatted to her to find out more about her background, her passions and her new business.
Tell me about you and your family
Me and my husband both come from outside of Marlow. I grew up in Essex and Alex is from Lancashire. We both travelled for work then found Marlow after we hooked up and decided it would be a great place to live. It has a kind of energy about it. We had our daughter Lily just over 7 years ago. I was lucky enough to home birth so she’s a true Marlovian and a real live wire. I’m in awe of her most days 😊
What is your background, how did you get into coaching
I’ve got a commercial background and ended up leading global transformations before leaving the corporate world last April. I’d coached as a manager for 15 years and dabbled with NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) through visualisation to help me choose to home birth nearly 8 years ago. The results were fantastic. I’ve since trained professionally and have been amazed at the changes it has brought about for people. I offer Executive Coaching to corporate clients through my consultancy Chrisalyst ® and noticed a number of clients are Mums so thought why not help out Mums closer to home?
What inspired you to start your own business
My inner free spirit was desperate to leave the Corporate World. I originally wanted to be an actress and swore I’d never get an office job so it was never ideal. I have loved many elements of my jobs over the years but they never felt like me. After having Lily I realised how tough being a mum can be so came up with the idea of creating a space for Mums. Somewhere they could be real, get support and a bit of down time. I created the whole business case then put it on hold to do an MBA. Lots happened between then and now. I had planned to change roles last March but losing my Uncle was never part of the plan. When he was dying he asked me “Why did I work so hard?”. I figured he was right so decided to take a leap of faith and see what happened. You only live once, as far as we know, so I intend to enjoy every day of mine and aim to do everything I want to if I can.
Who is your coaching for?
My personal coaching is for Mums. Mums at home, working Mums, Entrepreneurial Mums, New Mums, Mums with kids leaving home. Every MUM. It helps where you have a problem to solve, a goal to reach or an area you want to develop in. Examples include: Mum’s who’ve ‘got it all’ but are feeling unfulfilled and are thinking “there must be more to life than this”, Busy Mum’s who are exhausted and never have time to stop and feel guilty about……well, everything, Mum’s that have just given birth and in all honesty are sick of talking about babies, feel and look and mess and are wondering where they have gone and those Mums who have ‘crazy’ ideas about setting up their own business but are too afraid to try or don’t know where to start.
Why are you passionate about helping mums?
As Mum’s we’re always so concerned about everyone around us. Whether you’re a stay at home mum or a working Mum there are never enough hours in the day or if you do have hours, you can’t necessarily spend them how you’d like to because of your youngest or the school run. It’s easy to lose sight of yourself. Then when they leave home, you feel barren and lost about what to do. We all deserve to live a life well lived, Mums especially. Coaching is a fantastic way of helping people to create positive change in their lives or cope better with whatever life is throwing their way. After having my daughter I realised just how incredible the women in my life are. I meet so many women who are hiding inside of themselves. I believe every one of us is amazing and if we can all start to let a little bit of ourselves out, to shine, the world would be a much happier place. Not to mention us Mums!! I hit the big 40 last year but deep down, I’m still a girl who wants to have fun. And why shouldn’t I? 😊
What is involved in a typical coaching session?
In a typical session we set aside an hour or more to focus on you. We have a conversation where you do most of the talking and I do most of the listening. It covers your experiences, your thoughts and your feelings. Generally we centre it on a specific problem, goal or situation and together we discover ways to help you resolve the problem, achieve the goal or create a plan to get there and feel better equipped to deal with whatever situation is on your mind. For some Mums, it’s an opportunity to unload or dissipate some of their concerns. They emerge feeling lighter, happier and full of energy to pursue something in particular. Sometimes we’ll get a bit more creative. I use different tools, techniques, models and exercises drawing from a wide-range of sources so it’s hard to be specific but it often involves coloured pens, paper or a change of scenery. I always offer these as a choice. My work is very much client-led so together we’ll find the best approach to work for you.
What is your motto for life?
When I was a teenager I remember people telling me what I couldn’t do, that I wasn’t pretty enough or I was too fat or whatever horrible stuff kids can come up with. It hurt but I was determined to rise about whatever life throwed at me so I wrote “Look out World Here I Come” on a piece of paper and pinned it to the back of my door.
How do people get in touch with you?
People can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or they call me on 07896 883636 to find out more or schedule a session.