Deirdre Mullins, Actor, Writer, Director, London UK
The most important thing about Al is that he makes change, the thing I was expecting to be a really painful process, actually, quite shockingly enjoyable! He helped me uncover the small lies which were, in fact, the big lies I was telling myself and the big dreams I was, really, too scared to face up to and pursue. It sounds a bit dramatic, but the fear of failing at something I cared so much about was so deep rooted and powerful a force in my life that I had stopped admitting it to myself.
In case you think, as I did, that life coaching is only for people who are a bit of an organizational shambles… well, just meet with Al. Without trying to sound too pleased with myself, I felt I was a highly organised person with most things very much pushed to their potential in my life – my acting career, love life, travel, health & fitness and so on. I’d read lots of life coaching and lifestyle design books so I already had a grounding in the kinds of mental models and practical strategy to be both highly efficient and effective in terms of achieving goals. So when I asked Al to work with me – I had it in mind that he would operate as a kind of regulator alongside my own quarterly assessments, a safe-guard to ensure I didn’t lose sight of what I wanted and how I was going to achieve it. He was a luxury, a regular MOT to a life that was, as far as I could judge, running very smoothly.
I’d been to a life coach a year before for a few sessions which I found enjoyable but not especially useful so gave up pretty quickly. I think I had concluded that I just had everything sorted so I didn’t need her, but I realise, after a short time working with Al, that she just hadn’t asked me the really really hard, specific questions – she wasn’t good at catching me out when I was avoiding pressure points.
Al, on the other hand, is an extremely curious, perceptive listener, picking up on alls sorts of unintended clues and gaps in my ambitions or dreams and the models I’d created for achieving them. His kind and thoughtful observations served to make me really look differently at what I thought was my position and plan. Not only this, but the whole experience was wrapped up in such enjoyable, inspiring conversations. Al has a huge body of knowledge, a compulsive interest in working people out, behavioural patterns, models for development, for efficiency – his conversation is a fascinating education in itself as he has so many ideas and anecdotal advice to apply to all the strange realisations which I was coming up with about myself.
Most specifically, and it came as such a surprise, I had demoted one of my long term dreams – writing/directing – due to just petrifying fear that I wouldn’t be any good at it. So, Al broke it down, encouraged me talk it out, suggested to me that failure, at first, was just part of the process, landed some really inspiring anecdotes, suggested clever ways to make the task less pressurized, less results orientated at first.. he helped me take the first baby steps which grew and grew as I abandoned my fears and really got into the writing. Ten mins a day on a subject totally unrelated to my goals were soon turned into whole days of intensive, focused, fearless writing. Six months later, I can’t believe it, I’m in the throws of my first two professional jobs. I haven’t felt this alive, terrified and grateful in a long time.
Al you’re a clever man. Thanks for not believing my bulls&%t!