The world is changing every day now, and with it our lives. Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic speeded up this process and made everything uncertain and unpredictable. How can people gain some clarity in this crazy world in terms of mental & emotional wellbeing? Coaching can help people get clear on what will make them feel better about their life and support them moving forward, which can only be good. I talk to Jessica McGregor Johnson, an Elite Life Coach and Guide to top executives, about how people’s needs have changed in the last year, tips on how to get through this whole madness mentally and the importance of life coaching within mental health and wellbeing.

Jessica, can you tell us a bit about your background to introduce yourself?

I’ve been a coach for 18 years – starting when I first moved to Spain after living in an ashram in Upstate New York for four years.  I trained as a coach but I believe that life experience is the greatest teacher and I have certainly had a varied life!  From working in Sales and training Sales people to run a retreat site to working for an Environmental Agency before living and studying in the ashram – all these eras of my life have given me a rich experience that I now use in my work.  I love living in Spain, it gives me an amazingly balanced lifestyle – I even have my own horse – and I enjoy welcoming people here on retreat.

When did you realise that life coaching is your passion?

I had that ah-ha moment when I first researched coaching – I’ve always loved working with people and although I trained as a Counsellor many years ago I never set up a practice.  When I looked into coaching I loved the idea of taking people forward, discovering what their heart truly wanted and supporting them to move past their limitations and create a truly fulfilling life.  I always say to my clients that I have the best job in the world – everyone’s life story is different and seeing people’s lives unfold and blossom is a privilege.

What is your unique approach?

I offer individual bespoke “Get Unstuck Now!” retreats in Spain and virtually as well as video coaching.  I have no set programmes, no courses to take people through.  Everyone has their own unique needs and I serve that. I ask all my clients to do a Life Review – looking at nine different areas of life – even if they are coming to me for one specific thing.  Even just doing that can reveal so much, rarely do we take the time look at all of our lives in that way. I believe that when we create the change we need to look at all areas to ensure that there is balance.  All I ask of my clients is to set an intention for the work we do together and that guides our conversations.  It is a life-changing conversation of discovery.

Who would you say is your ideal client?

Mainly I tend to work with people who have climbed the ladder of success only to find that once they reach the top, or near it, that it is not as fulfilling as they thought it was going to be.  We make decisions in our twenties that sometimes no longer fit us in our mid-forties.  These people are experiencing what I call the “Wake Up Call” – a feeling inside that they need to stop, reconnect with their heart and make decisions from there.   And this wakeup call can be brought about by many situations – and it carries the urgent feeling: ‘something has to change’.

As a professional expert, how do you think people’s needs have changed in the last year?

Definitely.  Much of the work I have been doing with people in the last 9 months has been about supporting then through this seismic shift in the lifestyle we are all navigating.  It has been hard and challenging for many.  And it has made many more people question the life they took for granted.  More people are experiencing the Wake Up Call because of the Covid situation. 

Why do you think it happened?

Having the rug pulled out from under your feet makes you question everything.  People are now looking at the status quo and asking themselves – am I really enjoying this?  Is this really ticking enough happy boxes?  Is what I am doing worth it?  What am I sacrificing for this lifestyle – and do I want to?  This has produced much more soul searching than I have seen before.

The world is changing every day now, and with it our lives. You teach how people can gain some clarity in this crazy world in terms of mental & emotional wellbeing, can you give some tips for readers?

Stop and do a reality check every now and again.  We can get spun off into fear so easily – especially with all that is in our media.  The truth is the only moment that we have any control over is Now.  So become more present.  If you feel yourself getting stressed, stop and take 5 long deep breaths.  Take a long breath in and an even longer breath out.  This signals to your nervous system that it can come off high alert.  This may sound simplistic but coming back to your breath brings you back to the present where you can regroup. 

I am also a great proponent of meditation.  This not only reduces your stress levels but helps you mentally.  Anyone can meditate, is the simple act of watching your mind, so even if your mind is going crazy if you can focus on your breath and watch your mind you can take that all important step back.  There are free meditation recordings on my website and also many great Apps you can use.

How can people get through this whole madness in balance, harmony and hope?

Take time to be with yourself.

Write out what is bothering you.  Put it down on paper allowing yourself to pour whatever emotion you are feeling into the paper.  And if you need to, be totally un-politically correct!  No one is going to read this – not even you.  The act of getting it out onto the paper removes the energy from your body which is a great first step.  Then (safely) burn the paper.  Fire transforms energy and it helps you feel the relief of letting go whatever it was that is bothering you. It helps bring harmony back into your life.

Think forward.  We all need something to look forward to and so making a longer-term plan is good for that feeling of hope.  And even if it has to change it gives us a feeling of control over the future which helps.

As for balance – ensure that you create time in your day for yourself.  It is all too easy, especially if you are working from home, to work all the time.  We all need some downtime – some fun time too.

And lastly – little acts of self-care and peace.  Small things like taking the time to have a long bubble bath, buying yourself some lovely skin cream, cooking yourself a favourite meal, anything that feels nurturing.  And small acts of peace can be something simple as listening to a piece of music – ask yourself – what would feel peaceful for me right now?  It gives an overall feeling of well-being.

Why do you think life coaching within mental health and wellbeing is important nowadays?

Coaching can be a positive aspect of helping people move forward from challenges.  Obviously if someone is suffering from severe mental health issues then they need the help of a professional counsellor.  However coaching can help people get clear on what will make them feel better about their life and support them moving forward which can only be good.

Can you please share some of your achievements from your experience?

The main thing that people say about working with me is that it is life changing.  This can be in many ways, people find a new purpose in life, they feel they have found themselves again, they become reinvested in their career.  I’ve also seen people make a huge outer life change or sometimes a big inner change that mirrors many changes in their outer life. 

I think what one of my clients wrote sums it up: “Working with Jessica was a life-changing experience for me. I travelled thousands of miles after chatting with her only once, and embarked on an incredible journey of self-discovery with her. The retreat itself was like an amazing reboot of my brain and I felt like I reconnected with the person I truly was, someone I had clearly lost on my way to becoming an adult, a spouse and a mother. Jessica helped me re-open that door and ever since, so many fulfilling and wonderful things have happened in my life. Don’t think twice, just jump because we all need a Jessica in our life and this will certainly be the best thing you will do for yourself in a very long time.”

How can our readers contact you and follow on social media?

They can go to my website  Best way to contact me is to go to the website and request a free discovery session – there is a sign-up box on the home page.  I am also on LinkedIn and (occasionally) on Facebook and Twitter

Finally, can you please share your motto and your favourite quote?

My motto is “Everything You Need to get Unstuck – Starts Here!”

My favourite quote of all time:

“Life is NOT a journey to the grave with the goal of arriving safely in a prettily preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a shower of gravel and party shards, thoroughly used, utterly exhausted, and loudly proclaiming: “Fuck me, that was BRILLIANT!”