How Debbie went from being a PA to life on a beach

Discover how you can transform your life like this pa who reinvented herselfIt was just over three years ago that Debbie cornered me on my way out of a corporate coaching session.

As I walked down the corridor she suddenly appeared beside me: “Everyone seems to be enjoying the coaching you’re doing with them,” she started shyly.

“I’m pleased to hear that,” I replied.

“Yes, they all say they find their sessions very valuable as well.” She smiled, “Eye opening, one of them said.” There was an awkward pause. It was obvious that she was searching for words. Then she blurted out, “do you do private work?” Before I could answer, she hurried on. “I mean could I have a session with you.”

“Yes, of course.” I smiled to encourage her.

“Will it be very expensive?” She asked.

“Well, the first session is what I call a ‘getting to know you’ session. It allows me to ascertain whether I can meet your needs and we decide mutually whether we are compatible, in a coaching sense.” I paused, “I don’t charge for the first session.”

“Oh, that would be wonderful!” her face lit up. “When could we do that?”

We fixed a date for the following week.

Debbie was PA to the Chief Executive of the large corporation where she worked. She was very well organised, but she was also very frustrated. She felt that there must be more to life than trudging into the office every morning and slaving away; being confined within four walls for eight hours.

The First Step

At our first session Debbie kept saying that she wanted to express herself, to be herself. But she could not define what expressing herself was like.

I took her through a process I use in my Discover Your Passion workshops that starts with defining what you love to do. This is often much harder than it sounds because there is seldom just a single thing that you love to do. In Debbie’s case she loved outdoor exercise, meeting people, behaving gregariously and organising people and events. She also liked just hanging out with people and being outdoors; but at the same time she was ambitious.

My next questions were around, “who needs someone who loves doing what you do?”

“People enjoying the outdoors,” she replied. Then she added hastily, “But I don’t want to be a holiday rep and I don’t have any outdoor pursuits qualifications.”

Long Story Short

After much further discussion she settled on the idea that she would like to have a beach bar, on a nice sandy beach somewhere where the sun always shines, So, her next holiday she set off for the Far East to visit four countries in two weeks so she could scout out the possibilities.

She came back very excited and nervous. She had found a location where she could build a beach bar, but it was going to cost more than she possessed to set it up.

I helped her write a business plan and sent her off to talk to her family and any relatives who might be prepared to make an investment in her business.

Her excitement and enthusiasm helped her raise the capital she needed. She resigned from her job, and set off, excited and scared, but determined to follow her plan.


Debbie worked very hard at her business. The first year she nearly gave up and came home. But she has that bloody-minded persistence that entrepreneurs need and she stuck it out. Her bar became famous for it’s music, fun and hospitality.

Debbie now owns three beach bars.

What about you?

Are you going to dream on, or are you going to take the first step and discover what you love to do? It may simply be another type of job, or it may be a business of your own.

Or, if you live outside the UK, you could get the book from Amazon.

Disclaimer: this is a true story from my files, but the description of the main character has been altered to protect her identity.


About David Ferrers

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