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First Goal

As an 8-year old it dawned on me that, despite having the shoes, I couldn’t be Spiderman.


So, I opted for being international. My first goal.

My neighbour Duncan used to travel to Brussels, Helsinki and other cool places as part of his corporate work. I was hooked and wanted to do the same.


This was also the age I went on my first holiday abroad to France. Being taught simple phrases and people responding gave me even more the bug for travel, languages and exploring the world.

 

Fast Forward...


...and over 2 decades I have worked in 5 countries across 3 continents. I have an MBA and can speak 3 languages.

 

I’ve started businesses, supported other entrepreneurs and been in the big corporate world across real estate, construction, manufacturing and training sectors.

 

Many people say I should be about 90 years old with all that I have done!

All this experience has helped me to:

  • Figure out what I didn’t want to do.

  • Become more self-aware and comfortable with being uncomfortable.

  • Find a purpose and passion where happiness and success co-exist.

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Image by Joshua Earle

Finding Meaning

I couldn’t tell you how many Sunday nights I reflected on life, dreaded Mondays and questioned if there was more to life.

What a way to spend a weekend!

The deeper meaning for me over the last 2 decades wasn’t about building pipelines, winning over clients and completing projects. 

It was about people: their stories, their potential and leading the way.

 

Focusing On Health


In 2019, a close friend died on New Year's Day and in the following month, I reached total burnout. I had nothing left to give. 

 

Being in hospital for procedures to check on what was going on, and reaching a pre-diabetic state, it was time to reflect on my career, my own mortality and what was important to me.

 

I was doing too much, not actively resting, not using my strengths enough and spread too thinly.

This was the sort of warning not to be ignored.

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Image by Anita SHEPPERD

Finding Happiness


After a number of months out, the worst symptoms subsided. My health was returning, and I shifted focus to things that give meaning, a purpose and where I can be of value to others.


As a side venture during this period of recuperation I co-founded the Inspiration North Podcast. 

An idea to share inspiring stories from inspirational people and how they found their passion. We recently passed our landmark 100th episode.  


I then got into volunteering for the charity Action for Happiness. I’ve delivered their Exploring What Matters course, monthly Happy Cafes, and monthly 10 Keys to Happier Living events, even through lockdown. A way to maintain social connection and explore how to create a happier life with practical actions. 

 
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Finding My Identity

 

With these activities recharging my batteries it was time to figure out who I was. What was my identity? I didn't want to be just a nice dude with a podcast!

For years I’ve been asked for advice or direction from friends, family, peers. Feedback was I should do this for a living. It was time to explore becoming a proper coach.

I’d taken the Clifton Strengths assessment from Gallup® and personally got a huge amount from exploring my strengths and how to direct these in my work and life.

So, I invested in becoming a Gallup® certified strengths coach.

I wanted a credible tool to form part of my coaching, that combines with my wealth of experience in business, life, working internationally and the lessons learned.

I get a huge amount of energy and inspiration from helping others to figure things out, make changes and get to where they want in life.

My hope is that my stories, writing, content and coaching can make a difference. Even if that's one person, (maybe it's you?) then it is all worth it in my book.

 

Find out if I'm the coach for you

There are lots of coaches out there. Investing in yourself, you should be certain about the coach that you choose to engage. I'd recommend reading my blog, listening to some of my podcasts, and if you're at that point of wanting to know more or ask some questions, then book in for a chat. There's no pressure to buy anything.

 

Where Else To Find Me

Inspiration North Podcast

Inspiration North Podcast

Inspiring stories from inspirational people and how they found their passion.

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Work Pirates

Helping people professionals unshackle their organisation's talent and leave happier more productive workplaces.

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Supporting the Next Generation

Bringing STEM and entrepreneurial challenges to schools to help children be ready for the world of work.

 

Podcast of My Journey

Hear more about my journey up to January 2020 in Episode 57 of the Inspiration North Podcast. Much has changed with the creation of Zira Life and other ventures but this will give you a feel for what I have done and achieved in life.

 

2021 Update Podcast

My business partner - Michelle Minnikin - and I reflect on 2020, lessons learned and discuss some of our plans for our businesses and new ventures in 2021.

 
Image by Kalen Emsley

“Start where you are.
Use what you have.
Do what you can.”

Arthur Ashe

 

©2021 by Zira Life Ltd | James@ziralife.com.