Who is James?
|Hello, I’m James also know as Jamie, I answer to both. |
This page is about me personally, a little of my history, life experience, and touches on my passions.
I’m tri-national. I was born in Bahrain, a small island in the Persian Gulf, schooled in the United Kingdom, and at the age of 24 I decided to take a leap of faith, pack my belongings into a suitcase and move to Cape Town, South Africa where I’ve lived for the last 30 years.
In Bahrain I learned to swim, springboard dive, and to snorkel dive for coral in the Persian Gulf. Thanks to my mother’s lifelong passion for reading, and Agatha Christie, I became addicted to ‘Who-Done-It’ novels which helped improve my poor reading skills. I learned to ride Arab horses in the desert, and thanks to my dad’s keen photographer’s eye, to look for beauty even in the most desolate of places. I also learned that according to my primary school headmaster, I was “thick”!
At boarding school in North Wales I learned to make snowballs in the winter and in the summer, thanks to my childhood in the middle-east, became the youngest member ever of the school swimming team – and eventually school swimming captain and head life saver. I discovered during punishment that by walking around the school lake rather than running, I could pause and take in colours and beauty that surround us daily. I also learned enough school work to get me 6 O’s and A level.
During school holidays spent in Bahrain I helped organize events for bored teenagers so that they wouldn’t trash the place, which included adopting a home for handicapped children. I learned that by hi-jacking a bus, filling it with ice-cream, handicapped children (many of who had never been outside the home), able bodied teenagers and spending a day at the beach could bring great joy to the lives of those involved in the escapade. I also discovered that you can create great PR for someone else, even if they did bring down the wrath of God on your head afterwards!
At college I discovered I was partially dyslexic, not “thick”, as I had been previously lead to believe and attained a degree in Catering & Hotel Management. This degree became my passport to South Africa.
I began my work life as ‘an hotelier’, was headhunted to manage an art gallery and picture framing business, was sold with the fixtures and fittings to a new boss, resigned to start up a framing franchise, and then spent the next 20 years in the décor industry. 4 years were spent decorating, the rest wholesaling interior décor fabrics, 14 of which were spent managing my own décor fabric agency business.
So how & why did I become a Life Coach?
I suppose my journey began when I discovered the law of Karma, or my understanding of it: what you give out, you get back – often in abundance – and that goes for the good and the bad. From there I found the value of giving back to society, and of “paying it forward”. The squeals of joy and the smiles on the faces of the children as they played in the sea, and the air of satisfaction from the helping teenagers taught me much that day.
Shortly after arriving in South Africa a friend in crisis shared with me that she thought I would make a great councillor. So I went off and qualified as a volunteer telephone councillor for GASA6010, which I did for 14 years.
Becoming inundated with calls regarding HIV & AIDS and realizing that this was to become a pandemic of epic proportions, I and some friends, armed with precious little available knowledge started the first Safer Sex workshops in South Africa.
All too soon we were faced with the imminent deaths of friends, colleagues and complete strangers who were looking for whatever help they could get. It was at this time that I met an amazing woman who was to play a great part in my personal development, and together we founded ‘Joy For Life’, a group of volunteers that dedicated their spare time to caring for the dying.
As the treatment for AIDS became more sophisticated moving AIDS from a terminal disease to a manageable chronic illness, the need for our assistance fell away. For the first time in years I was able to take some time out for myself and follow some of my other passions such as photography, the Tango and TA (Transactional Analysis).
Six years ago I was discussing a problem with a friend and colleague. Through a series of question from him, suddenly the answer became crystal clear to me. I asked him what that was, and his reply, “That was coaching”. Later that year I commenced my first Coach Training program, certifying the following year.
The demands of my business were such that I was only able to coach sporadically after hours. This was a very frustrating time for me as coaching had become a passion, and like an itch that can’t be scratched, it irritated me that I couldn’t make my new found passion, my career.
In January 2012 during a coaching session I had a “light bulb moment”, decided to sell my business and set up a coaching practice. I visualized this possibility, set my goals and intentions, and moved into action. Everything worked out according to plan and almost to the day. In January 2013 my new life began.
Naturally I called my new undertaking “Coaching Worx” ‘cos it does.