I wanted more than what I was doing
The tragic deaths of students and personal circumstances saw Sue Stevenson give up a stable teaching job to become a coach. A year on, she talks her "awesome" new life
Sue Stevenson “used to think there was something wrong” with her.
She had a senior teaching role which she excelled at, and that promised stability. But “every now and again I’d think, ‘There must be something else for me,” says Sue.
“I thought, ‘I don’t want to die having just done this’ even though I did really love teaching.”
The idea of death and legacy was driven home in the most poignant, tragic way after Sue mourned at the funerals of three students.
“That was very distressing but also a reminder that I can’t just let this lie … when I know I could make a difference,” she said.
“Also, I used to imagine myself if I died what people would say in my eulogy, and I wanted more than what I was doing. I didn’t want to die with any regrets.”
At the same time, Sue—who first shared her story with TCI in 2019—had become interested in the area of anxiety “because I realised that I have had anxiety for my whole life and I couldn’t put a name to it,” she says.
“I was also witnessing kids experiencing anxiety over and over, watching them go through the health system, but in my opinion they weren’t getting the right help and were coming back to school with the same problems.
“That was frustrating me.”
“TCI has enabled me to build a business and face so many of my fears and follow my passion at the same time.”
Sue’s “burning curiosity” and unspoken quest for answers was brought into focus when her husband raved about an "amazing" TCI event he’d been to.
“He said it would be right up my alley. Within an hour Joe Pane had me eating out of his hands and I was just loving it and felt like ‘Oh my God, this is it.’
“He’s speaking my language. That’s what I loved. It spoke to me so I was buzzing.”
At first, Sue kept her enrolment at TCI a secret from most people in her life, because she thought they might question why she wanted more in an already-outwardly full life.
“There was as little bit of fear and a guilt around it, guilt that why would I throw away that opportunity and great job. There was also the fear of giving that up.
“Being someone who experiences anxiety, taking a risk is a bit scary for me so I had mixed emotions around it.”
Sue’s way of tackling her TCI challenge was to become “a learning machine,” she says.
She was working long full time teaching hours then studying, and “do you know what, I just found more energy, motivational energy," she says.
“I was just super charged. I wasn’t just learning content but also how to set up a coaching business.
“I was really preparing myself to leave my job while working full time. I was listening to all the business information and advice from TCI and doing the triads and pro bonos.”
Now that Sue is an accredited professional coach with a successful business on her own terms, some “big realisations” are kicking in, she says.
Her specialty is personal coaching, and she also has an online anxiety program for parents and is coaching a business as well, helping with culture and values.
“They’ve just signed me up for another six months and it’s awesome,” says Sue.
“There’s so much going on. In every area it’s pushing my boundaries and my growth. Helping other people is just what I wanted to do.”
Sue urges anyone thinking about joining The Coaching Institute’s community to “not sit and wait” for things to happen.
“They’re not going to unless you make a decision and commit. If you’re wondering there’s a reason for that. Just do it. Get in and make it happen.”
Sue has been a student at The Coaching Institute since 2019 and is thrilled with the new personal and professional world she's built since enrolling: “I’m coaching and making a living out of it. I added up and I’m already making at least the same amount of money I was in a leading role in the school system. That’s just mind blowing. And I have so much further to go.”