I was sitting in my office in the Oil Center Lafayette, Louisiana on a hot and sunny morning this July when I got a message that my mum was being scheduled for major surgery. Knowing that I didn’t have a work visa to return to Lafayette a serious internal struggle ensued.
I didn’t want to leave the comfort of my home and business to unknown circumstances that already looked catastrophic. I’d have nowhere to live, no income – there was just too much uncertainty! Should I follow mum’s progress long distance, or make the trip back to Aberdeen?
My youngest child would be turning 18 at the end of the month, and my second son was due to return to Lafayette after an absence of 19 months. There were some major celebrations on the horizon!
And then, a text with three words - “you should come” – began a very unexpected life journey for me.
A journey that was about to come full circle. My career began at BP Dyce, I started my family at the Bridge of Don, and Ardoe, followed by 17 years in Louisiana building my coaching business – Intentional Coaching.
On July 18, 2002 I left a gloomy, rainy Aberdeen and landed in a sweltering, sunny Houston the same day. The contrast was not missed by my three children, then 10, 6, and 11 months old.
A job offer in Louisiana had inspired us to uproot and relocate – indefinitely. The culture shock was instant and profound. Having bribed the boys with a backyard pool they eagerly embraced the friendliness and inclusivity of their new friends. And it definitely didn’t hurt their credibility to be blonde haired, blue eyed, Scottish boys! Life was good.
What we don’t often see in the media when we hear about U.S. immigration issues are those of us who take the legal route. After September 11, 2001, securing a work visa in the U.S. became more stringent. Now with the Trump administration work visas have hit an all time high in denials.
Every year there are 65,000 H1B visa’s for professionals with a bachelors degree. This is the route I took trying to stabilize our immigration status. The year I graduated with a dietetic degree there were 200,000 applicants vying for 65,000 visas. The process felt more like a lottery. If your number didn’t come up, you didn’t get a visa. The clearest way forward for me was to start my own business and secure a business investor visa.
I was invited to be a part of an elite team of leadership coaches and from that point I haven’t looked back. Intensive training to become a certified profession coach was quickly followed with training by Dr. Brené Brown. Dr. Brown is a researcher at the University of Houston and has one of the top 5 most viewed TEDx talks of all time. She studies shame, vulnerability, and courage. And that’s when I realized how important emotional intelligence was for both emerging and established leaders. It’s a continual learning and developing of our leadership skills, including the impact we have on others – a journey rather than a destination. As leaders we should never feel like we have ‘arrived.’
This work has made me more courageous than I dreamed of. I say yes to things that, as an introvert, I had been saying no to all my life. I’ve been an extra in a movie and had a speaking part in another. I have spoken in front of large audiences and had an invitation to join Forbes Coaches Council, which has resulted in multiple articles, videos, and podcasts being published by Forbes. You can read them at www.intentional-coaching.com/media
Today’s most effective leaders embrace challenges, promote a strong feedback culture, are collaborative, authentic and curious. Before the Dare to Lead™ - curriculum was developed in early 2019 I used similar skill sets with 27 leaders I was coaching at a major personnel transportation organization. I collected a 360 leadership review for each of my clients at the start of our coaching relationship and at 3 monthly intervals, over an 18-month engagement period. The transformation of results was significant. And since I was the only one on our team coaching specific steps for deep self-awareness my colleagues were intrigued at the outstanding results.
The Dare to Lead™ curriculum is a comprehensive, in-depth look at ourselves and the way we lead. It can be broken up into short sections suitable for lunch & learns or breakfast meetings. It can be used as keynote speeches, and half day workshops. The full curriculum is 16-hours. The reality is that once you have stepped out courageously you can’t go back. You know what it feels like and the impact it makes on you and those around you. It becomes a part of who you are, your character, and integrity. It impacts your professional and personal lives. There’s also a curriculum for teens – creating courageous future generation leaders.
Aberdeen has surprised me this time around. There’s new hope and life in the city. Tech start-ups, hot desking, entrepreneur incubators are dotted throughout, creating new businesses and jobs in the process.
I hadn’t really planned to stay in Aberdeen more than a month or two, let alone work here. And yet, that’s what I have chosen to do. One CodeBase has been my anchor during this period of uncertainty. Frances McIntosh a technically challenged leadership coach immersed in an office of tech start-ups, outstanding mentors, and newly found friends. Happy to call Aberdeen my home again.
“You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.” – Paulo Coelho
If you’re ready to take risks and embrace this game of life I’d love to hear from you!
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org | www.intentional-coaching.com | 07851 093755