Becky Walsh is a life coach, TV and radio presenter, and communications officer. She gives personal development training and speaks about emotional resilience, dealing with personality disorders, depression and anxiety, and sexism in webinars and national conferences. Walsh helps people with big hearts and small voices to step into their authentic power.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I moved around a lot in my childhood. Right up in the north of England then right down in the south. I spent my teenage years in the West Country. When you move to several schools, you adapt, but you never feel like you fit in. Sometimes this was because of having a different accent, that something else you learn to adapt. It makes you into a bit of a chameleon. I had a best friend at one who the schools who was Chinese. I learned a lot from her and hanging out with her family. I learned a lot about racism that’s for sure. His family came from Hong Kong and I fell in love with the idea of the place. Then in 1997, I worked as a lighting technician on the Hong Kong hand over to China. Throughout my life I have found patterns, I have stopped believing anything is just chance. Everything has meaning.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
I wish I had understood power dynamics earlier in life. I believe strongly in equality, doing the right thing by the people and most definitely kindness. I was hardwired that way and I thought everybody else was. I can see how unfair the world is and how unconscious bias plays a part in EVERYONE’s life. I spent a lot of time supporting and empowering other people whilst not owning my power. That’s a bit like giving away your shirt when you’re naked, your boobs are out and no-one respects you for it! Understanding situations when you have power and using it wisely is important. More so for me, was being in situations where I had no power and thinking that justice and the ‘right thing’ was power enough. In my aim to be a nice person I made the world the worst place, by not being in my power when it was needed. I’d love to tell you I won’t make that mistake again, but unfair power dynamics is the water we all swim in. We are so used to it, we just play our part. So I wish I had understood my own power, the lack of power, and how not to play the victim but the hero in every story, no matter what that would make others think of me. That all a bit cryptic … sorry! But I’m sure it will resonate with many people.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
In the ‘self-help’ industry that ‘self’ help is all you need. That if you want to become enlightened, you need to practice mindful meditation, yoga, read books, attend seminars/workshops and that personal development is personal. Personal development is not sustainable without other people. We hard hardwired for connection. Unless we have a purpose and feel connected to other people and a cause, we will become sad, lonely, and depressed. Over time this way of thinking has created a kind of spiritual narcissism. I’d go as far as to call it an ‘addiction to self’. It’s an addiction as the more you are alone in your spiritual practice the worst you can feel, so you dig deeper into the spiritual practice, becoming more isolated. If you do reach out for help, some spiritual soul will ask you ‘what you did to manifest this?’ I had a friend with cancer who was asked this question! FFS! Feeling alone leads to feelings of depression and with depression comes anxiety. Then you’re in a rabbit hole as we feel too anxious to do the one with that will solve the situation, be in community! What so horrible about this is you will blame yourself, you will think you’re not getting it right and there’s something wrong with you. The trust is you’re having a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.
If you want to reach enlightenment or just be a better person, then be in service of other people. Kindness to others, being in a connection, being part of something bigger than yourself is the way to profound happiness.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
I’d say the hardest period of my life was when my dog died. It’s deep grief that you are ‘not allowed to have’. Like grieving over an animal is somehow disrespectful to humans. People don’t get it. I had a job at the time, my boss told me I had to attend a group bonding day even though I was deep in grief and could barely breathe. I attended the day, but I left the job soon after.
I’ve had lots of tough times to deal with. An ex-boyfriend who was addicted to drugs and tried to get me addicted to crack and heroin so he could prostate me for money for his drug use (by his confession). That time was pretty rough. It’s often in the hardest times we feel the most alive. I can’t say I look back on any time with a ‘victimhood’ mentality. Every even made me who I am today and I have has a varied and fascinating life. I’ve been thinking about it a lot in this time of COVID which has landed in my middle life. If anything COVID has made us grateful for all the things we took for granted. It also has shown us how we can adapt and change fast. This has been a dark time for many people. I very much hope we all come out of this with a fairer world.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
Tenacity and enthusiasm! You have to love it. I mean really be in love with it. When you are open, curious fascinated and just can’t get enough of something, you’ll make a success of it.
What is your morning routine?
6.30 am the dog wakes me up with a single bark. I feed him, he goes into the garden for a pee. We go back to bed (separately!) 7.30 am we get up and I do physio with him. He’s a rescue dog and lived on the streets for a long time so he has arthritis in his back legs and problems with his hips. He thinks physio is a game so he loves it. We then go for a walk in the local park and I pick up a coffee in the park’s cafe. We get home and I leave him at home and go for a run on the beach as I live near the beach or if the weather is bad, I go to the gym.
Shower and then it’s at the laptop for zoom calls with clients, webinars, or emails.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
I’ve been doing slow running for the past two years. I mean slow, I run a 4k in 45mins! I moved to the beach and it seemed rude not to take up running as it’s such a beautiful place to live. I spent my life focusing on my mind and expanding that. I had no idea what an open visit and running could do for your mind. I wish I had done this years ago.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
I’m a workaholic, so stop when your eyes bleed would be my terrible advice!
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
There have been so many books to influence my life and way of thinking. My first ‘self-help’ book was The Road less traveled by Scot Peck. It was this line which is early on in the book:
Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult.
At the age of 19, this blew my mind. I had a sense of entitlement that being a ‘good person’ should mean I got an easy time of this ‘life thing’. It leads me to wonder why it had to be difficult? That’s when my growth journey started.
The next book might not be an obvious choice. The Tale of the body thief by Anne Rice. In this one of the vampier books, Lestat, now a human not a vampire meets a nurse. She tells the story about how she used to play the piano, brilliantly. Due to a circumstance, she made a deal with God to give up the piano and ‘do God’s work’ healing people as a nurse. Lestat asks her if she thinks that music can heal people just as much if not more than a nurse. This got me thinking about preventative wellbeing. How the arts and culture can boost your munge system. I then started researching that. At the time I was working in theatre and thinking about leaving that industry to ‘help’ people. I switch direction and took ‘stand-up comedy’ into my personal development teaching.
Finally A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. By this time I was writing my own books. I read this when I came back from living in San Francisco and I was at the editing stage of my book ‘You do know – Learnt to act on intuition instantly. In the foreword of this book, Eckhart explains that he had to leave London to write this book and went to San Francisco. I’d had the same calling. My book came about due to a conversation with a librarian who was at CIIS where I was a student. She was even clear on what the title would be long before Hay House had agreed on it. I found out later this lady had edited a New Earth. Another mind-blowing moment. I know people rave about ‘The power of now’, but to me, a New Earth is such a powerful book. If you haven’t read it, do.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
Don Miguel Ruiz – “Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.”
This is a great way to shake off the crappy things people can say or do. However, if you take it that way, you also have to take love in the same way. Do people ever love you for just you?
This made me change my definition of love. For me, I love who I am in someone else’s company. I love who they bring out in me. I love people I can be my true self with. This way it allows a person to be able to be their full selves. I don’t need them to stay the same. A relationship is a collaboration of who two people are in each other’s company. It’s a unique combination and this excites me in my love life and my friendships.