It's 2023! We here at Hinton Magazine are kicking on 2023 with a brand new cover star - Maureen Sharphouse is a life coach and what better way to start the new year than with someone who could help all of us within our lives. This month we have sat down with Maureen to learn more about her work, how she got into the industry and to talk about her book - Unhackable Soul.
Maureen, for those who haven't yet come across you or your work, could you tell us who you are and what it is that you do?
My name is Maureen Sharphouse, and I live in the village of Milnathort in Kinross-shire, Scotland, with my husband Peter, our gorgeous Fox Red Labrador Jackson, and Blue Point Birman kitten Phoebe. I am a daughter, wife, mum, and proud granny(to ten amazing grandchildren ranging from 8 years old to twenty-four years old), a results-driven certified Life and Mindset Coach, Mentor, NLP Master Practitioner, Pain Support and Empowerment Coach, Motivational Speaker, Writer, and Best-selling Author of Unhackable Soul.
Despite living with an incurable, progressive neurological condition and not having had a pain-free day in the last thirty-five years, I enjoy a vibrant enthusiasm for life. I am passionate about the coaching, speaking and writing work I do and have been working in partnership with clients around the globe as their coach and mentor since 2010.
Impressed by my authenticity and the high level of results I help bring my clients, I am proud to have recently been given the accolade of Scotland Prestige Awards 2022/23 winner of Life Coach of the Year.
Where did your drive come from to become a life coach?
Even as a young child, I always felt I was here to help others and make a difference in people's lives. Whilst over the years, disability, chronic pain and serious physical health issues progressively evolved and caused my life to unfold as a bit of a steeper roller coaster journey than I had once envisaged for myself, that feeling of being called to help others in some way never faded. The drive to become a life coach was fuelled by growing life wisdom, a desire to put purpose to my personal real-life challenges, and a passion for sharing what I had come to learn and know about the preciousness of life itself and the power of the mind, body, spirit and soul.
You see, I understand what being at rock bottom means; I have been there. I know what it feels like to be physically alive and breathing, but on the inside, feeling dead; it is far from a rewarding way to live. So to be able to reignite light into the darkness of others, and be the catalyst for meaningful and sustainable change within them, is a unique legacy to live and a gift. My 'work' never feels like work …. it fires the motivation to get me out of bed in the morning. Despite my ever-progressing physical health challenges, every morning when I awake, I remind myself that I am awake and still alive and breathing –so my job on earth is not yet done!
You are in a very niche area of coaching - Supporting those living with pain or living with someone who lives with pain. Why is this the area you decided to focus on?
I am experienced and extensively trained in several different personal and professional development coaching modalities—and over the last thirteen years since I set up my coaching practice, I have freely flowed between what others would see as boundaries of different niches. Regardless of whether the main focus for implementing change has been my client's personal or professional life, and whether they have been a top-level executive, business professional, elite athlete, student, stay-at-home mum, starting in life again after a relationship breakdown or the loss of a loved one, or are an individual living with a physical disability and pain or challenging life circumstances my coaching and mentoring programmes have always taken a whole person mind/body/spirit/soul holistic approach. The bottom line is my real-life skills, knowledge and experience, married seamlessly with my in-depth professional training, have given me the extensive bank of tools required to unlock practical and productive mechanisms that improve lives. And so, I go with my clients where they need to go! All my coaching programmes are bespoke to my client's requirements and needs.
The evolvement of my coaching practice into more recently largely serving the pain community has not birthed from a conscious, well-thought-out plan but has been a natural progression over the years and has grown organically from my walking my own talk, living authentically, and openly sharing my personal story and vulnerability. As my illness has progressed and become more visible to my clients, this coaching niche has, I guess, found me; my current clients say I get them at a level very few others can, truly understand their challenges, and that I am not only a coach and mentor but a leader and lighthouse to them. They know that I walk the same journey of pain they are on daily; and that I get that life can feel downright difficult at times and that we can become overwhelmed by pain and darkness. But they also know I have found a way of living with enthusiasm, purpose, peace and joy and fully embracing life despite the daily challenges—and that sparks hope in them and excitement for a brighter future. As their empowerment coach and mentor, my role often echoes the words of Paulo Coelho, "A warrior of light shares with others what he knows of the path".
As I reflect now, I feel blessed to have worked with so many incredible people over the years; it has been a gift to have been part of their life journey and the catalyst for manifesting positive and meaningful change within them for their higher good.
Maureen, you are a: Life and Mindset Coach, Mentor, Pain Support & Empowerment Coach, NLP Master Practitioner, Speaker, and Internationally Best-Selling Author. How do you find time for all these demanding roles?
The bottom line is that my 'work' doesn't feel like work. And none of these 'roles' feels like a role I play; rather, they all marry seamlessly together and are an integral part of me. So it is never about 'finding' the time, but about being fully present and dancing in the moment, with arms, mind and heart open to the opportunities that present, thinking less and feeling more, and choosing (based on what feels most like home, fires passion in me, or excites me most) where to steer my focus. Where my focus goes, so does my full intention and energy. I give myself wholly to whatever task has called me forward at the time. When I am in writing mode, I am in writing mode. When delivering a Zoom client session, I am wholly and completely with my client. When preparing a talk or presentation, I switch off my phone and avoid checking emails or allowing unnecessary distractions. When you give yourself permission to allow your focus to flow where it naturally feels called to go at any particular time or period and turn up wholly and completely to the moment, it's amazing how much you can achieve! Whether in 'work or career' mode, enjoying quality relaxing 'me' time, or time with my family and loved ones, I am mindful of showing up fully and being all there!
Over the years, which one of the roles would you say has taken centre stage?
Over the years, I have had the confidence to marry together and flow between my various work roles, allowing my coaching practice and career to grow organically and evolve naturally. In truth, the coaching, mentoring, NLP, speaking and writing work I do are all part of the same thing – a mission to serve others and do my bit to help people live their best lives on earth whilst they are here in physical human form.
2022 was a year when the publication and marketing of my book Unhackable Soul in Kindle, paperback, hardback and audiobook format and the associated 30-day Reignite the Light Within online course was my main focus and took centre stage. 2023, I hope to write another book (or books!), launch a couple more online courses and land and deliver a TEDx talk. However, my aims and goals for 2023 are not rigid. I will live fully in the present—and remain open to the opportunities as they present themselves to me—whilst at the same time keeping my eye on the bigger picture purpose and taking one next inspired best step at a time.
Which role do you find more enjoyable?
Writing is my healing medicine, and I never go a day without writing something! Brain dumping thoughts onto the page – and getting your innermost thoughts out of you onto paper is so freeing, empowering, and therapeutic! I am blessed to have a career I love and enjoy… and I find that I seamlessly marry all aspects together, taking inspired action on whichever opportunities present that fire the passion in me at any particular time. Speaking, writing, coaching and mentoring 1:1, delivering group workshops online or in person, in truth, I enjoy them all.
7. Your book 'Unhackable Soul', could you tell us a bit about what it's about?
A great way to tell you a bit about my best-selling book 'Unhackable Soul: Rise Up, Feel Alive, and Live Well with Pain and Illness' is to share with you snippets of what some of my books readers say:
"Unhackable Soul is a resource and guide to achieving a fulfilling life despite chronic pain. It offers a durable, livable alternative to pharmacology and interventions. In an era of endemic opioids and dependency, it cracks in the light for the pain sufferer on what can be for them an ever-darkening world." —Dr Hugh A. Gelabert, Physician and Surgeon, UCLA School of Medicine.
"Fantastically uplifting and encouraging from someone who knows what it feels like to experience challenges and still live life fully. Maureen's spirit shines through every page to speak to you and pull you forward. Wonderful!" —Fiona Harrold, Best-Selling Author of Be Your Own Life Coach
"Unhackable Soul is a roadmap to reclaim your joy and reignite the light within despite pain! Maureen generously brings us her personal journey and shares her formula for moving through tremendous pain with grit and grace." —Amberly Lago, Podcast Host and Best-Selling Author of True Grit and Grace, TEDx Speaker, and Peak Performance Coach
And from my publisher:
"Maureen's 30-day elixir is enlightening, liberating and powerful…The insights, wisdom, and clarity you need are on every page. If you are fed up living a life dictated by pain and illness and want to live a unique legacy you are proud of, this book is for you." —Kary Oberbrunner, Author of the Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best-Seller Unhackable and CEO of Igniting Souls Publishing Agency.
Unhackable Soul is essentially a self-help book that reveals to the reader how they can feel vibrantly alive despite chronic pain. The practical and spiritual strategies and practices I share take the reader on a thirty-day journey to help them rise from a life dictated by pain and illness to one fuelled by enthusiasm and purpose; feel alive and experience greater joy, peace, and comfort; and wake up eager to embrace life despite their challenges. It shares much of my personal story, and the same steps I took to rise from the dark pit dug by pain and transform my quality of life.
Incredibly, a month after its publication and release date, my book hit the Amazon.com best-seller list at #1 in the category of Pain Management, #1 in Personal Transformation & Spirituality(above the amazing inspiration of Gabrielle Bernstein and Brené Brown), #2 in Faith & Spirituality, #2 in New Age Self-Help, and #3 in Family & Relationships.
Knowing my book is touching lives around the globe makes all the hours, weeks and months I spent in my writing cave getting the words on the page worthwhile!
Unhackable Soul is available for purchase in kindle, paperback, hardback and audiobook format worldwide on Amazon and through online and physical bookstores around the globe.
What was your inspiration behind writing this book?
Unhackable Soul is the book I wished I could buy for myself and read twenty years ago when I was in a very dark and scary phase of my life, relying on carers, living within the four walls of my front room, and too ill to work, and facing a lifetime of living with an incurable illness, disability and pain. All joy for life had been sucked right out of me, and I could not see any light at the end of the tunnel. The inspiration behind writing Unhackable Soul is an overwhelming compassion for the lady I was then– and all who find themselves just like her. My mission is to reignite light and hope for my reader by sharing what I have come to learn and know now over the last two decades, from the empowering 'pain to peace, passion and purpose' transformational journey I have been on.
What advice would you give to someone who doesn't want to admit they need the help and support you could offer them?
I understand how hard it can be to admit we might benefit from help and support and how the pressures of modern-day living (and our ego) can tell us we can and should be able to cope and navigate our challenges alone. I, too, have been there.
Ego and pride, comparison, guilt, blame, embarrassment, regret, shame, a voice in our head telling us we need to be strong and that others can't see us as being weak or 'not coping well' —all these things can get in our way. It's a common problem we can all face at times; the outcome of societal pressures and the fact that 'successful' 21st-century living is mostly portrayed as coming with a requirement of externally appearing to have it all together and being strong.
However, when what you portray to the world at an external level is not in full alignment with how you truly feel at an internal soul and spirit level, it will never bring about the most rewarding, fulfilling life for you. In truth, all you are doing is depriving yourself, your family, friends, connections and loved ones of knowing the full truth and beauty of the unique light and awesome individual you were born to be.
The bottom line is, valuing the quality of your life and committing to do all you can to craft a brighter future than the present you may be currently living is a sign of self-respect, self-worth, self-value, courage, empowerment, and deep inner strength.
And so, my advice to someone who doesn't want to admit they need the help and support I could offer them?
It is to be kind, understanding and compassionate towards yourself. Be completely honest and open your eyes to the truth of your situation and the person you are currently being. Drop down within the protective barrier you have been putting up, connect with how you feel inside, and let go of ego and self-judgment. If you do not feel fully alive at an internal level and enthusiastic about the life you are living, then let go of that voice in your head that tells you that you should be able to handle it all on your own, that you should 'be happy with your lot', and that it is a sign of weakness to seek help or guidance.
The bottom line is that there is no need to settle for a life that feels second best to you in some shape or form. It's okay to want a better life for yourself, take positive steps to craft a brighter future, and seek support and guidance to help you craft that life and boldly step into a more deserving place!
Working together in partnership with an experienced coach or mentor (especially one who has already walked a similar path to the one you are on) is an empowering way to honour your soul calling you to step up and be and do more with your life.
What advice could you give to someone who'd like to pursue a career like yours?
If it is something you feel a strong call to do, and when you visualise yourself serving others as a coach and mentor, the path feels in alignment with who you truly are, then give yourself permission to further explore the path and follow that calling. Understand, however, that coaching is one of the largest growing professions and that developing a thriving coaching practice takes time and isn't likely to happen for you overnight; you need to be passionate about what you do, have the relevant qualifications, skills and experience, and come each day to the work you do from a place of service (and not solely focused on making sales).
Be prepared to be in for the long haul. Aim for making progress and park seeking perfection – and focus on taking one next best step at a time, organically growing your practice by expanding your visibility, liberally sharing your expertise, and developing an increasing awareness of what you do(i.e. the pain and problem you can solve for people and the positive results you can help bring!).
Don't try to be a clone of others. Instead, marry your relevant training, qualifications, skills, and professional and personal life experience with real-life knowledge and a sprinkling of your magic pixie dust and unique authenticity. Much can be learned from other coaches who have carved out successful careers in your chosen path – but do not compare yourself to them or try to emulate them. Trust yourself. Be confident in your voice and your unique skillset. Earn respect and credibility as a coach by living and leading by example. Shine your light by walking your own talk and practising what you choose to preach. Be authentic in all you do- in your personal and professional life – whether in 'work mode' or not.
Get clear on what you offer your clients. Craft your brand by asking yourself: What problem do I solve for people? What am I passionate about learning and sharing? Why should people listen to what I have to say? How can I best package my experience and expertise so that my target audience feels they know, like, and trust me and are willing to pay for my help to achieve the desired outcome I can help them achieve?
Keep learning! Keep growing! Life is a never-ending educational, magical and mysterious experience. So never get complacent about what you do. Or think that you know it all! Life unfolds for you, just like it does for everyone else, one step, one moment, one breath at a time. So let your coaching practice organically reshape and grow over the years as feels most natural to you, and allow it to flow down the path that keeps the fire and passion for what you do burning most brightly.
Park your ego. Whether your clients achieve amazing transformational success stories or not whilst working with you, do not let your ego take the credit for their amazing transformation or the blame for lack of it. Focus on being fully present with your client within sessions and being the best coach, mentor, lighthouse and leader you can be, but remember crafting positive change in their life is your client's responsibility, not yours. You cannot make life decisions or take the physical, mental or emotional action steps to implement change for them on their behalf.
So remain humble, be non-judgmental, hold a safe space for them, and serve them with unconditional support and compassion. We are all souls here on earth having a human experience, each of us on our unique journey. So let the light in you shine liberally and freely outwardly towards them, respect and believe in them, even when they struggle to believe in themselves.
Your client's journey is about them – and not you. Remain mindful of that at all times, and you will serve them well.
Is there anything you are planning for 2023 to do with your professional career you can share with us today?
I am thrilled to say that my second book is currently 'cooking' inside me – as is a series of children's books. As 2023 progresses, it will be exciting to see the book/s come together. I also plan this year to design and launch a couple of online courses teaching empowering life and mindset hacks, further support the growing Unhackable Soul community with regular online coffee meet-ups, mindset & pain management tools and practices, and land and deliver a TEDx talk.
Whether all of this will come together as 2023 unfolds? Perhaps we should talk again this time next year so we can see!
Maureen, Thank you for your time.
Many thanks for the opportunity. I have enjoyed crafting time in my day to sit in my space and stillness to connect and reflect!
To find out more about Maureen, her best-selling book Unhackable Soul and associated online course, and the coaching and mentoring work she does— and to download free (no sign-up required) personal development audios and resources—Maureen invites you to visit her website MaureenSharphouse.com