Charlotte Fowles truly believes in the benefits of being outdoors and discovering new places, and uses this belief in her own coaching profession to help everyone develop and grow. A real enthusiast for LoveHerWild adventures, she shares with us her own adventures, advice and experiences of travel….and her love of baking and eating delicious cake!
Name: Charlotte Fowles
Home: Currently Croydon – moving soon
Age: 40 (part of my 40th celebrations was the LHW whale shark expedition!)
Environment I like the most: Coral reefs – 120 scuba dives exploring these environments underwater and it never ceases to be the most incredible experience every time
Best place I have visited: For diving, Indonesia. For all round wonderful-ness, Nepal.
Fav adventure: I can’t choose! Learning to free dive in Thailand; hiking and driving camper-van solo in California; kayaking and wild camping in Sweden; hiking and white water rafting in Nepal; crossing the outback in Australia; or any dive adventure…!
Dream adventure: Driving round the world in my expedition truck
Can’t go on an adventure without? A hairband, Carmex lip salve and factor 50 sunscreen (please always wear it, ladies!)
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m an enthusiastic, passionate, happy soul who loves being outdoors and experiencing new places. I enjoy baking and decorating (and eating!) cakes (and hold a PME masters in professional cake decorating). I am currently working in three exciting areas:
- Helping my clients break free from their boredom, rediscover what they’ve lost, find their passion and get to that ‘next level’ of success in career, relationships or adventure;
- Interview based research on ‘successful’ people;
My 25 year mission around changing the face of funding and provision of mental health services in the UK.
What is the most common challenge that your clients experience?
Everyone is different, but often they’ve got to a certain level of success and are finding themselves thinking “Is this is?” or “Ok….now what? What’s next?” Not in an ungrateful way, but they feel that they have lost something along the way and are unsure how or what to do to change that in order to feel free and excited again. I work a lot with successful people, and what I have discovered is that they have similar thoughts to everyone else in at least one aspect of their lives – there’s always something holding us back from one thing or another.
As one of my clients recently said “It’s like you’ve unlocked the secret – now, nothing phases me. You give us the ability to see things we wouldn’t otherwise have done.”
It must be so rewarding to see your clients transform in such positive ways! How has this impacted on you personally and professionally?
I have the most incredible job. My clients inspire me with every session. People often ask me: “Isn’t it draining to work so closely with people, one on one all day?” and my answer is always “No!” That’s not me simply being positive, I get to work with people who are excited and exciting, committed, passionate – and everyone has unlimited potential and the more I work with people the more I see this. It gives me hope, it makes me want to do even more and work with as many people as I can to help release all that talent into the world.
I always feel buzzing after a session and spurred on to get on with my own goals!
You’re very passionate in everyone discovering their own capabilities in greatness. What inspired you to become a Transformational Coach?
In my previous career I worked in the high-pressure environment of central government communications. My favourite part was the people I worked with, and when I managed teams I was able to help get the best out of them. I also saw what happened to those in other teams who didn’t thrive because they were not in the right environment or didn’t have the right support at that time. It reinforced my belief that no one is defined by WHAT they do or a title, and that there are many definitions of ‘success’. Everyone needs someone – just one person – to tell them “I believe in you”, and as a coach, that is what we do with our clients.
And then I read Playing Big by Tara Mohr (a must read for all women), and it set me off on the path to getting trained and qualified as a coach. I just knew this was what I was meant to do. I’d been doing it all my life without realising; I’d just never given it the ‘label’ of coaching.
Describe that feeling you have when you see someone transform and achieve their goals.
It is one of pure joy. Similar to that feeling you have when you’re experiencing a ‘perfect’ moment on an adventure – when you just can’t stop smiling and you know you’ll remember this view, or this rush or this experience for the rest of your life. It’s pure happiness that another human is experiencing such fulfilment and freedom, which is available to us all, but so often stifled amidst others’ expectations, conformity and fear.
On my vision board I have the words ‘THAT feeling’ – which relates to the feeling clients tell me that they experience when they achieve a long-desired outcome or they finally feel free from what has been holding them back. It is to inspire me daily to seek to help those I serve to achieve this feeling through their endeavours and adventures.
What are the biggest challenges that you have experienced and overcome yourself?
The decade between 2010- 2019 was brutal. Every time I recovered something else hit me. Although it was also the decade I had some of my most incredible experiences, too.
My dearest Dad died a month after I’d only been back from living overseas for two years. Then my best friend died aged just 36 from breast cancer. Three other people close to me died. I experienced multiple miscarriages and subsequent operations to remove the babies and then have operations on my womb. So I decide to celebrate my body’s health rather than focus on the losses, and do the Tough Mudder and raise money for the Miscarriage Association…but half a mile from the end they had a faulty obstacle and I fell 9ft and broke my leg in two places! (I now have a titanium rod in my leg, knee to ankle and screws to hold it in there). After all the trauma of the grief and loss, I suffered from severe depression for the third time (I had previously been ill with depression twice before in my early twenties), and then, just as I was celebrating recovering from depression, I was diagnosed with stage 3b skin cancer and had to have a major operation and undergo chemotherapy treatment.
I’m still on the chemotherapy now – it is in daily tablet form – but I consider myself very fortunate as I have continued to go on many adventures whilst in treatment! It isn’t easy and there are side effects and minor complications, but I’m still doing it and it’s incredible to be able to do so. PLEASE, everyone reading this, wear sunscreen and don’t sunbathe! I was very sun safe and careful and this still happened to me.
It must be so hard for some people to stay positive and focus on goals set during difficult times. What are your top tips for anyone experiencing this?
It’s about much more than positivity – this word gets used a lot and it often oversimplifies some things:
1) If you are dealing with difficult times, give yourself an appropriate amount of time to process your thoughts and feelings on it – it is your timescale, and your life, no one else’s, and no one can tell you what is right for you in terms of time it takes to deal with things. Recognise that there are stages to go through. It is not about ‘getting over’ things as much as finding a way to manage thoughts and feelings and work through them.
2) When I was worrying about missing a goal deadline once, a wise coach once said to me “The timelines can shift. The goal mustn’t be sacrificed”. If it’s important to you, hang onto it as your overall goal and trust you will get there. Change the timescale if you need to. Just focus on the next day, the next milestone and ‘getting to the next lamp post’. ALL success (without exception) are a series of tiny steps.
3) Find your tribe, identify the right support and ask for help when you need it – none of us can do this alone.
4) Try and choose positivity – even in the smallest things and the darkest days. It isn’t easy at all, and some days it can seem impossible. Ask yourself, what one thing can you be grateful for? (e.g. many of us, even at our very worst times, still have our eyesight, or our hearing – whatever it is that we can recognise some don’t have). Once you realise that positivity and gratitude is a choice, not just a natural mind-set, that in itself feels very empowering.
I read a quote a while ago that I wasn’t ready to hear and I dismissed it because I was annoyed by it! Now, three years later, I think it is so true and it is very useful to me. But that is why it is important what I said about your timing being YOURS, and that we all go through things at different paces. “Hope is the magic elixir that energises dreams, fuel possibilities, and lets you live beyond the limits of historical thinking. It is NOT a promise that something you want will happen – it is an invitation to enjoy the possibility of what you want whilst you and life negotiate the eventual outcome. There is never a good reason not to hope”.
You love adventure and outdoors. How does this help in your coaching sessions?
The outdoors and adventures provide the perfect environment to learn what it is like to feel discomfort – which is what most of us need to manage in order to achieve our dreams. I like to ‘walk the walk’ out of integrity, and to push myself to face doubts and fears that I might have – because if I don’t, how can I encourage this in my clients? I think that I need to experience similar thoughts and feelings that my clients do in order to empathise and support them from a place of understanding. The feeling of taking a leap (metaphorical or literal!) into the unknown; getting out of your comfort zone; confronting things that have held you back – these can all be challenging for us to push through.
As we all know, nature doesn’t care for your labels or your personal circumstances – or your excuses! Which can be incredibly freeing. If you’re hiking down a very scary piece of mountain and are too scared to take the next step, the mountain doesn’t change itself to suit you – you’re going to have to sit there until you find a way to move down – often very slowly (speaking from experience)! If a storm blows in when you’re camping and you are tired or sad or stressed, the storm doesn’t care! You have to deal with it as best you can. We are all equal humans, and nature is certainly no respecter of circumstance, label or job title, and that’s a refreshing – and often necessary – a reminder to have.
Confronting challenges can be quite a daunting experience for some……what advice would you tell anyone ready to make that first step to change?
I would tell them that I understand. And you may never feel 100% ready. What you need to do is find a way to break everything right, right down to the smallest of steps and just focus on that one – also, if you focus on that one moment when you’re taking that step you might discover other wonderful experiences that you could miss if you’re always looking onto what happens next. I can assure you, that all my clients and all successful people, no matter how great their overall achievement or goal, only got there through a series of many, many tiny steps. How many minutes do you need to brave for to start with? Do that, and then ask the question again…until you are done.
And you will feel like superwoman afterwards and be spurred onto, even more, I promise.
As a wonderful coach once said: “Confidence is a result, not a requirement”. And this is SO true. I was PETRIFIED of driving a large camper van on the 12 lane freeway in L.A. (Madness! But sadly necessary to get into the mountains), but within a few minutes of doing it I was wondering what I had been worrying about. Until I got to the very scary winding mountain roads…but that’s another story!
You have been on many adventures from all corners of the world! Is there one particular trip that changed you the most as a person?
The epic road trip across Australia – we had lived there for two years and finished off our time by driving our 20 year old, 4WD Nissan Patrol across the outback and living out of a tent for four months. It had always been a ‘romantic’ dream of mine to cross the outback, and I fell even more in love with adventures and with learning about the natural environment and with camping.
At the age of 30, I’d only ever camped with the girl guides, and suddenly, a tent was my home. And I adored it. The trip also reinforced my joy of road trips – and experiencing the very BEING of the phrase: ‘being on a journey’. The freedom of exploring at our own pace. The freshness of the air in the mornings, the vastness of the country and the indescribable feeling when we were enjoying a spectacularly beautiful place all on our own – no crowds or other people at all.
That taught me a lot about the rewards of extra effort: in order to enjoy somewhere at its’ best we often had to be up earlier than everyone else – sometimes before dawn; drive through harsh environments and tackle very difficult roads; hike even further and plan better and then…oh my. The rewards! It’s actually a great metaphor (?) for life I guess – what you are rewarded with if you are willing to push yourself just a little bit more.
But…always, always remember to leave enough time to really enjoy it once you’re there. Relax, soak it in, and eat some cake (or equivalent treat!).
What goals have you set yourself for the future?
- Continue to serve my clients to help them find or rediscover their freedom, their passion and their purpose.
- Making enough profit in my business to fund private mental health treatment for as many people as I can through a fund/programme.
- Continue to grow my coaching practice including launching the adventure coaching experiences.
- My 25 year mission is to change the face of mental health provision and funding in the U.K. I’ve no idea how but I do know that it will only be through much collaboration, and I’m on the start of that journey now.
- Get my 4WD expedition truck for long term adventure travel and exploration.
- Go to the Amazon and explore more of South AmericaBecome a better/excellent free diver – including trying to master ice free diving.
- Learn to kayak white water.
- Get rescue diver qualification.
- Complete a long distance walking trail (e.g. PCT, APT, Camino etc).
- Move to live by the sea.
- Try a cold mountain ascent/winter mountaineering.
- Become fluent in at least four languages.
- Go on the LHW Namibia elephants expedition.
- Go on the LHW Finnmark Plateau expedition.
- Bake, decorate – and eat – more cake!
Find out more about Charlotte and her coaching services – check out her website now!
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Always wanting to have different experiences and learn new things (and a good strong coffee), Clare currently lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia working as a teacher. She loves living life to the full and completing new projects, whether it’s running a half marathon, hiking or visiting a new country.