By Stephen Truelove
A proud son of the South Wales Valleys, Stephen Truelove is a mindset coach with 18 years experience, author of A Journey of Discovery and Self-Learning and developer of the Love Life Love You process – Breaking Limitations.
He has experienced the highest highs and lowest lows of life; and now works with people to tackle anxiety, depression, phobias and other limiting mindsets. In his new column he shares his life story, advice and goals for the future.
Like many Valleys kids, random early experiences shook my confidence. A couple still stand out. Such as when aged 4, on my second day of Infants school, I was whacked across the back of the head for disobedience and sent to face the blackboard too shocked and confused to understand what I was supposed to have done wrong.
Small stuff compared with later disasters, but the influence was huge – the script was written and remained so for a long time. Demeaning and demoralising experiences in childhood lay the foundations for anger, depression, even violence (whether aimed at self or others) later on – and so it is with many Valleys kids now – although I have started to visit schools to show teachers how to help kids to avoid these destructive patterns of behaviour.
At 17 I was married and a father, working with my Dad in electrical contracting at Port Talbot. Later, I worked at GE Aviation Nantgarw, together with my brother Mark until his untimely death in a motorcycle accident aged just 39.
For 17 years I worked my socks off providing for my family. Then it all fell apart. My marriage collapsed and I landed back at Mam and Dad’s with three kids and a saxophone feeling very sorry for myself. Somehow I managed to keep my job, but I was running on empty and in need of a bigger overhaul than any of the aircraft engines I was working on.
My mood grew darker and darker till I hit rock bottom. Lonely, lost and afraid, I sank deeper into black despair. I saw no way forward and it seemed easier to throw in the towel and end it all – if I’d had the energy to do so. As I contemplated how to achieve this, something changed: I thought of my three daughters – my shining lights – and the impact it would have on them. A glimmer of hope and strength began to emerge and I started to come out of the dark, cavernous space I had slipped down into. It took time and the right support, but gradually things got better.
I became fascinated by the power of the mind and mindset. I studied hypnotherapy, Reiki, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy & other techniques and learned a lot about myself. People saw the difference in me and wanted me to help them too, so alongside my GE job I started training in earnest.
The death of my brother in 2003 took me to a very dark place once again, but this time I was better equipped to deal with these feelings and after a lot of soul searching I managed to get to where I am today.
By 2015, after years doing work in the community, helping others become their best selves, and having written my book A Journey of Discovery and Self-Learning, I decided to leave GE and set up my own business Love Life Love You.
I am privileged to be able to live my dream – helping people turn their lives around. Although a cause close to my heart is to reach more people in the Valleys where I believe something different needs to happen in dealing with drugs, violence, depression and the alarmingly high suicide rate among men.
The heart of my professional success is removing limitations, releasing the inner brake that stops us being the best we can.
We know we can do the new job, yet something holds us back.
We all want to go to the ball, but we make Cinderellas of ourselves without an ugly sister in sight.
A little voice whispers: “You’re not good enough, not clever enough, not good looking enough, you’re a girl, you’re a boy – it won’t work, don’t even try.
We can get that voice singing a different tune.
Whether you want to lose a bit of weight or feel less anxious, or, even, you need to pick yourself up from rock bottom as I did, you just need to take the first step towards being the healthiest, happiest, most successful possible version of yourself.
As a result of my own life and background, as well as my training and experience, I can help you take that step.
Do you have any tips for staying mindful day to day?
Staying mindful is basically being present/paying attention to your inner and outer world moment by moment. A good way is to focus on your breathing and say to yourself “this breath, this breath” as you breathe in and out .Try to use the 7/11 breathing technique; always making your out breath longer than your in breath, to begin with breathe in through the nose for the count of 5 secs and out through the mouth for 7 secs until you become accustomed to it.
What advice would you give to someone struggling with stress and anxiety?
Anyone who has stress or anxiety, come and see me and learn techniques to cope or eliminate over stress or anxiety, as natural stress is healthy it’s being over stressed that causes the problems. I also have workshops coming soon on these topics. Also breathing as described in an earlier paragraph is a way to cope until you get the right assistance.
What’s one thing you’d say to someone in a dark place at the moment?
Someone in a dark place – Why are you choosing to be/stay there? What is life like/ how do you feel when you’re in a better place?
How important do you think it is to speak to someone (a friend/family member or a professional) if you’re struggling?
Absolutely essential, a trouble shared is a trouble halved. When you express your problem you tend to alleviate some pressure until you can find a solution. Often a solution to a problem can present itself in unusual ways. When sharing your struggle/problem with someone close it can sometimes take on a different perspective.
What’s a saying you live by?
“Change your mindset, change your life and love the life you live!!”
Love Life Love You
36 West Bute Street, Cardiff Bay Cf10 5LH