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About Jackie

If you want to know more about Jackie, her life experiences, business background, how she came to be a Coach and Counsellor, guiding philosophies and what her business Self Directions is really all about then read the interview below.

Interview with Jackie Nugara,
Counsellor, Life and Business Coach, and Principal of Self Directions

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Sri Lanka and immigrated to Melbourne when I was three years old. I lived in Melbourne for 19 years then moved to Sydney in 1987. I also lived in London for several years.

Have you always been a Coach and Counsellor?

No. My business background is in marketing communications. My first job was with the Commonwealth Bank. I stayed with the bank for ten years and within that time fell into marketing.

I’ve worked as a product manager for a Software Company. Then I left there and started my own retail shop. I’ve worked as a Marketing Consultant for Optus and a Marketing Manger in London. In my youth I also moonlighted part time as a DJ for three and a half years.

Tell me a bit more about your retail business experience.

I had a Pet Shop for five years which also offered related services like pet grooming, dog walking and pet minding.

It was definitely a niche market. It was a quirky store. It had a huge ginger Cat painted on one wall and Dalmatian spots on another and we sold very glamorous pet accessories. We gained enormous, free publicity just because we were very different to your traditional Pet Store. The publicity we received was priceless. It was an interesting lesson in using presentation to differentiate your business.

I learned a lot from running that business – how to set boundaries, how to manage staff, the importance of doing things properly, how to manage and not manage cash flow, the ins and outs of running a business (and how tough it can be).

I learned a great deal from my mistakes. An expensive lesson was losing over $30,000 through poor choice of business partners. I didn’t have a proper partnership agreement in place. It probably would have cost $1,000 to have a legal document drawn up but because of cash flow pressures I didn’t. It ended up costing me so much more both emotionally and financially.

I was on a steep learning curve and those experiences have been invaluable to me in my business Coaching. It was through operating this business that I took on my own Business Coach.

What type of work did you do with your Business Coach?

When I was running the pet shop we were getting amazing publicity but struggling financially. My Business Coach helped me face this and supported me in the decision to get out of the business.

Probably the most important lesson was how to cut my losses and move on. I learned never to blur my boundaries with business partners and staff. It also taught me what happens when you are a victim to life, business and other people.

Once I got these lessons the opportunity to move to London opened up which I jumped at.

What did you do in London?

I worked as a Marketing Manager at an Accountancy Institute. It’s a great story how that job came to be. I was a bit afraid of going into full time work again after having been Self Employed for so long but then I bumped into someone I knew from Sydney. She had the perfect job for me. It was everything I was looking for (a classic example of what Deepak Chopra calls ‘SynchroDestiny’ -the power of coincidence).

Having this happen switched something in me. I used to believe that everything would work out in the end but it had to be a struggle first. This experience taught me that everything just works out and that I could let go of the struggle.

What gives you pleasure?

I love the beach, walking on it, being near it, exercising on it or swimming. The water nourishes me and makes me feel alive. I enjoy walking my three dogs with my partner, reading trashy books, watching TV, going to the movies and the theatre. I enjoy simple stuff – chilling out listening to music, dancing, I love doing my own creative writing, sharing a meal with friends and most importantly laughter. I feel really good when I’m able to laugh deeply from within.

How Jackie got into Coaching and Counselling

What inspired you to become a Coach and then a counsellor?

Having worked with a Coach for 12 months I understood the power of Coaching. It gave me amazing support and courage to do things with my life I felt I couldn’t do. I jumped at the opportunity to train as a Coach when it was offered to me.

My own life experiences I feel are a huge driving force fuelling my desire to be a Coach and Counsellor. I grew up in an environment of severe Domestic Violence. Then when I was eight I witnessed my parent’s murder/suicide. After that my Maternal Grandmother, who I was extremely close to, looked after us but she died of Breast Cancer when I was ten.

I felt I had to make some sense of the things that had happened to me in my childhood. Working with others in this way helps me to do that. My own life adversities and the struggle I have faced in my own journey make me a better Coach and Counsellor. It gives me greater empathy when holding my client’s experiences and drives me to do something that makes a difference in the lives of those around me.

When did you start Coaching?

In 1999 I set up Self Directions and started working part time as a Coaching Subcontractor for a Personal Development Company. It felt really right – like Coaching was what I was meant to do. As I developed my skills as a coach I wanted to work at a deeper level with clients. I felt incorporating Counselling into my work was the next natural step.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I love everything about the work I do. I get to work with lot of different people. It’s an opportunity to really connect to people’s hearts. I see the beautiful side of people – their vulnerability, their strength, their sadness, their happiness, their real heart and soul.

I love witnessing miracles happening in the lives of my clients, and these miracles happen all the time.

I get to see peoples’ lives changing – and changing for the better. I feel blessed to be a part of that. You can’t imagine what it’s like to see people move from great effort to a place of ease and flow. It’s awe inspiring.

Why do you call your business Self Directions?

I really believe that Coaching and Counselling is not about me giving advice. It’s about me facilitating a process where my clients discover their own inner voice, knowledge, wisdom and answers.

I’m a guide helping you get a sense of where you want to go. I believe that deep within us we all know our true purpose. I’m helping people give themselves permission to follow this innate knowledge.

What types of people come to you for Coaching and Counselling?

I have a wide range of clients, a very eclectic mix – young people, older people, men, women, small business owners, corporate employees, alternative therapists, trades people. I’m also beginning to see the kids of some of my clients (at their request).

How do people find out about you?

It’s all word of mouth referrals from people I know. I am also an active participant in several business networking groups which has also proven to be a good way to grow my business.

What are some of the common reasons people come for Coaching or Counselling?

Money – Lack of money and cash flow problems are a common theme among many of my small business clients.

Lack of direction – Often people come to me when they feel disempowered. We work together to help gain clarity around what they want to do with their lives. It’s often a process of checking in with what they feel is their true purpose and then how to go about getting themselves on the path they feel is right for them.

Self esteem – Many of my clients aren’t aware that at the core of a lot of their issues is a lack of self esteem. Many people have trouble believing in themselves and their abilities.

Relationships – Single clients who want to be in a relationship or clients who have partners and want greater connection, or clients who simply want to work on creating better relationships with those around them.

Depression – Far too many people these days suffer from depression. My belief is that depression is caused by feelings turned inwards particularly anger. I work with clients to bring those feelings out into the open in a safe way.

Wanting more success and fulfilment

How do you help the people you Coach?

I often start with looking at a client’s beliefs and where they come from and how our sense of self ties into our issues. For example, around money, it’s amazing how many people don’t feel deserving of having money. They don’t realise the more you have, the more you have to give.

Jackie’s approach to Coaching and Counselling

Who or what has influenced you the most?

I think my greatest influence is Oprah Winfrey. I love that she is incredibly successful and has achieved that success from a heart and soul space. I love that her journey has been about getting to know who she truly is and honouring that. She is someone who illustrates that if we have enough belief in ourselves we can do anything.

I love her generosity of spirit. In an article I read about her she said that doing her talk show is not about bringing in more money. She always says she already has enough shoes. For her, it provides the opportunity to help build people’s self esteem everyday.

She is someone who knows about life’s adversities, she grew up dirt poor and was sexually abused numerous times as a child but was able to turn her life around and she uses her influence and money to make the world a better place.

She has built a school for girls in South Africa. She donated $10 million dollars of her own funds to Hurricane Katrina victims. These are examples of how having money enables you to help others. She is someone who is always grateful for what she has and thankful for how far she’s come. I admire that.

What are some of your favourite books?

Ask and It is Given, Esther and Jerry Hicks
Body and Soul Profit Principles, Anita Roddick
The Journey, Brandon Bays
Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra
Self Matters, Dr Phil McGraw
The Power Of Now, Eckhart Tolle
Conversations with God, Neale Donald Walsch

Do you have any guiding philosophies?

Mahatma Ghandi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. I’m trying to do my part. That’s why I do the work I do.

Follow your bliss

I believe in the power of joy, fun and freedom and laughter. So many people are weighed down by life and all their responsibilities. People don’t take time out for fun and freedom, let go of all they have to do. We’ve lost the ability to just be.

The ripple effect

When I work with clients I see that any work that causes a profound change in them flows through to the people around them – friends, family, partners, kids and work colleagues.

The power of abundance

I believe in learning how to tap into the natural flow of the world. Nature is really abundant. As humans we seem to have lost our ability to connect to that. We operate from such a place of scarcity, that there is never enough, life is hard and everything’s a struggle. I want to help turn that around for my clients.