Fear was permeating every part of my life
When Francinne O’Rourke was blowing out her birthday candles as a child, she would wish for one thing and one thing only: to be loved and understood by others.
She had a loving family, lots of friends and an engaging, bubbly personality, but she never felt truly part of the gang.
“When other people blew their candles out on their birthday cakes wishing for ponies and bikes, I just wanted to feel comfortable in my own skin,” she says from her Perth home.
“I was a people-pleaser seeking approval from other people — if someone thought I was OK then maybe I was OK — because at my core I simply didn’t feel good enough.”
This deep unease within Francinne was the catalyst for a career driven by ambition and success, as she sought validation from the external world for what she felt was lacking inside herself.
“I’ve spent a huge portion of my life being really ambitious, really successful at everything that I’ve done, but still unable to get rid of that feeling of worthlessness,” she says.
“This feeling that I’m an imposter, and that if people really knew me they wouldn’t like me or want to by my friend.”
Francinne’s career credits are certainly impressive. She started a business selling candles at the age of 17, and later at 19 opened a wedding hall with her mother. She then started her own real estate agency at the age of 21 and later enjoyed a long and successful career in consulting, training, sales and marketing for the likes of The Hyatt Regency Perth and Camp Quality, in addition to her own enterprises.
“I was a serial entrepreneur, and I would build business after business and once I had achieved what I had set out to, I would then feel empty and so move onto the next adventure,” she says.
On a whim one day, Francinne took a course on finding one’s mission in life, and she learned that her purpose was “to have fun”.
“What that meant, I realised, was that I took life too seriously,” she reflects.
“On the outside, I was all about fun and joy, but on the inside I was obsessed with getting things right.”
That realisation steered Francinne in the direction of coaching, where she started to learn and read more about the principles of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Time Line Therapy.
“This gave me the tools to process what was going on inside me to understand and then let go of the fears shackling me,” she reflects.
“Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of getting it wrong: fear, fear, fear. Fear was permeating every part of my life, but on the outside you wouldn’t see that.”
The real turning point came when Francinne had a child five years ago, and she made the decision to reinvent her world. She began searching for a thread that ran through all her passions so she could forge a new, more intentional, path through life.
“I realised that I love developing people, I love helping people get out of their own way and I love that ‘aha’ moment,” she says.
Francinne signed up for The Life Coaching College’s Master Practitioner of Coaching program, impressed that it offered her the all-important human interaction.
“I found out that the College had the greatest number of face-to-face trainings in Australia, and that included here in Perth,” she says.
The intensive one-on-one coaching sessions with buddies within the College allowed Francinne to become crystal clear on her coaching dream and who she wanted to be moving forward.
“It enabled me to leverage my strengths; live my values and clear the rubble of my old ideas about life and my worth that were keeping me stuck,” she says.
The College also gifted her with the business resources to quickly start her own coaching business, becoming “The Powerfully YOU Mindset coach“ for high-achieving women who want to stop sacrificing their soul for success so that they can live life by their design and enjoy it.
“A lot of my clients say when I first meet them is that if their life is still like this in five years’ time then they don’t want it,” she says.
“They’ve either given their identity away to their marriage, their kids or their work, and they’re stuck in a cycle of ‘busy’ and wondering where the fun has gone.”
The College also enabled Francinne to grow as a person, and in addition to running her business, she now trains other students at the College.
“I loved the generosity of the College as they give you all of the tools to go and coach straight away, all the fundamental business resources from the latest marketing knowledge, building your website and all the important paperwork, such as contracts,” she says.
“Plus, the College is accredited by the International Coaching Federation, which was really important as the industry is unregulated.”
Now when she blows out the candles on her birthday cake, Francinne is no longer focused on her own lack.
“I wish for world peace now,” she says with a laugh.
“Before it was more about money and those signs of success, and now today it really is about creating meaningful experiences.
“I just want to connect with those around me and enjoy life, by my design, and I guide my clients to do the same.”
This story was written by Johanna Leggatt. Johanna is an Australian journalist with more than 15 years’ experience in both print and online. She has worked across a wide range of subject areas, including health, property, finance, interiors, and arts.