Laura McDonald has always been interested in the workings of the mind so launching her business, Eden Wellness, was an inevitable path for her to take. A bundle of positivity and high vibes, Laura is the kind of person that will improve your life just by meeting her.
We spent some time with her to find out more…
Tell us about your journey to running your business?
It all started after I saw an ad in the newspaper for a hypnotherapy course in 2003. I was always fascinated by the workings of the mind. I had studied psychology briefly, but at university my degree was in Linguistics and English Literature. I had ideas of becoming a writer, a journalist, a speech therapist, or a teacher, but I was intrigued by this ad and in hypnosis and hypnotherapy. On the first weekend of that course, I phoned my Mum in the lunch break and said ’this is the area I am going to work in!’ I loved the idea of being able to help people, choose my working hours, and being my own boss. Of course, I had a very romantic idea of how it might be, and while it is great being able to do all that, it’s not that simple!
I got straight to work a month or so after completing the course, with a job in a SureStart clinic in Ladbroke Grove, helping pregnant women to stop smoking. I then went on to rent a room in a health centre in Willesden Green and worked there for a year, before moving to Ireland and renting a room in a health centre here from 2007. Since then, my business has gone from strength to strength. After 5 years in practice, I became a hypnotherapy supervisor, supporting other hypnotherapists around the world. I qualified in BWRT (BrainWorking Recursive Therapy), became a mentor/supervisor for BWRT, and opened my own training school. I started off running professional practitioner training courses for people wanting to become hypnotherapists, and shortly after, I got my license to teach BWRT as well, also mentoring and supervising BWRT practitioners worldwide. Over the years I’ve gone on to expand my coaching skills, trained in Reiki, became a Personal Trainer, qualified as a Yoga teacher, and co-authored my first book over lockdown in 2020.
Can you tell us about your personal story and how your experiences have shaped your outlook today?
I was born and raised in Wembley, North West London. My parents were Irish, but my mum left Ireland to have me in the UK, so I always had a sense of uncertainty in myself and my identity. I grew up with 2 older step-brothers and 1 younger sister, from Mum’s marriage to my adoptive Dad. Knowing what I know now about the brain and the mind, I can understand so much of what I was experiencing, and this is why I love being able to help others with whatever it is they are dealing with. Many issues can boil down to a poor sense of self, a lack of confidence or self-belief. All this can be changed and built up, which is wonderful. I can’t help but try to figure everyone out though, which can be a hindrance as well as a blessing! I did eventually meet my biological dad and all his family, and have since moved to Ireland to bring up my own family.
How did you decide to wanted your career to end up being about supporting others?
I guess it was because I would have liked similar support myself, I suppose. Like so many, I never understood why I felt the way I did, why things were difficult, why the mind can seem to turn against us from time to time. When I was studying hypnotherapy, I thought how amazing it would be to have elements of it taught in schools, from the very start. If children understood their minds as early as possible, we would have far less stressed, anxious, or depressed adults in years to come, and I firmly believe that.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what other paths could you have taken?
I would love to have been a surgeon! I only realised that in the last couple of years. I actually did look into it recently, but by the time I would qualify, it’d almost be time for me to retire. Next time! At university I had a view to go into writing, or the jobs mentioned above. I still love writing, I always did, it was a form of therapy for me. It’s something I am not finished with yet and see it in my future. Whether or not that is just in the form of more regular blogs, or another book, I am not sure. There will definitely be courses written, though.
Where does your drive come from and what tips do you have for keeping focus?
If I am working with people to help them improve their lives, I should also seek to do the same for myself. I try and test every modality that I work with, before I attempt to inspire someone else to do the same. I don’t have it all figured out, but I like to think I have techniques and skills to help me along the way. The drive is what gets me to where I want to be or what I want to achieve. I study successful people, and look at how they’ve done it. To keep focussed, I would suggest visualising what it is you want. Feel how that feels. Know that to get there, you need to stay on track, be disciplined, and that the view will be 100% worth it. Think about times in the past when you’ve lost focus and let it get out of control, and how disappointed you were. Always remember that you are the one who can make things happen. When you come up against walls, closed doors, etc, allow yourself time to go inward for a while, but always come back and think of other ways to make it happen. What else can you do? How else can you succeed? What lessons have you learnt along the way? Always come up with a plan B, C, D… whatever is necessary!
For our entrepreneurial readers, what advice do you have for them to start their own thing?
It can take time, but keep going. Not much happens overnight, and you might often find yourself frustrated, impatient, and losing motivation, but keep going. Consistency is key – keep doing what you are doing, keep showing up, get as much exposure as you can and let people know you are there. Stay passionate about what it is you do and always remember why you started.
What personal achievement of yours means the most to you and why?
My family. I have a lovely supportive husband and four beautiful children – three girls and a boy, and I work my business around family life as much as possible.
Entrepreneurial souls are often burning the candles at both ends, as a wellbeing professional what tips do you have for our readers when they are feeling emotionally exhausted?
Slow down, tune in, and rest! Being constantly on the go is like a badge of honour these days, but it’s not clever. I am not always the best for going to bed at a reasonable hour – I never was – and it filters into my day somehow. Something will suffer, whether it’s my concentration, the housework, my energy levels or falling behind with work. Basically, I won’t perform as well as I could. I run a weekly mediation group and I am always stressing the importance of siting in silence, or meditating, or just doing something for ourselves, to recharge. We will be better for everyone around us, and better at work, when we are rested and our minds are clutter free, allowing ourselves to be even more productive! Get a decent sleep, drink at least 2 litres of water, eat clean, and mind your mind and body.
If you ever have a creative block / funk; how do you get yourself out of it?
I often just have to stop whatever it is I am trying to do. The more I sit there trying to accomplish something and can’t, the more frustrated I become, which of course makes the block even stronger. If I stop, walk away, and do something else instead, it helps to reset everything and bring down the blocks. It’s like having a change of scenery to bring down stress levels. Unless I am writing – that’s different. I just type ‘I don’t know what to write’ and it’s amazing how much starts to flow from there!
Find out more about Laura and Eden Wellness here.