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Inspirational Female Founder Spotlight: Ruth Kudzi

Ruth Kudzi is a Psychologist, Neuroscience Expert, Master Coach and the author of global best-selling book ‘How to Feel Better’ – she is also the Founder of Optimus Coach Academy (https://www.optimuscoachacademy.com/), which is one of the world’s leading coach training providers specialising in evidence based coaching approaches.  An ex-deputy headteacher, Ruth, 45, is a mum of 2 from London, and she is now a dynamic and well-respected force in the fields of coaching, neuroscience, psychology and personal development with a wealth of experience, accolades, and a passion for unlocking human potential.

Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?

After years in teaching and building a career in education, eventually working as Deputy Head of a large secondary school and working as a Consultant for schools to build collaborative entrepreneurship and career training, I took time off to have our first daughter in 2014 and then returned to work as a Senior Leader in a secondary school. After missing my daughter’s 1st birthday, due to being at work before she woke up and getting home after she was asleep, I realised this career didn’t allow me to be the mum I wanted to be. And, I found myself searching for a passion to find a new path to follow, and recognised that I had always loved the development coaching elements of my job – I had been doing coaching and mentoring work as a leadership coach for 4 years working with head teachers and senior leaders and was already trained in NLP and CBT, so alongside my interest in Psychology (which I had done an MA in) I tapped into this did some more training including a PGCERT and launched a business around confidence and career coaching in 2016.

Initially I focused on supporting other mums, as was passionate about helping others like me, who had felt a disconnect with their careers since having kids, to transition out of roles that were not suiting them, so they too could achieve more freedom, but over the years my reach evolved as I experienced highly accelerated growth in my business.

As someone who believes in the importance of accredited, and qualified coaches, I launched Optimus Coaching Academy, which is now one of the world’s leading coach training providers specialising in evidence based coaching approaches.

I run Optimus alongside my private practice coaching work, retreats, and wider knowledge sharing.

How did the idea come to you for the company?

I’ve been pretty obsessed with human behaviour for as long as I can remember…

I firmly believe that everyone has the capacity to transform their lives, break free from limiting beliefs and create new neural pathways for success and all the approaches I use are rooted in evidence from psychology and neuroscience, combined with ideas informed by energetics, somatics and psychodynamics. This integration of different schools of thought is something I am passionate about, as I believe when you expose yourself to various paradigms it can build a deeper knowledge and help you to see yourself in a more holistic way.

Through my own training journey where I worked with various coach training schools and pursued an academic qualification I recognised a gap in the market for robust, well designed training which had Psychology at its core and was also practical. As this was my second business I was able to utilise the existing audience and we’ve grown organically without external investment. We’ve grown as we’ve been committed to having an excellent product in the market place and saw a genuine gap in the market.

What are the key successes?

Having spent nearly 30 years continuously learning, studying Psychology and Neuroscience since 1994, I now have my chartered status as a Psychologist and Coaching Psychologist.

My relentless pursuit of knowledge and commitment to excellence have earned me recognition as one of the UK’s top Master Certified Coaches, independently verified by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

I have spoken across the world, as a guest speaker for the likes of; UCL, Birkbeck, Goldsmiths and Natwest as well as being a regular speaker for the ICF in India, Israel, Iran, SE Asia and Bulgaria.

I also regularly contribute to charities such as Young Minds, Shelter, Crisis, Oxfam, Mind, The Stroke Association and Unicef.

I think on a personal level as well it’s about growing a team and being able to pay them above market rates : you can feel that ripple effect.

What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?

Growing up around alcoholism and suffering with my own dependencies, to being diagnosed with PTSD following a tragic accident, to having to reset my own life after feeling suffocated by my career in education, before becoming self-employed… I have navigated an array of personal challenges, which have seen me need to tap into reprogramming my thoughts and mindset to avoid me spiralling into black holes.

I have also recently been diagnosed with ADHD and still processing how this has affected my life over the years, whilst navigating the challenges my neurodiverse brain presents to me. One of the things I have realised, post diagnosis, is how my ADHD traits had led to me feeling like I didn’t fit in, and was never good enough as a child and young adult, something that actually drove me to study Psychology at university, because I thought there was something wrong with me, and I wanted to find out what it was.

I feel my resilience has continued to shine through and my personal experiences have fuelled my mission to help others reprogram their mindset, overcome trauma, and unleash their true potential.

I strongly believe that:

● You can improve your well-being and how you feel about yourself

● You can change behaviours and transform how you think / feel and act

● You don’t have to stay stuck

● That everyone is able to develop: where you are now is not where you need to stay

What are your plans now/for the future?

To grow Optimus Coach Academy to new countries, alongside increasing our presence in organisations supporting teams to grow their coaching capacity and training internal coaches. Alongside this, I’ve launched a new academy supporting others to create training programs and courses, which are verified with our own quality mark: I love to see people having a positive impact in what they do.

Personally for me it’s about continuing to have a positive impact on those I work with and bringing Psychology based coaching into more people’s lives.

What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s not uncommon to envy others’ success. Seeing carefully chosen success stories on social media can sometimes leave us feeling inadequate. However, it is vital to remember that success is an individual experience, especially when starting out. And, when we continuously compare ourselves to others, it is generally destructive to our wellbeing. As a Psychology and Neuroscience expert, I know that feeling better is an inside job and in order for us to unlock our success, we need to focus on ourselves and embed everyday habits that help us live a happier life.

Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?

Remember, true success starts from within and practical steps can be the start of your journey toward a happier, more fulfilling life.

Get Enough Sleep – More than anything else, the quality and quantity of sleep we get significantly impacts our mental abilities, such as our ability to think, make decisions, and problem-solve.

Practice Gratitude – this is a basic success habit that works in tandem with another positive practice – journaling. Journaling may appear intimidating at first, but it can actually be straightforward, and an ordinary notepad will do. Begin your day with a clear objective, and at the end of the day, take a moment to reflect on three things for which you are grateful for. You’ll start to notice the impact of these practices after several weeks. Incorporating journaling and gratitude practice into your daily routine is simple, allowing you to focus on your goals while rewiring your brain’s neural networks.

Find Pleasure in Small Things – Finding time for yourself can be challenging as a business founder, amidst work and home life demands. However, it is crucial to prioritise taking a daily break from the natural stresses that life presents.

Plan – Having a clear understanding and organised schedule for your day can provide you with a sense of control, reduce stress, and allow you to make the most of your time.

Take Breaks – Integrating brief breaks into your daily routine is advantageous and necessary for overall health and efficiency. Our brains are not naturally wired for continuous, uninterrupted work. Regular breaks can positively impact your mental state, enhancing your ability to focus and maximising your potential.

Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?

  • My Gran – she always used to say that “it’s the grit that makes the pearl” and I believe her: I’ve gone through some really testing things when I’ve had my own businesses and it’s helped me to grow in confidence and resilience – I’m confident around what we do and what we’ve created so now I’m much less shakeable by things which happen.
  • My Mum – she has supported me so much and has helped me practically.
  • My Daughters – they inspire me every day and are my motivation.
  • My mentor Shaa Wasmund MBE – I love surrounding myself with those who elevate me and Shaa has been there for me for over 7 years.
  • Michelle Obama – a truly modern-day, revolutionary woman, who has championed a multitude of important causes throughout her life! Inspirational!

What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?

I love this quote on resilience – “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” ― Maya Angelou

What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ruthkudzicoach

Insta – https://www.instagram.com/ruthkudzi/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ruthkudzi/