My Story

The results of my tests were in. “We can’t find anything structurally wrong with your heart,” my cardiologist told me. I was both relieved and disappointed. I was hoping they would find a problem so that they could offer me a treatment.

My resting heart rate usually hit 90 beats per minute, sometimes shooting up to 140 bpm for 10-minute periods. It would often skip beats, and was irregular. My jumpy heart left me frequently weak and nauseated. My health problems were complicated by anxiety and depression, which were in turn complicated by bouts of binge drinking. I got nasty headaches, was often sick, and felt exhausted all the time.

What was happening to me?  Was it the stress of working in a series of part-time, uninspiring supermarket and restaurant jobs that barely paid my modest living expenses? Was alcohol messing up my nervous system? Or was it the insomnia, the total lack of exercise and the lousy diet?

I had questions but no answers. I isolated myself as much as I could, staying at home, sleeping late or lying in bed, wishing I could just feel normal again. No car, no girlfriend, no savings.

My health issues started in my early twenties and persisted for several years. By 2002, I’d experienced the lowest lows of my life. It was clear to me by then that many people struggle with difficulties, even extreme ones, and that having difficulties is not unusual— it’s how we respond to them that makes our life exceptional.

Turning Things Around

Meditation CandleI started reading countless books on personal development, meditation and health, from a wide variety of authors and viewpoints. I attended Buddhist/western psychology classes regularly, given by a teacher who really inspired me to make changes in my life.

I was going to straighten my life out. What I needed was new tools, and new habits of body and mind. In a short space of time, I quit drinking, began to practice regular meditation, started eating healthy organic food, exercised regularly and made a real effort to view things more positively.

I had a fierce desire to make changes in myself. I implemented and refined. Over and over again.

Forest PathAs I changed my habits and my way of seeing things, my outer world changed. I found better-paying, more engaging work. I became disciplined with money and was able to afford multi-month vacations in Spain and Mexico, where I worked on becoming fluent in Spanish. I simplified my life and my home, creating a clean, organized living space. I explored stretching routines, yoga, and breathing techniques.

Holding My Feet to the Fire…and Loving It

Now, after more than 15 years of studying and applying personal development, I’ve created simple accountability systems for taking action, positive habits and a new mindset — all of which have made me more creative, relaxed and happier. I’ve become self-disciplined in a way that is enjoyable and easy to put into practice.

Nigel Cook, Accountability CoachHolding Your Feet to the Fire is my way of giving back some of what I’ve learned. When I’m not helping my clients stay accountable to their goals, I’m in my recording studio with my electric guitar — or out hiking in the nearby woods and mountains of Vancouver Island, Canada, where I live. I get additional adventure by travelling to warm and sunny lands (especially my favourites, Spain and Mexico).

That’s my story— so far. I look forward to hearing yours, and working together to create the inner and outer life that’s waiting for you!

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