You look around the room and can’t quite work out what emotion it is you are supposed to be feeling. It’s all a bit surreal.
- There’s a magician performing up close magic on a space man.
- Mary Poppins is having a chat with one of the top digital media experts in the country.
- Usually instead of women making up the minority in a room, there’s 45 women, 5 men and 1 baby….oh and the Spaceman.
- There’s a skull branded in Sweden’s flag’s colours.
- And a woman has dyed her hair the colour of your business. (That’s loyalty!)
- There’s radio presenter who fell in your hot tub live on air (no we aren’t friends outside of work) there to interview you.
- And surrealists of all your face is next to the Queen, Boudica, Michelle Obama and other great women throughout time. Where do you cut on that cake!
It’s possibly one of the surrealist’s days in my career.
And if 15 years ago someone had said;
“Mandie you will have the confidence to speak to 200+ business owners” – I would have laughed. “Me? Never I can’t even sit in a coffee shop on my own! Let alone publicly speak” (Yes I used to lack confidence, was mega shy and hated public speaking.)
“Mandie you will be an international author with clients on every continent, have so many awards you can’t keep up with them all, feature on national TV and even visit 10 Downing Street for your work” I’d have added “For what? I’m no one special.” I honestly never thought I’d achieve anything much. Things just kind of landed at my feet and I’d run with them. So looking around that room I did think “How?”
How did that nervous, shy, un-confident, scared little mouse do all that!
I want to share some of the how and I look forward to hearing what it helps you achieve;
Dump the false version of you
Mandie from 15 years ago that struggled to walk into a networking event believed;
- She had to wear a suit because she thought it would make her confident – it didn’t.
- She thought she needed to know more than she did – she didn’t.
- She thought she’d be able to tell people about the life changing results of coaching and they’d buy it straight away – they didn’t!
So dump the false version of you and the things that aren’t working. Be honest and get help.
Next find your natural skills – yes you have plenty.
My career started in insurance and swiftly moved into the car industry. Looking after customers whose week has been wrecked because their car has been in a car accident. And how are they going to get anywhere with no car? We were in rural Suffolk so to see a bus was a novelty and no car, meant no shopping, no getting the kids to school, no work – life stopped. You can imagine how it could feel?
We were dealing with heavily stressed people every day. Car parts were the other side of the world instead of on my customers car and even when the sun was shining, and no cars were falling off the roads into ditches (No accidents equalled no work but still 25 salaries to pay!) I could still fill a garage with enough work for 25 employees. I’d (stupidly) assumed that if I could do that in the car industry I’d easily migrate those skills to my coaching practice.
How wrong could I have been?
But different to many who find themselves in that situation – I didn’t keep doing the same things.
Within a year of setting up my business I was making money;
- I’d set up The BWN,
- I’d featured in the press countless times.
- Been on the radio so many times I thought I could get on the BBC’s pay roll.
- And I’d even come to the attention of the Home office (for good reasons) for my work with women in business.
And the first thing that changed was my confidence.
I always say you can have the best products and services in the world. The best marketing strategy, the most gorgeous perfect brand, and the best team but if you lack confidence personally you will still damage your results. Scary right?
- I went on every course I could to learn.
- I read every book I could squeeze in around a dog, 2 kids, 2 businesses and a busy life.
- I became a proverbial knowledge sponge and realised that it would always be a good action for success.
Which means for you;
Build your confidence – Yes, I worked with a coach. Yes, I found a mentor and yes, I made sure I networked with the right people – that is so critical for lasting success and research agrees with me (Or vice a versa) that especially for women to reach the top you have got to get out there – network and work that network too – that means asking for business and asking the right questions. Back to needing confidence right
Never stop learning. I met someone this week who told me they’d learnt all they needed to be the best version of them they could be. I hadn’t meant to (I’d meant to just think it!) but I’d spurted out “Seriously? In your 40’s you feel you can learn nothing more about yourself or need to do anything else to stay the best version of you?”
I couldn’t help myself, but I added “I’m in my 40’s too and the more I know the more I feel I need to learn.”
Learning about yourself is not something done once and forgot about – is there anything in life that is?
The more you build your emotional intelligence and understand the science of being you the more success you will have. The more resilience you will have and your ability to cope with anything (without being a stressed out trapped on a hamster wheel burnt out husk of a human) will soar.
Don’t fight it – let it flow.
I still have to use my own coaching strategies on myself to ensure this doesn’t get to me. Because I’m a doer.
If something is not working.
I fix it.
I look for solutions.
I bore easily and so if it is not working I want answers fast. (And yes, I’m inpatient too!) So it’s been hard for me to learn that while you need to build a brand, reputation and get the sales in I also need to accept that what is best for me and my business is coming. I can experience stress if things aren’t happening fast enough. The perfect example is that time and time again while sat on the sofa watching a box set an opportunity has landed on my lap that has added a whole new arm to my business – “Do you offer training for the NHS Mandie?” I didn’t but I do now!
How did that happen? – they just phoned me out of the blue. (They’d met me somewhere (they thought) or heard about me somewhere. See the importance of awesome evergreen marketing? (Evergreen means it’s always working for you and always visible). You can see how you need to get your marketing working well and talking powerfully to the right people right?
“Hi Mandie do you offer corporate away day coaching for large groups?” Well I didn’t, but I do now! Again think about who I was talking to and what I was saying and in what context that it resonated so strongly that they got in touch in the first place. How does your brand and communications need to alter accordingly?
Both of these (and so many more just landed in my lap when I was least expecting them. Okay so I do have a set of goals every year and they say things like:
- Grow the speaking area of business to £X by September
- Get paid to write
- Get paid to deliver online training by July.
And I do create;
- A plan of action.
- Back burner ideas
- What to be aware of.
- Know the timeline to results.
As I would with clients – but I still have to sit back and say “It’s going to happen Mand, get back to your boxset/life/day.
In the automotive industry I loved the high octane, 50 phone calls an hour, so many faxes (do you remember those?) that they scrolled across the office floor. Floods, Storms, Blizzards – we were there. Even heavily pregnant I still logistically ensured we collected over 100 cars in less than 18 hours with only 3 recovery vehicles from across 3 counties when the worst storms to hit Europe in over a decade caused chaos and cost people their lives (I even found time to increase the insurance to cover the insane value of the vehicles on premises that night!) however I learnt the hard way that I’m not a god, a super hero or a robot. And by saying yes to everyone and everything it was taking its toll. Learning to become a person that says no to what is not right for me, my family or friends, my goals, my business or even my health has had a positive dramatic effect on every aspectf of my life. And that needs…
To know when to listen and when to ignore.
Years ago I was told by someone that I couldn’t be a successful business woman because I was too happy. That comment haunted me for ages and really impacted on my business as I tried to mould myself into their definition of success. It’s all very well to know what you want but you have to learn to ignore people to get it….and know when to listen to people. This mission statement I still live by to this day and I frequently ask clients, BWN business men and women and even the coordinators if we are still getting it right. Know when to trust that gut instinct of yours (there’s a lot of science behind what is actually there, and it’s not just guess work!) trust it.
And know when to make changes.
Utlimately my success is only down to the quality of the people I hang out with so I finish by saying check your network helps you do everyting I suggest in this article. And if they don’t you can guess what I suggest you do!