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Do or do not there is no try – A quick way to a new level of success.

That is a sentence that I’ve held dearly for so many years.

It helps you when you want to achieve.

It helps you when you face adversity.

It can even help you when you are rushed to A and E and are scared to death you are dying.

Whatever your life looks like or what you want it to look like this article could change your actions by the time you finish reading it, ready?

For those that aren’t into Star wars that phrase is said by tiny ancient Yoda (who looks like he couldn’t take on a toddler and beat them in a battle, although not sure who would want to do that!) it is as his prodigy is attempting to get his spaceship (bear with me non scifi lovers) out of the bog.

Luke the young prodigy proclaims, “I don’t believe it!” As tiny Yoda effortlessly lifts the ship not just free of the bog vines and mud but with just the gentle lifting of his hand lands it gracefully next him. Yoda turns to Luke and pretty much says “And that my dear boy is why you couldn’t do it.”

“Do or do not there is no try.”

Okay so what’s that got to do with your life and happiness?

Meet Sarah (Name changed because all clients are always confidential unless they go around shouting about working with me) Sarah had been working with me for a couple of months and was getting used to the fact that you can’t hide from yourself in our sessions. She flippantly said “Well I will give that go. I promise”

Give that a go?” I asked, “What do you think your chances are of success I asked?” and I added “What are you actually saying in your head about this plan of action?”

The deep sigh and “Wow I hate you look” (it’s good to get that look from your client because it means you’ve found what is really standing in the way of what they want. And it’s always handled with love and respect. Usually leading to clients coaching themselves in the middle of our sessions!) led to them saying “Well I suppose if I’m honest, it’s a great plan, it’s what I really want, but I’m not convinced that I can actually do it.”


Sarah was going to tackle her coaching plan of action with a “I will give it a go” attitude. When we analysed that viewpoint, she could see that;

  • She was moving the responsibility for success from her to “out there”. No responsibility, no accountability, not her fault, right?
  • She feared that she lacked skills and the confidence to do the actions we had set.
  • She held on to an outdated and quite frankly untrue idea that she would fail.

The quickest way to fix this (as Sarah and I did) was to;

  1. Build her internal confidence – not the confidence you get from the outside world when things are going right but from knowing who you are and privately being proud of that.
  2. Looking for the evidence. We so often listen to the wrong voices in our head that second guess us. By looking for proof Sarah laughing with mandie holgate business and life coachcould see that she had never failed at any of the actions we had outlined, I had jested with her “So for the first time ever in your life you are going to phone that person and be rude, swear and disrespect them giving them the “Oi you, give us your money” attitude are you?” This was so far removed from the wonderfully professional businesswoman that she is that she couldn’t but laugh. When we laugh, we are generally starting to notice that what we are scared to see.

If she had gone with the I’ll give it go (try) attitude her results would not have been as epic as they were.

On the opposite side of this, I also work with a lot of business owners and managers who have long term health issues. It is very hard to be a dedicated passionate hard worker and find you have a body that won’t sustain all you want to get done that week. Learning that lesson is not easy, and it tends to lead to a lot of stress as we try to let no one down and achieve everything for everyone. For myself I have learnt that I will do or do not, not try.

A client who had recently been given a diagnosis of a long-term condition that could potentially greatly damage their business and their earning potential came to me for this reason. Attempting to be the before illness person was adding so much stress because they physically with all the will in the world could not get everything done. No amount of late-night working worked. If anything, it just exasperated their symptoms. Would they have to quit their business and give up?

No, through our time together (I only worked with that client 4 times) they learnt that it was their decision to decide what they spent their time.

It is not easy to say No to people (Heck there’s a whole chapter on it in my book Fight the fear because it can be so detrimental to our success.) So, learning what to allow into their life and what would be dropped was difficult but had a massively positive impact.

If you find yourself trying to please everyone and get everything done;

  • Have crystal clear goals on what you want and need to do. (Don’t let other people’s definition of importance get dragged in here. It’s confidential to you, so they won’t know!)
  • Learn how to say No. For me and many clients start small. Don’t meet for coffee that takes you out of the office for 2.5 hours (as much fun as that is to meet up) organise a conference call. You could save 1.5 hours! That would be respectful to your needs too.
  • Be honest. We seem to think we are some kind of superhuman robot race. We aren’t. As such trying to do everything is a quick way to overwhelm, stress, burn out, long hours, uncompleted tasks, missed opportunities and a lot of stress related illnesses. (I’ve a proven track record of helping people work less hours and achieve a lot more). Communication is critical. Say things like “That sounds great, however I’ve got to get X done by Friday, so could we have a chat on the phone after the 23rd please?” or “I’ve got a long term health condition that has never impacted on my ability to deliver to my clients however it does mean I don’t check my phone after 6pm. If there is an emergency, please phone xxx” That one is one I used. I was really scared that with my Lupus diagnosis I would lose clients, if anything my honesty led to an increase in clients. What better coach to work with than someone who watched box sets in the middle of the day, only worked part time and injected herself with chemo once a week and still won multiple awards, was asked to write a book by the UK’s leading non fiction publishers and clients include Councils, NHS, Virgin Care and WHSmith’s!

Thankfully the do or do not attitude has had far reaching results for myself my clients and their teams.

It led to me finding a solution to my 8 years of illness last May and now I’m well. Working full time and very grateful for my health. And thanks to the try or try not method, you can imagine how epic my time management and success rate has become?

It leads us finally to faith. Try or try not says. I have faith in what I do. I have no faith in what I can achieve. I have no faith in who I am.

So, ask yourself this. Do you have faith in what you will do? Who you are? And what you can achieve?

Get in touch anytime.

I love the phone ringing 01206 381482. Or if that feels to scary to phone in the first instant mandie@mandieholgate.co.uk I’m here to help.

  • January 11, 2020

The surrealist day of my career and how it could help you be more successful.

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.

Say no

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.Mission statement for the bwn networking founder mandie holgate 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!


  • April 2, 2019