Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
Coming from a conventional working-class family as I did, means leaving school and looking for a job to earn money. I was lucky enough to land my first job before the end of term. My parents were delighted. It didn’t occur to anyone to check if I wanted to become an accountant, not even me, so when, after a year, I’d had enough and moved to sales support it caused some confusion but not so much as when a year after that I set off with a backpack around Europe.
By accident, I landed a temp job in an ad agency when I returned still not sure what I wanted to do. And I loved it. I was promoted and given a company car just a few months later and I learned a lot from my colleagues and my CEO. But I am cursed, or gifted, with a restless gene. 6 years and 2 jobs later I realised just how prejudiced the business world was against women – inequality and sexual harassment was alive and kicking in the 1980’s -and I got fed-up with the inability of my managers to manage.
With the arrogance of youth, I knew I could do better and with two partners (I was arrogant, not stupid enough to go it alone at that age) The Direct Response Agency was born. I was just 27 years old. Shortly after, with more partners, I created the Real Tennis Tournament Company, won sponsorship from Champagne Laurent-Perrier, organised tournaments at The Queen’s Club and HRH Prince Edward (as he then was) presented the prizes.
On the outside, I guess I appeared to be a confident capable young woman. The toughest person to persuade was myself. At 30 years old I was convinced someone would “find me out”, and in those days there were no mentors, no female role models that I could relate to. The word “entrepreneur” was not respected. I was different and different is never easy. I had so much to prove I forgot why I was doing what I was doing.
I learned a lot about what I was good at, but it wasn’t until I became a mother some years later that I started to understand what I really wanted from work. I enjoy developing relationships. I can choose clients with values I appreciate, and I know I can offer value in return.
Becoming a mentor and business consultant required the biggest image change in my mind. I had to present myself as me, without the backing or endorsement of a company. It was harder to persuade myself that I had value than it was clients.
I eventually started to do the things I now support my clients with. I had to redraw the lines for how I defined myself. Then I had to fill in the picture, set achievable targets so that I knew where I was going, and an action plan to help guide me there. I still struggled with a vision board. It was tough relating to the pictures I pinned to the wall, but it got easier as time passed. I raised 2 children and I have a wonderful set of testimonials from clients.
So what did I learn:
Ask yourself what you want to do not what should you do.
Sometimes its good to please other people, but this is your life. If you’re not happy you won’t be fun to be around. And don’t just run away, find something to head towards.
Clarify in your own mind why you want to do it.
It can be tough whichever path you choose. When you get knocked down you will need your dreams clearly in your mind to help you get back up again.
You can’t always play by your own rules but don’t feel you always have to justify yourself
You know what you want to do, and you know why. No one else can see your life from your perspective. Others may not understand or even get jealous when they see you with a purpose. Give simple facts but don’t feel you need to apologise for achieving your dreams.
One person can make a difference
If you dream big don’t let fear you won’t make a difference stop you. Some of the world’s toughest challenges started with one person daring to dream.
Write down your goals and an action plan – and do it!
Work out where you are headed and take that first step. One foot in front of the other. Make it happen – Achieve your goals
Find others in the same boat.
This is so important. You can’t hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life! One of my favourite sayings. Join PurpleCeed and come along to our meetings. Learn new skills alongside like minded people or just hang out on a Friday night and discuss how your week went.
Don’t be blind to risks but keep open to opportunities
It’s scary but it’s so much better than spending a life wrapped in cotton wool. People won’t find you if you don’t put yourself out there.