Leave it, I can do it myself Mum!!!
Gosh if I had a pound for every time my 5-year-old told me that, I could pack up all this work malarky and take up gardening or cake making.
My daughter has been like this for as long as I can remember, putting on her own socks before she could even walk, doing up her own seatbelt in the car, and cutting up her own food.
She is very independent, just like me I guess.
This isn’t to say she doesn’t get unstuck sometimes…because she is stubborn too, just like me.
It is OK to ask for help sometimes Rose
I tell her and then remind myself to take that advice too.
In the early days of setting up my business, I really needed to hear that. After a few months of going it alone, I went along to a local business development agency in East London for some advice, and the uninspiring advisor said to me,
What you have here love, isn’t a business, it is a hobby and you will never make any money from it
Well, that told me…although it didn’t.
I steamed ahead with my idea and built my business anyway. It kind of put me off advisors and coaches though, I figured I simply couldn’t trust anyone to have my best interestes at heart and besides I knew best anyway.
I needed a coach. I was just too pig-headed to admit it back then. For years I scraped together bits of wisdom and support here and there, whether it was right for me or not, I read heaps, did FREE online courses and followed YouTube videos of how to do certain things….bouncing from strategy to strategy, exhausting myself in the process.
But I got to a point about a year ago where I knew I couldn’t go on any more…I needed a business coach. I was all out of ideas for growing my business, I was on the road to burn out, and I was starting to resent the amount of time and energy I had put into it with little reward…well there was reward, but not the rewards I wanted to see.
So I apprehensively took on a business coach…a digital strategist called Gemma Went, someone I had been spying on for about a year.
I joined her Flourish Mastermind in May, and within a matter of weeks I was quite simply able to exhale, knowing I was in capable hands, knowing I wasn’t alone anymore…knowing I had the support I needed to reshape my business brick by brick…webpage by webpage.
Since May I have,
- Launched a whole new business
- Invested in a new website and photos
- Met a bunch of awesome women (other business owners) who I know have my back
- Regained my confidence
- Increased my online presence
- Improved my working practices
- Hired a personal assistant
- Decreased my stress levels
- Tripled my income…yes you read that TRIPLED!!!
So why am I telling you all this? Especially if you are not running a business? Well, the clue is in the title of this blog really isn’t it?
- Why should you hire a coach?
- Why should you hire a no bullshit coach…because let’s face it there are a whole heap of people faking it out there.
- Why should you hire me as your life coach? There I said it…why me?
Here are my top 5 reasons
- For Direction – Women often tell me they feel lost…or worst still they are overwhelmed with heaps of ideas or too many people telling them what to do, and not knowing where to start. My programme will force you to stop and take stock and then focus on moving in one clear direction….with the number 1 focus being on Living A Bigger more Exciting Life
- For Accountability – Let’s face it if your parents didn’t nag and your teachers didn’t dish out detentions and bad marks you wouldn’t have done your homework right? That there my friend is accountability. But as adults, we often shy away from accountability in part because we don’t want someone telling us what to do, or frowning on us if we don’t do it. But what is the point in having goals if there is nobody there to ensure you do the work towards achieving them?
- For Structure – My programme takes you through a tried and tested process which helps you deal with the challenges you are facing one by one. It has a clear process with regular opportunities for you to feedback on your progress, with a recommended 10-week duration making it urgent enough to actually do the work on. with lifetime access you get to go through this process over and over again focussing on new goals each time.
- For Practical Support – I rarely tell women exactly what to do, but sometimes women simply get stuck and need ideas for how to actually do something. Where to look for inspiration. How to move to the next step. What to declutter. How to administer self-care. Sometimes women need to be reminded to sign up for the course they really want to do, or to open the savings account they keep promising themselves they will. Sometimes women literally need someone to hold their hand while doing all of this.
- For Unwavering Love – And I do not say this lightly. Don’t we all want someone to love and care for us. Someone to listen for listening sake, not to offer an immediate solution. We want a place to offload, to work stuff through, to get virtual hugs or dare I say it a caring nurturing boot up the backside. Sometimes my love is tough love…but it is always unwavering, and unconditional…just as love always should be. We want like-minded folk around us who are not going to laugh at our ambition, who can be there to celebrate our wins and to support us through our challenges.
So finally, let me tell you a final story about the impact of coaching.
I recently become an ambassador for Swimathon a national charity swimming challenge in the UK.
I am not a swimmer. I am a runner. But I figured it would be a good challenge, and I would get the chance to meet Olympic swimmers Duncan Goodhue and Keri Anne Payne.
The launch event was very exciting. I met all of the other ambassadors who had interesting and inspiring stories, and varying abilities when it comes to their swimming capabilities.v And then we got in the pool.
I have never been a strong swimmer. I can swim breaststroke forever but with front crawl I have only ever been able to swim a lap or two…in fact I had built up to one lap of the 50 meter London Aquatic centre pool since it had become my local pool…but even then I always had to take a few minutes to catch my breath at the end of a front crawl lap.
A 10-minute theory session with Keri Anne, and then 20 minutes of practical coaching in the pool by the Olympians, and 35 years of bad technique and an absolute lack of confidence was replaced with a swimming technique which I now know to be life-changing.
Today I swam 1000 meters all front crawl, with no gaps at each end…and in 36 minutes.
All because I had access to great coaching.
Now I can’t promise to get you on an Olympic podium, but I can help you win at life (gosh that sounded a bit cheesy) but it is true. I will help you to see the potential that you just can’t see, and I will make you take the action you have always been to afraid to take…and we will have heaps of fun along the way too.
Hiring a coach is one of the best things you can do if you have a track record of looking after everyone else but you. It draws a line in the sand when it comes to that behavior, and who knows what progress you will make in just 10 weeks.
I once read that most new years resolutions are pretty much forgotten by Valentine’s day, but here we are just 17 days into a brand spanking new year and what do I find out?
Today is Ditch the New Years Resolution Day.
Is that all the resolve that people have?
Look, I talk about this problem every year…the fact that January 1st is pretty much the worst day of the year to turn over a new leaf.
- Money is tight
- You are coming down from a sugar and alcohol binge
- Family tension is at an all-time high
- The weather is shitty (well at least it is in the UK)
- And everywhere you look there are experts telling you how to make 2018 the best year EVER!!!
Shit…do I fall into that category too?
I NEVER set new years resolutions because I don’t see any logic in waiting until just one time of the year to review my goals and make new intentions. I also believe that the pressure of setting goals in this way leads to a resentment and unnecessary pressure, which to be frank we can do without.
My system for planning is based on a concept called Big Fat Stupid Goals which are mahoosive in scale, juicy and indulgent by nature and seemingly foolish because nobody believes you can achieve them, maybe even you.
But the things about BFSGs is they are so so super exciting and rewarding to achieve that it gives you the strongest sense of WHY ever, plus the possibility of failure is so damn scary that they help you change your habits and behaviors almost by default.
I think my first proper Big Fat Stupid Goal was back in 2006 when I decided I wanted to go to university…it was never something I had really wanted before, but a college lecturer put the idea in my head and all I could think about was
YES…I get to move away from home
At the time I was living at home with 5 other siblings, life was pretty uneventful, I never had much money, didn’t have a boyfriend…didn’t have much to look forward to. But going to university would be a whole new adventure…and I’d be the first to go from my whole entire university which would give me extra family kudos. I had to make it happen.
See the thing about BFSGs is they are never about one thing…not like losing weight or giving up booze, BFSGs change EVERYTHING…like seriously on an energetic level they force you to change, you have to change the way you approach fear, you have to change the way you schedule your time, you have to change the way you engage with other people….but the best thing is you don’t have to change who you are to do it, well not in a negative way.
Running my first marathon in 2012 is another example of a Big Fat Stupid Goal I set on a whim. I decided back in 2005 if London was to be awarded the Olympic games, I would run the London Marathon in 2012…it did, so I did…despite the fact I could barely run to the top of my road at the start. But the thought of running down the mall at the end of my 26.2 mile run, in an Olympic year when the eyes of the world were looking towards my wonderful home city…there was no way on earth I wasn’t going to achieve that goal.
So let’s forget about those New Years Resolutions…of course keep up the new habits if you can and really want to, but make sure you get clear on what your Big Fat Stupid Goals are, and set about making them happen now.
My top tips for seeing them through?
- Visualise yourself completing your BFSG
- Share your BFSG far and wide
- Set massive milestones moments to keep you motivated
- Invest in yourself by spending the time, money and energy needed to move to the next step
- Find people to keep you accountable
For more about setting Big Fat Stupid Goals and my aversion to New Years Resolutions check out my book “New Year Same You” which spent months in the health charts just under Joe Wicks (with his all-time best-selling health and fitness book Lean in 15), I guess there are worse places to be than under Joe Wicks.
If you would like to work with me for the next 10 weeks formalising your BFSG and working through the things in your life that may be stopping you from achieving such things in your life check out my Living a Bigger Life Mastermind. The early bird price for the February cohort finishes in just 2 days, and places are limited and likely to be sold out in the next 24 hours.
I launched a brand new website this week, and there was absolutely nowhere to hide.
Now this is not the first website I have ever launched…in fact this is probably the 4th or 5th. But with all of the other ones though I had the luxury of hiding behind a brand or someone elses business…no such luck with this one.
juliecreffield.com is all about me and that shit is scary.
Do you find that when you start putting yourself out there like this, you know in life or in business all those mind goblins start having a go at you? I think of my mind monkeys as little traffic wardens circling my car with their camera’s and ticket pads just waiting to pounce, waiting to give me what’s for.
- Standing up in public to give a talk
- Choosing a new hairstyle or look
- Entering a new relationship
- Launching a new business
- Taking up a new hobby
They all require the same about of resilience, which I prefer to describe as my “Care not, just Fucking Do It” attitude. But as with many of the principles of my coaching, it is not just about attitude, it is about action too.
So often I have head people describe me as
Trust me I am not fearless. I am fearful most of the time. Even writing and posting this article I feel the fear…the only difference is I don’t let my fears get in the way of achieving the outcomes I have imagined in terms of the goals I set for myself?
Because I understand fully the impact achieving those goals will have. It is much like putting on your first pair of lycra running leggings and heading out the door in them and I’ll tell you how.
Lycra is a strange old fabric which kind of gets a bad press really.
There were the lycra clad aerobic instructors of the 80s and then the lycra clad cyclists of the 90s…now it’s all about the runners I reckon. The reality is if you take part in any kind of fitness activity Lycra is going to become your friend pretty soon. It has to. Even if it isn’t the most flattering of materials…it is integral to your enjoyment of sport, besides you are sure to find it in lots of your everyday clothes too…ladies you try finding pants without lycra!!!
When I first started running more than 15 years ago I went our in cotton tracksuit bottoms, a t-shirt and a pair of Rebock classics. I didn’t know any better. Gosh if I ever tried to reenact that there outfit now I doubt I would get to the top of my road. When I run now I wear tight fitting lycra running leggings, even in my lumpy bumpy size 18 body, I put on those bad boys and I hit the streets without a care in the world, because I couldn’t give a flying fart what other people think of me when I am out running.
Long gone are those days where I run after dark, or in secluded backstreets…I am loud and proud now.
The wearing of Lycra in my plus size body has taught me a lot about being seen over the years, lessons which I think are absolutely transferable to life and to business. Think about it, if I hadn’t had the courage to be seen in my lycra, to have been photographed in Lycra…to appear on national TV in lycra, there is no way I would have had the profile nor the experience of coaching the thousands of women I have worked with over the past 4 years, and this website wouldn’t even be a thing.
So here are 4 of the lessons that Lycra has so kindly taught me visibility
Hiding your imperfections only draws attention to them
Have you ever noticed a person on the beach on a really hot day covered head to toe in clothes because they think the sight of them in a swimsuit will draw attention to them? The thing is the curious mind in all of us makes them a target as you try to work out their story. The truth is on a beach and in life, people are normally so preoccupied with thoughts of their own insecurities they barely register those around you…and if they do?? See below.
Those that matter don’t mind, and those that mind don’t matter
I have spent my whole life being heckled. Obviously while out running in my plus size body I am a bit of a target, but these heckles are not always restricted to when I am out training. People somehow find the need to shout out all kinds of stuff in all manner of places. What I learned from this though is I am never going to stop showing up as me…and if that means wearing tight-fitting clothes to play sport or red shoes to go dancing then so be it. I have turned up to really important meetings in my running kit, appeared on national TV, and given talks to 1000s of people in Lycra…knowing that they can see all of my lumps and bumps because I have an important message to share. But if my lumps and bumps are what they are focussing on, then that says more about me than it does them.
People respect openness and honesty
In a world where everything is photoshopped and styled to within an inch of its life, I think most of us find seeing someone in their true state kind of refreshing. Just because you have the glossy instagram feed and a different designer handbag each day it doesn’t make me want to work with you any more….because nobody knows if all of that is fake anyway? The more you can show up without the crutches of perceived perfection the more people will want to be around you. Now don’t get me wrong I am all for making an effort, having your nails done, wearing nice clothes when appropriate, but nobody can look perfect and polished 100% of the time. There is nothing more empowering and bonding than a big bunch of women red-faced and sweaty after a race…and add mud and you are on to an absolute winner.
Your body is an important part of your story
Of course people make snap judgements about you based on your appearance, in fact, I am writing a blog post at the moment due to go out next week called “Just because I am fat doesn’t mean I am new to sport”, but regardless of other peoples reaction to your body, you get to choose how you treat it.Our bodies in many ways tell a story, and by embracing and unlocking the confidence to accept, understand or even share your story it becomes easier to change that story or boldly embrace it, whichever you chose. Oprah Winfrey in her glorious speech at the Golen Globes said, “Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool you have” it is why I am not a big fan of those hold me in pants.
It scares me that so many teenage girls drop out of sport because of fears around being judged for being sweaty or being seen in fitness clothes. It worries me that in the business world women hold themselves back because they feel like they have to have the perfect hair, the perfect smile, the perfect backdrop to show up on things like Facebook Live or YouTube. It saddens me that women hold back from pursuing new relationships thinking they will wait until they have lost weight, or have a better wardrobe to woo a future mate.
You might not be jumping at the chance to get out there this weekend in your Lycra, but however you show up, make sure you show up as confidently as you can as yourself. Life is far too short to be held back by fears around how you look, especially when you have so much to offer this world outside of all that. What you look like does not define who you are.
I had to have a think too.
I’m not sure I remember to be quite honest.
Back in September, I mucked about in mud with a bunch of strangers for Tough Mudder…which is kind of the same thing right?
Did you know that the 11th January is National Step In A Puddle And Splash Your Friends Day…I know right? Who comes up with this stuff.
It got me thinking though about splashing in puddles and how much fun it can be.
I often used to play outside in the rain getting drenched as a kid, not caring if I caught a cold or had to make a long journey home damp and uncomfortable..so when did we lose that sense of fun and spontaneity?
I remember around 17 years ago me and my sister went to a local music festival and it started raining and literally everyone packed up and went home…like seriously we were the only two people still dancing in a near empty park…ok so a little bit of alcohol may have been involved, but I will never forget how much fun that was or how free I felt.
And more recently we went to a music festival where it rained all day…we invented something called The Umbrella Game…where the goal was to get under as many strangers umbrellas without actually asking for permission. We had a blast. Obviously, we told them what we were doing afterwards…but the reactions were fascinating.
Some people were like “Yeah come on in” others were like “What is she on?” (Nothing just so we are clear). We went home wet to the bone but filled to the brim with good vibes and happy thoughts…it was a wonderful way of embracing the terrible weather and making the most of it.
So what has this got to do with you?
Well, on National Step In A Puddle And Splash Your Friends Day I am challenging you to live a little, to get wet in the rain, to have a food fight, to rugby tackle your partner onto the floor tickling them until the surrender or wet themselves (Whichever comes first). Wouldn’t it be great to reignite that sense of fun again, not to worry about who is going to clear up after, or having to rewash your hair?
Jump and splash in the damn puddles…I dare you!!!
OK…so maybe it’s not raining today…although rain was forecast for London, maybe you can just take the intent of this and just do something new with a friend, schedule something spontaneous. Ever do that with your mates?
Hey we haven’t seen each other for ages, let’s go out and do something off the cuff spontaneous
OK let me check my schedule…..
Erm…how does 3 months Tuesday work?
Spending quality time with your mates gets harder and harder as you get older and your life takes on more responsibility, and yes sometimes we do have to schedule the fun stuff as sad as that may seem. Holidays. Day Trips. Festivals. They all take a certain amount of planning and commitment to make happen. But god are they worth it. Our friends are the family we choose for our self and they are integral to our well being and ultimate happiness.
And because I am all about the happiness, I have a brilliant offer for you guys…but it literally is live for just 24 hours….so do not delay…get involved. Be spontaneous…and drag your bestie in with you too.
To celebrate national splash in a puddle with a friend day….
I will give a free place on my Living A Bigger Life 10-week mastermind for a friend of your choice to anyone who signs up for themselves. So not only do you get this at the super early bird price of £359…your mate gets to do it with you too…and because its online it doesn’t even need to be someone who lives close to you. How awesome does that sound, getting to hang out virtually with your bestie working on the shit that matters?
Come on take that jump!!
You can find out more about how Life Coaching could help you and the transformation you can expect here. Plus see what you get over the 10 weeks and beyond. If you decide to sign up, once the payment has been processed drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with the name and email address of your friend. Buy One Get One Free can’t get any better than that right?
I got my first official job when I was 13.
I worked in Forest Gate Wimpy for £1.50 cleaning dishes, serving customers and occasionally on a Saturday dressing up as Mr Wimpy and playing party games with children who were high on chocolate sundaes.
As difficult as I was as a child you could never call me work shy.
I did all kinds of jobs to make sure I had money growing up. Checkout assistant in a supermarket, theatre usher, salad packer, barmaid…you name it I have probably done it for a bit.
So you might think I would be a bit overwhelmed and perhaps a little embarrassed walking into Stratford Job Centre aged 36 to sign on. But I wasn’t really, I just saw it as a bit of a new adventure. I figured a couple of months with some extra cash now my maternity pay had stopped would come in handy, and I assumed the advisors there would get me back into employment in no time.
Sadly they just didn’t know what to do with me. I had close to a year ago been made redundant at 7 months pregnant from a managerial position in a local authority working on the 2012 Olympics, and when they looked at my colourful and varied CV showing 20 years of employment I almost wondered if they thought I was making it all up.
The first few weeks of signing on were a little annoying but bearable. Rose was still very small but there was no lift to get to the second floor where you had your interviews, so I had to carry her up, with all my bags etc…and trying to keep a toddler quiet and out of trouble while you are explaining for the fourth time that a retail job just wasn’t going to work, became a little trying.
It was the way people spoke to me that really started getting me annoyed. They expected me to understand the system…using phrases and terminology that only the hardcore unemployed would know…I was new to all of this, so then the staff would often turn to sarcasm or tell me that this had all been explained to me before when it hadn’t.
I played the game though…looking for proper employment the way I knew how to. I mean I hadn’t been out of work EVER as an adult, something had always come along, and I often went from job to job with nice little promotions and pay rises along the way. I thought I was reasonably employable.
“Oh but you haven’t been using job search,” the woman said to me one day.
“Erm no, I haven’t…there are no jobs over 20K on job search” followed by “plus the kinds of employment I am looking for just aren’t listed there”
“Well, Julie your circumstances have changed now you might have to be more flexible” she said.
There was no way I was going to take a pay cut of more than 50% and move into an area of work I wasn’t interested in, it just wasn’t going to happen. So a battle of wills started to take place each fortnight, with myself and the advisor going round and round in circles. I did go for one job interview. It was an interesting job, part-time and a low salary but I figured I could top it up with some freelance work. But I didn’t get it…I still to this day think it was the cheap suit the Job Centre had paid for that did it….not to sound ungrateful but my old suits didn’t fit me anymore and I didn’t have the cash to buy another…so I had to go to their preselected stores and choose one. Urgghhh.
It all came to a head one day when I went to sign on one day, it had been raining outside and I was a bit hot and flustered as Rose was playing up a bit and when I asked at reception if I could go up to sign on they said that my claim had been stopped and I would have to wait a certain amount of weeks to reapply (I can’t remember the details now…I think I have blocked it all out)
At first, I was calm and asked if I could speak to an advisor about how it would affect my housing benefit and council tax relief but they refused and said I could phone instead. Jobcentres don’t pick up the phone…or maybe it was just me…maybe they just didn’t pick up for me. I just wanted to know on what grounds they had cancelled my claim…I wanted to see that advisor and have her explain it to me to my face.
And in that moment I became THAT person.
If you have ever signed on or been in a government building around people trying to get their life back together, you will know THAT person.
It’s the person that just loses their shit.
Now I am not an angry person, in fact I am quite reserved…don’t like to make a fuss…but I was done with being treated like a nobody. Now I understood why the place had security, and why 2 out of the 3 phones on the wall had been ripped out of their sockets and were no longer in use.
“I am a person” I screamed.
“I am a real fucking person, can’t you just treat me like an actual person?”
And that’s when the three (yes three) security guards who I had seen for the last six months and nodded at, walked over to me and firmly escorted me out of the building.
My face was red, my eyes were brimmed with tears and my heart was pounding…I was so bloody angry.
I was angry at them, but also I was angry at me.
I had completely lost any sense of who I was. I had nothing to cling on to. No job. No social life. A relationship which was fast falling apart. I had never felt so alone in all of my life.
The following week I was asked to come back into the job centre as there had been a mistake and I would be allowed to sign on afterall.
Part of me didn’t even want to go back in that building.
But I had to.
I was on a mission. Unlike any, I had ever been on and not to go and cause a riot.
In the week gone past I had found out that there was a scheme, you could be referred to from the Jobcentre if you were interested in starting up your own business…and I was interested in setting up my own business…boy was I ready to start up my own business.
I had been writing a blog for a number of years and had built up quite a following…I just had to work out a way to monetise it.
What followed was 6 months of filling in forms, creating a business plan, attending workshops which were so piss easy it was a joke…and then finally in June 2014 I received £2500 start-up loan and Too Fat to Run was born.
I felt like I was a somebody again.
Look guys, this isn’t your typical rags to riches story…cos damn I am nowhere near rich yet, but every day I walk past that building I am reminded of how close I was to losing everything and hitting rock bottom…I was literally weeks away from losing my home, the home I had worked for 10 years to achieve, I was considering using the local food bank…shit, I didn’t even have a flipping pair of jeans that fitted me.
It is a million miles away from where I am today, just 4 years later, but I am reminded so often now that all you need is an idea and someone to believe in it, to help you out of the hole you can often find yourself in when life takes a nose dive like mine did.
I am also reminded that some people go through that shit week in week out, dealing with being spoken down to and not believed when they say they are looking for work…it is enough to break you, seriously it really is.
Today has been a momentous day for me, just like that day was when I got unceremoniously kicked out of my local jobcentre, a day which I think I will look back on as the day it all changed.
Today though has been an ordinary day though in many ways. I woke up late, spent the day at my desk barely taking time for a break, I picked Rose up from school went and did some shopping, came home cooked and played with Rose until it was time for me to go and do CrossFit…I am marathon training at the moment in case you didn’t know.
And then at 10pm, I sat at my desk looking for the message I had been anxiously dreading all week.
The website is done…its up…its ready to share.
My new business venture which I have been working on for the past 12 months was finally ready to launch into the big bad world….and it hit me like a train.
4 years ago I was Julie Creffield, an unemployed new parent who had completely and absolutely lost her sense of direction in life.
Today I am Julie Creffield, CEO & Founder of a global company, author of 8 books, ultramarathon running, award-winning blogger….oh and transformational LIFE COACH!!!
I am a somebody. A somebody on a mission to change the bloody world.
I help ordinary women who are a little bit lost like I was to do extraordinary things with their lives. I help brilliant women work out what it is they really want and then give them the tools to do it. I help women live healthier, happier, wealthier, more adventurous lives…and in the process of doing that, I make sure I never have to go in that bloody Jobcentre or any other one like it ever again.