While meeting with a client yesterday she told me,
“You are not at all what you appear like on social media”
And I was like “oh no here we go”, here was me thinking I am Mrs Authentic herself, showing everyone exactly who I am, warts and all.
“Tell me more” I enquired…almost through gaps in my fingers…afraid to hear what she really thought.
“Well…you are much smarter than how you come across”
“Like you know so much, and you have this real ability to get to the heart of what an issue is”
Now of course I am paraphrasing here, as I was hardly going to whip out a note book and write it down word for word.
But basically she was trying to say that although I come across as authentic, down to earth, a “Cheeky Chappy East End Girl” (her exact words) what wasn’t coming across was my experience and expertise.
And I think she is right.
I have been so focussed on people seeing my personality and the kind of person I am, perhaps I’ve neglected to blow my own trumpet and share the unique skill set I have. The knowledge that I have. The diverse lived experience that I use to influence my work and help my clients.
Why do I do that?
So some things you might not know about me
- I have a first class degree with honours (One of only two people in my graduating class of 2000 cohort)
- I have a Masters in Multimedia Design, Technology and Cultures
- I had my first project management job on a community arts programme when I was 16
- I set up a community arts company called Urban 8 Creative Solutions while I was still at University
- I worked for around 8 years with hard to reach young people on housing estates in East London and Essex
- I worked as a practising artist, video maker, trainer and consultant with diverse communities
- I managed the award-winning Newham Volunteers Programme
- I influenced volunteer policy on the London 2012 GamesMaker Programme working with government officials and the organising committee
- I was Olympic Development Manager for 2 years for an East London borough, working on anything from cultural policy to dustbin collection, and traffic light phasing
- I managed a 10 million pound sports programme for young people in East London called Sports Unlimited
- I managed artists as part of a multimillion-pound programme with the Royal Opera House across the Thames Gateway
- I have been made redundant 4 times in 10 years, often as part of funding cuts or public sector restructuring
- After hitting rock bottom…I set up and grew a plus size fitness business single-handedly while in the middle of becoming a single parent…attracting clients in more than 40 countries
- I got into the top 10 of a Richard Branson business competition out of 6000+ UK businesses
- Self-published 8 books, many of which remain best sellers in their niche
- I have secured PR opportunities around the world, appearing on major TV stations in the UK and US, and being the face of global sports events
- I secured £60,000 worth of funding to pilot Too Fat to Run in one of the countries poorest boroughs
Oh and in the last 10 years I’ve
- Run 5 marathons, 40+ half marathons, taken part in Triathlons, Tough Mudders, Ultra Marathons, and various other races.
And there is probably heaps more I could share too.
Other things which make my move towards supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses with business strategy seem more fitting….and not just something I’ve done on a whim.
Now trust me that was not an opportunity for me to show off….but that comment from my client really shook me.
It made me realise that even me…the woman who encourages others to think big and not hide their talents, still misses the mark, still plays small, still minimises her achievements.
I’ve seen me do it in the company of others recently too, not wanting to show off, not wanting to be the one who says “been there, done that”, not wanting to take over.
All goes back to those childhood comments of,
“Nobody likes a show off Julie”
So here’s my call to action to you.
Are you holding yourself back too? Are you giving people the option to underestimate you by now being explicit about the skills and experiences you have that might be able to help people?
Look it doesn’t matter whether I am supporting women who want to run, women who want to fly, or women who want to take over the world…my skills are relevant.
I help people to truly scope out what is possible in their business and in their life. I help people to scale up, to stand up for what they believe in, and to show off and share the talents and skills they have with the world….ultimately to make it a better world.
So yes I am 100% qualified to do the work I do.
And no longer will I be hiding behind my cheeky chappy, east end girl done good disguise.
If you have been following me and my work for a while and you too have been a bit like, “hmmm I didn’t know all of that about you” and are now thinking perhaps we should work together.
Get in touch.
For business owners (or wanna be business owners) the next round of my Tribe Builder Programme starts again in September, but I do in person development days in East London if you are interested in getting my eyes on your business ideas and challenges. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
But if you are looking to explore more broadly what playing small looks like for you, or more importantly what living bigger could, then I am about to start a new 6 week coaching programme for women called STOP PLAYING SMALL which you can sign up for here.