Last week I signed up to Suzy Ashworth’s Message Mastery course. It came at a time when I was feeling a bit vanilla online, that I knew I had to work on my message so that people can get to know the real me! And I’ve been lost in the overwhelm too. Because all my creative life I’ve created content that attracts, but this time I need to work on being more me and so the course was literally a perfect fit.
I’ve started off by diving deep into who I am and understanding the pivotal moments that have shaped my life and also how I show up now for my brave and brilliant clients, who have a really awesome creative talent but feel unsupported on their journey and who I am here to cheerlead on.
1979: THE POWER OF CONNECTIONS
For this, I’m choosing the moment I met my best friend, Hester. I was 3 and she was 5 and had moved around the corner from me, I asked her to come in and see my new, all 70s brown kitchen extension and the rest was history. I don’t know what it was but I had such a big connection with her from the start. She was (and still is) articulate, opinionated, funny, creative and the kindest person I know. I was petrified of cats but the will to go to her house overtook my fear of her tortoiseshell cat Topsy, I was also scared of horses but I was determined to ride with her every week. We spent most of our time out of school together and she was the first person I proudly showed off my holiday photos too, thinking it was totally normal for everyone to be in the buff. Oh how she teased me. Thirty eight years, four kids, miscarriages, marriages, cancer, grief and more, our connection burns as bright as ever. She is one of my favourite people to chat to, I love that we can dive straight into big topics and that we both like to rail against the norm in our own small ways.
I was adopted and an only child and to have this human in my life has been one of the biggest gifts in my life and also set the scene for what connection and relationships mean to me now. That my desire for deep and meaningful connection means I’m not a great acquaintance. I don’t find it easy to give to people unless I have an instant connection with. I would much rather forge deeper, better relations with the people who I truly bond with, and this is reflected in how I work with my clients too. I’m not afraid to say no to someone who isn’t a good fit, or to someone who I think would work better with someone else.
At the same time I stay open-hearted, because I find that when I’m surrounded by the kind of people I want to work with, there is always more room in my heart for those women who I know I can help. Who I’m completely in awe of because they have a big and beautiful talented but just don’t have the support they need to release their gift to their own clients and I know I can help them achieve great things.
1992: COLLEGE DROP OUT + DOING MY OWN THING
The teenage years were for real! I loved the social aspect of school but found the structure and rules mega boring. I hated being pigeon-holed, I loved English and art and French but couldn’t be bothered with anything else. I was popular and had lots of friends but I really didn’t think academic life was for me and this carried on until college.
It was only after being told to leave sixth form and deciding get a job at GAP and to study the stuff I loved at night school. My parents were so supportive of me and had always let me make my own decisions. I remember going to my first Communications Studies class and falling in love with my teacher who introduced herself as Alison rather than Ms Willis. She had purple hair and rode a Harley and taught me all about the language of communication, tales of subcultures and writing for print.
I finally found my THING. Communication for me was everything, and it’s so strongly linked to the connection pivotal moment I described earlier. I just wanted to connect with people, to write and share and talk. And it propelled me to study film and visual media at uni, which I LOVED and then to get my first job, flying around the world teaching journalists to WRITE FOR THE WEB WHEN THAT WAS REALLY A THING!
So making that decision to do my own thing actually set me on the path towards where I am today, it gave me the skills to build my own business and also gave me the confidence to know that it really is OK to think differently, to pursue the path which feels right for us.
2014: THE BIG “C” AND WHAT IT TAUGHT ME
So many pivotal moments during this time! Losing my dad and learning to deal with raw, unflinching grief, having my two girls, meeting THE one and marrying him, setting up a business and a blog, watching my mum die of cancer. But the moment I’m choosing for this is really the bridge between where I was five years ago and where I am now and that is getting diagnosed with mega aggressive breast cancer. I was 37. My kids were 4 and 2. I was nursing my mum through an aggressive and terminal cancer and I was running a multiple six figure business that employed seven people.
I VERY nearly lost my shit but instead I carried on being more me, by making a change rather than going with the path ahead and that’s when we upped the kids, moved to Barcelona, bought a campervan and just decided to live like there was no tomorrow. To have a big life experience was a gift and we loved the challenge. It was the best two years of our lives. Meeting new friends who we will keep forever, learning to speak Spanish and just generally diving deep into the Mediterranean lifestyle.
And looking back, it was these hard times that helped me figure out how I could use ALL my super-powers and passions to help my dream clients. The women who had an awesome creative talent, who broke my heart because they were lacking the love and support they needed to build the life and business that they really want, and who needed the gift that only I can give them to be the wind beneath their wings.