Well, it has been an exciting 10 days. Early last week we got back from our holiday in Barbados and of course, you arrive back to a million emails and other stuff that needs to be sorted. And I wasn’t very well. And then I had to drag myself down to the Professional Speakers Academy – where I was spending Friday and Saturday training professional speakers to hone their skills.
I was wishing I didn’t have to go because I was pretty tired and definitely had too much to do. However, I am very glad I did, as something totally unexpected and really amazing happened on Saturday.
Before I tell you what that was – you may know this story but if not – let me take you back with me to June 2012. If you had been with me we would have been sitting in a hotel seminar room in London, having just listened to the first speaker at a ‘How To Be A Successful Author’ weekend.
I was with my friend Ellie – a very pretty dark haired girl who used to be blond, and very Mancunian. She is one of my fave people, and best friends, and very funny without meaning to be. She has – what we affectionately call – Elly-isms – which are when she mixes up words. For an example – she once saw a huge heron type bird out of the office window (I think it was actually a heron), and exclaimed – “Oh My God – that looks like a Derrytactil (pterodactyl). Or – when discussing sexism once, she stated “Yeah, I’m not a fan of Nethanderols” (Neanderthals).
Anyway – we were just discussing whether we would stay and listen to the next speaker since it was on ‘public speaking’ and we had come to learn about writing a book. I was a confident and experienced public speaker, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to give it 10 minutes and then make a decision to have a long lunch. Lol.
Well, 1 minute in and I was hooked. As I watched this short cocky guy on stage, captivating the audience, and appearing to speak directly to me, I realised that I had to learn how to do what he was doing. I thought I was good before that day. About 10 minutes in to his 90 minute slot, I knew I could be much much better.
And so I signed up to do Andy Harrington’s Public Speakers University. It was the most money I had ever spent on myself in terms of personal development and I didn’t have time to go on his next course, so it was the November PSU that I attended.
It changed my business and my life forever.
What Andy taught me was not so much about public speaking (although that was clearly a big part of it). The things that made it invaluable to me were the additional things that changed in me as a result of his system. A lot of what he teaches is mindset. And very closely linked to that is actually having a proper structure to what you are doing/selling/creating – a structure that allows you to scale.
I came away from that weekend with a different perspective and one that allowed me to open Strategy Social Media in June 2015 and grow it to a team of 11 and 6 figure t/o in just 18 months. More importantly than that – I now own a business rather than the business owning me. Everything is systemized and delegated and the people trained up to do more and more, so that the busier we get, the less busy and the more clarity I have.
I spend my time doing stuff that I love. And one of the things I love is to coach. I coach people on growing their businesses, I coach how to write and create an Amazon best seller. And for the last 4 years I have been one of Andy’s coaches at the Professional Speakers Academy – people who go on from their 4 day “University” to continue their learning and development at a higher level. I coach at University and Academy level and also for the last 2 years at Elite level – which is, as it sounds, for those people who want to either make a career of speaking or of selling from stage.
So, why do I tell you all this? Well, for one thing – to make the point it is never too late to change, grow and do things differently. If I had started my first business the way I started my current business, I would have been a millionaire long ago! (I’m not there yet but it is now something I consider a possibility not a pipe dream).
But the main reason, is so that you will understand what it means to me when I tell you that every year (last Saturday) the Academy holds an awards dinner. There were 18 categories with about 5-7 nominees in each. The one category that had about 40 nominations was the (in terms the outside world will understand) Global Coach of the Year Award. When I saw how many names there were, I didn’t hold out a single hope of winning the award, and settled back to see which of my deserving colleagues it was.
Andy’s voice told a tale of hard work, creativity and perseverance and then I heard him say “she puts 100% commitment in and gets great results for her own business and her mentees. I am pleased to tell you, the winner is……Carole Fossey”.
Have you ever been shocked? In a nice way?
Suddenly I went from ‘I’ve not got a chance’ to ‘Oh My God, this means so much to me’. It’s a bit like waiting for your O level results (GCSE’s to you, youngster!) and thinking you have done badly and pretending to yourself that it doesn’t matter (which, in fact, it actually really doesn’t) and then finding out you got great grades. Yes, that is the possibly the last time I felt so surprised and pleased!!
As I was walking down to collect my rewards I thought – I am either going to cry, or I’m doing a dance down the aisle (so I chose the latter). And I also thought – ‘What a responsibility’. I now HAVE to up my game even more. My mentees think they have the best coach in the world – so I better make sure that is what I goddamn give them. They also expect to continue to see my business grow and develop at a rapid rate, so they can feel secure in knowing I can help them grow theirs.
And the final thing I thought is – I had better start taking better care of myself – so I can make all of the above happen.
So here it is – Global Award Winning Coach! Like most people who seem to be an ‘overnight’ success – it took years of effort and ‘failing’ to finally understand how to ‘win’. Thanks for reading, and allowing me a little self-indulgence. I promise – next week’s blog will be back to giving great value and advice to help you grow your business.