When you’re starting your own business, even if your offer could benefit everybody, you’re advised to define an ‘avatar’ – the one person you want to connect with – and create your marketing to target that person. For many of us in coaching that pretty much means looking in the mirror, because our own life experiences and challenges are likely to be what we’re best qualified to speak about and how we’re best placed to serve.

In my case, it means you’ll be a woman working in a ‘mans world’ such as sales, or engineering, or science, or IT, or construction, or… (fill in the blank).

I’d like to think that in the 21st century these were ancient stereotypes, yet there’s still evidence that:

•  You have to work harder than your male colleagues to get any sort of recognition or promotion;

•  Men get paid more for doing the same job (even if they don’t do it as well as you);

•  You were passed over for promotion despite being better qualified, smarter, more productive;

•  You’ve been accused of being ‘too emotional’ or ‘pushy’ or a ‘ball-breaker’ when a man would have been described as insightful and assertive, a ‘go-getter’.

When I was employed in the corporate world these were all stories I was telling myself (and to some extent they were true). I felt the
injustice, the frustration, the anger, the despair; the shadowy echoes of ‘I’m not enough’ and ‘it’s not fair’ until I realised that I couldn’t change anyone else: I could only change myself, change my own thinking and behaviours. Once I did that my situation began to improve. I got promotions, positive recognition, higher and higher salaries, grander job titles, the best office, more choices.

If I’m honest there was a bit of luck involved – right person, right time, etc – but for ages I’d had a sticky note on my desk to remind me of the old Seneca saying:

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”

Naturally there were bumps along the road to my success and in my industry companies were acquired, jobs made redundant and incomes disappeared overnight. As the breadwinner in our family it would have been easy to drop straight into fear of losing everything, but I had been banking ‘mindset’ resources to build personal resilience. I continued to invest in my own development and set up a company to take on freelance projects in between ‘proper jobs’ to provide some income whilst I began to create my coaching proposition.

Did I fix everything in my own world? Hell no, it’s always a work in progress, but I have been able to consistently move forward as new bumps appeared and get greater clarity on the landscape and roadmap. In recent years the bumps have been about rolling out my coaching program, about being judged as an individual rather than a corporate cog. After a ton of groundwork The Joy Connector® concept was mapped out in 2016, yet it’s taken me four years to get out of my own way enough to tell you about it and I’m still working every day to keep that ball rolling outside of my comfort zone. You see, the more we step up, the more personal work we have to do. Of course, it is possible to reach a comfortable place and stay there, that’s perfectly OK. My choice is to keep building my coaching skills, keep finding ways to serve, keep nudging you to connect deeply to your own inner joy, whatever that means for you.

Listening recently to a Robert Holden presentation for Hay
House, I made a note of this:

“When we show up as we were meant to be, we can change the world.”

“Being who we really are, we bring each other into existence, by seeing each other.”

He described the Zulu philosophy of ubuntu, which came into much wider consciousness back in 2009 through the James Cameron “Avatar” movie. With this in mind, when I look in the mirror to connect with my own avatar, I simply have to say:  “I see you.”