Thoughts Become Things
Was it really all those years ago that I started my own business? I’d always had great jobs and an inspiring and much loved career in the ‘not for profit sector’ where most of my work had entailed being thrown in the deep end, something which suited me entirely. I love been given the autonomy to take something new and shape it, putting my stamp on it and making things happen. Perhaps that’s why, in September 2000, the transition to running my own business was relatively easy. I don’t really think I thought about it in any other way and as you know ‘thoughts bec0me things’.
Balancing Work and Family
I brought to this new life, my skills in senior management, event organisation, fundraising and development and my passions for high standards, excellent customer care and a strong belief in the good of the majority of people. I was taking this step because of the wish to build more balance in my life and to spend more time with my daughter who was then 3. In addition I’d been through nearly 3 years of bullying in the workplace, although until the day I left I wasn’t aware that this is what was going on. Now that might seem rather naive but ‘people like me didn’t get bullied’ and my optimistic nature had always assumed that I could sort it out.
Finding Silver Linings
My home-based business helped those who brought a variety of career and job issues and I soon found that my ‘bullying experience’ was surprisingly common, especially for otherwise well-liked and high-flying women so I felt something good had come out of changing career, for my clients and me. Now, in my role as a career development strategist, I built a very successful business and income, helping many to reinvent themselves after redundancy, find others a career path in life that they felt really suited to and building confidence and self belief.
I became a columnist for the Sunday Express newspaper and for Cosmopolitan magazine and was also regularly asked to contribute to a range of other publications and to appear as an expert on radio. For 3 years I also wrote a regular column for the local Guardian newspaper group where my words reached the inhabitants of at least 5 London boroughs.
WalkersCoach Finds Its Feet
In 2006 I changed direction this time pursuing my passions of both coaching and walking through setting up WalkersCoach. In 1999 I’d taken part in a sponsored trek along the Great Wall of China raising £12,500. This was in the middle of my difficult time in the workplace and the training and the trek were my sanity as I could escape from life and get out there in nature where the perspective was very different.
The benefits of this never left me and in 2005 when I hurt my back and had to give up on the family holiday, I saw this as a message to prioritise me and especially my health. I turned to regular walking and in 6 weeks the difference was amazing. People started asking if I’d been to a spa; they commented on my glow, my toned body, my weight loss and I felt so energised. Since that time, walking has become an integral part of who I am so it will be of no surprise that it features so prominently in my life and work.
Now with my new venture I found myself also needing a physical challenge so I set up and led a team of 16 women to successfully complete a 60km sponsored walk raising £32,000 in the process. From that event, the East End Girls Walking group was established and 6 years later they’re still walking. In the business I started to set up local morning walking groups for women, trained many people to get fit for charity treks and also continued working with individual business women through ‘walk and talk’ sessions.
Then in January 2009 when things on the walking front were quiet, I began to work with my partner in his growing business helping with follow up and strategy and taking over the role of Business Manager later that year. My input here has had a huge impact on MediaCoach, raising our profile, increasing both the income and client list and giving us much greater clarity and direction. We’re now regularly working with large global brands and specialising in Reputation Management – in February 2012 MediaCoach will be presenting in Bejing and holding meetings to develop our reach out there.
In 2011, as well as laying the foundations for my Kickass 2012, I was introducing more women to my love of walking, this time I trained about 13 Athena members, the Athena Angels, to get fit and take part in Maggie’s Night Hike. All 13 members had an amazing time and raised around £5000.
All through this business evolution, I’ve continued to grow and develop, investing in my own personal and business development by working with a range of coaches and mentors to help me achieve. I’ve strengthened my values and vision and have come to a place in life where I feel really comfortable in my own skin and truly authentic.
Now I’m excited to be relaunching WaringWell which brings together my wealth of experience to date, my knowledge; my learnings so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel and also my continuing learning of which there will be lots in 2012. I will be sharing all of this with my clients who are determined to make things happen, to live the life they want and in the way they want it.
Through workshops, webinars and teleclasses; one to one programmes and consultations, events and a range of resources there will be a way for those of you who have the vision and the commitment, to work with me and move forward. I’m the rocket behind your business keeping you on track and focussed on what you said you wanted to do.
In the year ahead, as well as working directly with individuals, I’ll continue to write for a number of local magazines and publications on walking and business issues. I’ll also be attending and promoting the wonderful Athena Network which I’ve been a member of for over 4 years. This network is a great way to develop and to give back too and it provides me with a great vehicle for my business.
2012 will see me run more of my very successful blogging workshops, set up a range of additional high value workshops and webinars, increase my time on stage and hold the first ‘Experience’ in France for my female SME clients. I’ll also be getting more involved in additional networking with other groups and organisations.
…And furthering my own intentions, I plan to have reached the half way point on my amazing 1000 mile journey from Le Puy en Velay in France to Santiago de Compostella in Spain.