They say you should never meet your heroes. But when one of them is a life coach, you can’t help but hope they’ll be as encouraging and interesting in person as they are in print.
So I was delighted to meet author Fiona Harrold at this year’s Best You Expo in London; she was every bit as brilliant as I’d hoped she would be.
Fiona is the author of one of my favourite books, Be Your Own Life Coach. She has transformed the lives and fortunes of many individuals and businesses, and the book is an inspiring read.
About Be Your Own Life Coach
First, just a little background about the book. I’ll keep it brief as I’ve covered this before, in a previous blog.
Beginning with the importance of setting goals …Life Coach provides practical tips for achieving personal and professional dreams. Central to Fiona’s approach is the defeat of limiting beliefs and her conviction that anyone can do anything if they believe it strongly enough.
She believes self-esteem is a vital part of happiness and part of the mission of the book is to teach the reader how to change their view of themselves – with practical exercises included.
Surviving in a changing world
When I watched Fiona speak at the Best You Expo, she spoke of how she took some time off from coaching after her books became publishing phenomena, meaning she was away from the coal face during the global financial crisis.
When she returned to the front lines of business coaching in 2011 she was astonished by how much the world had changed. She noted that everybody has to work much harder, and that you only get paid if you provide a solution. She now helps businesses (and individuals) to differentiate themselves in a demanding market.
Here are the key lessons I’ve taken from Fiona’s books, videos and public speaking over the years, and how I feel some of her themes can be applied to a business or an individual when applying for a job, or interviewing.
It’s important to have a brand. Stand for something. Know what you’re good at. As Fiona says, ask yourself why anyone should do business with you. The answer to those questions is the core of your brand.
On any scale, from an international business to a graduate job seeker looking for their first role, it’s essential to know what makes you different or notable. If you can speak to people’s problems and offer a solution – all the better. This is where you can differentiate.
Young people self-publicising their digital marketing or creative skills on Instagram or free blog sites. Authors and pop artists who are superstars on social media. Celebrity comics who consciously devote their wit and creative energy to their digital followers in between tours.
The era of the brand has coincided with, been facilitated and at least partly engineered by social media. With so much noise, so many voices and so many choices, we’re in the era of self-promotion.
This applies to businesses, of course – but also to job seekers, though they don’t all have to go to these extremes. (Many young creatives do). And the greater your individual (or organisational) expertise, the more opportunity you have to develop a great brand and promote it: the greater your expertise, the more social platforms and content sharing can work for you.
Challenge your comfort zone
I enjoyed watching Fiona speaking with Mirela Sula, on The Global Woman Show (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWRdROFC-C8).
Amongst other things, she discusses the idea that the world today breeds fear, so it is hard not to cleave to security. Her own life changed when she challenged her attachment to status and security.
She describes the process of overcoming an obsession with money and security, and changing tack so that she instead approached her business from a position of being motivated by helping others. Re-casting her life in this way allowed her to live differently. She still felt safe, but it was nothing to do with money.
There is no better way to grow than to take on new challenges and do things you’ve never done before. Whether you’re a business owner or someone looking for a new job, new experiences and new skills will make you more employable. Next time you doubt your ability to take on either, remind yourself of this: there are people no cleverer and no less afraid than you who are pushing themselves right now to do things that you could do. And they will benefit in the long term.
So why not just go for it and acquire that new skill, learn that new technology, accept that public speaking invitation, attend that networking event?
Purpose trumps money
Let’s be realistic: a strong sense of purpose in itself won’t pay your mortgage. Everyone needs money.But money for its own sake is rarely a happy motivator. Both Fiona Harrold and Simon Sinek talk about the importance of finding purpose in what you do.
If money is your only motivator, it will show. Find something you love to do so much that money is your secondary motivator, and you’ll be more fulfilled than if you’re only in it for the cash. And that means you won’t feel so much like you’re working.
Here’s a link to Fiona Harrold’s fantastic “Be your own life coach”, but I recommend all her books equally: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Be-Your-Own-Life-Coach/dp/0340770643
Fiona Harrold’s website: