Stop dismissing your past lives (what did you do before this business?)

I’ve been thinking a lot about our past lives. Not in a reincarnation sense, but in a what-did-you-do-before-this-business sense. I think we don’t give ourselves enough credit for all that came before and how unique that makes us in what we can share with those who work with us.

What I did before

You know, I didn’t pop right out of school knowing what I would do with the rest of my life and I’m guessing you didn’t either. In addition to the various day jobs I’ve had, I’ve tried a number of side hustles. At first, I thought it made sense to use my skills of constantly correctly spelling and grammar (I was a *lot* more neurotic in my 20s) and hired myself out as an editor for international students’ university papers with some success. I was a fast typist thanks to qualifying as a secretary in my gap year, something that was an unusual choice at the time compared to my pals who went travelling but has stood me in amazing stead ever since, so I have never regretted doing it. So I hired myself out as a transcriber for Ph.D. interviews and earned excellent money but the lack of life thanks to a hectic schedule became too much in addition to my day job.

I got heavily involved in a meditation teaching for 10 years and contributed a lot of time to volunteering for them in kitchens, meeting halls, and social media marketing in Sweden and India. And of course there was my dabble in community activisim where I was on German and Italian TV to save the houseboat community where I lived in London from being evicted, and the boats are still there, on the Thames, 10+ years later. And let’s not forget the period where I lived in the Himalayas teaching English to Tibetan monks teaching Beatles songs as part of teaching them the present continuous tense.

In the years since university, I’ve been a PA, marketing manager, blogger, app developer, teacher, editor, database designer, SEO and marketing consultant, web designer, writer and so much more.

You’ll find very little about any of this on my LinkedIn profile because I didn’t think any of that counted! I actively removed it from my profile when I launched my business full-time. How wrong I was and I’m happy to admit it now because it’s a lesson to share.

These have all produced stories and experiences in and of themselves but it got me thinking about all of you.

You’ve had adventures, past jobs, experiences to share. Maybe you’re reluctant for fear of judgement, or fear of not being able to relate it to what you do. Maybe you are dismissing your experience as not valid, just like I used to do.

What you can do

Every single one of those roles and responsibilities whether paid or not has massively contributed to what I offer today. It’s helped shape the way I share what I do, how I teach my clients and members, and how I run my business.

This was one of the biggest things to come out of the Great Pivot reflection work I was doing was no longer dismissing all the experiences I’ve had, whilst at the same time not trying to incorporate it all into my future. 

And yet…when sales are quieter (as they have been, whilst I’ve been filling my life with all sorts of joys), I’ve realised it can be tempting sometimes when sales aren’t going well to dismiss what we know and try to start again. To dismiss what we know. To use a slightly odd metaphor, it can be tempting to throw the baby out with the bathwater and want to start again instead of examining why things aren’t going well and what we can do about it.

This might tempt us down the path of thinking we’re not good enough to be selling what we’re offering (which I talked about in last week’s blog here) but this is far from the case. 

We have a business because we have skills and we have the enthusiasm to share those skills with others. It doesn’t have to be any grander than that. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be as simple as asking yourself 3 simple questions:

  1. What skills do you love to share/are you passionate about? (It doesn’t have to be all of the skills you’ve ever learned, you can keep some for yourself and still be a great human)
  2. Which aspects of your skills are the ones you’d do differently if you were starting over brand new?
  3. What would you do in your business if you weren’t worried about the ‘how’ of doing it? If the tech and sales were guaranteed, what would be different?

These are the 3 initial questions I’d love you to consider because in this line, I’m launching a new program called Teach What You Know where I’m on a mission to help people become better at teaching what they do, with a view to launching their own workshops, course or membership. There’s so much overwhelming information out there, it’s time to put some quality education in place for us all.

You can sign up to the waiting list and read the basic outline of what you’ll learn here

Got a question? Come ask me on Instagram or email me here.

Maddy x

Maddy x
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Maddy Shine - Visibility Expert