Success is like dress sizes. Not all of them will suit you.

It takes hard work and maybe even a little soul searching to find the kind of 'happy' that we all long for.

Everybody defines success differently and with the new year just having started, it's the perfect time to discover your own, unique definition. Start now, Speak up, Don't Get stuck... this talk will help you put your plans in action. 


At the beginning of the New Year I started reminiscing, as you do, about the past and at which stage I felt the happiest. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that, actually, it's right now! When we're young, success tends to be defined by wealth and status. How much money we have, how famous we are. CEO’s of large corporations, or celebrities are classed as our successful role-model's. But success doesn’t have to be defined by all of these things, nor, for most of us anyway, is that the kind of success that will make us truly happy. In fact success isn’t always out of our reach. Its right here for the taking.

This article is based on a talk I recently held, on the different shapes and sizes of success and how I discovered the one that suited me best……

I’m a Mum. But I’m also a web designer, artist, blogger, jogger, colour enthusiast and Design Director. I’m not just a mum or just a design director but a whole rainbow of other things in between.

Our strengths, as well as experiences and passions, shape the person that we are. I like to call these human qualities my inner superpowers and when you combine them with your external skills, you shine! Yet, the moment we get to work, it seems like we just pop all that in a box and simply get on with the job. But why is that? Just think about it… when have you produced your best work? Been most passionate? Or enjoyed it the most? When you let your superpowers slip out of the box and ran with it, right? And didn't it feel great?

Discover these inner superpowers and don't be afraid to use them. That's the real secret to success! Well, the kind that will make you happy anyway.

So, how did I discover mine?

I’m the youngest in a family of boys.
My career advice just didn't feel right in my mind, so I left school early.
When I finally discover design, I had to work really hard to get into Art College so I produced a beautiful array of potato prints! (Obviously the most underrated art form as, for some reason, they saw potential - bit like reading tea-leaves perhaps.) Everything was going well until the time to graduate from my degree came and I realised that the tutor was actually giving good grades for big tits. As I was never going to succeed, I left again.

I did some work experience, then found a job or two before starting in the web industry in '95. I started to work for Shell then BP, before going to Ecuador to set up an internet café where I thought: 'This is it. I've arrived.' But that bubble burst. So I came back, set up a t-shirt business, stopped when it was getting too successful for me to cope with and then moved back into the web industry. After working for some more companies, and leaving leaving them, I finally set up my own company, but... it burnt down. So after that I renamed it 'Phoenix'. I had a beautiful baby, then had another, then sold it - 'Phoenix', not the baby! Took a sabbatical around India, and perhaps it was the sun or, more likely, a metamorphosis from the baby years, but I woke up one morning with an energy. I had unearthed my superpowers and I had something to prove.

I came to the realisation that it was ok to speak up, that normal isn’t always right, and that, although education is important, so is passion and determination. I learnt that the word 'no' didn’t really matter and that maybe, if I hadn’t been so busy doing and driving, I could have veered away from the obstacles that I encountered along the way rather than running from them. Kids teach you perspective, planning and management. By letting all of this in, it made me realise that I could make a difference.

At this stage the opportunity to set up a creative department for an IT company came up, which is where I am now the design director and an integral part of the changes that we are making to our team structures and connections between departments. Like anything it has its challenges, but I am very lucky to have the right work life balance. Both to have fun and be in a position to get off my arse and make a difference. To inspire, guide and, I hope, nurture.

To me this is success... I don’t want to rule the world. But I do want recognition for what I do, fulfilment, a good salary, time with my kids and to make a difference. Don’t we all?

So when I was asked to come up with 3 tips on how to grab the success you’re after, I decided on:

1. Start now

Sometimes I wonder what I was doing with my time in my 20’s, other than spending it in the pub. It’s true that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. So start now, do stuff, learn stuff, try stuff.

2. Speak up

Yup. No one is going to do it for you. Challenge, encourage, suggest, remember that you have these superpowers somewhere inside you and speaking up will drive you and your work forward to make it better.

3. Don’t get stuck

When I was young I set myself goals: Never wear a suit, never pay for the toilet and make your hobby your job. Well, I sometimes renege on the first 2 in dire situations, but we work in such a young, exciting and changing industry where we can really make a difference. So if you don’t love it, try points 1 and 2. If you still don’t love it then perhaps you picked the wrong hobby.

To sum this all up, you don’t have to have a baby to discover your super powers, but I really believe that knowing them will give you the confidence to get the sort of success that will make you truly happy. It's a new year, so start now! Speak up and don’t get stuck.
It worked for me!


If you are interested in discussing a speaking opportunity please get in touch.