March 19, 2020

How to find your confidence

The missing link by Lou Kirby @WomanReadyblog

Confidence is a funny thing, don’t you find? Sometimes you can feel positive, happy, fulfilled, unstoppable, calm, attractive. Other days, the total opposite; unworthy, self-critical, anxious, ugly, not good-enough.

Lack of confidence is something that affects many women. It’s estimated that 60% suffer from imposter syndrome at some point in their life. Imposter syndrome, if you’ve not heard of it, is that feeling that someone will find you out to be a ‘fraud’, that you don’t deserve the success you’ve achieved.

My own confidence has been up and down. It took a particular ‘beating’ after I had my children and returned to work. I remember thinking, who am I and what am I doing? It was totally unsettling and made me doubt who I was. This feeling stayed with me for a long time and I really battled with it.

Quietly Confident

My kids are older now; my eldest is a teenager and I’ve found myself to be, what I would call, quietly confident. I’m comfy in my skin. I like who I am. I know what I like and don’t like, who I’m happy to give my precious time to and I don’t feel that I need to ‘impress’ people like I did in my earlier years. And that’s a nice place to be.

So, between the ‘who am I’ and the ‘comfy in my skin’ stage, a few things happened. I got to the point though where I thought there had to be a better way of being, of living. I decided I wanted to do something about it. If I was privileged enough to be here in another 20/30/40 years, then I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t my biggest critic!

So, I started talking to lots of other women. It became clear, that many of us were suffering from lack of confidence in some part of our lives – be it work, relationships, social life or how we felt about our bodies. There was that general belief that we weren’t quite good-enough!

What Would You Have Done In Your Life, With More Confidence?

One of my favourite questions to ask them was, ‘what would you have done in your life, with more confidence?’ The answers I heard weren’t around achieving really big goals – the climbing Mount Everest type goals – for example – but examples of everyday events.

Here’s what they said.

  • Applied for jobs that I thought were beyond my reach.
  • Stopped worrying so much about events, circumstance, people’s opinions of me.
  • Done more public speaking.
  • The amount of time spent in advance preparing for a confrontation or situation would have been minimised.
  • Learnt to drive earlier.
  • Asked for a pay rise and asked more often.
  • Enjoyed meeting people.
  • Less influenced by others.
  • Ended relationships sooner.
  • Worn different clothes and be more comfortable with my body.

This is a really interesting question to ask yourself. Have a think about what your answer would be.

As a result of the above, I wanted to help other women feel more positive about who they were and I set up womanready.com & re-trained as a coach – more in the Bio.

The Inner Critic

Whatever our age, it seems that our inner critic, is forever present, holding us back and chastising us. One of my biggest fears was regret; regret that I’ll would reach a certain age and realise that I hadn’t lived a full life because of this inner voice. Not because of someone else but because of ME!

It’s Time To Stop! Confidence is something that you have to work on. I know you probably don’t want to hear that though! There is no magic pill that will transform you into an assertive, confident woman. You need to be willing to put some work in to fan those flames of self-confidence again.

At various stages of our lives, we can easily slip into the comfort zone trap. I’ve seen it happen so many times and it’s so easy to do. When we get comfortable with our life (which can be lovely, right!), we tend to not push ourselves; we tend to stick with what we know. And then our desire to try something new (something that we may have done without hesitation a few years ago) dwindles. And then this cycle repeats itself.

Take Action

Action = confidence. You have to start doing things; things that you are a little nervous of. And if you’re a little scared, so what? Recognise the emotion and then do it (feel the fear and do it scared). You are so much more than you think you are.

Start taking those little steps forward. And you’ll find that those little, positive steps, all mount up to something bigger.

I read this somewhere (sorry I can’t remember the source) – “One day you’ll wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Do it now.”

Bio

Lou is founder of Woman Ready (womanready.com) which is an online platform helping women to recognise their potential, embrace who they are (as they are) and believe in themselves more. She is also a qualified professional coach helping women to live happier, more content lives.

If you'd like the opportunity to win an online place on the

WomanReady "30 Days to Happier You" worth £39, pop over to my Instagram to enter. Make sure you're following Lou and I on instagram and tag a friend who you think would like this too.

The winner will be randomly chosen on Friday 27th March 9am. Good luck!

(Per instagram rules, this promotion is in no way sponsored, administered or associated with Instagram inc.)

Keep being fabulous!
Rachel x

February 23, 2020

How an image coach can renew your confidence.

Listen to your inner voice and don't be afraid to question her" by Sara Marsden-Shreeve

This weeks Monday motivation comes from award winning colour, style and confidence consultant Sara Marden-Shreeve at The Image Tree. Sara is not your average image consultant, using her degree in psychology and coaching qualifications , Sara helps women build their confidence from the inside and out. I love her motto "Rock what you've already got" and this weeks post is a reminder to us all to be kinder to ourselves and to listen to that inner voice too!

"There I am aged 12, stood in the gym at our schools’ annual Christmas country dancing seasonal treat in darkest deepest Winter...yes you heard right bizarre eh? When I think about it now, I still feel a little gip in my stomach.

It was the usual scenario of girls one side and boys the other in which the popular "lotharios" got to strut their confidence and choose their bottle green clad damsel in a pencil skirt. How romantic?

I was usually one of the stragglers at the end, awkwardly looking at her scuffed shoes whilst the remaining boys chose with equal embarrassment and shame. You know... the usual demeaning stuff on the mean road to adulthood.

Everyone got to dance with everyone else as you’re passed from pillar to post and got to swing around and do the ‘dosey- doh’ and so on.. it beat sitting in lessons on a Friday afternoon I guess!

Well, towards the end of the afternoon I moved up the rows and eventually got to partner with one of THE top lads in the year, Mr Popularity himself. I literally gulped in my very soul. At this point, he quite loudly scoffed to his surrounding mates and groupies on my approach, whilst the teacher was pratting around with the stereo system, that it would be best that he not get too close ( to me) in case he caught and I quote “ugly disease”.

I remember feeling an inner burn; something had fizzled inside me.. the remnants of my self-confidence died and as you well know, there isn’t much to go around anyway in teenage-dom.

The rest of the remaining hour felt like an eternity and I wanted to go home and shrivel up into a ball of nothingness and as fast as possible. Fingers were being pointed and whispers were rife in that gym hall that day.

Needless to say, after that I felt the same sad void for some good ooh 18 years and the 'uglyness' tag continued to hang, plus, what with the acne, the scarcity of boyfriends and the body changes it was all an even slower burn. I think it would be fair to say that I “fell out with myself”, didn’t like me as it were, felt pretty well “flawed” somehow. One stupid comment from one moron took my spark! My arch nemesis ‘the negative belief’ was born. Boom!

As with most of us, life deals you a few shitty hands that seem to scar, but yet we are also delivered great stuff with the other but, we just don’t seem to relish them as much, you know like your first love, trying new things and feeling accomplished at something. Instead, we hang onto the negative, the poisonous things that bury themselves into our very core and stop us becoming truly happy or doing/being…you know ‘that thing’ we’re supposed to do or be. We all have it we just sometimes choose to ignore it because of fear of failure and getting sucked into believing it's all true and we can't or we're not worth it.

So you know what, out of nowhere, at the age of 35, I decided one morning that I was not going to return to Civil Engineering (my current job at the time, which I loved actually) and I was going to do something about me for me, but what?! Whether an angel had whispered these thoughts in my sleep or the universe had taken me by the hand in my dreams the night before, I do not know, but I was about to experience a shift!

I was still on maternity leave with my second child at this time and I felt I was drowning in nappies, housework and monotony. A time that I now see gave me unconditional love partnered with true reflection and the time to see what life can actually bring... family. To be honest, our journey to having a family was straught with miscarriage and loss so you can see how making the decision to do something in life was so inherent. No more victim, I needed to start listening to those crappy inside voices and tell them to shut the hell up and sit down, I'd brought lives into the world for god sake.

So to cut a long story short I realised that my future had always been there, sitting right under my nose, but had not really seen it or even looked for it.

I loved colour, loved fashion, loved people and how they ticked (I have a BA Hons in Applied Social Science) so I was going to learn how to build confidence through learning how to like me and my body again and give it the blummin respect it so deserved! Well-fitting clothes, my own style, flattering colours and love for just being me were my agenda. That way I could pass it on to others whom I know shared the same feelings about themselves and they too would be able to do something about it. Plant those positive seeds as it were...

I qualified via First Impressions in Warwick, first just as a Colour Consultant and then later on as a fully- fledged Image Consultant, I then went onto set up The Image Tree back in 2013. I built my own website, went on fab courses and learned to Blog, use Social Media and get myself out there and join networking groups full of inspiring women.

Through listening, acting on and meeting fabulous people and clients, I now sit on the Style Guru team at Henpicked, frequently speak on BBC radio , work with many local businesses/ larger corporates, collaborate with confidence building brands, present at seminars and even won some awards. Heck I'm even one part of a trio of women entrepreneurs who set up a local networking group with a twist WiRE (Women in Rural Enterprise) to help support and teach other women in business.

A few years ago I also added NLP to my skillset so that I can provide a Coaching string to aid Positive Mind-set further and provide the whole top to toe, inside and out services to any woman who wants to start their Style and Confidence journey. I'm also a massive lover and user of Positive Psychology and have truly niched myself by supplying an holistic approach to Image, because of it's proven powerful effects on myself and other women. Most of my closest colleagues are all practitioners and specialists within the Health, Wellness and Self Care Industry so we all bounce and support off each other. Cool eh?

So if you thought the whole Image Consultancy thing was a shallow, materialistic based service, which those not in the know think, then you'd be hugely mistaken. For me, being an Image Coach educates and delivers you and your confidence back to you on a plate, with a side order of ‘Love’. That’s just the catalyst that starts the ball rolling and hopefully sparks other things.

My personal experience combined with my learnings, new friends and my message throughout social media in general has become ingrained in me for the positive and continues to do so.

So the moral of this story,... remember to take the time to stop sometimes and enjoy your lot, listen to your inner voice and don't be afraid to question her. Once you start practising saying kinder things to yourself and appreciating what you do have, the crappy stuff eventually quietens down. ...learn to love the shit out of yourself.

Did that last phrase make you feel uneasy? If it did, then you've probably developed a block and feel you don't deserve to do it or may feel it's a tad "vain"? You know, it's ok to feel like that because we're not used to doing it, heck we cant even received compliments half the time, so you see it isn’t narcissistic at all and no one even needs to know you give yourself a hug at night or look in the mirror and give a cheeky wink. “Small tweaks tailor transformations”.

Cherish the positive stuff about you and try to brush the self-sabotaging stuff aside, a bit at a time. Your beliefs are just beliefs and aren’t even based on fact, heck they've probably been planted there by some moron at a country dancing lesson in bleak winter, so don’t let them rule you they mean nothing.

By the way before you cast your mind back to that fateful afternoon, I've since seen Mr Popular and I can hand on heart say that he is still a moron only much much bigger and yes I do believe in Karma. The aging process has not been kind."

Sara Marsden-Shreeve

The Image Tree
Award Winning Image Consultant, Coach and Body Positive Advocate

Original article https://www.the-imagetree.co.uk/post/2018/05/29/sticks-and-stones-built-my-business

Keep being fabulous
Rachel x

February 1, 2020

Body confidence on camera.

Body Talk exhibition with Shy Burham photography & poet Sharena Lee Sattit

Many women still feel very uncomfortable talking about their bodies, particularly in a positive manner. We are all so good at complimenting others but often struggle to show self love and appreciation of our own bodies. Photographer Shy Burhan and Poet Sharena Lee Satti came together to create an exhibition breaking this taboo and celebrating body confidence. Women from diverse backgrounds were invited to submit three words describing what they love about their bodies before being photographed by Shy. Sharena then wrote a beautiful poem called 'She is a goddess' inspired by those photographs.

Opening night was a sell out and it so lovely to see the women showing friends and family their photographs proudly hanging on the walls at Kala Sangram in Bradford. Shy ended up with 58 women, she originally asked for 52 to represent each week of the year but had such a positive response she didn't want to turn anyone down. I love that all the women were truly diverse and different, a true reflection on women in society today. Wouldn't it be great if those people who organise fashion and beauty advertising came to events like to see what true representation looks like.

There is something very moving about seeing women embracing their bodies coming together to celebrate. It's so important that we have creative people bringing projects like this to life to help break down body confidence issues and improve our mental wellbeing.

The exhibition will run until 3rd April and I'm looking forward to then buying my own art installation cylinder, it's going to become our new wine cooler and certainly a new topic of conversation!

The word joy sums up the art installations as part of the exhibition, the 58 women all look so different but so happy and free to express themselves. It was such fun shooting with Shy for this project, lots of movement and laughter.

I'll leave you with this beautiful poem "She is a goddess' written and performed by poet Sarena Lee Sattit. The opening night performance saw this poem accompanied by a beautiful dancer, it was a very moving moment.

 

What three words would you use to describe why you love your body?

Mine were.

Gratitude, Strength and Acceptance.

Rachel x

August 28, 2019

Body confidence after 40

Let them stare

I spent so many years dreading the summer holidays, stressing myself out months before with fad diets and manic exercise to reach the unobtainable perfect bikini body. I can't tell you how liberating it is to be free from this now and I really want to inspire other women, particularly over 40 to stop worrying and start enjoying the summer more, just as they are.

What better way to make that statement and continue to challenge my own body confidence by doing a shoot in a lingerie shop window!

Rachel Peru, wearing Empriente swimwear, photographed by Silverymoon Photography

If we saw more women over represented with swimwear brands in advertising perhaps we would all feel a lot more positive about our own bodies. One lady recently left a comment on my social media saying, "I will be 45 soon and I don't feel represented in anyway. I feel women in their forties are invisible". I hear these kind of comments from women all the time and it drives me mad that advertising is making us feel this way. That's my driving force in doing what I am doing.

River Island swimwear, model Rachel Peru, Silverymoon Photography

I think it's important to acknowledge I wasn't always this body confident, infact it has taken me until I reached my forties to feel this way. It's been a gradual process, gained by constantly challenging my insecurities and it's ongoing.

A massive thank you to Debbie at The Fitting Rooms, Ilkley for letting me take over her shop window for the afternoon. https://www.facebook.com/TheFittingRoomIlkley

Boo Hoo swimsuit, Rachel Peru, Trudy Beau Stylist, Silverymoon Photography.

Let them stare, it's time to stop worrying about what other people think and enjoy life right now.

Pour Moi bikini, Rachel Peru, SilveryMoon photography

"Despite knowing they won't be here for long, they still choose to live their brightest lives"

#rupikaur This sums up my thought on life perfectly, no more wasting time on worrying about my imperfections and lumps and bumps. This is me!

Top New Look, Bottoms Miss.Guided, Rachel Peru, Trudy Beau Stylist, Silverymoon Photography
I can't thank the team that worked on this with me enough #dreamteam

Photographer Mya Fawcett https://www.silverymoonphotography.co.uk/about.html

Videographer https://en-gb.facebook.com/aFletcherFilm/

Stylist https://www.facebook.com/trudybeaustylist/

Pour Moi bikini. Rachel Peru, Fletcher Films

"I alone can not change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples" #mothertheresa

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Out of the Bubble champions women who are embracing life and leaving a trail of inspiration along the way. Inspiring others to become more confident in body and mind.

We all have a story to tell.
 

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