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selling yourself short

When I’m running out the door to a big day, I can guarantee my wonderful boy’s voice will be ringing in my ears saying “you rock the mostest” and when I get in, he’ll ask how things went. My typical answer goes a bit like this: “it was ok…..I forgot to say this bit…..I wish I’d do this that way….someone made this comment….but it was ok” and you know what his response is? “Sarae, you’re really great at what you do. I’m sure it was amaaaazing from your client’s/clients’ point of view”. Yep I drive him slightly mad selling myself short.

At networking or training events, I happily share my business purpose and the range of different services it encompasses. I’m far less comfortable saying my style is unique, my clients find real personal and professional benefits in working with me and I am worth way more than every pound or euro I charge.

Hmmmm why is that? It’s the truth. I do give my clients great, memorable, life enhancing experiences. You might challenge me and say I fear “being found out” or that I feel like an impostor. Yep, that could be a reason; it’s not mine (I genuinely believe I’m good at what I do and I love growing my abilities further). Or perhaps I’m a bit introverted or uncomfortable sharing things that are dear and important to me. Again, not my reasons.

For me, there’s this little voice that says nice people don’t show off or brag about themselves. Arrogance and inflated egos are real turn-offs to me and qualities I hope never to demonstrate.

I hear people selling themselves short fairly often. I’m left wondering do they even notice they’re doing it and what is it doing to their self esteem, belief and confidence. Do you find yourself doing this too? At work? On dates? At interviews? During appraisals? With friends or colleagues? Yikes. This could have a massive impact on you leading the life you want.

Here’s my way to marketing and selling yourself in a balanced, honest, authentic way:

1)     Answer these questions honestly:

  1. Your name (Are you’re a Rebecca, Bexs, Becky, Becca or even which with whom?)
  2. Your expertise (Mine are Coach, Trainer and Pilates Instructor)
  3. Your specialisms (I work with people who want to change their life for the better AND I do it in an energetic, empathetic way)
  4. Your unique factor (A story, example, fact or interesting “hook” to aid their memory or build their curiosity)
  5. Your “What’s in it for you” factor (why they should want to work/be/share/do with you)

2)     Now ask a few trusted friends, colleagues, mentors, clients…..anyone who’s opinion you respect…..to answer questions b-e for you without sharing yours first. (You can do this anonymously via online tools like typeform or survey monkey.)

3)     Compare both versions and spot any differences. (Yes you can cringe a little here if it helpsJ)

4)     Refine to create a version that accurate describes you in all your true glory.

5)     Then get out there and use it, share it, upload it, say it with a smile, your shoulders back and head held high.

You might take this to form a verbal introduction (elevator or 60 second pitch) or your summary and headline on LinkedIn. You might discover the keywords for your SEO or your tag line. Another approach to this outside of work and business, could be to tweak the above questions for a online dating profile. Switching b and c to:

  1. Your best qualities and personality traits
  2. Your favourite activities

This week, listen out and try to catch when you sell yourself short. Does it happen in similar situations or is it a consistent “thing” for you? Try out the little exercise and share in the comments your new approach to marketing yourself without selling yourself short.

If you know someone who does this and you want to help them, please feel free to share this page with them.

  • Robert

    Love the simple approach to create clarity in the mind of the coach/trainer about what they do and how they go about it, thank you for sharing.

  • Sarae

    Happy to help – works for all sorts of peeps. Ask your clients, coachees or participants to do it as a homework inquiry piece – changes mindsets, changes their frame of reference and gives new evidence to a belief.

  • Daniela

    Not going to lie…really love the pic on this post. Haha 🙂 And the message it really helpful. I like the part about the hook….

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invest in yourself without breaking the bank

You know that dream life you want? Or the career move or switch you’re itching to make? Or maybe you’re after changing up your fitness to a whole new level. I bet part of your prep includes a course, workshop or expensive textbook. Right?

I want to prove that gaining new knowledge and skills doesn’t have to break the bank. It is time to invest in yourself and we won’t be spending more than £15 for any one suggestion!

Yes, tailored bespoke learning events with a top guru, expert or school are fabulous in lots of ways, but I totally recognise sometimes, the upfront costs can be prohibitive. So here’s my go-to places:


Yep sad but true. Most things are Googleable. And what’s cool is the related searches at the bottom of your page. These give you a little insight into what other people search for that was similar to your search. Use them to get more specific, discover something new and to check out a tangent.

Online Videos

Ok, I’m going to say the obvious – Youtube – and rapidly move on, after saying check out your rolemodels or muses as many have vlogs (video blogs) with great content. Less obvious…..my favourites include:

No such thing as a stupid question here. Someone will have answered it. From plaiting your hair to fixing your computer back-up issues….your bases are firmly covered.

Free Training

Often found in small doses when you opt into someone’s mailing list, as well as devoted websites. My career ones include:

The Muse 

Apart from some great and entertaining content, The Muse provides a series of career related mini training classes. Signing up and getting going is easy.


Probably the biggest online school to date. Here you’ll find many of the major international Business Schools, plus some smaller specialist schools, handing out the goodies for free. From computing to film, food to science – you can take a class in pretty much anything! (Some even result in a certification for a small fee!)


The site describes itself as “the secret sauce to creating an extraordinary life” and is lead by husband and wife team, Brian and Alexandra Jaye Johnson. Their programme range includes health and wellbeing, mindset shifting, relationships, finances, meditation and yoga, and more – all taught by leading figures in their respective fields. Annual membership is just $8 (less than £5 or €6) or you can apply for a scholarship for fee free access. In addition, they also run virtual conferences and downloadable, guided meditations, called “Blissiations”.


Slightly more techy, Lynda offers a range of free and paid for training sessions and courses. Great if you want to develop your online profile with a webpage or adapt an existing site or perhaps you’re looking for a career management session?

Read all about it

Join your local library and access a wealth of free knowledge. Top books for your bedside, kindle or ibooks app (I’ve included the Amazon link for ease and speed):

The Escape Manifesto

Amazon Link

The review starts: “life is short; you only have one chance to live a great one. Be brave and start something you love.” Enough said in my mind. Read it and get out of your rut.

Do more great work

Amazon Link

By the lovely and funny Michael Bungay Stanier (who also has an accompanying inbox friendly course). His premise is that if we identify the time and energy drains and focus on the things we consider to be truly great and life value adding, we’ll be happier, better peeps.  Think about it, we all do mundane “day to day” stuff, when our time could be spent more productively on amazing life and world changing wonders!

And a real favourite of mine…

Brain Rules

Amazon Link

This book is brought to life via John Medina’s excellent, informative, yet witty, videos. 12 principles we can all do to create a thriving life. (He also has one for parents to inform how you help your baby develop)

Meet people

Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, there is a networking opportunity for you. I like these two sites to hunt down great events to join: http://www.meetup.com/ or https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/

Why not search out likeminded groups or clubs on Facebook or Twitter? You can like or follow along, waiting until you’re comfortable to join the debate.

Make this your week to invest in yourself  and gain new knowledge and skills and start to inform your change for minimum cash. Give us a shout out in the comments of what you’re going to do and let us know how it goes!

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smart repetition achieves better results

I’ve been hooked into my own 2014 planning and goals over the last few weeks as you know, but I’ve had these two sayings running around my head:

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.”

Now, you also know I like a gooooooood stretch and that I’m one for working hard until you crack something. Both sayings suggest getting stuck in a loop, doing the same thing on repeat, getting identical outcomes, unable to move towards your goal. These sayings seem to contradict my mantra of “stretch your life”, which is about moving towards your goals through doing new things AND being persistence in your efforts. Aaaahhh, that’s why they’re bothering me.

I want to propose an alternative interpretation. To achieve the life, career, business or health you want, often there is no “do it once” fix all solution. Rather your achievement is a series of steps. You will need to work hard at each step until you achieve your better results. This could be through simple, identical repetition or by trying the step in different ways, seeking out the approach that works for you.

For example if you’re a career changer, you might send your CV off to numerous job adverts. That’s one method to getting a new job and it can work. This is where the sayings come into play. You might get different results from different applications – “come to interview” vs. “no thank you” responses – but would you use just this one approach over and over again until you land your dream job?

No. More than likely you might also use online tools like LinkedIn or about.me to promote your skills and experiences to the market. Perhaps you’d attend networking events through your professional body or meetup.com to get known by people doing what you want to do. Or join a class to build or refresh your capabilities. Similarly, life, health or business changers need to blend their approaches and be diligence in their efforts to maximise their results.

In summary, added stretch and change to your life is a combination of knowing what you want, recognising when to do the same thing again or when to do something different to improve the results you’re getting AND a passionate dedication to achieving your goals.

I’m starting 2014 practicing what I preach by changing up my knee rehab. The turbo trainer sessions require more repeats to perfect my muscles (can’t tell you how good being back on a bike feels!) and I’ve switch to dry needling with the lovely Hayden at Physio in the City, from soft tissue massage on my leg. As a complete “pass out at the sight of a needle”-phobic, this is really big for me! Session one went well, even if I did do some funny breathing! The results? 4 tiny fingerprint bruises and zero pain! Wahooo!

How are you doing the same things and the different things to achieve your goals, ambitions and dreams? Inspire us in the comments or over on Facebook.

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Hello I’m…….erm…..

Do you ever experience that slightly awkward pause when you’re asked, so “what do you do?” I’m sure you’ve heard of the elevator pitch or the 60 second pitch. Heck, you’ve probably been on the end of some well rehearsed versions that squeeze in a heap of work, life and academic experiences plus the benefits delivered to the world – usually in one hell of a deep breath!

I know I really struggled with this one: just how do you combine your passions in multiple areas and not come across as some right weirdo, who doesn’t know what she’s about! The key to solve this wasn’t to think about the pitch, what needs to be in it, how long is it, does every word add value and so on.

It was this. I handpicked 20 people who knew me for different things, were supportive of me and asked them to sum me up in 3 words or short phrases. Some responded within in minutes, some took their time but all, yes all, came back with something that made me think hard about how my talents, my passions and my personality are seen by others.

Summarising them together produced a list of 10 or 11 things that when combined are my unique way of doing and being and better still in the language that resonates with my peers, friends and family to describe me.

Why not try it yourself? Send out a short email to your top peeps or if you’d like to include a wider audience, try a free Survey Monkey questionnaire or create a typeform to make responses anonymous. Share your 3 words in the comments.

If you want to work your words into an intro pitch for networking, interviews or your online profile summary, give me a shout and together we can make it shine!

PS my 3 words/phrases were: 1st genuine empathy, 2nd energy and tied 3rd place for confident, creative and tenacity. Can you spot them flavouring my site?

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what’s your big picture?

Sometimes, it’s super easy to get stuck down in the details of everyday life and miss what’s going on at a higher level. You know the saying “can’t see the wood for the trees”, right? Ever felt that way?

I have often seen this happening for truly amazing folks, who for a variety of reasons can’t pull up, breathe and see what’s around them. As a coach, I soak in what I see, hear and sense from them to find a question or observation to help spot the wood. Today, I want to share a simple way to get started, that my clients find useful.

Grab your pen and paper and find somewhere relaxed and disturbance free. Divide the paper in half – top and bottom or left and right – your call.

Let’s take the first half – this is the doom and gloom space. Ask yourself what/who drains my energy? What/who makes me want to stay away? What/who is out of sync with my ambitions and values? Jot it down – big and small, it’s all valid. Be as broad as you can – work, life, relationships, hobbies, socialising, etc. If you run out of steam, ask yourself what else? Note it, ask the same question again and note it…you get the idea.

Move to the second half, the joy and laughter space. Now ask what/who really makes me feel energised and passionate? What/who makes time fly by without me noticing? What/who matches my values and principles? If you dry out, ask “what else?” – keep going until you’re fully out.

Look at both side by side: how can you turn down the doom and gloom and turn up the joy and happiness side? I like to take a big fat black pen to the bad stuff and a big green highlighter to the good 🙂

Now, the wood should be starring back at you from trees in its big picture glory!

Want to develop your joy further and ditch the gloom? Why not book a session with me to get the benefits of a second mind, new perspectives and a good prune of your trees? Head over and drop me a line.

Right now, I’d love you to share in the comments: what are the joy and laughter things in your life? Let us all enjoy them here!!

  • Ritu of The Lifester

    Sarae, I LOVED doing this exercise. Really effective to lift myself out of the panic of holding my first event for 20-somethings and dealing with the “OMG my marketing efforts are not working, what should do?” and the endless minutes spent on Facebook amounting to nothing. I forgot to look at the positive side: 15 RSVPs, a couple of tickets sold, amazing venue, the promise of the pint afterwards 🙂
    Thank you so much. Love, Ritu

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