Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Debora Gemmell, founder of Coaching with Debora, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Have you ever met someone whose potential you can easily see, yet they show up and live as a much smaller version of themselves, drained, overwhelmed, and disempowered?
I am the space where Film, Fashion, and Corporate professionals expand and re-connect to their audacity and get back to being who they were meant to be, enjoying and living life exactly the way they want to.
Tell us about yourself
I lived my life drained, overwhelmed, and disempowered, taking up as little space as possible. My one goal was to please you so you would like me. My entire self-worth was directly connected to external factors job performance, popularity at work and in life, good grades in school, and prioritizing your needs over mine.
I had major anxiety stemming from an underlying and seriously inaccurate belief that who I was (shame) and what I did (guilt) were not good enough. That belief fueled my need to constantly overextended myself, be overly responsible, and be an overachiever. Employers love people like me. We will put work first to get the self-esteem validation we need to function at the complete demise of our own wellbeing, happiness, and relationships.
Not surprisingly, 12 years ago, my people-pleasing, perfectionism self hit the wall. I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was. My detrimental combination of high anxiety+ high output with low self-belief and poor living habits crashed. A ten-year journey of learning, growing, facing fears, healing my gut and body, and rebuilding my inner self-belief was rugged and is ongoing. I had many lessons from slips, failures, and re-framing my self-defeating mindset.
With help, I faced my limiting self-belief (it still comes back to visit) and transformed myself, my life, relationships, career, and happiness. Today, I AM the happiest, healthiest I have ever been. It wasn't easy, but it was so worth it, and it continues and always will. I have a tattoo on my forearm to remind me of Progress, Not Perfection. Through this journey, my WHY evolved as my purpose became clear. I was then fired from my corporate job and handed a package of money. My mentor called me while I was being walked out of the building. She said, "Deb, you are meant to help people, and now you can. Go do it." And that was it. I never looked back.
I am passionate about helping others be and live the life they choose in a much less painful and more rapid process than I. I can support them on a deep and transformation level because I have experienced everything they are. I get it. I am not perfect and no longer want to be. Today I embrace my failures and painful experiences as lessons for growth and coach my clients to do the same. I now choose how I show up and how I respond to life's challenges. I work at taking risks (still scary), but I do it anyway because I know that is how I continue to grow and expand as a person and as a coach. I work each day to live in abundance and acceptance, serving others to do the same.
Imagine a world if every person lived to their fullest potential. How much better and healthier the world would be. I try each day to do my best to make a small contribution.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am a coach, so I focus on creating an impact first, understanding that the impact I create will be reflected in my income. My biggest accomplishment has been becoming an entrepreneur for the first time ever. At the age of 55, smack dap in the middle of a global pandemic. Many thought I was crazy, but I knew in my heart all the way down to my toes that I was meant to do this, and I was done with fear running the show.
While others walked away from coaching, I decided to put the pedal to the metal and go for it. People want help more now than ever. My coach (Yes, I have a coach too) said, "look at what everyone else is doing and then do the opposite. It was scary to do this, and there were wobbly moments, but I have had the greatest experience, expanded more than I ever have in my life, and served the most incredible people during this depressing time. That is a gift I do not take for granted.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
As a coach, my role is to show my clients what they cannot see for themselves. That is why I have two coaches myself. They tell me what I cannot see. As a former people pleaser, showing my clients what they need to see in order to transform is difficult at times, but I know it is what will serve them best. I strive to set aside my own stuff and focus purely on the service of my clients. I have also let go of clients who were not showing up, which has been difficult, especially as a new business. That is where the impact first over income is so important for me as a coach.
I am adding a second, and it would be writing. A corporate career in film and sports of presenting, not writing. Writing is not my favorite thing to do, but it is essential to share with others, so I keep working at it and challenge myself to write a newsletter each month.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- The first would be what was said by one of the best coaches in the world, Rich Litvin. Look at what everyone else is doing and do the opposite. Be You. Be a Leader, Not a follower.
- Everything in life is about relationships, most especially business. Talk to people and genuinely connect with them.
- Embrace mess and failures. Overcoming my old perfection and fear of failure to learn to embrace being messy and discover how much more fun it is! To fail and fail and fail because that is how we all learn. As Winston Churchill said, "Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm."
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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