Women Inspiring Women – Smash Your Ceiling
“Let go of negativity and find a silver lining in everything,” says Kirsten Rees – mindset is genuinely the great differentiators for/of successful people and a common thread amongst all #TheWomanAlchemist #SmashThatCeiling #womeninspiringwomen interview series with successful female leaders/role models.
Kirsten Rees is a Copyrighter, Business Coach, Published Author, and Founder/Owner at MakeMeASuccess, Haute Copy & Couture Coaching, producing purposeful content that feels authentic and attracts customers. She coaches female entrepreneurs to discover their ideal target market, helping ‘speak’ to the customer to convert sales and grow loyalty to their brand. In addition, Kirsten Ress is a Teen Mentor with Move On a Charity working in Scotland to unlock the potential of vulnerable young people and those affected by homelessness to improve their lives.
This interview is an extract from the book “STOP IT! It is all in your head” available now.
INTERVIEW WITH KIRSTEN REES
1. When you were a child, what was your dream job and why?
I wanted to be a primary school teacher. I think it was a comfort thing as I was instead an awkward, painfully shy girl, and school was an environment I already knew.
Although I loved scribbling stories, no one ever inspired the idea that anything creative like writing or art could be taken seriously as a career. Instead, I was encouraged to go to college and qualify as something practical. I had regular, working-class parents and no female role models in my life who were self-employed. In a way, I have become a teacher of sorts and on a bigger platform as I launched my own business as a copywriter and business coach helping female entrepreneurs find their voice. I’m also a published author, which I hope will stimulate a few minds in the next generation.
SUCCESS IS PERCEPTUAL
2. Can you tell me when you started to consider yourself successful?
It was probably when I was financially able to take time out from my career running my copywriting business to write and publish my debut novel. I’m now working on a second book, and it’s an incredible thing to be able to have two careers that you enjoy.
Often I take myself away up north in Scotland on writing trips for my writing. If I feel like not working on a Monday and going to a spa or for a walk to relax and get creative, I can do that because I manage my schedule.
With my company MakeMeASuccess, I’m very much hugs, not handshakes kind of woman in business. I’m established enough that I was able to carve out my brand, so I wear dresses I like or jeans if I feel like it rather than intelligent suits. And I offer Wine & Whine coaching sessions because I want to work with women like myself who enjoy a glass of vino while troubleshooting their business problems. Having the confidence to do these things comes from the experience of doing this for more than five years and the incredible feedback I get from my clients.
3. I’m sure you have faced adversity like every business/business person: how do you motivate yourself and force yourself through the worst times?
Yes, there have been more than a few moments of self-doubt and doubt cast by friends and family, albeit less from them, as I’m very conscientious about keeping positive, supportive people in my life.
I have a vision board and put things on it that I want, everything from the odd material possession, places I want to visit, things I’d love to try. However, it’s the main achievement I want, like sitting on the couch on Ellen one day, meeting some of my writing heroes, having my book series published and made into a movie. It ranges from small to huge dreams, and those keep me motivated!
THE BEST THINGS
4. What are the best things about your job?
I finally feel like I get to be myself every day! I’m not putting on a suit or uniform, smiling because someone tells me, or working my butt off for someone else’s dream. Instead, I’m creating a path for myself and ticking off a bucket list of my dreams.
I get to help unique and passionate entrepreneurs discover their voice in selling without sounding ‘salesy’. Every day is different; I could be meeting a client to discuss their website content, having a Skype chat with an international client, I might be editing a client’s book, or being flown down to London for a photoshoot and interview.
And in between all that, I make time to unleash my creative imagination writing about magic and mystical creatures for my YA fantasy book series Forever Gone.
SUCCESS LEAVES CLUES
5. As Tony Robbins says, “Success leaves clues”: what are your daily/weekly habits?
Absolutely! There’s no perfect path to success that will work for everyone. Sometimes, you need to learn the hard way, but there are also talented and experienced people you can learn from. So I follow those who are five, ten, twenty years ahead of me instead of watching my competitors.
I have a diary where I schedule working hours, marketing hours, networking hours, and even downtime. And I plan when it comes to events and strategies for publicity. Plus I have a proper alarm clock and not a phone alarm to ensure I get up because I’m not a morning person. I use a great app called Headspace if I’m feeling out of sorts and make time for exercise to keep myself healthy mentally and physically.
My most significant learning curve has been that you don’t need to wait until you’re a success to start talking about yourself and your business, nominating yourself for awards, or getting publicity. You can do it all in year one!
6. What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
I think we’re often our barriers in our careers. Whether it’s confidence, not supporting one another or a lack of education in the bigger picture. Although we do need their support, women don’t need permission or a hand up to be equal with men. We can launch our businesses, hire other great women, vote for better political candidates who have equality at the forefront of their education and economic policies. And give time to the generation who follow us.
We can make things happen and bring about change now and for our future. I’ve been back to my old high school to talk with students at a careers evening. I still offer complimentary advice and instalment plans for startups, even though I have more prominent clients. I’ve done over 200hours of volunteer work with a charity because I want to give back. If we all paid it forward more often, we would all benefit in the long run.
WOMEN INSPIRING WOMEN
7. What women inspire you and why?
Firstly, my mother always tried to fix things and just wanted life to be better and more accessible for us. So my brother and I grew up always encouraged to think ‘what if’, and it’s given me a belief in the impossible in writing.
Secondly, I’m part of Natalie MacNeil’s Conquer Club, and I love the community spirit amongst the women who are part of it. Then some women did great things before their time like Amelia Earhart, Emmeline Pankhurst, Rosa Parks, the Bronte sisters, and the list goes on.
8. What advice would you give to your 16year old self?
The things you dislike about yourself are going to become your greatest assets. One day, you’ll love that you were an introvert because it meant you were in your head so much, and your mind is such an incredible tool. You’ll be grateful for the fears you had because it made you face them eventually one by one. If you stop believing what other people think of you, you’ll discover some beautiful people who very much love you.
KIRSTEN REES MINDFULNESS FIX
9. Your instant mindfulness fix…
I have an image on my phone that reads, “Stop doing shit you hate. Love your body more. Hang with awesome peeps. Smash some goals. Walk barefoot. Share your magic. Be freaking brave. Flaunt your awesome. Love harder & love louder. Be kinder to yourself. Be a nice human being. Give assholes the boot.”
I’m not sure who created this, but I love it, and it’s a daily reminder to let go of negativity and find the silver linings in everything. I always say that even the worst or silliest writing can inspire something great. Do you think Shakespeare got Romeo & Juliet right on the first draft? In the words of Cinderella in the new Disney movie, ‘have the courage and be kind.’
10. And finally, something frivolous: the best thing about being a woman…
The support and community spirit amongst women in business and writing is fantastic. I’ve been invited to significant events because of a quick conversation and even ended up with new clients because my beautiful coat sparked a compliment from another woman, and we got chatting!
I have an incredible and rather large family, and the women, in particular, are very close and often meet for cake and a catch-up. I grew up surrounded by women who have survived a lot in life, women who haven’t asked for much, who never get enough credit, but who genuinely love and support one another. They are the ones who inspired me to volunteer as a Teen Mentor, who encouraged me to go travelling in my twenties, to write down my stories and share them, and who picked me up whenever I was down. I wouldn’t be who or where I am without other women.
Top Takeaways from Kirsten Rees
- Keep positive and supportive people in your life.
- Create a path for yourself and tick off your bucket list of dreams.
- There is no perfect path to success that works for everyone – find your way but keep learning.
- You can make things happen and bring about change now and for the future – the change that you want.
- Let go of negativity and find a silver lining in everything.