Following on from my last post I have been thinking a lot about my identity. It’s all very well for me to say “I am what I am”, but actually who am I? If the work that I am setting out to do is to help other women explore and find their own identity then it is essential that I have done the same myself. I need to “walk my talk” and start to think of myself in terms of a brand. Much as I rail against the idea of thinking of my “ideal client”, I do need to consider who I am and what my business is. Instead of appealing to everyone, I will appeal to no one. Not a great start out in business.
Initially I felt a bit like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, when she finally reaches the emerald city and is allowed in to meet the wizard. “Who are you?” booms the huge voice. “I’m Dorothy, the small and meek” she responds. We know she is a great deal more than that. Dorothy is resourceful, tough, caring and kind. Yet to start with she is overwhelmed by the presence of the Wizard, and that was the feeling that I related to at first. I was completely in awe of the amazing work done by other people and wondered if I could have anything worth saying or writing. Who would listen to me and why would they do that?
Taking a leaf out of Dorothy’s book I decided to do some proper research (or maybe it’s Toto, as he is the one who discovers the real wizard behind the curtain). I’ve been looking at a lot of other people’s blogs and have joined some blogging groups on Facebook. This really has been a whole new world. People blog about anything and everything and there are some truly gifted writers out there. There have been some fantastic technical tips and a great deal of support from people. A whole new community for me to join. it’s also been instrumental in helping me to understand just how important a niche is. When looking at so many blogs the ones that I am drawn to are the ones that have a clear and specific message. They know who they are writing to and the message that they want to send. Those that are vague I lose interest in, quickly followed by those that are overly cluttered, or have poor spelling or grammar (seriously, at times I’m a frustrated school teacher).
The more I thought about the question of “who am I?” the more I realised how much it applies to the people that I coach. Before I had children I had my own identity. I had my own job and career, my circle of friends who knew me for me and I chose what I did with my time. If I wanted to change job/ profession it affected no one else (until I got married, and even then only a big move would have merited considerable discussion). That all changed the minute my children arrived. And whilst I knew that this would happen, I’m not sure I was prepared for quite how much of my identity I would feel that I would lose (or at least lose sight of for a time). It’s hard to get back, because we don’t ever go back to being the person that we were before children (even if we would want to – which I definitely don’t). It then becomes a question of not just finding my identity again, but starting to create a whole new one, and this takes time.
There are many women out there who write fantastic blogs on parenting (The Unmumsy Mum and The Adultier Adult to name but two). They do a great job, and I’m not going to reinvent that wheel. I am a mother and whilst there may be some funny moments that I mention ( “you’re not very good at this mum, are you?” as I forget another school dress up day), that isn’t going to be the focus of my blog. What I will share is about what it’s like going back to work and building a business after quite some time. This is who I am, and it changes constantly. Last week I was Dorothy confronting the Wizard of Oz. Next week? Let’s see.