A Sense of Success – 10 Years in the Personal Development Business

by Lesley

GlitteringEgoBy British standards I’m a successful business, managing to survive three times over the required 3 year period, to call myself ‘successful’.

Ten years ago this month I set myself up as Scotland’s first Firewalk and Empowerment Instructor; I created myself a job as trainer, facilitator and holistic therapist – completely oblivious to what the future in self-employment might hold.

I’d had a number of diverse jobs in the past; dental nurse, wages clerk and in-store trainer, to name a few.

I had confidence, was fresh out of college and had high ideals. I knew where I wanted to go and with whom I wanted to work – in my community and in the larger community with people who needed the skills I wanted to share.

With my heart firmly set in community values I worked in secure units with young adults, Young Offenders institutions, prisons and with people who had been caught in the cycle of poverty, drug-taking and/or abuse. I ran meditation groups, tutored for the local authority and held empowering firewalking events up and down the UK.

I was lucky in many respects as most of my work came by personal recommendations – there was no such thing (to my knowledge) at that time, as Social Media – and I was hardly computer literate. I was (and still am) regularly head-hunted for jobs and to participate as a Board member for a number of organisations – yet many still aren’t clear on my skill-set or what type of  training I provided!

And that may be my fault.

I was never good at doing an elevator pitch – there was always too much to say – so I used words like empowerment and personal power in an attempt to describe my work. I wasn’t very good at marketing myself either – fearing my ego would explode – and that wasn’t who I wanted to be; blingy websites selling stuff we don’t need, didn’t suit me at all. I wanted to do it my way – no fancy websites firing sales at you, no huge email lists with sales on the agenda and nothing less than absolute authenticity.

At times I thought this may be the wrong decision, but I couldn’t go against my own grain; I saw that as selling my soul.

So instead, I sometimes struggled when things changed economically. In early lean years I’d always managed to just pull through, securing enough contracts to provide for my kids. Where it fell short I did other stuff; I offered relaxation treatments, signed up with an agent doing extras work for television and confidence coaching or stress management to private clients.

In the very early days I helped a friend out whose job was window-cleaning; he needed transport, I supplied it but didn’t want to stand about doing nothing, so I donned the belt, took to the ladders and discovered I actually loved it! Cleaning windows in a seaside town in autumn, was great for your figure as well as your mind; it was a moving meditation!

I often reflect on this as the best job I ever had.

Self-employment has taught me so much – I realised that in harnessing my learning and life experiences, I could relate easily with others, empowering them to forge forward too. I’m very lucky that I have so many skills to allow me to vary my work – and so much confidence to do new things too!

Grasping the next stages, it didn’t take long ’til I was back on track.

Learning how to use Social media has most definitely played a big part in my visibility over the past few years – and I have a certain person to thank for that – namely Mark Corner, to whom I’ll be forever indebted!

Soon I was back into delivering workshops in all aspects of personal development and transformational training, in the environments I wanted to be;

Helping people re-build their lives after drugs, alcohol, abuse and mental health difficulties, using anger and stress management while equipping ordinary folks with life-coping skills.

Team building – from the inside out. By working with the individual in groups, we develop the team.

Conflict resolution, Communication and Equality training in prisons for staff plus experiential Personal Power training for inmates.

Social media training and coaching for community groups.

Firewalking, Confidence Boosts and other transformational techniques for those who want to push themselves further, towards reaching their full potential.

Reiki to students who wanted to further their own growth, begin their own healing journey and help others.

I’d re-discovered my mojo; all that was needed to do now, was to become more fully me – to remain focused, authentic and fully committed to my journey – and it really isn’t so difficult IF you have the desire to achieve it.

So here I am ten years in business and this year alone, I’ve delivered training in four European cities, had participants from at least twenty countries and even delivered one motivational sales and marketing workshop in French!

I’m now working more with our youth, mentoring as well as equipping them with life-skills to deal with future rejections and possible disappointments – gearing them up to a future they can be a big part of, if they choose to be.

At least one Glasgow school is now looking at pioneering my style of Transformational Training to second, third and fourth year students.

In the north of Scotland we’re discussing bringing Rites of Passage to the fore –  initiating young people into a world where respect and responsibility are of utmost importance.

I still have my own ambitions too – and I’ve the strangest feeling, I’m going to reach my goals! I’ve written one book already, Spiritual First Aid – Finding Balance and I’m working (when I have time), on my second – a novel based loosely on fact.

My biggest sense of success is (mostly) having peace of mind. Its magical to feel successful; by keeping my integrity intact, conscience clear and gaining a reputation for doing a great job, I sleep soundly.

I look forward to another ten years of doing more of the same, growing as I go.

So what does success in business (or in life) look like to me?

A great big flower, the beauty of which you take in with all of your senses.


If you want to be successful, you must respect one rule ~

never lie to yourself.

Paolo Coelho




When you’re ready to take the next big bold step, whether that’s leaving the past behind or making a life change, get in touch – we’ve work to do! 


About Lesley

Lesley Rodgers has written 146 posts on this blog.

Personal Development Consultant and Confidence Coach. Lesley is also a committed Human Rights Activist with her heart firmly lodged in 'community' and collaboration.


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