Posts Tagged ‘values’

She believed she could so she did

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

I was recently asked to speak at York Women’s business club about Mindset. Well, my first thought was why are they asking me? What do I know about mindset? There are probably lots of other people who could talk more eloquently about this. Then, as I usually do, I stopped myself in my tracks and asked myself “why not”?

It’s interesting that no matter how much work we think we have done on our self-belief or our mindset, that our demons can come back and haunt us any time! That Imposter Syndrome has a lot to answer for 😉

So, I put my big girl pants on, as I always do when speaking, and pulled together a session where I shared my “Mindset” story. Here are some of the thoughts I shared.

“Our actions and words can have a profound effect on others. We have the power to change lives in both positive and negative ways”.

We can easily forget the difference we can make. For me, this was my boss years ago. I was in my early 20s having left school at 15 and was working as his PA. He sat me down one day and told me that I had so much more to give. That one conversation changed my life as he encouraged me to do my degree (2 nights a week was not the most fun way to do it 😉) but getting my 2:1 Hons degree 5 years later gave me huge confidence and self-belief.

“Never stop learning”.

I always feel like there is more to learn. Every day I learn something about myself or my field of work. Having a growth mindset is key to developing and I understanding your strengths and where you get your energy always mean that you are being your best self.

“Surround yourself with people who value you and align to your values”.

Whilst doing my coaching qualification, I undertook some work on my values and identifying what really mattered to me. Again, it was life changing. It was this work which highlighted how much making a difference meant to me and led me to set up Pro-Development 10 years ago. This in turn led to my husband and I parting ways realising how little our values aligned. Both of these events have led to me having the most incredible 10 years of my life. There have been ups and downs but ultimately, I wouldn’t change a thing and have some of the most amazing people in my life as a result of those 2 events.

“Be brave and get out of your comfort zone”.

Setting up Pro-Development definitely tested my resilience and I spent the first few years very much out of my comfort zone but, I didn’t half learn a lot! Being brave and trying new things, in my experience, always creates a resilient mindset. Being in, what we call, our learning zone, is where the magic happens.

“You can live in faith or live in fear. Both aren’t real, so which am I going to choose?”.

I read a book last year called Positive Dog and it had a section around living in faith. It really struck me that when Covid-19 hit our business and all our training events were cancelled, I started to live in fear. Fear that we wouldn’t make it through and that we would run out of money and it took a terrible toll on me. I made a decision after a few months, to stop living in fear and live in faith and it made a huge difference.

So here are some thoughts to leave you with…

Try asking yourself these questions:-

• When was the last time you gave someone your time? How do you help others?

• What are you learning now? Are you making time to develop yourself?

• Do you know what matters to you, your values? Have you got the right people around you?

• Are you living in your comfort zone or getting into your learning zone?

• Are you living in faith or fear? Which do you choose?

If you are worrying about something, try using Covey’s Circle of Concern to help you let go of those things you cannot control – you can read our blog from last year on how this can help.

Try “sharpening your saw” – again another great habit from Stephen Covey’s 7 habits:-

• Physical – make time for exercise and getting outdoors – we know this helps our mindset

• Spiritual – identify what feeds your soul – mindfulness, your values

• Mental – make time to read, learn, write or listen to podcasts

• Social/Emotional – surround yourself with the right people, love, laugh and make your difference

If you need any support, we are always here for you. We can offer coaching and support, much of which is eligible for funding too. Get in touch on 01904 628838 or info@pro-development.co.uk to find out more.

Values and a horse called Opus changed my life

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Michelle & Opus nuzzling This was the statement that headed up the entry for York Press Business Awards “Business Personality of the Year” and which resulted in me being shortlisted down to 3! I’ve been overwhelmed by the messages I have received in the last few days since the award was announced and just wanted to put together a few words about my journey that has led me to be writing this blog tonight!

About 8 years ago, I found myself disengaged from the organisation I worked for and was unhappy both in my work life and my home life. A dear friend gave me the opportunity to spend a leadership day working with horses in Warwick. I was intrigued. I went. The learnings from that day changed my life forever!

I made a bold decision which had some significant consequences. I had always wanted to set up my own business but felt trapped and needed to do something about it. So, I decided my passion and determination would be enough to make it work, and in 2011, I did it!

Pro-Development saved my life

Again, another bold statement, but setting up Pro-Development was the scariest but most thrilling step I’d made in my career. I felt more alive than I had in many years. I spent time creating a vision and purpose and quickly established that I wanted to work with SMEs in Yorkshire, helping to support their growth through focusing on the engagement and development of their people. I was excited! Six months in, I became a single mum! Not part of the plan, but my husband no longer wanted to be part of the journey I was taking and it was clear our values were not aligned. A very tough time but it certainly gave me a renewed focus on making the business work! I networked! And networked some more! I love Yorkshire and quickly made some amazing connections and friends along the way. I have been inspired by the generosity of time and kindness from others who have been a part of my journey. Within a year, I had grown the business enough to ensure that Pro-Development could bring on board a wonderful colleague I had worked with previously. Sue was very keen to get involved, and so Pro-Development became the dynamic duo.

The power of Networking

Networking was one of the things that kept me sane in the early days. Meeting other like-minded people, the help and advice, the connections, the partnerships and friends I made. The benefits for me were endless. And, guess what, it did win me business! Apart from the client we won through our kids at school (yes, honestly, our biggest client came about through the children asking for and swapping business cards in the playground), we have secured some of our best clients through people we have met at networking. And, best of all, I get the opportunity to give back to others and spend time with them, understanding and helping them to achieve their goals and make the connections they need. The icing on the cake? Being approached by York Professionals to join their Board of Directors earlier this year and then last month being asked to take on the Chair. What an honour and privilege to be part of such a fantastic team of people who work so hard to raise the profile of professionals in and around York. Love it!

Employee Engagement is the key

Whilst working in a previous organisation I had become interested in employee engagement and also became involved in the work of Engage for Success. So, for the last few years, I have run workshops, volunteering my time to help raise this important issue and bring it to the attention of local business owners. Last year alone, over 150 businesses attended our workshops and left with action plans for how they were going to make their business a great place to work. This year, the team challenged me to reach over 200 businesses and to speak at 20 different events. Becoming a speaker was certainly never part of my plan and was something I felt very uncomfortable doing, but the challenge was set. I overcame my demons, and now have done over 20 speaking events this year. I am even starting to love doing them!

How have I achieved this?

Since I’ve started speaking at events, a number of people have come up to me afterwards saying they have been inspired to do something different and asked what inspired me. People inspire me. Since setting up the business I have been delighted at the amazing people who have come into both my personal and work life. I know that I am at my best when I am surrounded with inspiring people. My team inspire me, with their ideas, their work ethic, their honesty and commitment. My children inspire me, every day and keep me grounded. A boss I worked for in my 20s inspired me, he saw potential in me and encouraged me to undertake my degree despite leaving school after my GCSEs with the no big aspirations or career plans. People are where I get my energy for life and the determination to make a difference to other people and businesses.

The future

Is exciting! Pro-Development continues to grow; moving from the back of the garage to our lovely office near Fulford; tripling our amazing team; adding new systems and processes; creating new products and services; working with more fantastic clients; and lots of inspiring partners. My life has changed beyond all recognition over the last 7 years: long may it continue!