This is the second blog in the Enrich Your Confidence series, so if you’re wondering what I’m going on about you can read last month’s blog all about the series, I’ve also recorded a podcast so if you prefer to listen you can download it. This blog is all about confidence & me, and my journey with confidence
So here I am a girl originally from Skegness, a small seaside town in Lincolnshire, now running a coaching business in Chichester, West Sussex, with building confidence firmly at the heart of it.
I had a great childhood, Skegness was a fun safe place to grow up, as a little Gayle I could play out in the street and as an older Gayle I was confident enough to walk home in bare feet on my own from the nightclub at 2am (of course I never did any of that!)
Living in Skegness meant I had a few seasonal jobs. Waitressing was my first ever job, I was an awful waitress! I worked in a gift shop called The Centrepiece it was here I really got the retail bug. I found myself working in the burger bar on Skegness Pier, lots of fun, long hours & reasonable money from what I remember – I was never that confident with the ice cream machine.
Like most people in the town at the time, you either did a YTS or 6th form, I did both – didn’t think YTS was really for me, so went back to school. Then onto Uni to do a degree in Retail Management, I got into Guildford and spent 4 years there. The degree didn’t teach me how to run a store or manage people, lots of this I learnt during my placement with high street retailer New Look. I had a great store manager for the year, and she let me look after all the training for the store during this time. This was a massive boost of confidence when I could see the difference, I made to someone with a small piece of training. Looking back, it was here that my love for training and developing people started.
With my degree completed I landed my first job as an Assistant Store Manager with American children’s retailer – Gymboree, wow again confidence boosted I have got a real job. After this, roles included managing an outlet store with no training, I was just handed the keys and the area manager said see you soon, good luck!! I survived, only just… I also did a field role looking after a few stores with this retailer, great character building, dealing with multiple sites is certainly a learning curve after 1 store to manage. This was a massive confidence rollercoaster, learning on the job, making mistakes, feeling awful and great all at the same time.
My final retail role was with Monsoon Accessorize, a small store with a few team members and a small turnover. Biggest challenge here was when we moved to a much larger site with a massive team, I felt confident that I was the right person to be the manager. I remember one evening getting home and sitting on the floor crying saying I don’t think I can do this. I had to pick myself up, dust myself off and get on with it because I’d worked really hard to be the manager, this wasn’t the time to have no self-belief or to lack confidence. I loved my time here and I really LOVED training new managers as well but after 5 years that I knew it was time to hang up my store keys and move into the world of training, (as it was called back then).
I got my CIPD Certificate in Training Practice and started applying for training roles. Along came Ann Summers and offered me a training officer role for retail. A perfect first training role, I’d be training and delivering workshops, I was relatable to store managers, I’d been in their shoes and I knew what it took to run a store, I’d got experiences I’d learned from that I could share.
I spent nearly 12 years at Ann Summers, and I’ll be forever grateful for all the opportunities, experiences and development I had eventually being responsible for all learning & development. It was no small job, and I was lucky enough to be involved in lots of things from delivering workshops & development programmes, 1:1 coaching, e-learning platform, values, customer service programme. All of this, along with the incredible, supportive, empowering people I worked with, helped to build confidence in my abilities and what I was capable of.
It was during this time that I discovered the power of coaching, I loved how asking questions made people think and maybe see things differently. I was coaching informally; I don’t think there’s a learning professional out there who doesn’t coach. But I wanted more, I wanted to be credible, and this meant getting qualified which I achieved over a year. Accreditation as a coach with the EMCC (European Mentoring & Coaching Council), came a few months later – I had to do 100 hours of coaching to be accredited after qualifying.
Two years after qualification, I needed more, I’d had a feeling that setting up my own coaching business could work for me and here I am now with Enrichment Coaching.
As I look back on that brief history of Gayle, I reflect on some of the key things over the years that have positively and negatively affected my confidence.
- I was a member of a local dancing school and I loved being on stage and performing. I was a real girly girl with my hair in natural curls so at 13 when I had a perm – the dance teacher was not impressed and I wasn’t selected for as much as I had been – why did it make so much difference, I was still me?
- At Primary school was challenging, I was bullied, followed home from school, things in my desk, name calling, I had no friends whatsoever – did no one like me?
- Secondary school – being head girl was a real honour and a big confidence boost
- Leaving home & thinking Could I get a degree?
- Feeling of independence
- Placement in the 3rd year working in retail & being given a chance
- Landing my first retail management role
- Facing redundancy when the administrators turned up to the store and changed the locks
- Re-site of the Monsoon store to a much bigger store & team
- Working at Ann Summers – taking opportunities and embracing them, having the confidence to know I could make a difference
- Setting up my own business – probably the biggest confidence rollercoaster ever!
There are many things over time that impact our confidence. We must start out confident as babies and as children – we almost have no fear, and we’ll try most things. As we grow up, we start to think about what others think of us, we’re aware of expectations placed on us by people around us or society as a whole. All of this unconsciously impacts our levels of confidence and whilst we can pinpoint some key things, like I could above, there will have been many more that have simply gone unnoticed, or I’ve put to the back of my mind.
Over the years, I’ve had to work hard to be myself acting as if I were confident even when I haven’t been, outwardly I may have presented an assured confident Gayle but inside my inner critic is loving life being able to keep asking me what if. There are many occasions where I have to pull up my big pants to do something I don’t want to do or where I feel nervous or scared. Things haven’t always worked out for the best, but rather than seeing it as a mistake, I look on it as an opportunity to learn. My Mum always says these things happen for a reason and she’s right (don’t tell her) but having and keeping your confidence levels in check does mean having self-trust and trusting the process however hard it feels in the short term in the long term it will pay off.
Back to the here & now…
My vision is to live in a world where people feel confident to be the best authentic version of themselves every day, I want to empower people to take action through the exploration of clarity, courage & confidence for a more enriched life. I’m passionate about making a positive difference to the beliefs you have about your confidence. I believe that everyone can be confident in their own way without winging it or faking it.
Making a Difference – believing that everything I do has a positive impact to cause a change, is one of my values and as a coach I hold this close to me when working with my clients. They come to me because something is impacting their confidence and they need support to make a change. In coaching sessions, we dig deep to find the things that can be changed to make a positive difference, my clients leave sessions feeling empowered with their own actions to experiment with, they come back to sessions and we reflect on what worked and what didn’t, it keeps them accountable and demonstrates to them they are making progress.
Now you know a bit more about me & my vision and the things that have impacted and continue to have an impact on my confidence, let’s start to think about how we Enrich our Confidence.
On 13th May (2021), between 1330 – 1530, I’m holding my Be More You workshop (over Zoom), it’s packed full of tips and tools you can use in everyday life to manage & build your confidence. I’m limiting numbers to a max of 5 so that everyone who attends can feel confidence in a safe space to explore how they feel about their own confidence. For just £40 (inc VAT) come and join me.
And if you can’t make it, but you still want to work on your confidence, I have created a great self-learning online version too. There are 3 different packages to choose from depending on the level of support you feel you need
Finally, if you’d like to discuss how 1:1 coaching can help to build your confidence then book a free, no obligation Curiosity Chat
Until next time, when I’ll be exploring how CLARITY helps you to build confidence.