Yvonne Ellis

 


Dealing with Discouragement

I went through a period of discouragement this year. I lacked focus, I was inconsistent in doing things that I had planned and I second-guessed myself. After much reflection, I identified the reason why I felt discouraged; unmet  (and unrealistic) expectations, fatigue and focusing on things outside of my control.

As a new entrepreneur sixteen months into a new way of life, I have discovered that discouragement is part and parcel of the journey into the unknown. It is very difficult when you are doing things you have not done before. It can leave you wondering if you are on the right track, especially when you are on such an individual journey. Yes, there are some things that entrepreneurs commonly experience, but each journey is personal.

It is important to recognise the signs of discouragement because it can lead to negative thoughts. I was able to see the positive in my experience and I became a stronger and more resilient woman. I want to share with you 3 things that helped me get my groove back.

Rest

I am building a new business, I am a Wife and Mother, Founder of a charitable organisation, and many other things. I juggle many different balls and work long hours in between working for clients and managing my home. It is very easy to always be on the go, bouncing from one task to the next. I have found this not a productive thing to do. A change is as good as a rest as they say. Now when I am tired or worn down I am not afraid to say “this can wait”. It is amazing how taking rest can refresh your mind; It gave me a different perspective on things.

Focus on the positive

What I found helpful was reminiscing on my achievements and this encouraged me because at one point they seemed impossible. This helped me refocus on my long-term vision and goals. I made time each day to engage in activities that I love. This helped me to feel encouraged again.

Letting go

One of the biggest contributors to my season of discouragement was focusing on things outside of my control. It is very easy to think that you have to be in control of everything as an entrepreneur. It is true that I have a certain responsibility to “make things happen”. I am only in charge to an extent. I have learned to let go and let God.

There is always something to learn from all experiences. Discouragement “shall pass”. Do not give up. Recognise it for what it is, part of a process to building you.

Keep Plodding on

NATWEST REUNION EVENT

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I attended the NatWest reunion event at the Tripod in Brixton. It was an opportunity for those of us that completed the program to catch up and network. Also to meet people that support BAME entrepreneurs and businesses. I was part of a group of entrepreneurs from black, minority and ethnic backgrounds that learnt the basics of starting a business. Over the course of 8 weeks through a mixture of workshops and online learning.

Sharniya Ferdinand, Natwest inclusion coordinator worked hard to put the program and event together, she did a fantastic job. It was encouraging to hear  Izzy Obeng and Darren Tenkorbeng share their stories about their entrepreneurial journey. What they have achieved through perseverance and hard work is inspirational and just goes to show what passion for a vision can achieve.  I noticed throughout the evening in the conversations I had with fellow entrepreneurs this was a common thread; hard work, passion and commitment to succeed is the fuel that is propelling our dreams.

Two entrepreneurs from the program did a pitch about their business in 60 seconds and they were so good! Admittedly I am still trying to perfect my pitch but I am getting there. I think it fantastic for Natwest bank to recognise the value of BAME business by putting together resources to empower us. I have been to quite a few of the events that include events for women in business and have found them to be really informative.

Finally, it is important to ‘Fall in love with the problem, not the solution’. That was the motto of the NatWest program. In doing this entrepreneur program it has empowered me to think of new ways of engaging with potential customers. For example, how I build products and services to accommodate their needs. Also how I engage with them, what do they prefer? These are important factors in what will help my company to be effective in its reach and growth. I have already actively put in place aspects of what I have learned and I will be implementing the rest as I go along. This has been an important part of my business journey and it will be interesting to see in a year time the progress of my business. No doubt I am in a much better position for being a part of this program.

 

CONNECTED EMPOWERMENT

In May this year, I coordinated and hosted an empowerment event in Rancho Cucamonga California. I really enjoyed connecting with other like-minded people. It took sixteen weeks of hard work to accomplish this event and resulted in a great learning experience to take forward to my next event abroad. It has opened my mind to countless ideas that I want to explore.

I felt very honoured to deliver this event through my company YEME Empowerment as I originally had this written down on my business canvas as a goal that would be possible in three years time. The reason I envisioned achieving it at this time was due to my company being a new business. I feel a real sense of awe and accomplishment that I have done it. It is amazing how a passion for a cause can connect people together to create empowerment. In this blog, I want to share with you three benefits of connected empowerment.

INFORMATION SHARING

As there were different organisations and speakers that came together at the Empower event, we all got to share knowledge on our particular areas of expertise. We all learned from each other and it gave us unique insight into the challenges faced by survivors of childhood sexual abuse and what hinders their empowerment. I learned a lot in those few hours and I took notes on information shared to help me reflect on the peer empowerment work I do with Daughter Arise.

SHARING SUCCESS AND LESSONS

I shared my story and testimony of how my faith helped overcome childhood sexual abuse. It was great listening to other survivors share how they found their voice. All of us who spoke at the event have overcome many challenges to achieve personal success in life. To be in a position where I can pass on what I have learned from my own journey as a way of encouraging others is a privilege. Trauma does not affect everyone the same way. Our individual experience has in part given us a certain outlook on life yet it has not defined us. It was encouraging and empowering to all that was in attendance.

TEAMWORK

As the saying goes dream work makes the teamwork. An important part of building a business is connecting with other people. We all worked together fantastically as a team which resulted in the event success. The volunteers of the organisations set a great example by the enthusiasm they displayed. It helped set an example for the attendees to feel comfortable to get involved. It was an invaluable experience to able to do this event. I am looking forward to continuing building these professional relationships because connected empowerment enriches the lives of not only everyone involved in this event but also the lives of people we meet in the future.

 

Learning from Experience

Last Wednesday I delivered and facilitated a workshop to social care professionals on how to support young people that have experienced familial sexual abuse. It was my first workshop that I delivered as an independent Trainer for Wandsworth Children’s social care academy. It was very poignant for me; I developed this workshop from personal experience. It was also significant because as a young girl  I was placed in care in this borough. Learning from experience I believe is one of the most empowering ways people can bring real change to lives.

Social workers who work on child in need (CIN) teams, Connexions personal advisers for young people, social work managers and other professionals attended this workshop; the session was fully booked. It was a surreal moment for me to stand and deliver training at the same school where I first found my voice thirty years ago. It was when Childline came to visit the school to talk about sexual abuse that I was empowered, it was the same school I was expelled from at 14yrs old for unmanageable behaviour. To be able to give insight and knowledge about the challenges and trauma I faced as a young girl was a very reflective process for me. But it was very powerful to be able to channel those experiences into constructive training to equip and help the professionals to empower the young people they work with.

It was a great honour to work alongside ex-police Detective Sergeant Debbie Moore. Until recently Debbie worked for the MET police for thirty years, and she spent the latter years investigating cases of child sexual abuse. Debbie delivered a thought-provoking presentation on how criminal cases are put together surrounding child sexual abuse. She also used my case as an example so that the professionals could put it into perspective on from the information she shared. The feedback we received post evaluation was most encouraging and all the participants felt they gained information on a topic they know little about. This was a fantastic outcome and the aim of the workshop was accomplished.

I will be doing more of these workshops this year and hope to deliver others that I have devised. This is what YEME Empowerment is all about; facilitating empowerment to bring changes to lives.

To find out more about workshops that YEME Empowerment offer click here:

http://www.yemeempowerment.com/empowerment-workshops/

 

CHOOSE LIFE!

My new book Choose life was released yesterday and I am so excited to reveal it. Choose life is an awareness and empowerment practical self-help workbook for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. I wrote this book for a number of reasons.

During my journey to healing from sexual abuse, I only came across a handful of self-help books on this topic, and only a couple of books that had been actually written by a survivor. I was inspired to write this book because, during the countless conversations I have had over the last 20 years talking with friends, peers and colleagues that had been sexually abused, and specifically over the last 8 as Founder of Daughter Arise supporting survivors, I realised not everyone is ready to acknowledge their experience. Support groups, therapy and speaking with someone are all a good idea, but the fact is a huge percentage of survivors find the prospect of speaking out completely overwhelming. So with that in mind, I created a book that would help them to start to process their experience in the privacy of their own home.

So what does my new book Choose Life comprises of? Well, it has information and education on what sexual abuse is, how it can affect someone’s life. I discovered how sexual abuse is viewed in certain communities and the challenges this presents in addressing the issue. I share my view on what I think could start to break down the stigma and present some workable solutions. It has practical exercises devised by me inspired by me from my time as a support group facilitator creating empowerment sessions for survivors and things that helped me on my journey to recovery. It also has affirmations, declarations, diary entries from a specific period in my life and poems. This book can be used as a resource for organisations and groups that work with sexual abuse survivors.

I have written this book as someone that has gone through sexual abuse and made it to the other side of a 29-year journey to healing. I have never written an educational or self-help book before. It was a completely different experience from writing my autobiography Daughter Arise. It was challenging in a good way and it stretched me outside of my comfort zone. I am not a counsellor or an expert in the field of sexual abuse, but I have successfully brought solutions to others.  This has resulted in the betterment of lives and I have successfully managed to live a life not defined by past sexual abuse.

The vision I have for this book is to have it released in different languages so that it can reach sexual abuse survivors across the earth. That in countries, islands and villages where there is no support of any kind, they can at least find hope or help from my book. If my book Choose life can simply help or empower one survivor, or give others a better understanding then my book will accomplish its aim.

 Choose life available is available on the store page

http://www.yemeempowerment.com/store/

 

 

TRANSITION

 

2018 has been a year of transition!

It started off as the ‘norm’ but ended up being the exception. I left the comfort zone of having a paid job working for an employer to take a step of faith and risk to carve out my own company. It has been 9 months since I embarked on this journey and many people thought I was crazy, but this decision made total sense to me. It has been a year of transition on all fronts: career-wise and personally; change has developed my character. Now that does not mean it has not been challenging, it certainly has.

As my own boss financially I have had to learn to make my own way and think on my feet about how to maintain my family financial priorities, invest in my business and support my charity organisation, Daughter Arise. It has helped me to think about money in a different way and I am learning more about business. I am taking baby steps but I am slowly learning and growing, something I never experienced in my ‘comfort nest’. This has been necessary for me to get to the next stage of developing myself and vision.

On a personal level, I have had to do new things in order to introduce YEME Empowerment to people. I am good at doing the online stuff: youtube videos, blogs, etc but putting myself out amongst people has required me to push through my inner introvert. It’s strange really: I am totally comfortable giving talks and doing training workshops, but find it challenging doing networking events! I have started to attend networking events and take more of an interest in Linkedin. I also recognise that I need to have more of a social media presence and that is something I will focus on in 2019. These things I am not naturally at ease with doing. I had to ask myself the question what is more important: building my vision or doing what I am comfortable with? I did not think twice about the answer. Building YEME and making it a success is my priority so I will push past any internal barriers to reach my goal.

Besides learning about business and overcoming shyness, the transition has shaped my mindset. I think about things more from a long-term aspect rather than just the here and now. What do I need to do to develop myself? How do I maintain consistency? There are layers and stages of transformation and transition. I am learning about these stages from books, mentors, videos and people that inspire me to ‘break the norm, not be the norm’. To achieve things that have never been done before there is a process you go through and learning it and applying those changes to my life has been the most rewarding and challenging thing I have ever done.

The transition stage is like standing in the middle of a bridge. I am nowhere near where I left from but still far from my destination; I am transforming whilst not knowing where my journey will take me. There are no straight roads or plans on this journey to transition. Sure I have 1,3 and 5-year goals that I want to achieve but seldom things happen in a straight line, I have found that to be the case so far. No matter what happens I am sure this transition phase will bring growth, reflection and adventure; it is where amazing things happen.

 

KEY TO SUCCESSFUL EVENT

The key to a successful event is made up of a number of things. It is the ingredients that make a memorable event (for all the right reasons!)

Recently I was Event Manager for the foster carers reception. This event celebrates the fantastic work and dedication that Foster Carers do to look after children in council authority care. Awards, a three-course dinner, speeches and recognition of achievements marked the celebration of the evening. Even though I have done this event many times before, this was special for me. It was my first time doing it under my company YEME Empowerment. YEME Empowerment events are all about bringing together people to celebrate the empowerment in lives for the good. The evening went well. Over 200 hundred people attended and the feedback from guests and staff was amazing. Every year after each event I always reflect and ask myself “what could I do better?”

Regardless of the wonderful compliments and feedback, which is always appreciated, I continue to aspire to do everything with excellence and maintain a high standard. This has always been my aim as an event manager, and I have learned a lot from coordinating and planning events of different sizes. I believe the key to a successful event is seventy per cent planning and organisation and thirty per cent execution. If you want to be an Event Manager, you have to think on your feet and deliver under pressure. I want to share with you 3 key tips  I have found important in planning an event, whether large or small.

Good communication and relationships – In the first instance, this is most important with the client. I build a good relationship with the client by listening. Good communication builds trust. Without trust, it will be hard for the client to trust you with the vision of their event. Listen to their ideas; write down the details of what they want and ask questions. If something in the brief might prove difficult to accommodate or needs to be changed discuss with the client. Part of my job is to look for alternatives and present options and solutions. It could be presenting an idea they have not thought of before. It is also of the same importance to build good communication with suppliers, attendees and anyone else involved in the event.

Efficiency – Planning details and getting tasks done on time is key to productivity and key to a successful event. Being efficient will help you know where you are at all times in regards to delivering the event. It, therefore, helps make my role easier so that I can ensure the event will be delivered to the client expectations.

Flexibility – Changes can arise at any time when dealing with different people and elements involved in planning an event. I always think ahead and have a plan B because even on the day unexpected things can happen. You cannot be rigid in your plans as an event manager, you have to be able to adapt to changes quickly!

It takes time to get a great balance to create the perfect ambience for an event. Hard work and dedication is a must. But when I see the end result of a happy client and the guests enjoying the moment, it is really rewarding.

Visit the events page below to see what YEME Empowerment can do for you!

http://www.yemeempowerment.com/event-management/

MY FIRST NETWORKING EVENT

I attended my first networking event last Saturday. I attempted to network twice before but cancelled, so I decided it was time to face my fears. Armed with my newfound courage, business cards and Lauren Messiah advice on how introverts should dress for networking events (according to Lauren, a Fashion stylist on Youtube, dressing in something that stands out helps people to initiate a conversation with you). I ventured out at 6.20am to Training Kings Christian Network business breakfast in Kensington with the hopes of connecting with other like-minded people.

The day did not get off to a good start. I left my ticket at home because I decided not to bring my purse (only bank card and change). I got to my destination tube station on time  but I could not find the hotel (I am notoriously bad with directions!)

Besides having a really nice breakfast, I really enjoyed the event. I got to meet other business owners and those about to embark on the journey to starting their own business. I found it encouraging listening to their stories of stepping out into the unknown world of starting a business, their journey to finding their purpose and the passion they conveyed when talking about what they do.

The guest speaker, Susan Jacobs, a wealth consultant spoke about steps to creating wealth and how this can be applied to our business. Hearing her presentation got me thinking more strategically about how I am going to bring in income as a new company owner. I also learned that networking for business is imperative if I want my business to grow, as I could potentially be engaging with people that want to use YEME Empowerment services. I came away from the event inspired with a changed mindset towards networking and I plan is to attend their future events.

Would I network again? most definitely, as a matter of fact, I have another event to attend on August 29th. It might be a totally different experience but the social awkwardness that became my fear in attending networking events has gone. It was a day of many firsts as I also did my very first vlog (that was an interesting experience!) and interviewed my first guest.

What I also learnt is fear starts in the mind and that it is only when we face the reality of whatever we fear that it can be dispelled. I may have let other possible opportunities pass me by but not anymore. My first networking event was a success and I plan to build on it.

COMFORT ZONE TRAP

The comfort zone is a nice cushion of a place. It’s safe and predictable, requires nothing from you apart from just being there. It sounds like a dream but in fact is a nightmare for people like me that are creative, want more out of life and love new challenges. I was stuck for many years and recently I took a risk to escape it.

I didn’t realise it was a trap at first; I thought it was just how the cycle of life was. You work, get paid at the end of each month, pay the bills. Rinse and repeat. I worked hard, had very good jobs and learned great skills from them, but they were never in line with things I was passionate about or led me towards fulfilling my purpose, which is to empower people. I worked in traditional employment (where you’re signed to a company as a permanent member of staff to do a specific role) for over twenty years and instead of feeling empowered by my work experiences it was quite the opposite. I was not growing professionally and slowly I became discontent. I realized in order to have the career I wanted I would need to leave the comfort zone of traditional paid employment. I have finally done it and yes, it is scary!

I know being in the comfort zone trap is not a place many people choose by choice. Sometimes low self-esteem; confidence and lack of self- belief can get in the way of taking a chance to try new things. Also, fear of finances, what other people might think or how to begin to work towards your goals may put you off, so I want to share with you 3 tips to set you on your way.

Have a goal

Before you can escape you need to have an idea of what you want to escape to! Is your goal to start your own business or go back into education to gain a new qualification? Write down what your goal is. Don’t worry if it seems too big or crazy that means you are on the right track! Remember if it is simple to achieve it probably means you are still hoping to stay in the comfort zone!

Have a plan

Now you have your goal it is time to create a plan. In my recent videos ‘procrastination and the perfect time’ and my book review on Joanna Penn’s ‘Career change’ (See links for videos at end of article) I shared how I went from being unhappy in my job in 2016 to 15 months later leaving and launching my own company YEME Empowerment. The key thing I did was to create a plan of what I needed to start and the process it would take for me to get there, I also set timescales to hold myself accountable to executing the plan. Write down all the things you feel you will need to get to your goal and then research. This will help you either define or change your route.

See your vision

There will be times where discouragement sets in and it may seem it will take too long to reach your goal that is why I love vision boards! Usually, this is done in the form of cutting out pictures from magazines or newspapers and then glued onto large art card but if you cannot do that you can do a mini one on an a4 card. If you are not a creative person maybe write down on a piece of paper a statement of how it would feel to reach your goal. The purpose of this exercise is that you stick it on your wall or somewhere you can see it every day to keep you motivated and focused on your dreams and goals.

If this is something you need help with YEME Empowerment offers an empowerment coaching service visit the page to see how I can help you.http://www.yemeempowerment.com/empowerment-coaching/

It is possible to escape the comfort zone trap but it is a choice that besides the 3 tips I have shared with you require a change of mindset and a determined mind. If you are determined to get started today, a great adventure is waiting for you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

DREAMS DO COME TRUE

Seven years I waited for this moment. It was not easy to get here, but finally, my book Daughter ARISE that was originally released in 2010 is now available in selected Waterstones bookstores. I cannot describe to you what this moment feels like. The anticipation and excitement of walking up to the department where my book is shelved was an unforgettable experience; dreams do come true.

Originally when the first edition of my book was released the book company that I had a publishing contract with was supposed to pursue this avenue, but things never materialised (long story!). For a while, I gave up on the dream as it seemed unattainable but when I launched my own company YEME Empowerment, one of my main goals was to re-release the second edition of my book as an independent self-published Author, and that energised me to pursue this dream again.

The process to get book retailers to stock a book as a self-published Author is not easy, after all, there are many Authors trying to achieve the same goal, and only so many books that a bookstore shelf can hold. Money, as they say, makes the world go round and in the book world that basically translates to ‘will the book sell?’ I believe my book will continue to sell. Over the last seven years, I have steadily built a platform of knowledge and expertise based on successfully overcoming many challenges, and relationships with people who are interested in my journey and this has allowed a new audience to be introduced me and my book. I feel extremely blessed that my book holds a space in any Waterstones store. I have learned a lot about the book publishing process over the years and it is something I plan to share with people who are interested in writing and publishing a book that signs up for my YEME book starter workshop that I will be launching in the near future. http://www.yemeempowerment.com/publishing/

As I got caught up in the emotion of the moment, a lovely lady approached me and asked if I was the Author of the book, to which I replied yes. After briefly telling her what the book about she ended up buying it and asked me to sign it and we took a photo! It was a very impromptu book signing, the icing on the cake of a perfect moment! There is nothing sweeter than overcoming the challenges and odds that situations, people or circumstances present; as it is in these moments that character and resilience are built.

The stores that my book is not physically on the shelf in, you can order from any Waterstones store or on their online site. I am enjoying this moment and plan to visit the other stores to see my book on the shelf and take selfies. My encouragement to you is to never give up on your dreams. You will need to believe it can happen and believe in yourself, it will require sacrifice, may take a timely route or be dependant on other things to come into place but if you keep focused it can happen; I have the proof. Dreams do come true.

Check out my first Waterstones book signing here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKSRVNJzFl0

Yvonne