Yvonne Ellis

 


The First step is always the hardest

Picture of winding stairs going upwards.
Image of winding staircase

I have done a lot of things for the first time lately. I finished the rough draft of my first book of a different genre (my 3rd book in total) and created my first online course that I am about to launch. And I recently did my first interview on my Youtube channel The Empowered Life (see video below). I have found this to be true; the first step is always the hardest when doing something new.

In regards to interviewing guests on my channel, I had been meaning to do this for some time but I kept putting it off. I don’t know why. Conducting interviews is not a new experience for me. Back in 2007, I worked as an Interview Officer for the U.K passport service for five years. I

It was a repetitive but important job. I interviewed people from all walks of life. I never thought the skills I acquired from this job could be used outside any specialist role. Yet, here I am years later using it creatively to interview guests on my channel.

My first interview!

So what finally helped me to take the first step? Nothing in particular. I just decided to push through my fear and go for it.

With the help of faith, creativity, previous interview skills, and belief in me. I am so glad I did it. I am keen to build on what I’ve learned. Are you considering trying something for the first time? Here are three things I want to share with you about taking the first step:

Feel the fear and do it anyway
Joyce Meyer, a famous evangelist uses this quote often. Fear and discomfort will always be present when attempting something new. It is part and parcel of taking the first step into something new and unknown. It’s easy to let fear get in the way of what. But you must go for it anyway. Anything worth having in life will involve some type of personal cost.

The first step requires courage
Courage builds confidence. Confidence is built after taking the first step. Once you have done it you will find the other steps are not as scary. Of course there will be challenges to overcome but you will figure it out. Be courageous and see what happens.

The first step provides an opportunity to learn
After the first step, you can make changes, learn from mistakes, and re-define your goal if you need to. Seize the opportunity that the first step will teach you today.

Without the first step, procrastination and fear will keep you bound. This is an ideal time to move forward. Something new awaits you. Put your best foot forward!

Ecclesiastes 11:4
If you wait for perfect conditions you will never get anything done.

http://www.yemeempowerment.com/Subscribe to our newsletter!

When Life Hands You Lemons

#lemons

The Coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone’s life in some way or another. Life as we know it has changed. All my best-laid plans have gone to pot. When life hands you lemons what can you do?

I must admit the first couple of weeks were tricky. The realisation of what this pandemic could possibly mean for my newfound business was difficult. Alongside managing a new workday routine and homeschooling my daughter, dealing with all the sudden changes has been a task in itself. But as time has gone on (give or take a few up and down days) I have got into a new rhythm of life. As a matter of fact, I have used this time in quarantine to work on some amazing things.  I look forward to sharing them with you soon.

So what have I learnt from this coronavirus curveball that has come my way? When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!


Rather than focus on things outside my control I am actively doing things that will further develop and strengthen me, my family and business. I am finishing projects and creating new products.  I’m reading great books, enjoying family time and planning my next moves. 

I know for many people fear is ever-present concerning financial security, employment and what the world will look like post-pandemic (I have these concerns too). But one thing life has taught me is you can add nothing to a situation by worrying. I choose to remain optimistic. I hope and pray you can also do the same.

So today I encourage you to make lemonade with your lemons. Use this time to start that project you have put off for a long time. Invest in self-care and pamper yourself. Take up a new hobby or learn something new.

If you are a self-employed/entrepreneur you may find my video ‘8 things entrepreneurs can do during Covid-19’ (below) helpful on things you can do during this time to strengthen your business. Also if you are finding it hard to mentally get going, my video ‘fight the mental slump’ may be of encouragement to you (see below).

Life will always bring the unexpected. But you can choose to rise above its challenges. You may surprise yourself and find that you exceed your own expectations.

There is surely a future hope for you,
    and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 23:18

Cheering you on
Yvonne

http://www.yemeempowerment.com/

8 THINGS ENTREPRENEURS CAN DO DURING COVID-19
FIGHT THE MENTAL SLUMP

Women Appreciating Women

#WAWAWARDS2020

I had the great privilege of attending the Women Appreciating Women awards. The event is a celebration of women that are positively contributing to society. I was nominated by a lovely lady for the work I have been doing over the last decade, empowering survivors of childhood sexual abuse. I have never won an award before. Women Appreciating Women is my first one.

Over 100 women attended the event. Women of all races, nationalities and backgrounds were present. Some travelled from their home countries to attend. All the women were offered an opportunity to be interviewed on camera. I was nervous when it came to my turn but nevertheless, I completed the interview. Afterwards, I enjoyed the drinks reception.

#WAWawardrecipients

Doctor Pauline Long, is Founder of Women Appreciating Women and a Philanthropist. It is clear from many conversations had during the course of the evening, that she is highly respected and well thought of. Moreover, her passion for empowering women was evident in her speech. The theme for this year awards was ‘she must-win’. Dr Long encouraged us as women to push through challenges and be the best we can be.

Dr Long interviewed a selection of women. She asked what inspired them to make a difference.  Each story was unique, but a common theme stood out; a desire for change. Adversity, hardship, discrimination and injustice was significant in their vision to achieve extraordinary things. It was truly inspirational.

#awardrecipent

I had a lovely three-course meal. Besides receiving my lovely award. The D.J played some great throwback music (80’s Madonna and Whitney, I loved it!). Through conversation, I learned women are making a difference through a range of interesting careers. I met a Councillor and award-winning Indian drummer.

The atmosphere was really special. I left the event feeling proud and inspired to continue to do great things. Indeed, the event reminded me of why it is important that we are celebrated. I am a proverbs 31 woman; a wife, mother and businesswoman. Also, I am a leader and a world changer. It is okay to be all these things. My gender does not define my potential. Nor will I let other peoples limitations define me. So, therefore, I will continue to dream big and fly high. After all, she must-win.

http://www.yemeempowerment.com/

.

 

Discipline the key to success

#success #goals #success #thekeytosuccess

Happy New Year to you and welcome to 2020!

Discipline the key to success. As we begin the start of a new decade, it is the perfect time to set new goals. This is the year to have the courage to go for the things you really want. In whatever you are trying to do: lose weight, build your business, develop new habits or save money. Discipline is the key to success because it will take you to the next level.

I was reflecting on my achievements last year. As I sat looking at my vision board at things I have and yet to achieve, the common theme to reach my goals, dreams and aspirations is discipline.

 I must admit I have struggled with discipline. But over the last few weeks as I have spent time studying and applying what I have learned to my life.  I am already reaping great benefits that include a changed mindset and more focus.

Discipline is a mindset habit. It has to be developed and involves being intentional in the things you set out to do. Show up and commit whether you feel like it or not. It requires focus.

It is not a word that naturally makes people jump for joy, because most people associate the word discipline with rigid rules. But there is no escaping it. Sooner or later it must come into the equation in all that you do; if you want to achieve your goals, dream and aspirations.

Medicine tastes unpleasant but is required to feel better. Certainly the same applies to discipline. It must be applied to produce positive results. Here are five tips to help you.

Set goals

Goals are essential part of planning for your life. It is not the number of goals you have, it is about accomplishing the goal set. One goal is better than none. Write them down, make it manageable. It does not mean make it easy! Set a time frame for your goal to be completed. Hold yourself accountable.

Have a routine

Plan your day. Maybe do it the night before if it helps. Do not drift aimlessly. You are setting the framework of discipline. Planning tools such as a diary or wall planner are really helpful.

Just do it

Do not put off until tomorrow what you can do today because this is where procrastination creeps in. We have all done this at some point in life, but to develop discipline you must take action.

Hold yourself accountable

Conduct daily and weekly check-ins. Have you done what you said you would do? If not why? Hold yourself accountable. Reflect on progress. It will help you keep an eye on yourself. Write it down in a diary or journal what is and isn’t working. Make adjustments if necessary.

Reward yourself

Make the medicine of discipline easier to swallow. No matter how big or small acknowledge your achievements. A reward is part of success.

http://www.yemeempowerment.com/newsletter/Subscribe to our newsletter!

My Entrepreneur Journey

My entrepreneur journey has been a lesson in self –development. It has resulted in unknown and challenging situations. In this post, I share with you five things I identified on my transformation journey from leaving traditional employment to becoming a full-time entrepreneur.

Excitement

I distinctly remember waking up the day after I left my job, I was excited. It was a huge weight off my shoulders to finally make the decision. More importantly, I was excited at the prospect of creating new things. Creativity has been the essential motivator that has kept me going on my journey to shaping the vision of my company YEME Empowerment.

Realisation

I was running off the adrenalin of the excitement. My confidence was running high and my self-belief was unbelievable. The realisation that I was really living the life of an entrepreneur suddenly hit me. I was not mentally prepared for how tough it would be financially in the first year. It was the right decision to leave my job, a window of opportunity moment that I had to take. It was a scary realisation. I was now in charge of making choices that would help shape my destiny.

Doubt

I worried about things outside of my control but I did not doubt my ability to accomplish my goals or that I would achieve my vision. I chose to let go of the fear and I pushed forward one day at a time.

Mindset 2.0.

I spent twenty-three years mentally conditioned by working in the traditional paid employment system and it shaped the way I lived and thought about my life. I am unlearning habits and behaviours associated with my previous way of living. It has been a freeing experience that has helped me grow mentally.

My journey to finding my way has brought clarity. I started out I had an outline of what I believed it would take to build my vision. The reality was I had to adjust my methods to achieve it.

Clarity

Because I took courage and embraced risk I have seen great outcomes in my endeavours but the entrepreneur journey is not for the faint-hearted. It has taught me perseverance, resilience and patience.

I believe I can go the distance on my entrepreneur journey because I have a solution to a problem. I also have passion and inspiration. That is the fuel and strength I need to see things through.

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

.

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/