Today I am sharing why I have been inspired by Teresa Dukes of Dukes Consultancy. Teresa, is a trainer (over 25,000 people to date), an international speaker (USA, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Germany, Switzerland, Abidjan Ivory Coast, Johannesburg, London, Dublin, Barcelona, Bangkok and Thailand…I know right?) and Teresa has successfully coached National Speech Champions. In between all these accomplishments she found time to co-author the #1 bestselling book ‘World Class Speaking in Action’; and her second co-authored book ‘Women on Success’ is out March 2020… And breathe, yes, this woman’s got some energy!
I have been inspired by you because… you were the first female professional public speaker that I had ever met! and the way you told a story was captivating. Hearing you really got me thinking about the validity of my own stories, and made me realise that I could speak in my natural voice, an insight which has given me so much courage.
How did you get to where you are now: In 1999 I was working as an executive secretary in one of London’s prestigious utility companies, and was trying to find a way to advance my career into management; it proved difficult because of the perception managers had of the secretarial role, and I was held back by my lack of confidence in my ability to speak effectively not only at work but everywhere! This allowed people to control my future, my path, and my dream all because of my lack of courage to stand up for myself.
It was time to change from a shy timid secretary who followed others, to a strong, confident leader who people wanted to hear speak, and who people would listen to when she did. Joining and walking through the door of a speakers’ club for the first time was one of the hardest things I ever did – but it has also been one of the most rewarding.
Fast forward a decade, after amazing personal growth and promotions in my corporate career, it was time for me to take an even bigger step and became the founding Director of Dukes Consultancy – ‘Helping you Be Heard, Understood and Remembered’. I was now my own boss! who would have ever imagined that?
So, what made the difference? How did I go from a shy, timid secretary to running my own company helping others overcome their obstacles in confidence? Working with someone who not only believed in my abilities and potential, but who wanted to help me unleash them and make them real. In my case this just happened to be my boss, he took me under his wing and guided me through the pitfalls of promotion. It took 18 months of coaching and a lot of hard work, my journey took me down many different (sometimes very unexpected, sometimes hugely rewarding) roads; but together we broke down the perception of my previous secretarial persona, built my confidence and self-belief to a new level, and gained the acceptance of my peers. He helped me be heard, understood and remembered, and we are still in touch today!
Having a mentor who had been through a similar experience, and was willing to help me realise my potential was a powerful step in the right direction, and made me passionate about doing them same for the people I work with through my training and coaching.
Piece of Wisdom to share: The first step is the hardest, but as soon as you take it you will never look back. Look at people who have accomplished what you are aiming for. Look for resources that help you reach your goals. Identify a coach who is willing to help you on your journey. Set your goals and act – start making them a reality.
Resolution for 2020: I don’t make resolutions, I set goals! My three for 2020 are to publish a third book entitled: ‘Presenting at your Best in 26 Steps’. To increase the love of storytelling in business presentations; and to spend more time with my grandchildren!
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