How NOT to become a multi-millionaire self-improvement life-coach guru

Make sure you don’t have a picture of yourself on a rock!

A picture of someone who is NOT Suzi Butcher on top of a rock looking athletic — Image courtesy of LIOglobal via Pixaby under a CC0 Creative Commons licence

I’m not sure I can be a successful life coach.

  • I’ve never been homeless
  • I’ve never lived in my car
  • I’ve never been on the verge of bankruptcy
  • I’ve never had a near death experience
  • I’ve never had a serious addiction (except for online courses, but that’s not life threatening)
  • I don’t live on a ranch or enjoy water sports
  • I have no pictures of myself looking athletic on top of a rock or mountain
  • My name is not Robbins (think Tony Robbins, Mel Robbins, or Stever Robbins). OK — that one’s not really a deal-breaker, but it does seem the Robbins name has some particular self-development stardust associated with it, as proved by its higher-than-average appearance in the personal guru cast list.

So, what chance have I to build a branding backstory for my coaching business that will make me my millions? Where are the disasters to overcome? Where’s a girl to find some genuine, old-fashioned, rags-to-richness when she needs it?

I can offer only an average, middle-class, white-privileged upbringing with a bit of hippy stuff thrown in. I wasn’t spoiled, but definitely never lacked any of the basics. I had a good education, ballet and music lessons, and as far as I know there was no substance abuse in my house. And I was loved. No great hurdling of the insurmountables in that story! All very ordinary. How will I inspire people to overcome their odds when mine were so benign? (Perhaps that should be the title of my book — ‘Benign Odds’)

I travelled after school, went to university, worked as a waitress, got a job in a bookshop, did some more university and then became a journalist and had a healthy 20ish-year career in the media. At no stage did I make a fortune and lose it again, hurtling from a life of opulence in a Manhattan penthouse to living on the streets of Detroit, only to re-emerge transformed, with a fire in my belly, a much better haircut and enough energy to run a fleet of Teslas.

Instead — these are the more mundane odds I constantly have to overcome:

  • Fear that the stuff I really love to do will never lead to anything that will resemble a full-time income, and I should just go back to a proper job
  • Distraction from Medium posts like this, interesting links on social media and anything Trump related (especially Melissa McCarthy)
  • Anxiety that I’m middle-aged and have no business trying to change the world when I should be worrying about contributing more to my pension
  • A tendency to plan what I want to do more than actually doing it
  • An inability to finish stuff before finding the next shiny object to pursue
  • Access to too generous a safety net to become a real hustler
  • Email overwhelm and general frustration with bureaucracy everywhere
  • Fear that my friends are sniggering behind my back thinking I have gone to live in some kind of new age woo-woo land. (Many of my friends are also journalists, a profession not known for embracing methods of personal transformation that don’t involve cigarettes or alcohol)
  • The fact there always seems to be some dishes in the sink (and I don’t even have kids!)
  • The constant worry that the destination might not be worth the journey

It’s not much a story is it? But it is my story. My average, ordinary, day-to-day story, and I suspect the story of many millions of other people who just want to live life on their own terms.

Or maybe they want to do more than that.

Maybe they want to challenge their limitations, pivot to a different life all together, create something magnificent, be a change-maker, flourish in their own confidence, end a great injustice… Maybe they actually want to make their mark on the world.

Even if they haven’t got much of a backstory. 
Like me.

Perhaps we can just overcome the ordinary odds together, before taking on the big ones…

…we can always rewrite our backstory once we get there!

Good things that happened this week…

(Because we all need to keep track of the moments we cherish, then go out and make more of them)

  • Wandering Wednesday at Leadenhall Market— yet another of London’s architectural gems I had not visited despite living in this great city for nearly 15 years. Some of you may recognise it as Diagon Alley, though never actually having seen the Harry Potter movies I cannot independently confirm that a visit here could end up at a pub called the Leaky Cauldron. It’s mainly restaurants, bars and City-folk getting their shoes cleaned (up until now I have never actually seen anyone getting their shoes cleaned by a person, but it seems in this part of town, it’s the thing to do), and it truly is lovely to stand under that fabulous ceiling built in Victorian times. The market itself dates back to the 14th century.
Leadenhall Market, London, UK — Images by Suzi Butcher
  • Wandering the alleyways around Leadenhall Market — even more fun than the market are the alleyways around it, which are about as old-world-Londony as you can get. You could be on a movie set. I especially liked the ‘No Drinks’ sign at the gates to St. Michael’s church — it gives you an indication of the primary past time of those who work in London’s financial sector. (And I don’t mean going to church!)
Alleyways near Leadenhall Market, London, UK — Images by Suzi Butcher
  • A visit to coffee shop in central London where you are treated like a human being — Yes, it’s true that such a thing exists. I almost don’t want to tell you about it, because it’s tiny and there are only two comfortable arm-chair type seats, one of them with direct access to a power point. (There are of course other seats, but I tend to judge cafés by their comfy, ‘I want to sit and read or potter on my laptop’ type seats). But since you’ve stuck by me and read this far, how can I not tell you about the wonder that is Taylor St. Gallery. Actually, you are far better reading this loving blog post by a man named Brian who is actually a coffee drinker. Suffice to say, I had forgotten what it feels like to be in a café where you do not feel like a commodity. Just make sure you are not wearing high heels if you need to go down the precarious wrought-iron spiral staircase to the loo, which is ensconced in some kind of foam igloo in a training room. If you want to know more than that, you’ll have to visit yourself!
  • A post-Valentine’s dinner with my lovely — we’re not big on going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day itself, so decided on a Saturday night splurge instead. A Kia Royale, a lovely bottle of wine, chats about the future and a slightly surly waiter. What more could you want? Happy Valentine’s Day baby.


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