This blogpost was written at the request of the Channel4 News Team for a guest blog from someone pro-Thatcher
My admiration for Margaret Thatcher must be put in the context of Britain in the 1970’s before she came to power.
As a young teenager I remember huddling around a small battery operated black and white TV by candlelight through yet another electricity strike watching news reports of rats collecting around piles of uncollected rubbish in the streets.
Everyone lived at the mercy of the Trade Unions, employers could not remove lazy workers and British manufactured goods, famous for their poor quality, were a worldwide joke.
It would take a strong and fearless leader to take Britain out of the mess it was in – and that was what we got in Margaret Thatcher.
When I left school I got a job as a lowly office junior in a local firm of accountants, but through diligent hard work and always doing more than I was asked to, I worked my way up the career ladder, eventually landing a job in the City of London and ending up by the mid 1980’s working at the No1 accountancy firm in the world.
It was the ‘Yuppie’ era – we worked hard, we played hard, we made lots of money, we drank lots of champagne.
There was no room for slackers, moaners, shirkers or victims in this world. It was dog eat dog. If you didn’t perform you were out. But there was a real sense of infinite possibility for anyone willing to work hard enough for it. Success was down to you and you alone.
The Thatcher era created a new breed of energized, ambitious wealth creators willing to take their destiny in their own hands. She made Britain great again.
There is still much anger from mining communities – even now, some 30 years on – for the devastation Thatcher allegedly wreaked on them. But put into today’s context, do we have any sympathy for the photocopier, fax and CD manufacturers swept away by the digital revolution? Or by retailers whose goods no longer hold consumer appeal and which go into liquidation?
The truth is, the coal industry simply could not compete on a global scale and Thatcher saw that there was no future in that sector.
But, as in mythology where the serpent eventually eats its own tail, we eventually saw the dark side of Capitalism, where money greed and power became more important than anything else. The eventual collapse of the banking system was the inevitable result of an economy reliant on money which did not actually exist.
Once again the world has moved on, and it is now time for a new era of a more sustainable, harmonious way of doing business where the masculine values of winning at all costs are balanced by the feminine values of nurturing and caring for others.
But Thatcher was the perfect leader for her time back in the 1970′s and 1980′s – to take Britain out of the economic doldrums caused by a ‘the-government-owes -me-a-living’ mentality, and to show people that if they were willing to take responsibility for their lives, they could be the masters of their own prosperity.
Her legacy is the wave of enterprising young talent that I now see creating great wealth for Britain – not just to make money for themselves but as part of a bigger desire to make a positive contribution to the world.
Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s the cold & miserable January snowy weather, maybe it’s because everyone’s out of cash after an expensive Christmas…. but is anyone else noticing an overspill of ANGER seeping out from all sorts of places?
Angry messages on Twitter declaring that so & so has been BLOCKED for x y z messages…
Angry emails threatening physical abuse if the person is not removed from the mailing list IMMEDIATELY…
Angry blog posts (like this one!) generally giving vent to frustration over this that or the other…
The Anger Gurus amongst you will know that 80% of anger actually goes unexpressed.
Instead it simmers under the surface, and often rears its ugly head in all sorts of forms of non-assertive aggression.
Not so for the ‘exploding fireworks’ (i.e. people like me) who tend to let people know exactly how they are feeling in any given moment!
Not nice, but people know exactly where they stand.
There are a few problems with the simmering, often unexpressed anger.
Firstly, it is one of the lowest ‘vibrations’ – meaning it’s difficult to attract great things into your life (especially money) when you’re brooding. Ultimately if sustained over a long period of time it can lead to ‘dis-ease’ i.e. serious health problems and chronic illness.
Secondly, at a collective level, pent up anger can lead to uprisings, riots, rebellions and revolutions within society when someone puts a match to the tinderbox (and I haven’t even been to see Les Mis yet!)
As a serial Mrs Angry the thing I have learned to do with my white hot anger (when it is activated) is to transmute it into nuclear action energy – the kind of laser beam focus that can blast through blocks and power projects through to successful completion.
As a business mentor the thing I would most recommend is to unlock, express and release the anger. Even beating up a pillow or cushion with a rolling pin works… It may not be a pretty sight – and we have all been taught that anger is ugly and to ‘keep a lid on it’ – but in my experience it is often the quickest fastest way to make massive progress.
I received an email from a very indignant man recently demanding to be removed from my mailing list on the basis I was ‘no longer a serious business player’.
(Why he couldn’t have just clicked on the ‘unsubscribe’ button and spared me his negativity is beyond me)
But I did have to pause and have a chuckle at just what a ‘serious business player’ actually is…
Maybe the Chief Execs of HMV, Jessops or Blockbuster considered themselves ‘serious business players’ – at least until recently.
And definitely the Chief Execs of all the banks were VERY serious business players – well, up until September 2008.
Then there was the head of BP. Very definitely a serious business player at the helm of a very serious global business – until his company killed all the wildlife off the shores of the US, thanks to cost-cutting.
And now there’s Tesco – a very serious very big business player indeed – except they’ve screwed their suppliers so far to the floor on price with the result that horse meat is finding its way into Tesco own-burgers.
Truly folks, I believe we are at the end of the era of the so called ‘serious business player’ – because the world of SMEs I live in (which actually makes up 99% of the business community) is on the whole about collaboration, respect, valuing one another, transparency, honesty and ethical values. Oh, yes, and ENJOYING creating great value – in a world where pinstripe dinosaurs are rapidly becoming extinct.
So, farewell from my tribe Mr ‘Serious Business Player’.
I must admit the thought of going back to my old grammar school Chelmsford County High School for Girls in Essex to speak to the Year 11 girls at a specially arranged ‘Leadership Conference for Women’ yesterday filled me with terror.
I was not exactly a star pupil during my time there, was almost expelled once for fighting on the hockey pitch, was written off as someone who was not expected to achieve much in life and ended up being rejected from every University I applied to.
I ended up getting a job in a local firm of accountants filing and making coffee.
So to be received back yesterday as one of the school’s most famous ex-pupils to something of a superstar welcome was extraordinary to say the least!
The panel of four Alumnae each spoke for 10 minutes in the opening presentation. In my stint I talked about how amazing things can come from what seems at the time like failure. My own failure to get in to University lead me on a path which gave me exactly what I needed to become an entrepreneur – 7 years working my way up in the accountancy profession ending up specialising in the taxation of entrepreneurs and small businesses, with clients like Robert Breare and Sir Terence Conran in my portfolio.
I also encouraged all the Mavericks in the audience – all those girls who didn’t feel they conformed – to realise that their ability to ‘dare to be different’ was in fact one of their greatest assets. All the greatest entrepreneurs I know didn’t fit in at school.
Here are 3 of the ‘Mavericks’ who came up to see me afterwards to thank me… (Emma, Lucy and Chloe I think?) Three women to watch!
Later in the morning I delivered a seminar to 100 or so girls all around ‘Manifesting Prosperity’. Amazingly, not one person in the room (including teachers and the Headmistress) had read Napoleon Hill’s classic book ‘Think and Grow Rich’.
What are we teaching our children ????
In my own simpleton way I explained to the girls about 3rd and 4th dimensional consciousness, Newtonian physics vs Quantum physics and the kind of magic that the Universe can deliver when you work from passion and a ‘burning desire’ to see your dreams manifest.
How it’s important to switch out of the logical left-brain ‘How To’ mode and limiting beliefs, into trusting that all the right people opportunities and ideas will show up to light the pathway. If only a handful of girls read ‘Think and Grow Rich’ or open up to these ideas as a result of my visit it will be a job well done.
Afterwards I was taken for a tour of the school by Sophie, Lucy and Suzanna – a real trip down memory lane, albeit that the site has been massively redeveloped since I was there in 1975 – 1983. The facilities are amazing – with the exception perhaps of the ice cold swimming pool!!! *Shudders at memory*
The school now educates three times the number of girls it did in my day.
Before I left I could not resist leaving a piece of graffiti on the paper beautifully provided for the purpose in the toilets.
Once a naughty schoolgirl always a naughty schoolgirl!!!
It was indeed a truly magical day and I would like to thank the headmistress Mrs Chapman for inviting me plus all the girls for giving me the X-Factor welcome !!!
PS Big thanks to the girl (sorry I can’t remember your name) whose grandma sent me these pics of her with my Mum. She also went to the school (c1950) and these are the only pics I have of my Mum (on the right in main pic) who passed away in 1997.
In the panel session we were asked how we kept going in the face of failure. My reply was that my Mum always used to tell me when I was young ‘You’re so clever, you’re so special’ – which has given me rock solid self-confidence all my life.
This is a post dedicated to all those people who are getting uncomfortable with the amount of alcohol that they are currently consuming.
After all, what harm can a glass or two of wine do?
Well, maybe getting on for a whole bottle after a particularly stressful day…
Or even the occasional skinful getting carried away at a party, or over a boozy dinner with boozy friends?
I’ve been a drinker for as long as I can remember.
My parents always enjoyed a bottle of Blue Nun with Sunday lunch and I used to see them sit hand in hand sipping ice cold lager when it first came into fashion in the 1970′s. Was it any surprise that I saw drinking as perfectly normal, very grown up and somehow rather romantic?
I’ve always been a hedonist who tends to do things to excess. This was fantastic as a career girl working in the City during the ’80′s – a champagne fuelled era of decadence where you’d often go to lunch and end up still in the wine bar in the evening. So long as your charge out rate was at 100+% (mine was frequently 110%+) the bosses turned a blind eye. We worked hard, we played hard, we all made lots of money.
This hedonistic streak was also a big reason for the success of my first business Red Letter Days (all about escapism essentially) – but it also lead me to go over the top where drinking was concerned.
Things changed when I was 30 and had my first baby.
Looking back it was clear I had post-natal depression, and as a single mum I really didn’t know how to cope stuck at home with a baby that needed constant attention. I didn’t know what to do when he cried. Apart from transporting him to the childminder each morning on my way into work and collecting him on my way home I rarely left the house with him, because I didn’t know how I would cope if something went wrong.
So at that point drinking became something of a ‘private party for one’. Pure escapism from the terror of not knowing how to be a mother.
When life is wonderful and full of friends and parties, alcohol just fuels the celebration. But once you are addicted it’s very easy to turn to booze as a coping mechanism to get you through life’s problems.
Fast forward to New Year’s Day 2002 – by which point I’d been using alcohol as a coping tool for over a decade. My business was booming, I had a hard working high stress life, and I also had the money to pay for a variety of childminders and helpers and private schools for the children. A good friend had committed suicide as a result of alcohol on Valentine’s Day 2001 – leaving me a suicide note saying he was about to go on the ‘Ultimate Experience’ – a trip across the River Styx accompanied by Charon the Ferryman. I had been drinking to excess throughout the Christmas/New Year period and, thanks to a good friend whose father had also died from being an alcoholic, and who also took me to various Christian events, I finally went along to my very first AA meeting.
I was surprised at just how many ‘normal’ people there were there!
I managed to stay off the booze until that May, when I got the call that I had been shortlisted for the 2001 Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year Award. They wanted me to attend a photoshoot with the other finalists – Barbara Cassani of GO! Airlines, Jo Malone, Chey Garland and Sly Bailey, then CEO of Trinity Mirror Group. Of course the event was awash with free champagne, and in the elation of the moment I made the dreaded mistake of thinking ‘One glass won’t hurt!’. BAMMM!!!!
And, of course, the problem now was that this glass of sparkly-chilled-designer-poison was now inextricably linked with success and fame.
Much of 2002 was spent on one champagne high or another, during which time I met my current husband, who also likes to drink, but in a very different way to me. Things turned once again, though, in 2003 when it became clear that things were going badly wrong with Red Letter Days. I’d stepped back from the company in a non-exec role and now had to step back in to unravel the mess. Once again, alcohol was the coping mechanism, this time to the stress of massive cashflow issues, re-financing after re-financing and generally being on output 24/7 to save my business. It didn’t help that a close adviser who accompanied me to many of these meetings loved wine as much as I did!
I was under massive stress, mentally, emotionally and physically – and although I thought I was relieving much of this by using alcohol as a crutch to get me through, I now realise I was simply adding more stress to the situation by feeding my body with poison.
Things came to a head one night at my brother’s house where we had all been drinking quite heavily and his wife made some sly comments which I overheard and reacted badly to. Realising I was under massive stress and things were getting out of control, I asked my husband to drive me to a private clinic I had read about in ‘You’ Magazine a few weeks earlier. They put me in a room with a methodone addict, and next day I was in such an emotional state they gave me (as well as most of the other people there) Valium to calm us down. So there we all sat around the room like a group of sedated zombies. It was a massive wake-up call (I don’t do ‘drugs’) and that afternoon (when the Valium had worn off) I asked my husband to come and get me the hell out of there!
I never did manage to save the Red Letter Days business, but in the meantime had now managed to become a TV star via my appearance as a Dragon in the first two series of Dragons’ Den. Another champagne fuelled existence, going off in Peter Jones’ chauffeur-driven Bentley after filming for drinks in Duncan’s private club followed by dinner at The Ivy.
Booze was now tied up with power, sex, money, fame, and all the rest that goes with it.
I was managing to keep it under control now, but alcohol was still a big factor in my ability to enjoy life.
People have often asked me ‘How do you cope with five children?’ The real answer (as almost every mother will know) up until now has been: ‘With the help of a large glass of white wine.’
The next meltdown occurred in July 2011. I was due to do the Landmark Advanced Forum and (as part of my resistance to going I now realise) decided to go on a bender the night before. In no fit state to do the course, and nursing the hangover from hell, I opted out of the course at lunchtime and went back to the hotel to sleep it off.
I remember lying in bed praying to God to send me help.
I woke up at 5.40pm with an urge to get myself to an AA meeting. I Googled it and found out there was one starting at 6pm just 100 yards away !!! ’No!’ my ego-self declared ‘I look a mess and what if someone there recognises me off the telly?!?’
‘Get yourself up and go there’ replied my Inner Self, calmly.
The room was packed, and to my surprise half of the people there were young women. Lots of men in suits who’d just come from work and just a few properly ’alcoholic’ looking people. Sitting next to me was an old man with a walking stick. At the end of the session, ego-self was preparing to slip out of the room unnoticed when this man turned to me and with piercing blue eyes said ‘What can I do to help you?’. I promptly burst into tears and two women came towards me and took me to get a cup of tea and a biscuit. (These two women became my AA ‘sponsors’ to help keep me off drink.) I turned round and the man had disappeared. Strange that, earlier, when they were passing round the collection jar for donations during the session, that no one had passed the jar to the old man… I often wonder if he was the angel God had sent in response to my prayer?
That period of abstention lasted until September when I read ‘Pure’ by Barefoot Doctor which essentially said spirituality had nothing to do with how much drugs you consume. BAMMM!!! A real ‘Fuck It’ moment giving me permission to drink again…
In many ways I was lucky. I have quite a weak constitution which means that I’ve never been able to drink spirits, plus low blood pressure – which always ensured I fell asleep on booze before I could drink way too much of it. Not so my best friend Debbie, who was my champagne drinking partner during the ’80′s. She descended into vodka addiction and died of liver failure a couple of years back.
Nonetheless, even though I was only drinking wine – and I had developed some really effective ‘coping strategies’ to manage my drinking – I was increasingly realising that it was becoming an expensive habit that I really needed to do something about. I think it is really important to point out that at this stage, far from ‘battling addiction’ I felt that 99% of the time I was supremely ‘in control’. I only drank wine and by now was something of a ‘connoisseur’ – no Chilean Columbard shite for me! I only drank well made Sancerre, Languedoc and Gavi with perhaps the occasional glass of Fleurie or Chateauneuf du Pape with beef or lamb. A bottle of anything disgusting got poured away. On a typical day I didn’t have my first glass until early evening; even later if I had a professional speaking engagement. And I had developed the supreme art of alcoholic self-control: After-Dinner Speaking – not drinking for 5 hours straight through a champagne reception, five course meal with unlimited wine until going on stage, sometimes as late as 11pm. Yes, I was supremely in control! One thing though: by now I could not imagine having fun without also having a drink.
Then, last weekend – during a booze fuelled dinner party at which at no point did I want to switch to a coffee or cup of tea, or even drink a glass of water – my friend Marie Claire Carlyle suggested I read ‘Kick the Drink… Easily’ by Jason Vale. Although known for his ‘super juicing’ recipes, this was actually the first book Jason ever wrote, about his own alcohol addiction and how he stopped.
Amazon kindly delivered the book on Tuesday.
Jason instructs you not to attempt stopping drinking until you have finished reading it – and last night I finished, with a decision to also finish with alcohol. The book has altered my thinking about drinking forever.
Jason Vale asserts that there is no such thing as an ‘alcoholic’ (a term designed to shame most of us either into denial or supreme control around their drinking habit). There are just alcohol addicts – and everyone who drinks alcohol is in effect an addict to some degree or other. The very fact you have to control your drinking means that, in reality, alcohol has control over you.
He also explains in very clear and inequivocable terms that alcohol is nothing more and nothing less than a cleverly marketed, highly addictive poison.
The problem is, given that 80% of the adult population drinks, in our society alcohol is the only drug that people think it is odd for you not to take.
He also points out that even though our Government is constantly clamping down on drug dealers, heroin, crack cocaine etc. it is in itself the country’s biggest drug dealer – making £8.7billion a year from alcohol. Alcohol claims 9,000 lives a year in this country which is 9 times more deaths than from all the other hard drugs combined.
This is one powerfully written book, destroying every single myth and excuse around alcohol one by one, and in three days reversing the lifetime of brainwashing I had had around alcohol. In three days I realised that, like everyone else, I had fallen for a con – and that it had taken me 47 years to realise it. Drinking alcohol is drinking poison.
As a result of reading the book, last night I took the decision that I would never again allow myself to drink alcohol. There is no recovery period, no lifetime of going to AA meetings, no willpower, no determination needed. Just a crystal clear decision not to take poison, in any shape or form.
Given the extent of alcohol related problems in this country, the Government really should bring Jason Vale in to remedy the situation.
An ALCOHOL IS POISON label on every bottle and can of booze would be a good start.
As Jason points out, there is no such thing as a ‘safe number of units’ – in the same way that there is no such thing as a ‘safe amount of heroin’.
Alcohol is addictive – which means the only ‘safe’ number of units is no units.
Oh how I wish I had read this book several decades ago… As well as given a copy to my dead friends Brian and Deborah before it was too late for them.
Meantime, I am looking forward to my first weekend of freedom from the poison that is alcohol.
No it is not ‘too early’ for me to be making this declaration. There is no drying out period, no 21 days to change a habit required. Just a simple flick of a switch which has destroyed the illusion that it is somehow ‘safe’ or ‘normal’ or ‘enjoyable’ to drink a highly addictive poison.
I hope this post helps you.
POST SCRIPT It is now Monday morning and the decision to stop drinking was taken last Thursday. Friday, Saturday and Sunday used to be the most tempting days of the week, but this time I filled them with healthy eating and drinking plus getting busy clearing the house and garden. This morning I feel more energised, awake and alive than I have done for years. Far from feeling ‘in withdrawal’ or denying myself pleasure I’m celebrating finally being out of prison. The great thing has been the reaction to this post both via the comments below and via Twitter throughout the weekend. It seems so many people are in exactly the same position that I was – a nagging sense that something was very wrong. I’m really glad that by ‘coming out’ and sharing my story I have helped be the catalyst for others to wake up and break free from the spell that we as a society are under around alcohol, believing that this highly addictive poison is normal, acceptable and a key element in our ability to have fun.
PPS As a result of the above post Jason Vale got in touch with me via Twitter (@juicemaster) and we held a free webinar on Tuesday 30th October at 7pm GMT - where we talked about giving up Booze! Here is the recording:
It’s been a fascinating week, all the more so because I had a massive insight into money. Which I would like to share with you…
On Thursday I had a VIP invite to go preview my fellow Dragons’ Den star Simon Woodroffe’s latest Yo!Home venture at the 100% Design show at Earl’s Court.
Amazing stuff; a space saving apartment filled with hidden walls, chambers and hydraulics which changes from living room to bedroom to kitchen to dining room as your day unfolds. It’s just a concept at this stage – Simon was at the show ‘putting the energy out there’. It’s the way you attract investors, backers and joint venture partners to a new project.
After I’d seen the demo I toured the show. Beautiful stand after beautiful stand filled with the latest wall coverings, design lead furniture, kitchens, bathrooms, marbles & granite, wood flooring, light fittings and interior concepts. It made me realise how much I love beautiful things.
Money is Luxury, Money is Beauty, Money is Stylish, Money is Gorgeous.
I then went on to meet my fabulous friend the Millionaire Coach Sue Stone for dinner at Joe Allen’s. She’s just come back from San Francisco, was looking radiant and tanned, and on a really high ray of vibration. Her appearance on Secret Millionaire has opened so many doors for her and her whole life is opening up. Both of us are about helping and empowering others on their life journey; Sue has coached me and I’ve helped promote her so we are true collaborators – and I love, love, love her energy.
We shared copious glasses of wine, a delicious meal and plenty of girlie gossip and laughs.
At the end of the evening we split the bill 50:50 (no arguments about whether one of us had had a starter or who had more wine than the other), leaving a lavish tip.
Money is Fun, Money is Laughter, Money is Delicious, Money is Intoxicating, Money is Generous.
Next day I opened up my email to find a beautiful message of thanks for my Business Alchemy programme. It had helped transform someone’s life and they were sending me a donation in appreciation and gratitude. The monies received formed part of my PayPal balance which I used in part to order a small gift for a special friend. When I came to check out the amount including postage came to exactly £33.
Money is Appreciative, Money is Honourable, Money is Kind, Money is Love.
Then later that day I had to deal with a legal matter in relation to a serious breach of contract dispute. In good faith, I had helped a client turn a loss making going-nowhere front room start up into a profitable £multi-million turnover business including leveraging a major retail contract. Four years down the line, having taken all my wisdom, advice and contacts he was trying to use a legal loophole to exit me on the cheap. To me, it is the business equivalent of being raped.
Money is Greedy, Money is Manipulative, Money is Unethical, Money is Hate.
As a Business Mentor and a Transformational Coach I am always reading books and absorbing information around the subject of wealth creation and money – and later that night I listened in to a webinar by the Californian author and money guru Morgana Rae. Morgana was explaining about the ‘Money Monster’ that lurks inside all of us which is the collection of all our negative experiences around money, usually reflected by the conflict people and situations occurring in our life. Part of her work is helping clients understand (and then diffuse) their ‘Money Monster’ – and then replace it with a ‘Money Honey’ symbolising all the virtuous aspects of our relationship with money.
In listening to the webinar I really understood why the issue of money is so fraught in most people’s lives.
Like water, money is completely neutral. But it can absorb any emotion (or flavour) you care to attach to it. In the same way that water can bring life or be a carrier for disease, money can bring great joy as well as huge sorrow. Like a beautiful waterfall compared to a giant tsunami, money can be a thing of great beauty as well as an ugly source of destruction.
Money is a base desire and very closely linked to the sex drive (read Napoleon Hill’s famous Think and Grow Rich chapter on ‘The Mystery of Sex Transmutation’). It is governed by the first two chakras. The problem is, in the world of coaches, healers, lightworkers and transformational changemakers, who tend to operate from the ‘higher chakras’ – of the Heart (working from passion and love), the Throat (speaking our truth), the Third Eye (intuition and psychic ability), and the Crown Chakra (connection to source) it’s easy for us to lose our connection with our base and sex chakra ability to make money. Especially where evil, ugly, money grabbing, unethical, greedy, violent, dirty ‘Money Monsters’ still lurk in our psyche!
This BlogPost is my invitation to you to start noticing the emotional charge that you bring to money.
It’s a topic Stephanie J King and I will be exploring in much more detail at our brilliant new event ‘Soulpreneur’ at St Paul’s Cathedral, London on Thursday 18 October.
When you can diffuse the ‘Money Monster’ and learn to connect, align and work through all the chakras, not only will you be creating great value in the world, you will also be in great flow and abundance around it.