If you have heard my presentation “$8,000 of Sales & Marketing Training on the House” you may remember the Powerhouse Lesson 3 titled “Choose Profitable Happiness NOW!”. It’s the life story told with permission about the Awesome Dee Atkins who I was very lucky to meet through the 4Networking Global Community (when I was in London during May 2014).
Even though I have suffered in quite different ways compared to Dee Atkins, we instantly clicked and I think our shared values and previous experiences really contributed to that. In short, Dee is one brilliant business woman who has overcome extreme adversity in her life on a range of levels. She wears a smile, strides high and it one awesome character we are very lucky to have guest blog on “The Edward Files”. I trust you will enjoy her great adventures and learnings right here!
Hindsight is a wonderful thing…. (Guest Blog by Awesome Dee Atkins):
We all have that one event, person or situation where we look back and think ‘what was I thinking?’ It’s human nature to make mistakes and we are all human after all. Hindsight becomes truly powerful if we learn from it.
I’m one of these people who’ll lick a 9volt battery, find out it’s horrible but will have to do it again, just to be sure. Learning the hard way is a natural occurrence for me – but eventually I’ll learn my lesson.
There are 4 women who have lessons to teach. I would like to share their story with you so maybe you can learn the easy way.
Xena – Xena was a young girl, she had everything going for her. She was the ambassador for her school, she had top grades, she played every sport imaginable, including basketball, where she was lucky and talented enough to play in the London Youth Games where her team took the bronze medal, she had a size 6 figure, lots of friends and the choice of boyfriends. Xena was given the opportunity to go to Art School in Italy and completed an electrical engineering apprenticeship with Fords Motor Company. She had a loving family who let her do as she pleased and she was showered with money love and support. She had a group of friends she trusted and a larger network of mates who she could party with. Unfortunately, Xena was dealt a hefty chunk of hindsight.
Hunny – Hunny was a wild card. She met a guy and was with him 4 years. She worked in a high pressure job in an industry that was booming. She was making a mint. Then in her early 20s her parents split after 20years of marriage. She found out they’d actually separated 5 years prior, but stayed together for her. Her world went in to a spin. She started to party… Hard. She used this as a way of escape. The guy she was with was verbally and mentally abusive. She spent 4 years being controlled by this man. She spent her working week walking in to the boardrooms of some of the biggest companies in the country yet at the weekend he told her how to speak, who to speak to, what to wear and called her names all the time. I should probably point out that Hunny was a size 10. Her partner had a drink problem and on one occasion almost killed her and her mum by grabbing the wheel of the car on a motor way. She started to believe she was the person he had created. His words run deep and caused scars that would never heal. She felt so weak. She felt she had no one to talk to and that’s what ultimately tipped her over the edge. She’d let herself be moulded in to a victim. She couldn’t see a way out.
Bug – Bug was a lively little chicken. She had some get up and go, seemed 100% confident to the outside world, had a good job that she was great at, what seemed to the outside world the “perfect” relationship, that she was in for 6 years, her own place, a cat and financial freedom. Bug was happy with her life, she had friends and family around her, and everything seemed great. Then something changed. She was made redundant after her directors fell out and put the company in to liquidation. The stress of the industry crashing wasn’t easy on them. She decided to start her own business, after all she had years in the industry and was damn good at her job. Everything started off great. £250,000 turnover in the first year, she wasn’t complaining. Then because of a misdiagnosis from a walk in centre, Bug miscarried her baby. She didn’t know she was pregnant but a part of her died that day. It took her 2 weeks to tell her partner because she felt like such a failure. She stuck with the story is was gall stones and her family, to this day, still do not know what really happened. It was easier to deal with. That was the beginning of the end. The relationship started to break down. They became friends with benefits. Then bug read a book that sparked a flame in her belly. Unfortunately, too much had happened, it was too little too late for her relationship. Her partner was a good man but she knew she had to leave. They could no longer offer each other the things they needed and were on the road to destroying each other.
I should point out here that the 3 women were in actual fact 1 woman. That woman was or is… Me.
Rewind to 2011, the book I’d read was GOYA (Get Off Your Arse by Brad Burton) and that’s what caused me to finally leave my old life. It tipped me in to my new life. I left my partner officially on 10th March 2012. He kept everything apart from my clothes and my business. I wanted more, I just didn’t know what yet. I’d moved back in with my mum and grandad and lived the life of a hermit for a while. I lost 3 stone and my confidence started coming back. Then my grandad became suddenly ill and passed away within 5 days. My hero had left me. The only person who regularly told me he was proud of me. Never will I be able to talk to him again. I couldn’t grieve. He asked me to look after his girls (my mum and her 2 sister. The son could fend for himself). I had to be strong. I didn’t cry for a year and 1 week (October 2013). Until, I went to Corfu, knelt down in his favourite place in the whole wide world and I broke. This was shortly followed by a nervous breakdown back in the UK. I’d been strong for so long, I had kept so many things secret that it all smashed down on top of me.
Rewind back to December 2012 and another bomb shell. The auto immune disease I have took a turn for the worse and they misdiagnosed what was going on. Again. A week before Xmas 2012 I was told I needed to have chemotherapy. And it would be started in the New Year.
I postponed it until after my best friend’s birthday in March. It was a lot to contend with. Unfortunately after 2 types of chemo over the following 6 months I couldn’t push my business forward and I took a massive financial hit, I had nothing left. I was mentally, physically and financially drained. I decided to dissolve Phoenix. My clients were shocked to say the least. They hadn’t had a clue. I didn’t admit it at the time but I was ill. Physically and mentally. I was extremely lucky to have my family and friends and 4N family around me. I was so low I wanted to curl up and not wake up. And let’s be honest I had access to enough high strength drugs to do the job.
To the outside world I was the life and soul of the party. Only a few people knew what was going on. My best friend Jamie, 3 of the girls – Anne, Kym and Sam – and Brad Burton, owner of 4Networking and now one of my good friends. These are the people who got me through the chemo and I knew I could trust them at my lowest.
Then something clicked. Brad Burton gave me a “bradding” and pushed me in to starting MMIH. A business he had been bugging me about for the past year. It became an overnight success. I was the right person for 4N, I just didn’t offer the right service/Product. I was in the wrong job. So I left the recruitment industry officially in 2014, after a long 12 years.
So why am I telling you my deepest, darkest secrets? Because I made some very common mistakes and I want to make people aware of them so they can use my hindsight.
1) Xena’s Lesson – Nothing lasts forever. Success doesn’t last forever. The good times will turn to bad and the bad to good. Be prepared for change. Xena wasn’t prepared for adulthood and it hurt. You need to continually work at your life and make changes accordingly. Be ready, life is a massive curve ball.
2) Hunny’s Lesson – F*ck them all. Seriously, be yourself. Don’t let someone else dictate who you are and what you do. Trust in the person you are. Stand tall and be counted. Say “no” once in a while.
3) Bug’s Lesson – Talk to someone. Whatever is going on in your head make sure someone knows about it. A friend, a family member, a Samaritan. Just talk!
4) My Lesson – well my lesson can be summed up in a line from Brad Burton “Your f*cking brilliant, you’re the only one who doesn’t see it yet” – BELIEVE in yourself and your abilities THEN, and only then, can you really shine.
So, I leave you with my lessons on the hope that you are inspired to be the best you can be, on your terms, for the right reasons.
Warm hugs to you all,
Dee ‘Miss Make It Happen’ Atkins
Edward’s Post Article Commentary:
Dee is amazingly brilliant and to go through what she has had and still smile shows to her impressive resolve. Just spending several days working with her and the 4Networking UK was an inspirational life changing experience.
My advice and learnings? Listen to Dee’s words nicely and accept the natural curve balls and cycles of life!
Thank you for the read and love your work! Edward Zia – Marketing Mentor, Crazy Persian and Appreciator of Entrepreneur Dee Atkins!