003: Overcoming fear by believing in yourself – Alex Mitchell

The Fearless Females Podcast Alex Mitchell

In this episode:

In this episode of The Fearless Females Podcast your host Tegan Mathews interviews Alex Mitchell who shares:

  • How she moved forward while in hiding after leaving an abusive marriage
  • What it takes to start & grow a business from the poverty line
  • The positive impact surviving a tsunami had on her life
  • Overcoming fear by believing in yourself
  • Jumping in and just doing it

Tegan's Take Aways:

  1. Back yourself – have faith in yourself
  2. Don’t wait for others, if you believe it, just do it
  3. Ask yourself, when you are afraid of doing something, “What might happen if I DON’T do this?” This will help you to make the decision to take action

About Alex Mitchell

Alex Mitchell is an independent book coach, author’s consultant and editor based on a pineapple farm in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, Australia. She has spent the last ten years working with business people to create concise, compelling and comprehensive books that complement their businesses and increase their professional standing. Alex offers one to one coaching to help busy people manage their book projects, as well as small group author workshops and Skype consultations. Hundreds of local and interstate authors have been nurtured by Alex to achieve their book publishing dreams.

As well as working directly with authors, Alex facilitates the not for profit group Sunshine Coast Women Entrepreneurs, where she has created a space of collaboration and learning for local business women. Alex sources experts in various areas of business and facilitates sessions where they can share their secrets with the membership of over 1700 women entrepreneurs.

 

Contact Alex Mitchell

A Gift for Listeners From Alex Mitchell:

Download a free Book Planning Audio and bring your book to life.

Show Notes: Episode 003: Alex Mitchell

 

Alex Mitchell's Fearless Story

  • Escaped from an abusive marriage
  • Survived a tsunami with her children while on a family holiday
  • Built her business while in hiding and under the poverty line
  • In hindsight, I’m glad it all happened and if it didn’t then I would be still back there
  • You have to go through the rough road to get to the smooth bits
  • We were married young and were married for a really long time
  • When I left I had no self-confidence and it took everything I had to just walk away
  • Like a lot of abusive relationships, things became more dangerous
  • It was tricky to keep going and keep both me and my children safe
  • Eventually, he left the country and finally we had the opportunity to start again so I decided to take the kids on a holiday to re-group and backpack around Thailand for a while
  • It was the best thing to do to start a new phase in our lives
  • We got caught in the Boxing Day Tsunami
  • We were very lucky that we survived and it was because someone stopped and helped us
  • They could see that I was struggling with dragging the two children through the jungle and someone stopped and threw one of my children over their shoulder in a fireman’s lift and basically saved us
  • Afterwards, I had post-traumatic stress and survivor guilt and eventually I got into personal development and started a business and got going again
  • It was only last year, twelve years since I left my husband and ten years since the tsunami and I found myself being a finalist in the business women of the year awards
  • As wonderful as that is, that was the moment that I thought “Oh wow, I actually did something”.
  • Sometimes life is hard and you are just trying to get through and finally, I felt like I had gotten through it. I did it!
  • I didn’t win but it wasn’t about that, it was a personal thing for me to stop and realise the achievement and how far I had come
  • It was about overcoming my fears and have the confidence to keep on going
  • I needed something to stop and look at it

How did you turn it around

  • Only in hindsight now, because at the time I didn’t realise what I was doing or how I was getting through
  • I realised I had to do it, that it was up to me
  • When you are at the mercy of someone or something else, poverty, natural disaster or an abusive relationship
  • I was lucky enough to get all three
  • There was a time when I was the victim and just trying to survive the storm, stuff was being done to me
  • It's easy to stay there
  • The big turn around for me was that it was my choice whether to stay there or not
  • There’s certain things that made me realise that
  • The biggest thing that happened was during the tsunami experience that I had my real facing fears moment
  • I had the one with leaving my husband but that was a drawn out affair
  • But there was a moment during the tsunami when we were all running barefoot through the jungle and we got to a cliff and everyone climbed up the cliff to the higher ground
  • There was about twenty of us as we were in a remote area of Thailand
  • The waves were hitting the bottom of the cliff which was a man made one and the cliff started to crumble
  • I realised it wasn’t going to last and it was only because I had my two children (4 & 6) with me and they were so dependent on me that I made the decision that we had to get out of there
  • I decided when the next wave went back I was going to climb down and run along the beach and climb up a mountain I could see
  • It was dangerous but I wasn’t frightened in that moment, I just did it because we had to survive
  • Everyone said “Don’t do it, you’ll die” but I did it because I saw that as the only chance of surviving
  • When I turned around, everyone was following me
  • It showed me what you will do when you have to survive and what I will do for my children
  • It also showed me who I was and who I could be and that I was a leader and I realised I make decisions based on what I know at the time and I don’t really care what other people think
  • If I believe it, that this is what I need to do, then I do it!
  • This has taken me a long way and those people who can take charge and not be afraid in the moment
  • I guess you get to a point with fear when you are so scared that you can't be scared any more, you are beyond being scared and you just go
  • I’ve managed to realise what that gift is and I can now tap back into that when I need to
  • A couple of years later I was doing a course to try and get my life back on track
  • My husband had come back into the country so we had gone into hiding again and had my name taken off the electoral role
  • Taught my kids not to know where they lived
  • I was doing this business course and it had a portion about personal development which was the part I really needed because I didn’t have a lot of faith in myself
  • I knew I needed to start some sort of a business and I had to support my children and I didn’t want to put them in daycare
  • I didn’t want to leave them in order to raise them, I wanted to raise them and be with them and that may have been a tall order but I had decided that was what I wanted
  • And so I did odd jobs like I took in ironing and packed dvd’s and all those sorts of things I could do at home
  • I was in this course and they asked what you were good at
  • I had lots of business administration skills and I was good at re-writing otherpeople'ss words and so that’s what I did
  • I got past the fear and just did it because those where my skills that I had to work with and I had to do it
  • I wrote my name on bits of paper and phone number and handed them out during the lunch breaks
  • I had no real plan, I just did it and I am so glad I did
  • It grew very quickly and it became an editing business and then I realised they knew what they wanted to say but had no idea how to get it ready to get edited
  • So I changed my business to more of a coaching role to help people how to put a book together and I discovered that was my super power. That’s what I knew how to do.
  • So I can look at someone’s ideas and see how that book could come together and how it can benefit them and their clients and help them put it together

What did you learn from this

  • If I hadn’t been brave and jumped in when no sane person would have then it wouldn’t have happened
  • Each time, you’ve evaluated, jumped/run and backed yourself regardless of others and that shows a true leader
  • We all need to be leaders in our own lives and back ourselves and trust that we know what’s right for us and the answers will show up
  • You’ve been guided to what your gift is to give to the world
  • Yes, I am lucky I found mine even though by accident
  • I found it because I gave it a go and not because I didn’t have the right set up
  • I didn’t have an office or seed capital or a business cards
  • I didn’t have what you are meant to but I knew it was worth giving it a go
  • I knew the options if I didn’t give it a go were worse
  • I think that’s where my bravery comes from
  • I look at, if I don’t do this then what might happen
  • It doesn’t make the doing any easier but it makes the decision making easier

One Highlight Moment

  • The night at the Business Women’s Awards
  • When I realised what I had done
  • And when I started my business – it was a bit of a prank really but when I look back it was a defining moment
  • Another was about eighteen months ago when I was getting re-married
  • My daughter who was then fourteen, she wrote me a letter of how she saw me
  • She said how she saw how hard I had worked and that I always put myself second and them first
  • And how I show other people what they could be and believed in people when other people didn’t
  • That’s how she saw me and she could have seen the times when I was lying on the ground crying
  • All the negative things she could have picked up on
  • But she picked up on the things that she will now take into her adult life and that’s the role model I wanted to be
  • It’s good to see your achievements through someone else’s eyes too
  • Then we had an argument and she deleted it off Facebook – ahhh the joy of teenagers!

What are you passionate about today

  • I’m still passionate about my kids of course
  • When things go wrong, and they do, I come back to them, why I’m doing this and to provide for them – physically and emotionally
  • Through that it has grown my business which has created a space of extreme passion
  • I thought it was just going to be a business
  • But the relationship I have with my clients is so personal and intimate
  • I was at a clients book launch last week and I realised as I was preparing my speech that we had been working together for four years
  • The amount of tears that had been shed, emails, laughs
  • We only saw each other three times in those years but spoke almost every day
  • Its such an intimate space of trust and faith
  • That someone would entrust their manuscript to me and allow me to hold their hand through the process is the most satisfying job in the world
  • Its just amazing to see their face, the look of proud – something they didn’t know they could do and they did it
  • I saw that look in your eyes too Tegan even though I only played a small part in your book
  • To be able to be a part of it is amazing
  • Because I know what goes into it to get to that point, all the hard work, the re-writes, the process, the tears, the laughs
  • Its so amazing to be a part of it
  • The advice you gave to Tegan had a bigger impact on her book than you realise
  • I love what you do – bringing peoples stories to life and that’s such a beautiful thing

What is something in your future plan that scares you

  • Lots of things!
  • The part of life I am in, my children are older but still at home, I am the prime carer of my parents, I run my business, also my not for profit, and I recently re-married
  • My life is so full and overflowing with responsibilities, joy, passion, and ideas and I don’t have a fifth of the time it takes so I just keep juggling like mad
  • The age that I am are going through the same trying to do so many things
  • Although I would like to have the time to do everything properly
  • I’m actually terrified, one day my kids are going to leave home
  • It’s scary to think I have spent so much time working to dig myself out of a hole, to support my family and keep them safe
  • Those motivators will be going soon and I will have to have new motivators
  • I cant even imagine what that might look like
  • I’ve also realised that it doesn’t stop either when they leave home
  • I now have five step children that don’t live at home and they are still our children and still need parenting all the time

Five Fast Fun Fearless Facts about Alex Mitchell

  1. Who inspires you? My kids and my clients – watching them face their fears and overcome them
  2. Favourite thing to do each day? Leaving the gym – walking out the door and you’ve done it you think “Oh yeah!”
  3. What's something that still scares you? Keeping my kids alive – currently through teenage years
  4. Favourite technique or app or book? Technique = be, do, have – I look at how I want it to be, how would I have to act and then I can have it
  5. If you could wave a magic wand and fix one thing in the world right now, what would it be and why? Probably greed because it’s at the root of a lot of problems

Final Question

If you could turn back time what's the one piece of advice you wish you could give your fourteen-year-old self?

  • Not to wait for someone else to make it ok
  • I found a saying that I use a lot now but probably wouldn’t have understood when I was younger
  • By Kawasaki – “You have to sit by a river for a very long time before a roast duck will fly into your mouth”
  • So you’ve really just go and do it. There’s no point sitting there and wishing

Where can people reach out to you? www.authorservices.com

Facebook – Alex Mitchell 8

  • I love to talk about books and family and life
  • It’s really good to be in conversation with people and realise we are all a bit the same really
  • We are all human and we all have fears and we find our way around them
  • I love that you have pulled people together to do that.

A Gift for Listeners From Alex Mitchell

Download a free Book Planning Audio and bring your book to life.

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