Alphabet Soup and the Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Book

December 2, 2021

Something that’s come up with remarkable regularity these past two weeks in mentoring sessions goes something like this:
“I’m thinking of getting another certification in…”
“Do you think I should I become a member of…”
“If I add this modality then I’ll be able to help clients with….”
To which I’ve been saying:
“Ok, but do you need it?” and
“Do you have measurable goals for how your business and life will change as a result?”
Are you potentially, just maybe, creating a safety shopping list of titles, accolades and memberships to appease your own self-doubt?
Maybe someone will see your long list of acronyms and memberships and be impressed…
But maybe, just maybe, they don’t care? Because it’s you they want to see and how you make them FEEL, not your alphabet soup of accolades?
Maybe they’ll feel intimidated and confused for now knowing what any of it means? Flashback to me in 2001, scanning the newspaper for my first rental and having no idea what SOB and EIK mean.
Confuse people and you lose them.
They’ll click away if they feel intimated, confused or lost.
Maybe you don’t actually need a long shopping list of acronyms, you just need to be able to answer the questions:
“How can you help me?” and “how am I going to feel after working with you?”
That might come in the form of listing your expertise, but think about it – if a client or even someone in the street were asking you for emotional support would you go straight to listing all your memberships and accolades? Or would you first begin with a warm statement that sounds like a human?

I know you’re doing with collecting extra memberships and titles, because I used to do it too.

Maybe you think if I have this long list of all my achievements, memberships and certifications it’s a quick way of communicating that:
I’m capable
I’m worth the money
I’m not as young and useless as I look or I’m not old and out of touch as I worry you’ll think I am…and so on
I said to one of my mentoring clients, K, last week –
“If I’m a Mum googling possums at 3AM it’s to know how to get them to stop making mating calls that wake my baby not the sleep advice…”
I’m not saying don’t invest in training and memberships. I’m obviously a big fan of lifelong learning. A big part of my livelihood is selling online courses!
However, I still think it’s worth looking at ALL of your motivations for taking on more of anything. Here’s a rule of thumb:
Is this actually something your client will Google? Does it pass the bleary 3AM search?
Use the words your clients use, don’t just list a training and think everyone knows what it means.
Five years ago very few people knew what ‘hypnobirthing’ or EMDR meant.
Has anyone actually said “I’d like to work with you but you don’t have X qualification/training/membership…”
Have you done the numbers on: training cost + your time versus your return on investment?
I can tell you with certainty there’s memberships I joined early on in my career that did absolutely nothing for my career. They just made me feel more secure in a time when I felt insecure. There’s trainings I’ve done that were maybe useful but they just didn’t add any financial or other benefit for my clients or my business.
You might be better off spending that time looking at the copy (words on a page) and the images on your website and seeing how you can better communicate your humanity. Your warmth. Your personality.
Consider that you also might be better off investing in your own business mindset work to feel confident and assured about how you show up in your business? Just a thought.
People don’t buy goods and services, they buy relationships, stories and magic (I’m paraphrasing Seth Godin).
Next year I’ll be opening up more space to help people with their branding and mindset work. My 1:1 work is now exclusively business mentoring and supervision. I’ll also be re-launching Soulful Strategy and Course Creation for the Caring professions. All things in good time 😊. I’ve long accepted that I won’t launch anything this year. I’ve been there, done that with putting that kind of pressure on myself. I don’t rush, and don’t suggest that you do either!
Weekly Whimsy
Who else remembers the joy of choosing a cake from the Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake book? Like a generation of other Aussie parents my age, it’s become a family tradition I’ve passed on to my kids. If you’re outside of Australia and have no idea what I’m talking about it’s worth checking out the link above. 1980s birthday cakes are an entire movement in this country!
Since I’m making and eating two cakes in the one week I have one rule:
A firm ‘No’ to the duck or the truck cake (because it will cause Mummy to use another word that ends in ‘uck)
For my youngest (who has been baby obsessed since before she could even say the word), we made this baby cake. I upgraded the 80’s frilly valance to rainbows and unicorns.

Stay tuned for birthday cake #2! Who makes 2 birthday cakes in 3 days? ME! Because my girls share a lot, but didn’t want to share a cake.
Mum as You Are
Episode 22 explores the question “is Mum brain real”. I have a quick chat about some of the research I reviewed when writing my book, Motherhood, Mental Health & Social Media
You can listen to the episode HERE
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I specialise in birth trauma and perinatal mental health. I also write books, create courses & provide clinical supervision & business mentoring.


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