Kerrianne Cartmer-Edwards is described as a high-energy performance strategist and coach who gives high-impact presentations. The kind of person you would associate with living a successful, confident life.
But Kerrianne’s life has not always been one long confident rise to the top and she is keen to talk about her downs as well as her ups. They include two failed dress shops, a haphazard fashion career, a truncated course on medical herbalism, the collapse of her online business to business start-up following the bursting of the dot-com bubble, the loss of her family home, the breakdown of her marriage and her struggle to bring up her three children alone.
It’s a story she tells right at the beginning of her book, Bigger, Better, Bolder, Faster!, and she says she thinks it was “terribly important” to do so. “The thing that holds most people back from success, especially women, is that they think they can’t do it, that you have to be someone special or really lucky, to be blessed in some way with the right circumstances to achieve it,” she says. “The media propagates this myth so I think it is essential to let people know how I have made mistakes and how uncomfortable it was. But what was important was that I had the will to push through.”
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She admits that bringing up three young children on her own and working has been an “enormous juggle”. “Children are both your motivation and your biggest handicap when you are running your own business,” she says. “It is very inspiring, though, to do something for your family and in your own name.”
She says her book is unique in that it is about motivating people to embrace and build a career from their passions, but with the hard information to back up what they are doing. “Most books are either about motivation or about psychology. Mine combines the two,” she says, “and takes people on a journey. It’s the book I wish someone had given to me – it would have saved me so much grief.”
Australian-born Kerrianne seems to have always been motivated to look for success. “I had been trying for ages to proactively figure out how I could take myself to the next level. I had a lot of pieces of information, but I never felt I had a handle on how it fit together. It was like I was a necklace, but I was missing the thread holding it together.”
Kerrianne, whose children’s ages range from 9 to 18, says becoming a success starts with being clear about your purpose and passions then having a vision of where you want to be and a strategy for how to get there. “It’s not about a dream of the future or a visualisation. It’s about the here and now and a call to action,” she says. “So many people say you can do it, but for many people I meet that doesn’t help them.”
She has also met a lot of people who have said they are going to do something who never do. Interestingly, she says, research shows that talking about your goals makes them less likely to be achieved. “It’s not enough just to say it, you have to have the right mindset,” she adds.
Once you know what you want to do, she counsels sticking to it and becoming good at it. “If you have a strategy you can see there is an end in sight even if it is a long way off. That makes it easier to keep going.”
The book details ways of transitioning from a job you might not love to something you are passionate about through making small steps and introducing elements of your passion into your other job, for instance, if you want to do something creative, introduce creative elements to your other work, such as artwork in your office. “It creates a snowball effect which is like a commitment to yourself,” she says.
She believes now is the perfect time for people to follow their passions because modern technology has made it much easier to do so. She regularly Skypes clients all over the world. “It still feels like magic,” she says. “I never lose the wonder of it.”
Kerrianne says starting a business is one of the hardest things you can do, but she has found it tremendously rewarding. In the early days she motivated herself through daily motivation calls, but since taking time off to write the book she has developed a group of friends who help her with brainstorming ideas.
While writing the book, which she only finished in January, she also did some coaching and homeschooled her youngest children. She had homeschooled her eldest for seven years before until he opted to go to secondary school aged 12. That was because he had gone to a Rudolf Steiner nursery in King’s Langley which focuses on personal development and creativity and when the family moved away she decided to continue with that style of learning. The family later moved back to King’s Langley and her younger children went to the nursery and were homeschooled.
Kerrianne admits balancing homeschooling and running a business was difficult. She would give her full attention to education until 1pm and then her children would watch educational programmes or use other educational resources in the afternoon while she worked.
“I had to be disciplined and flexible,” she says, admitting it was hard work, but all her experience in life and work has taught her that she has the resources and strength to bounce back. “I think fear in business is completely natural and I still worry about things,” she says. “But I can now look fear in the eye and know that I can push through those emotions and there is a good chance I am going to get where I want to be.”
*Bigger, Better, Bolder, Faster by Kerrianne Cartmer-Edwards is published by Anoma Press, price £12.99.