Someone said to me recently "That was my first time on TV and I really enjoyed it!", and on reflection I have been privileged to be the "first time" introduction to a few things I do - to the coaching experience, to being on stage, to being on radio.
I have often spoken about how much I respect my work - when I was a drama teacher I used to give workshops at a cost of £20-£30 (for around 1.5 hours open to up to 25 children). I remember speaking to someone once who flatly said "That's a lot of money, my niece does some drama at school, she'll do it for free." Maybe she was brilliant, maybe they don't need props/costumes/workshop structure, maybe she has the nuance to know that some children are shy, others try and force their way to centre stage, some may be overwhelmed and need a different approach to those who love it and can be challenged. I hope that she was able to bring the joy of teamwork, the fun of playing characters, the camaradarie of putting a story together to everyone and that each child got something positive out. I worry that sometimes, you get what you pay for.
I try not to overcharge my services - I know we're all feeling it, and while I do have to consider that I pay my taxes and don't have sick nor holiday pay and fund my own CPD, I chose the freedom of self-employment. I also try to give my very best in everything I do - especially when there are other people involved. I won't always get it right, but I'll at least try and make sure you aren't unduly hurt in the process.
And I've been lucky too.
I have two wonderful firms of solicitors (one personal, one for my property company), I have a fabulous accountant, and I have had some of the most supportive people around me when I took my first steps into new areas such as The Chrissy B Show (thank you Chrissy!!), to coaching and training (thank you Debbie of Momentum Training), my first lead roles (thank you Mrs Mann and Rev Turner of The Grey Coat Hospital!) and to writing (Thank you Eloise Cook at Pearson and Jessica Jones at The Book Publicist). When it comes to producing theatre - I learned the hard way, to some extent my teacher training was a little trial and error - and more than anything I was grateful for my friends...and the odd broom cupboard to cry in!
But I've also had really horrible experiences - my first time managing probate - not the nicest thing to work with was with a different firm of solicitors and the experience was unbelieveably long and painful; when I was originally going to renovate a family property my naivety was taken advantage of and it could have cost me a lot more than it thankfully did; and there's definitely a reason why you get multiple quotes...and even then I've met some strange people!
When you are the expert - or at least the one with the qualification, whether or not you are tasked to help colleagues - you may still be a client, a new staff member - a person's first experience of that field. Respect your profession enough to make it a good one.
Audrey is a Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol), and the author of "The Leader's Guide to Mindfulness" (2018) and "Be A Great Manager - Now" (2016) She is a CPD Accredited speaker, trainer, and qualified FIRO-B and NLP Practitioner. She is the founding Development Coach and Training Consultant with her training consultancy CLICK Training, and the resident psychologist on The Chrissy B Show (Sky191), the UK's only TV programme dedicated to mental health and wellbeing. She consults, coaches and often presents at National and International conferences in the fields of leadership and team cohesion, as well as being part of the Amity University conference panel. She currently lectures in Personal Development and Mindfulness and provides psychological consultancy in these areas to organisations.