My Story #21 – What facing my fear taught me about business

My Story #21 – What facing my fear taught me about business

Desi Jagger's Blog

My Story #21 – What facing my fear taught me about business

I was always afraid of cutting my hair short. Long, thick hair was my identity. Then the Alien (how I call cancer) arrived, and with it – chemotherapy.

I was terrified of losing my hair. I thought I would look awful, and worst of all – that I wouldn’t look like myself. I woke up in a pool of hair on 8 March and evaluated my options – a) remain stuck in a pool of tears and fallen hair; b) try to glue it back on or c) shave it and move on. Since we had run out of glue, and it was International Women’s Day and I chose to empower myself – if I was going to lose my hair, it was going to be on my terms.

I took my time to meditate and say goodbye to my hair and hello to my scalp, which I was going to meet for the first time. I allowed myself to grieve until I was at peace. Then I organized a Champagne & Shave party. In the middle of my parents’ garden, surrounded by friends and family, I confidently and happily parted with my hair.


The result surprised me. Not only did I still look like myself, I felt more powerful and courageous. I let my creativity shine… in the shape of a mohawk. This unexpected choice freed up a new energy in me. A badass punk, not-sorry, blind-courage, it’s-good-as-it-is energy. A refreshing breeze in a lifetime of being the overly-considerate-perfectionist-good-girl. It’s not that I became a totally different person. Rather, I added a new element to my character that I could dip into when I needed it.

The fear of losing my hair was so much bigger than the act itself. I had made hundreds of false assumptions, weaving them into terrifying stories in my head. I asked myself – what else do I fear? And what if reality isn’t nearly as bad? Here is a video of my experience – and the lessons learnt below.


I summoned my newly discovered punk energy and embraced a new way of running my business.


Every day, I focus on my single biggest priority. Everything else on my to-do list is a bonus. The satisfaction of completing what matters most gives me energy to work through most of the other items on my list. I inevitably drop some of the tasks and I when I notice that the world is still spinning, I chose not to worry about them.


What is your one big priority today?


I do most things imperfectly. I use the first take for my videos. I don’t double check emails, even the important ones. I share draft ideas and rough calculations. I trust myself to do things well the first time round or to adjust them later on. This saves me a lot of time and energy which I reinvest in the one thing I aspire to do perfectly – my coaching. This means I show up at my best and give 110%.


Where would you invest the time energy you save by letting go of perfection?


I ask for things directly and precisely. Recently I met a businesswoman to explore possible collaboration. She asked me whether I was looking for short-term opportunities or long-term partnerships. My first impulse was to say long-term partnerships because I was afraid of sounding selfish and un-collaborative. The truth was, my big contract was just coming to an end and I needed more clients. I explained this and said my priority right now was short-term opportunities. She appreciated my openness and clarity and we came up with a few ideas that served both of us.


How clear are your stakeholders about your needs?


Leveraging this new punk energy brought simplicity and flow into my work and life. I do fewer things that matter more. I am satisfied and proud with the progress of my business. And I look forward a lot more often than I look back.


What fears are holding you back?


Get unstuck by facing your fear. You might just discover you are capable of much more than you think. Coaching is great for this! You can book your free coaching consultation here.




My Story #20 – Top 9 lessons from 2017

My Story #20 – Top 9 lessons from 2017

Desi Jagger's Blog

My Story #20 – Top 9 lessons from 2017

There is a special energy towards the end of the year: holiday cheer, reward for the year just gone and the hopes for the year ahead. In the midst of all this excitement, I like to pause and reflect on my life and business over the past 12 months. So I paused. I reflected. Here’s what came up:

(This is a summary of the lessons. If you’re curious about the how and why, just reply to this email and I would be happy to share.)


Lesson # 1 – Focus on one thing at a time

At the beginning of the year, I made the tough decision to let go of training (more than half of my business at the time) and focus entirely on coaching. This enabled me to build a website in a week and to answer the question “what do you do?” in less than 3 hours.


Lesson # 2 – I can get used to anything

Working without a team, in the absolute silence of my home used to feel like a nightmare. Now it’s a routine I quite enjoy. After all, homo sapiens outlived all other human species thanks to our adaptability. Therefore, it is safe to assume I won’t suddenly undo millions of years of human evolution.


Lesson # 3 – Gratitude journals work

There has been a lot of hype about writing down the things you’re grateful for every day. I don’t believe hype so I tested out the gratitude journal. It worked for me. At the very least, it distracted me from thinking about negative stuff.


Lesson # 4 – Almost everything is outside of my control

The weather on my holiday, the delayed flight, what people say and do. Most things in this world truly are outside of my control. My mind is an exception. My mind is the master story teller, twisting and turning tales into tears, laughter, longing… The good news is that I am the editor so I get to choose what gets released and what gets canned.


Lesson # 5 – Health – physical and mental – trumps all other priorities

As a solopreneur, I am the CEO, operations director, brand manager, finance guru and coach all at once. This means that when the CEO gets sick, so do the operations director, the brand manager, the finance guru and the coach. This means there is no one to do the work and earn the money. There are few other things which could have such a drastic and instant effect on my business.


Lesson # 6 – It’s ok for relationships to end

I used to find it really hard to let go of people – friends, colleagues, even acquaintances. I believed the end of relationships was a failure on my part. I tried to fix them at all cost and the cost proved to be too high. My attention was divided amongst many, I was exhausted and had no energy for myself. Then I began to let go of people, mentally acknowledging the purpose we had served in each other’s lives and thanking them for our experience together. I felt light, focused, calm.


Lesson # 7 – Meditation doesn’t need to take hours

It can be a minute or three. To be effective, however, it needs to be performed daily. Meditation carried me through some very rocky times this year. The key was that I started meditating before I needed it. By the time the challenges hit me, I had developed a habit and it was easy to lean on it. I had a small set of meditations and voices that I already knew worked for me. Meditation was an investment in myself that didn’t pay off for a long time – but when it did it was totally worth it.


Lesson # 8 – “You want too much”

My coaching supervisor tells the truth directly, sans sugarcoating. I have a tendency to want things to be exactly like I imagine them, to happen precisely when I want them to and for everything and everyone (myself mainly) to be perfect. Oh, and this applies to all the one hundred things I take on at once. It has taken me a long time to see that I want too much. Now I try to be grateful for what I have and focus on the immediate next step. It’s work in progress.


Lesson # 9 – I am not an alien

Halfway through the year, I joined a mastermind group via my Fizzle community. The team is made up of solopreneurs just like me. They helped me stay motivated, kept me accountable, shared brilliant ideas and solutions. But there was a huge intangible benefit as well. Listening to their struggles, I realized I am not lazy or inadequate and my challenges are not unique. Now I am a little gentler on myself.


Looking through these lessons, I realized there is a recurring theme – focus. Focus on one business stream, focus on a few important relationships, focus on a few key projects, focus on my health. I’m curious, where in your life do you need to be more focused?


Share your top lessons from 2017 here.



7 Things I miss about my corporate job at P&G

7 Things I miss about my corporate job at P&G

Desi Jagger's Blog

7 Things I miss about my corporate job at P&G

I didn’t leave my safe, well-paid corporate job at P&G to become an entrepreneur. I was under no illusion that it would fulfil the overhyped promises of working from a remote beach whilst sipping cocktails and meditating every morning. Instead, I left to focus full time on the work I love – training and coaching people.

It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I haven’t once looked back.


Until today.


Today I am looking back to reflect on the big picture – because there are two sides to everything. I cherish my independence, international mobility and the lightning speed of decision making. At the same time, there are some things I miss dearly, which I used to take for granted in my corporate job:


1. Having someone to high-five. I was never moved by the generic “well done team award” shared by 20 other people with varying contributions to the project. What I really miss, however, are the mad high-fives when the market shares came in and we had grown versus last month. I miss the spontaneous high-fives when we finally got the TV copy approved. I miss the “thank god it’s over” high fives after a terrible senior management meeting… In fact I miss all high-fives. High-fives are the best!


2. Being “just” a contributor. In a large company, no matter how senior you are, you are just one cog in the machine. My projects were also many other people’s projects and sometimes it was hard to tell how meaningful our individual contributions were. It was frustrating when people didn’t share inputs on time and as a result my work was late or incomplete. Now I realize that no matter how slow and painful these large multi-functional projects can be, they are the only way to achieve something much greater than one person alone can ever dream of.


3. The endless back and forth. I had a brilliant idea for a new product claim and I eagerly presented it to my team for quick feedback before going live. Thirteen team discussions, four senior management debates, ten consumer theories, fifteen pages of data and six months later we agreed on the claim ‘version 56 – final – really final’. By that point I had lost all enthusiasm and would even regret making the proposal in the first place. Working by myself, I expected to be liberated from this endless back and forth. The reality is, the back and forth just relocated from a room full of colleagues to a lonely room inside my own head. And now I wish there was someone in that room who cares enough about my work to challenge it.


4. The team heart beat. It was the steady pulse of my team that kept me rolling on the good – and especially on the bad – days. Whenever I took my laptop home to finish a presentation late at night, I would see my teammates were also online, working late. Whilst this didn’t speed up my slides, it made me feel like I’m not alone. As a solopreneur, I have to make a bigger effort to connect with others and keep myself motivated.


5. The spell of the background noise. As a fresh graduate, used to studying in the dead silence of the university library, P&G’s large corporate open-plan office felt like a chaotic beehive. Every click was a distraction. Every whisper was a thought-breaker. Every rustle of a crisps packet was a wish for lunch to come sooner. Today I work in my own silent space. On a sleepy afternoon, I miss looking up from my screen, watching people get on with business and being urged back into productivity.


6. Saying good morning in 4 different languages, the corridor banter, the jokes shouted across cubicles, introducing myself to new people just to get a piece of their birthday cake, bonding over the inevitable breakage of the printer right before top management meetings, hiking up the stairs – where no “ground floorer” had ever ventured – to speak with the legal team face to face…I miss the small things.


7. Reporting to a manager. Shock Horror! How can any self-respecting, independent millennial admit to this? Follow me on LinkedIn to find out the answer in my next blog post.


I left my corporate job in order to focus 100% on my passion for people. And whilst I absolutely love doing just that with my coaching and training, I still miss the buzz of the office and the motivation that comes with teamwork and depending on others. I have uncovered a different side of social interaction at the workplace. Beyond the fun, it challenges me and improves me as a person. And that’s the bigger picture.

Need help seeing the bigger picture? Coaching can help you explore different perspectives and get clarity on what makes you happy. Take the first step now by booking your free consultation.