On the outside Louise Ladbrooke was a success, winning awards for the business she founded and grew, three directorships other than her own, a beautiful home and family. On the other side of that success Louise was living with relentless fears that drove her to the edge of burnout. Louise found a way to happiness and fulfilment which she now shares with others to ensure that we can all be on a good day, everyday. Read our interview with the lovely Louise below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
My own experience of following my dream of founding and building my own business, seeing it become a success then experiencing the other side of that success. I was tired all the time, tired but wired, unable to switch off, constantly looking over my shoulder waiting to be caught out as an imposter and feeling a failure as I never felt my success was enough. I finally reached out and asked for help. On the first day of visiting my coach I thought that given 6 weeks, she was going to fix me, as I sat opposite her, the only thing she did was ask me questions. I discovered first hand that we all have our own answers and that given the right questions, we alone know what’s best for us. People used to invite me to speak about my business and I soon realized that they were more interested in my vulnerability of admitting that my dream of owning a successful business had turned to dust as I became more and more unhappy and unwell. I learned that personal resilience is key to personal success and that we are all works in progress.
Tell us about your business.
No one is more surprised than me when my audiences describe me as an inspirational speaker. I tell my story, I share my highs and lows of building and running a business, successfully selling and recovering from burn out. People respond to my honesty and like that I can put a humorous spin onto my darkest moments. I spent many years rebuilding my personal resilience, it’s great to be able to share what I have learned along the way. I have lots of top tips to enable us to be on a good day, everyday. Like my own coach I have learned how to ask good questions and now work on a 1:1 with high achievers who are feeling frayed at the edges or who have lost their mojo. I also visit organizations to help them improve absenteeism, staff turnover and conflict in the workplace. By increasing the personal resilience and emotional intelligence of their people, the company’s bottom line improves.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
You can sign up to my newsletter on my website, they contain regular tips about improving your personal resilience and how to work with me on a more formal basis.
Where is your business based?
I’m UK based in the beautiful heritage city of Bath although travel a lot with my speaking and training work but happy to coach over Skype or Zoom.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Having been used to working with a team of people, starting out alone was a whole new experience. I had to listen to my own advice as I experienced the isolation of going it alone. I needed to get out and surround myself with like minded and equally ambitious people. I once read that if you look around at the 5-7 people you spend the most time with then you are the average of that crowd. I joined a network and met up with as many people on a one to one as would agree to a coffee. I believe that asking for help is a sign of enormous courage and found that people love to help.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Although social media has been essential I have found that starting and meeting locally was what I needed at the beginning. I was able to ask lots of questions and get instant feedback, I needed to make my rookie mistakes locally and feel confident about my offer before I launched myself onto social media.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Controlling my fear of overwhelm at all that has to be done and getting past the feeling of isolation when working on my own.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I started my last business with a team which grew and grew, I’ve learned that you don’t have to employ people in order to surround yourself with a supportive team. I have TeamLouise, carefully chosen people who are a call, text or email away who will provide me with the expertise that I’m lacking in the moment. They’re an honest bunch and will call me out on my stuff if needed but also show me compassion when I’m being too hard on myself.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
My team are a huge part of this plus writing. When it’s not convenient to find someone in the moment to ask me questions so that I can get to my own answers, I pick up a pen and paper. I ask my questions and write the answers fast, it’s amazing how when you get an answer down on paper it’s out of your head and clears space for another solution to be considered.
How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
There are a lot of personal resilience experts out there, it seems that you need to be a superhuman with an Olympic medal or have climbed Everest. I don’t pretend to be any of that, I believe that personal resilience is more about surviving the constant pitter patter of daily defeats. I was someone who had a business idea and a determination to make it work who got lost along the way. I thought other people knew what was best for me and didn’t know how to say no. I put everyone else first as I chased around getting people to like me until the day when the only safe place to be was curled up on the floor behind my sofa. I’m constantly amazed at just how many women can identify with that. My favorite testimonial is from a retired fire fighter who said, “I enjoyed listening to every word you had to say. It is a shame that such messages are not compulsory in life . . . it would save a lot of people much heartache, make them happier, more fulfilled and reduce some of the wasted talent through ‘mental illnesses’. I feel blessed to be able to do this work and help others.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
That the opposite to work is not leisure, leisure is a busy thing filled with appointments and exertion and goals. The opposite to work is idleness and very few of us know what to do with idleness.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Be you. We’re living in times of phenomenal change, it’s like we’re caught in the gap between the old world and a new one full of environmental and political change and uncertainty. We do not know what will be required of us in the challenging times ahead. Knowing our strengths and accepting our weaknesses with grace will allow us to become the best version of ourselves so that we can be grounded and take whatever action will be required of us to become leaders in uncertain times.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
TED Talks and yes of course, it’s my ultimate goal!
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Hashtags #personalresilience #health #emotionalintelligence #takeamoment #keynotespeaker #inspirationalspeaker #coach #wellbeing
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
This morning I listened to a TED talk by a personal hero of mine Ricardo Semlar, I’ve been following his work for over 15 years. A business giant, he provides a deep insight in to what work and life is really all about.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I’m currently working with a sales coach as I have found that selling myself as a business is a totally different experience from selling a product.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I’m getting my showreel out there and looking forward to working internationally. This initial push to establish the business has tested my own personal resilience, I know that as the system I’ve set up starts to work and the momentum takes over, I’ll be able to relax a bit and once again enjoy idleness.