Welcome to another episode of Explode Your Expert Biz Show, brought to you by http://gtex.org.uk/,
I am your host, Simone Vincenzi, The Experts Strategist, and this is the podcast for experts who want to become the ultimate authority in their niche while making an impact in the world.
If you want to make 6 figures presentations and become awesome at Selling From The Stage without compromising your integrity I have created The Ultimate Selling From Stage Checklist.
The most comprehensive checklist to create a pitch that sells without being a douchebag.
Today I have the pleasure to Interview Stella Maher
Stella Maher is a Confidence Coach to Young Women and the Founder of The Lioness Within Coaching. She helps young women to rediscover the self-assured, confident person hidden within them. She helps young women to learn to tap into their inner beauty so that they can begin to love who they are, and to tap into their inner strength so that they can begin to take control of their lives.
Stella was part of the GRIT 6-month Breakthrough Coaching Programme for students at the Ark Elvin Academy Wembley, helping the students who took part in the programme to make a positive shift in their self-belief and academic performance.
She has worked with 6th form students at Plumstead Manor School and currently runs her own confidence-building personal development programme at the Rosebud Centre for Girls.
In this episode, we talk about
- How Stella overcame bullying at a young age
- How she faced the transition of moving to another country
- How she went from cancer survivor to empowering young women.
Connect with Stella Maher
Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/ConfidenceCoachingforTeenageGirls
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/thelionesswithincoaching
Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/maherstella
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Confcoach4Teen
To become a GTeX Member, Apply here:
If you want to make 6 figures presentations and become awesome at Selling From The Stage without compromising your integrity I have created The Ultimate Selling From Stage Checklist.
The most comprehensive checklist to create a pitch that sell without being a douchebag.
To receive daily support in your coaching and speaking business, join our private Facebook Group EXPLODE YOUR EXPERT BIZ
Also, make sure you subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any other episode.
If you want to reach out to me with your questions, you can email me at Simone@gtex.org.uk that comes right to my inbox.
– Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of Explode Your Expert Biz Show and today I’m here with our GTeX lifetime member, Stella Maher. How are you doing Stella?
– I’m great thank you Simone, how are you?
– I’m really well, thank you very much. Today’s interview day so I’ve been recording interviews back to back. I love interview days because I get to talk to incredible people like yourself so.
– I’m kidding you, I’ve never considered myself as incredible.
– Well, you definitely are. I know, I know and I know that you definitely are.
– That’s very kind.
– You’re welcome. So, let’s, we’re gonna get to know you a bit better here on the show today. So I would love to start with a bit more about what you do right now and the work that you do.
– So I am a confidence coach to young women and I am also the founder of the Lioness Within Coaching. I’m very passionate about helping young women to rediscover that self assured, confident person that’s is within them. I love helping them to connect with beauty they have within them and with the strength that they have within them so that they can start to take control of their lives and believe in themselves. I’m very passionate about doing that because I believe that every young person has something inside of them that they are not even aware of. So I love to connect them with strength and that’s why I called my business the Lioness Within.
– That’s absolutely beautiful. What inspired you to do what you do now? What inspired you to go into confidence coaches in particular for teenage girls?
– Well, I was inspired to do this because as a teenage girl myself, I struggled very much with confidence. I struggled with body confidence in particular. I had a very poor self image as result of some of the experiences I had which I won’t go into detail but I was bullied for my appearance and I was made fun of and I was called also some names and that affected my confidence greatly. It made me feel very insecure and very self conscious about my appearance and be socially awkward and I hated myself in fact. And that’s why I do what I do now.
– Is there… How did you, cause I don’t want to go into much details if you don’t want to but is there, how did you overcome those years because I know that you’ve done a lot of personal development growing up and to change and also your mindset and yourself as a women. But how did you navigate those years? How did you like come out on the other side?
– Well I…
– And start experiencing it?
– Yes, I… At first it was really difficult but then as a got older and I started working, I found that I was still struggling very much with confidence even though people told me that I looked very confident and appeared really sure of myself but I knew that deep down I wasn’t. And that’s when I knew I had to do something about it so I started attending personal development courses and reading books and watching DVDs, and I really fell in love with personal development so much that I decided to retrain as a coach from being a confidential secretary and PA. I changed over to become a life coach.
– Do you remember like, if there was a particular moment where you felt the shift within you? You felt almost like the penny dropped. Is there a particular moment where that happened?
– Yes, the penny dropped when I, I had a first business that I was doing, it was a network marketing business and it was while I was in the process of building this business that I realised, ’cause it involved going to meet people, going to talk to people, good training, building a team and I really struggled with that and that’s when the penny dropped and that’s when I knew I needed to do something about my confidence. I knew I needed to really do something about it and that’s when I decided to become a coach ’cause I knew that if I trained as a coach and I started helping other people to achieve their goals, that I would also achieve my own goals.
– Mm-hmm. And is there something that, like a tool or technique or something that you’ve learned that you’ve done for yourself that you’ve found that helped you with your confidence, that was more effective than others? ‘Cause when you’re training as a coach, you learn a bunch of different techniques and there are some that are more effective for people and some that are less effective. Which one was the most effective for you?
– For me is was using affirmations. I really love to use affirmations. It felt really weird at first.
– Talking to myself and telling myself I was wonderful, I was great, something that I just didn’t believe about myself, but I found that the more I practised, the better I got at it and the more confident I became and I did this every morning.
– I will come in here and I will stick a piece of paper on the wall and read out all the qualities I felt I possessed and I owned it and I kept doing it and I kept doing it until it became sort of second nature to me.
– Is there… What kind of affirmation were you saying?
– I would say things like you are capable of so much more than you believe.
– You have the ability to achieve your dreams. You are beautiful.
– Elegant. All the things that I didn’t believe about myself. You are confident. You are a great friend. You are an achiever. Things like that. It depended on how I felt really but these are some of the things I would say to myself and I would also, I learned a technique through my coaching, I’ve forgotten what it’s called, I think it’s an NLP technique, where you sort of step into somebody else. You know you imagine like a role model who you admire and somebody I really admire for her strength and her achievements is Michelle Obama and Winfrey and sometimes I would use two of them you know. You step into, literally step into their body.
– And embody who they are and for a few minutes, well you ask them for permission first. And I think it’s all right, if I kind of step into you and become you for a few minutes so that I can solve this problem I have or I can empower myself to face the day. That’s how it starts. It’s a bit weird because they can’t hear but… But I found that I could do that and yeah, and I tried that with a few other people as well.
– What is something about let’s say Michelle Obama or Oprah Winfrey that you admire a lot?
– I admire their strength. I admire the fact that they have built this huge following and I admire that they are very kind, they’re both very kind. They’ve helped a lot of women. They’ve also helped a lot of young people. I admire their charity work. I admire the influence they have over others and I want to be like them.
– Another woman I really admire is Jo Malone. I don’t know if you know her.
– She’s perfumer.
– I’ve heard about…
– And like myself…
– The perfume brand.
– She survived very aggressive breast cancer. She was actually dyslexic at school and left with no qualifications but she went on to build this huge business that she sold to Estee Lauder for millions and set up a perfumery. And I love her quote. There’s a quote of hers that I really love that she used the last time she was interviewed on BBC and she said that, I’ll try and remember it now, “don’t be defined by others peoples expectations of you, you own your life and you own your dreams. Go out there and make them come true.” I really love that quote.
– Yeah, I’m sorry it’s incredibly power and yes we are. I think it’s other times we will play either a smaller game or a different just because we want to, we look at what other people are thinking about us and what other people are saying about us. And I remember when I kid, I had a lot of… I loved for example like a rock metal music and so it was, I was a bit the outsider and it made me out of time thing that I or I for example, one of the things I was doing, I was really good at school. And you know, when you’re a kid and you’re really good at school, you’re not the most popular.
– Absolutely not. You’re like teachers pets.
– Exactly. Let’s put it this way and the memory was very very tough to a point that I said to myself I don’t want to become good at school, I want to be good at school anymore and I conformed to what today in the cool kids want. Not wanted me to be but what I thought the cool kids wanted me to be and not being myself anymore. I believe that we all have different people that influence us throughout our lives. People that are close to us. Can be family members or people that we meet along the way. Do you have a person that jumps to mind right now that influenced you in your life, in whatever situation may be?
– I think the greatest influencer I’ve had in my life I would say is my Dad. Well he’s passed away and he was a teacher. He was very much an academic and was, for most of the time that we were growing up, he was a school principal and we were always moving from school to school. So I grew up living in school compounds. Yeah and he loved music and I think I got my love of music from him as well. Yes, I think first and foremost he really influenced me. My Mom was a teacher as well and a lot of things here. So I come from a background of education. Yeah, my Dad really influenced me to become the best I could possibly be and go for whatever I wanted to do for my life. My parents actually gave us the freedom and unlike some parents that wouldn’t, coming from a Nigerian background, parents want their children to be doctors or lawyers and some famous academic but my parents just said, do whatever you want, be whoever you want to be and do something that you want as long as it’s legal.
– I like the caveat. As long as it’s legal. So both your parents were work at academic. Your Mom and your Dad were academic? How was for you growing up in an academic household? I mean, did you have expectations that you had to perform better at school because or were you naturally good at school? Like, how were you live in that situation?
– It was difficult because I tried to live up to my Dad’s expectations and I fell academically and I felt that I didn’t. I felt like I didn’t. I struggled in subjects like maths and sciences. Strangely enough, I loved biology but I couldn’t do well in physics and chemistry which was really weird. But I loved English and I loved literature and I did really well in those subjects. So I loved to read books, I loved stories and I loved to get lost. Back then we didn’t have any computer games and I loved to get lost in stories. That’s what I basically remember about growing up.
– Sure. So coming from an academic background and so, were you parents a first generation immigrants? Did they came from Nigeria, your parents, to the UK?
– No, no, no. My parents did not live in the UK, we only visited.
– They visited UK so you… When did you come to the UK?
– Oh gosh, it was about twenty years ago.
– How did you end up in the UK?
– Oh gosh, that’s another long story.
– I got time.
– Maybe for some other time. It’s a lot of such stories about my late brother actually. He came here to be treated for leukaemia. He subsequently died. We all had to come to test for whether we could be a match to be a bone marrow donor for him. So we all came here and I had to give up my up my job in Lagos and I had to look after him while he was in hospital. Eventually my sister had to go back and my other siblings had to go back because they had families. I was the only one who didn’t so I stayed on until he died and then I thought, what the hell am I going back for? Might as well just make my life here. So I got a job here and eventually met my husband here and that’s it really.
– How old were you at the time when you decided to stay here?
– Do I have to tell you?
– Well if you want to. You can give us a… I have no reference how many years ago it was. If you wanna say you can say otherwise don’t.
– Was in my early thirties.
– Early and so the reason I am asking is mainly because I want to check, I would love to know how was for you now integrating yourself in the world here in the UK?
– It was strange at first.
– Yeah, it was strange at first. I struggled with the food. I struggled with… I didn’t struggle with much actually, it wasn’t that difficult to integrate. I just found out how things were done and I just sort of coped but I struggled with the food. I found it bland.
– You’re talking to an Italian right now so yes.
– I quickly fell in love with a Thai restaurant nearby and the first thing I did when I met my husband was to introduce him to it. ‘Cause I fell in love with Thai food very quickly because I found that they, they cooked food similar to the way we cook in Nigeria and they use spices and really fragrant spices and I love that.
– Is there something you miss about Nigeria?
– I miss the weather and I miss the food. But you can get the food here, maybe not all aspects of it. Not quite the same way you get it in Nigeria but to some extent. There are shops here now that sell a lot of the food we have back in Nigeria. But I miss the weather.
– Well the weather is a bit more difficult to get back.
– Was there something that surprised you maybe about yourself or a new aspect of yourself that you have discovered once you moved to the UK? There reason why I am asking this questions is because I didn’t have such a huge shift of culture like maybe you did, become from Nigeria, from Lagos to London, to the UK is a cultural shift. Being Italian and coming to London, there is language shift, there is a cultural shift but I remember that coming to a new country, I’ve discovered things about myself that I didn’t know I had in me. Or other sides of my character that came out just because I didn’t have people around me that had been knowing me for all my life. So is there something about yourself that you discovered, something new about yourself that you discovered by coming here?
– I suppose I discovered very quickly how tough I was. I never really considered myself as tough and strong but I found that I was when I had to live here and adapt. Especially watching my brother die from leukaemia and I had to get over that quickly ’cause I was still quite new here then. I had to quickly cope and I had to move out from where we were all living together and find myself an accommodation of my own. So those were really tough times and I felt that if I could overcome those times, that I would be able to face just about anything really.
– Mm-hmm. So now moving forward, you mentioned that you suffered with breast cancer and now you’re doing incredible work with charities that support women with breast cancer. You’ve been also on the cover of magazines as the face for the charity that you support. How was it for you going through that experience?
– Yeah, so that was another shocker in my life actually because if anyone ever told me I would get breast cancer I wouldn’t have believed it because I considered myself quite healthy. I ate reasonably healthy food and I exercised quite regularly. I loved fit and I don’t joke with that. And even while I was being diagnosed with cancer, I was actually training to go for a run to raise funds for cancer research.
– Yes, the day before I had my first surgery, I did a 5K run to raise funds for cancer research in the UK and the following Monday I went into hospital and had my first surgery. I had been training for it with no idea I had cancer. That’s how much I loved to keep fit. I just to go for runs and exercises so when I was diagnosed with cancer, I was really shocked. It was like… I said to the doctor, but I thought if you kept healthy and did everything you were supposed to do, that you don’t get cancer and no one in my family has ever had breast cancer as well. And they said, well it doesn’t work that way. You can still get it even if you are healthy and even if no one in your family has ever had it and I was just simply gobsmacked. It made me wonder, just for a brief second, why bother then.
– I’m eating all my vegetables, I’m eating all my salads.
– What’s the point of all of that and I still got cancer? But then I realised quickly as well that it was silly to think that way because one thing they told me was that the fact that I’d been really keeping fit and healthy would help me to recover quickly from cancer or much better than other people from cancer and they were right, it did. It did. I made a really good recovery. Not necessarily a quick recovery ’cause it took almost a year to completely get back to my normal self.
– Did you ever doubt that things will not get back to normal?
– Yes I did doubt, I did have doubts when the going was really tough. In fact, I thought I was going to die. I didn’t even know I was going to survive it. When I was first diagnosed, they said it was stage two and then they did the surgery and tested the cancer, and came back and told me it was a very aggressive stage three. And I thought that’s it, I won’t survive this. But then the doctor said, let’s take it one step at a time. Don’t jump to conclusions and here I am today.
– What did you do to keep strong in those times?
– I tried to stay positive and I prayed. ‘Cause I have a lot of faith and I am very lucky. I had the support of my family and friends as well so that helped a great deal. Those are really tough times and whatever little confidence I was starting to develop then, cancer took all of that away because by the time I lost all my hair and all my nails. I lost my hair, my eyebrows, my eyelashes, my fingernails, my toenails and I could hardly walk. And no, that really dealt a blow on my confidence and so I had to rebuild it all over again when I survived from cancer.
– Wow, I’m mean, I say, what a story. What a story and I think that for everyone listening, the reason why we’re doing this interviews in this way it is because we can all learn from each other. We can all learn from what we did to overcome tough moments. You know, for someone can be the cancer, for someone else can be the loss of a business, for someone else can be the loss of a family members. And we can all pretend that life is going to be all roses and flowers but the reality it’s not. We have the roses and flowers moment as well as we have the darker moment and so is about enjoying the correct moments and it’s about having the tools to overcome.
– I don’t take anything for granted.
– Absolutely. So thank you very much for sharing. I would love to ask you now. So all the experiences that you had in your life, from the moving to another country, to being bullied in school, to going through cancer and coming out healthy on the other side, how are those experiences influencing the work that you’re now doing with young women.
– I feel really privileged that I’m still here and that’s why I felt that I had to give something back. That’s why I really want to encourage young women to love who they are because I struggled to love who I was back then. I was influenced by other peoples opinion of me. I wanted to be somebody else because I hated who I was and I’m trying to get them to realise that they’ve got this one life, they’ve got this one body, they have to make a connection with it and really love who they are and appreciate what they are because life is too short. And that’s why I do what I do. That’s why I do what I do. I feel one thing that cancer taught me is that, you can’t sit around for long doing nothing because it can just wake up and die. You can wake up and find yourself dead. We don’t know when our time will come but whatever time we’ve got here now, we need to put it to very good use.
– Absolutely. Well Stella, it has been a fantastic interview. Thank you very much for opening up, thank you very much for sharing some of the more, what we can say intimate also parts of your life and things that you’ve been through so I really appreciate it and I think that everyone that has been listening so far can definitely take a lot of take aways or sometimes it can just be a reminder that sometimes it doesn’t matter if you have a tough time, there’s always something better after.
– And so, maybe they saw this interview as a sort of from different purposes. If someone wants to reach out to you maybe because they want to interview you on their show or they want to know a bit more about the things that you do with your programmes as well or they want to get you into schools, what’s the best way to reach out to you?
– They can reach out to me via my Facebook page. It’s, hold on a minute, let me read it out. You believe that I don’t know it off heart for my Facebook page. Is facebook.com/ConfidenceCoachingforTeenageGirls. They can reach me there or they can reach me on my Instagram page. My Instagram handle is, @thelionesswithincoaching. They can also reach me on LinkedIn, LinkedIn.com/in/MaherStella.
– All right, so we’ll put all these social media links in the show notes so then you guys can just scroll down. Make sure you follow Stella in her social media accounts and as well connect with her. In particular if you are a contacting schools. Stella does incredible programme for teenage girls, you heard her story so make sure you call her in your school or if you have an event, she’s absolutely phenomenal. All right Stella, thank you very much. You’re welcome. Thank you very much for being on the show. It has been an absolute pleasure.
– Likewise. Thank you.
– Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for watching or listening, if you haven’t subscribed to the show, make sure you subscribe right now so you don’t miss any other incredible episodes and we’re sharing tactics to grow your business and as well great stories like the one that we have heard today from Stella. So subscribe right now and until next episode, remember that together we grow exponentially. Ciao.