Women Worldwide : The One That Helps you to Live to your Full Potential with Julie Leonard
Women Worldwide : The One That Helps you to Live to your Full Potential with Julie Leonard
Julie Leonard is a force to be reckoned with and someone that practices what she preaches, having been on a real life journey before launching her coaching biz.
November 10th, 2020
Julie Leonard is a force to be reckoned with and someone that practices what she preaches, having been on a real life journey before launching her coaching biz. Julie went from being shy in her 20s with little self esteem to being an absolute boss with her business. A woman who gave up everything and moved to a new country, Julie isn’t afraid to take chances.
Luckily for her, this chance really took off. We spent some time with her to find out more…
Tell us the journey that lead you to launching your brand, Julie Leonard Coaching…
There are two paths that have taken me on a personal and professional journey to where I am today. As a child and teenager and even into my 20’s, I was an anxious person, a worrier, sensitive and with very little self-esteem. I never felt good enough, or that my opinion counted and I truly believed I was the ugliest woman in the world.
At school, I was shy and was bullied and picked upon. I wasn’t popular and I felt like I didn’t fit in. At University I realised I wasn’t completely weird, found fantastic friends but still struggled with anxiety and low confidence. I couldn’t even walk into the cafeteria on my own I was so nervous.
When my long term and very negative relationship came to an end in my early 30’s, I finally had the time and space and tools to transform myself and my life. I remember clearly sitting on my sofa one day. I was low in mood, emotionally exhausted, and feeling alone. I was confident in my job (supporting women to make positive changes in their lives!) and had advanced in my career but apart from work, I felt I had nothing and was unhappy and unfulfilled in my life. It was then, sitting on my sofa, that I had a moment that changed my life. I asked myself ‘What is scarier? Staying as
I am or facing my fears and putting myself out there?
And the realisation was that I was more scared to stay in the life I had. To remain stuck and unfulfilled. And I consciously and intentionally began working on myself to become the woman I am today.
Parallel to my personal journey, I have known since I was 18 years old that I wanted to work with and help people. I studied psychology at university and after graduating began working in the charity mental health services. I loved this work as I got to spend quality time with women in their own homes supporting them emotionally and practically. Because of my personal journey, I have always had great empathy and understanding of what people are experiencing. I was effectively coaching them, it just wasn’t called that. Whenever I asked a woman what she wanted, more often than not they said ‘I want to be happy’ and that really set me on my journey to becoming the Happiness Evangelist.
After 20 years in this setting, I was ready for a change. I had always wanted to have my own business and to be my own boss. 8 years ago I fell in love with an Italian man living in Germany and so 6 years ago I moved to Munich, Germany and it was a natural progression to become a Certified Life Coach and create my own business. Now I can combine my passion for happiness, my personal experience, my 30+ years of professional experience plus my extensive knowledge to support women to get unstuck, gain clarity, and live to their full potential. To be truly happy. Through my brand I can reach many more women and have a bigger impact on the world.
You started out as a shy anxious girl, how did you turn this all around?
I can summarise my journey to confidence in 3 concrete ways. 1)I asked for help. I am a great believer in talking therapy as well as having regular dedicated time and space to work on myself. I’ve reached out to professionals and friends and family along the way that have helped me grow as a person. And now, I still have a network of support. I do believe everyone needs a life coach!
2)I adopted a growth mindset and set intrinsic goals- through my work it was clear early on that the key to making positive changes in myself was to change my thinking. I’ve always believed that our negative thinking and limiting beliefs are a result of the influences and experiences we gather in life. And I feel that it is entirely possible to change our brains and train our brains to think more positively. And the science and research back this up. I have done a considerable amount of work on my negative thinking and challenging my limiting beliefs and also cultivating a practice of self compassion meditation to reduce my negative thoughts and increase my positive self talk and kindness.
3)Every day I expand my comfort zone. Every day I challenge myself. Like I mentioned, I reached a point in my life where I realised it was scarier to stay stuck than to face my fears. So I got out there, took baby steps and started expanding my comfort zone. When you do that, you realise that most of the fears you have don’t come true and in fact amazing things can happen. In my first year of taking action, I went to so many events, travelled on 10 holidays and even roadied for a friend’s band! Living life is the best way to grow in confidence.
Over the years, you must have dealt with a lot of doubters. How do you deal with that?
You know, when you offer a service that is so personal and that is such an integral part of who you are and is entirely based on you and your skills and knowledge, it’s a vulnerable place to be. To put yourself and what you do out there to be judged. So I’ve had to work hard over the years not to take the doubters personally.
Research shows that people who process a wide range of emotions are happier. I give myself space to process my emotions and approach and explore what comes up for me with curiosity. I have cultivated a practice of self kindness and compassion that helps me combat negative thoughts and emotions and enables me to talk to myself with more kindness.
It’s essential to surround yourself with positive cheerleaders. I have so many supportive and positive people in my life that helps counteract the doubters.
Finally, I always ask myself, ‘Is that true?. Look for the evidence that contradicts that point of view. Don’t simply accept everything you hear.
Who’s your ideal client and how do you want them to feel after spending time with you?
Women who know that they are made for so much more but are held back or feel stuck because of negative thoughts and limiting beliefs. Women who want to change themselves and their lives but don’t have the clarity or don’t know where to even begin. I can always see the incredible potential in women and I love watching the transformation. There is always that moment when it all clicks into place and a major shift happens and a woman can begin to feel and believe that anything is possible. I want women to work with me and to feel and truly believe that they are strong and confident and able to achieve the life they desire. To feel calm, balanced and truly happy. To feel that they can go out there and rock an amazing life!
Tell us about your best selling book…
It’s a dream come true. From that shy and anxious worrier who believed she wasn’t good enough to being a best selling author. It’s been quite a process. I had to work through some pretty deep rooted limiting beliefs to write it (Happiness is a journey. There is always something to work through!).
I believe so passionately in my message and I wanted to reach many more people. Intentional Happiness: The Life-Changing Guide To Being Happy And Staying Happy encapsulates my 30 years of experience and offers the exact tools and exercises you need to become Intentionally Happy. It’s style is warm and friendly and it’s direct and to the point. I’ve received incredible feedback from people telling me how practical and helpful they have found it.
Looking back since you started running your own business, is there anything you would do differently?
When I launched my business, I was 6 months pregnant and was living in a new country. So my time was more limited and I didn’t have the family/friends support that I would have had if I was still in Scotland. So I would have benefited from outsourcing some of the workload much sooner than I did. And I would have gone into a mastermind earlier too. That support from people who get you and believe in you is invaluable.
If you could speak to your 18 year old self, what advice would you give her?
I’d like to give my 18 year old self a hug and tell her she is a beautiful person inside and out. Tell her that these difficult times will make her stronger and more compassionate and shape her into an incredible woman who is working hard to help others. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you make whilst you are still learning to love yourself. I’d tell her that it’s ok to say no, and to not always fit in. And that whatever she sets her mind to, she is in control of making it happen.
For aspiring life coaches, what advice would you offer to those that are just starting out?
There are so many more resources and support groups now than when I started. I would really encourage you to find your tribe. Find other like minded entrepreneurs and coaches who will get you and lift you up. Invest in a mastermind to get you to your goals quicker. Spend time discovering and developing your brand. And finally, believe in yourself and what you have to offer.
What has the last 12 months taught you about yourself?
This year has taught me so much. Particularly that I have the ability to focus on the positives in every situation. It’s ok not to be ok some days but overall, I have handled this year well. It reaffirmed that it’s important to focus on what you can control in your life. Lockdown reminded me that I needed to slow down even more and I really enjoyed having more time to be a mom and not just be a parent. And it highlighted to me just how important my relationships and connections are to my happiness. I’ve worked hard to maintain and nurture important relationships. 2020 confirmed how little I really need to be happy. It taught me that I can create time for something if I really want to (I wrote the book in 4 months).
What does self care mean to you?
It’s regular space and time to reflect and process my thoughts and feelings and to pour in to myself in order to have the energy to serve others. It is doing things that nurture my mind and body and bring me joy.
Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?
Japan. During sakura season. I’m intrigued by many of the traditional ceremonies and customs that are so highly valued there. And I’m a huge tea drinker and especially love Japanese jasmine tea and matcha. One of my most favourite experiences was a Japanese Tea ceremony I attended.
Talk us through an average day in your life…
I rise around 6am to get myself ready before I get my son up for school. I’m home from drop off by 8.15am and I use the next 45 minutes for some me-time as I transition into work mode. It usually involves a cup of tea and some reading ( I always have 2-3 books on the go), meditation and setting out my plan for the day. I work until 3pmwith a healthy lunch around noon and I’m good at motivating myself and staying focused. I’ll have several client coaching calls, I’ll reply to emails and I’ll spend time creating content for my Happiness Club group, website, courses and youtube channel and speaking events. 3-7pm is back into mom role and playdates and dinner before resuming work with more client calls, podcast interviews or hosting my Happiness Club. I’ll wind down around 10pm as I relax in bed with a book and my gratitude journal.
Where can people find out more?
You can find out about the range of packages and services I have to support you on your journey to a happy and fulfilled life here http://julieleonardcoaching.com/
I love meeting incredible women and every Monday I host the International Women’s Happiness Club online where we discuss topics related to happiness and I share my thoughts, ideas, tools, research and science on how to live a happier life. I have been hosting for 6 years and I love it! The meetings bring together like-minded women from around the world and it’s such a warm and supportive environment. I also have a Facebook Community which I’d like to personally invite you into and where you can see all the details of the meetings as well as receive inspiration, courses and challenges. https://www.facebook.com/groups/HappinessClubVIP
Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.