Alison Ford

Simply Thrive

Hi Alison,

 

Tell us about the Services you offer?

I’m passionate about supporting people to look at their well-being as a whole; to encourage them to reconnect with what makes them tick and to shape their life to suit them as an individual.

I offer well-being coaching as an opportunity to think and act in a way that is genuinely right for each person. I largely work with women (who happen to have kids). Many have ‘lost’ their true sense of who they are or feel disconnected from what they want from life. I support clients to think big, to deal with what’s holding them back, and to take action to achieve the life they really want to live.

My mission is to encourage women to shine, to stop being apologetic and to achieve their goals. I’m all about simplifying the process and promise no jargon and definitely no bullsh*t (though I can’t promise no swearing).

 

How did you come up with the idea and what motivated you to go for it?

I’ve always worked in the mental health and emotional well-being field – first as a nurse and latterly developing services for a large children’s charity. I gradually became more and more frustrated with the ‘system’ and the rigid way it has to operate in order to look after large numbers of people. Funding restrictions year on year meant that we could no longer look after whole people – just the part that was ‘broken’ or ‘unwell’. That didn’t make sense to me AT ALL…

So after much soul searching I decided to retrain – initially as a Clinical Reflexologist and then as a Well-being Life Coach. I felt utterly compelled to get out and do what felt right for individuals. It has been truly fulfilling so far, and gets better and better the more people I manage to reach and serve.

 

What do you love about running your own business and what do you find hard?

I absolutely LOVE the freedom it brings – not just in terms of being my own boss, but also in how I deliver my services. I can play to my strengths and work my business in the best way for both me and my clients. I now help others do the same – many mums who are my clients are looking to become self-employed and I’m delighted to be able to share what I’ve learned along the way.

I’m less thrilled by the admin juggle; hence why having your own tribe of support is so critical when you run your own business. I now outsource where I can; so that I’m able to concentrate on serving my clients best. Spreadsheets and data inputting definitely does not bring me joy in the same way as cracking a major breakthrough with my clients!

 

What kind of Boss Mum are you and how do you manage the juggle? 

I’m traditionally a more organised type though I’ve been forced to rethink that somewhat, thanks to a rather crippling bout of anxiety that was definitely exacerbated by (or caused by!) my need to have everything ‘just so’. I’m now embracing the flow mentality and noticing how much life works in your favour if you surrender more than you control.

 

How do you define success?

For me, success is feeling at ease, content and joyful overall in life. It’s about knowing your strengths and playing to them, as well as being able to find YOUR balance so that YOU can really thrive.

 

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?

Ooh, what a great question! One of the most surprising things I’ve learned is how much managing my stress levels have impacted on everything from my physical and mental health (obvs!), to my relationships, productivity, work decisions and sense of satisfaction with life. Working out your own version of what’s best is so important to each and every one of us, and of course that’s different for everyone.

 

What is a normal day in your life like?

A normal day for me starts before the rest of my family is up and about – with my morning routine of meditation and daily gratitude and task list (I’m about to share it as a freebie on my website so do feel free to use it). I then make the kids’ packed lunch and sit down to eat breakfast before walking them to school.

Once back, I’m usually found checking in with coaching clients either online or face to face, meeting people I’m collaborating with, ideally doing some yoga twice a week, and also seeing my reflexology clients on clinic days. Once a month I see my own coach and I am committed to trying to schedule in the odd day off this year (still working on this!). Most days I manage to pick the kids up from school too.

Weekends are for family – we love being outdoors and especially by the sea. Eating and drinking are right up there with my favourite all-time activities!

 

What has been a particular highlight for you since starting your business?

A particular highlight has to be making the decision to expand my successful reflexology business and begin coaching. I was so struck by how many coaching conversations were happening in my clinic room it was very hard to ignore the push to take this further. I’m very thankful to my former self for being brave enough to do it, as now I’m in a position to help so many others in life-changing ways.

 

What’s next for your business?

Well! Next up is more 1:1 clients, some group coaching for mums, running courses and speaking at events. I’m also exploring opportunities to support groups of younger girls and women who are vulnerable or in need (pro bono). My long term vision is to open a well-being centre where anyone who needs it can access coaching and well-being support in one place, but I’ve a few other things to line up first!

 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

GO FOR IT! Literally everyone i hold dear said this to me before I set up on my own – best advice ever!

 

What advice would you give someone who was thinking about setting up their own business?

I would advise anyone who’s thinking about it to make sure they feel super-passionate abut the business they want to set up – do that and you’ll find even the most mundane tasks related to running a business less tedious and stressful than you’re currently finding life. Secondly (perhaps obviously!) I can’t stress enough how important a coach can be when making big changes – I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now, feeling like I do, if I hadn’t had found myself a brilliant coach to support me along the way.

Not a day goes by when I am not in awe or overwhelmed by the sheer strength and determination of mothers. Whether we tell the world or not we are all fighting some internal battles, I have the privilege that women feel they can open up to me and share their struggles. I may provide them with tools but it is them that use them, it is them that continue to fight every single day, it is them that continually put others before themselves even when they have such little left to give. I will forever be in awe and forever be inspired. I am so lucky to be able to work with so many that inspire me every single day.

 

Who inspires you?

Denise Duffield-Thomas, Brene Brown, Jen Sincero, Carrie Green, Ellen DeGeneres, Michelle Obama – too many to mention! All strong women!!

 

What was your dream job growing up?

Well, I never really knew what I wanted to do, other than the cliched “I want to help people”. Back then, I’m not sure anyone had ever heard of a Well-being Coach!! I went into mental health nursing, which was completely right at the time.

Tell us 3 facts about you…
  1. My favourite hobbies are stand up paddle boarding, sea fishing and reading.
  2. I have a couple of chronic health conditions that aren’t allowed to rule my life.
  3. I’m about to make a dream come true and buy a VW campervan. Woohoooo!

 

What do you enjoy most about being a part of Mama Tribe?

Being part of a tribe of supportive, friendly women who genuinely want to see other women shine is so empowering. This is massively important when you’re a parent running your own business and I’m grateful to be a part of it.

 

Thanks for giving us an insight into life behind Simply Thrive Alison, we love having you as a Member of the Tribe.

Danni x

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