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Mel MacIntyre, Founder, Mel MacIntyre Coaching

Mel MacIntyre, Founder & Lead Coach at Mel MacIntyre Coaching

Firstly, can you give us a little bit of background about your business journey?

I've been a coach & consultant specialising in business leadership & change for 25 years. Around 8 years ago, I had an almighty breakdown and burn out that led to me walking away from my corporate career and setting up my own business. Although my road since then has been filled with many twists and turns and some of the hardest times of my life, I've never once looked back with regret and certainly wouldn't be where I am today without some serious self belief.

What role has self-belief played in your journey as a business leader? How has it influenced your decision-making and overall success?

When I walked away from my 'successful' corporate career, I only knew 2 things. I needed to help people in a much more meaningful way. I was craving impact and to make a much bigger difference. I didn't know exactly how I would do that, but what I did know, was that I would work it out. Even though I was burnt out and broken and suffering from chronic depression and crippling anxiety, I had utter belief in myself that whatever i set my mind to, I would ultimately succeed. This unwavering self belief I would get there no matter what has kept me going in the darkest of days.

Can you share a specific moment or challenge in your journey where your self-belief was tested? How did you overcome it and what did you learn from that experience?

After a 6 month career break travelling around Asia, I signed up my first client as if by magic, within a few weeks of returning from the USA where I had been certified as a High Performance Coach. Everything was going remarkably well and the future was brighter than it had been in a long time. Then 2 weeks later, my dad had a terminal cancer diagnosis. I was totally devastated. He was my best friend, we were incredibly close. He was by far my biggest influence in life. So when this happened at the same time as my brand new baby business getting off the ground, I just couldn't see how I could make it work. I wasn't prepared to go back to trying to be all things to all people with the risk I wasn't doing any of it to my maximum capability. So, I made the decision to put my baby business on the back burner and focus completely on my dad and taking care of him. Whilst being a full time carer certainly wasn't part of my business plan for my first year in business, It was honestly the best decision I have every made in my life. My dad and I made some incredibly special memories. We became closer than ever. I am so proud of the woman I became caring for him with utter devotion and commitment. It also gave me an almost superhuman ability to hold space for others when they are facing challenges. My ability to be fully present, to create safety in amongst times of extreme emotion or uncertainty is an incredible asset to my clients. When you have big ambitions, they are usually accompanied by big doubts and fears. My skill lies in helping people believe in themselves to reach their biggest goals and ambitions, and also supporting them with research based strategies to map out the path to get there. But without the self belief, it doesn't matter how great your strategy or plan is as big ambitions often include big risks (or your brain perceive them that way!) so you need to be able to bounce back when things don't go according to plan.

How do you cultivate and maintain a mindset of self-belief amidst the inevitable ups and downs of life?

I believe one of the single most overlooked and underrated skills and practices to navigate the rollercoaster ride of business and entrepreneurship is relaxation. Finding time each day to relax. Physically, mentally, emotionally to relax and release any tension and spend some time focusing your attention within. Attention is one of the most precious commodities in the world now. Everyone is vying for your attention at all times, including of course your family and loved ones! Finding ways to tune out the external noise and stimulation to focus quietly on yourself, how you feel and to discern any wisdom or insights your body may have for you is such a simple and powerful practice. The best thing is, you realistically can do this in 5 minutes so making it a daily endeavour is always achievable no matter what else is happening. It's more important and effective to commit to a simple practice for 5 mins a day consistently than trying to do big things that are ultimately unsustainable and leave you feeling like a failure!

Are there any specific strategies or practices you follow to boost your self-confidence when facing uncertainties or setbacks in your business?

Celebrate! Regular review & reflection to harvest all the good things that have happened and recognise your progress no matter how small. It's absolutely essential, particularly for ambitious people who are driven to always strive for more. There is a phenomenon I often see in high achievers which I call 'The Gap of Discontent'. As soon as you hit a goal or create a result, you immediately raise the bar higher and move onto the next thing. So if you are not careful, you end up constantly striving and chasing down results having never stopped to see how far you have come and everything you have achieved along the way. Creating a practice of regular review, reflection and celebration is a brilliant way to help your brain rewire to create lasting transformation and build up your confidence.

How do you handle self-doubt or negative self-talk that may arise as a business leader? Do you have any specific techniques for reframing negative thoughts?

Don't believe your own BS! I encourage my clients to notice their thoughts and monitor their feelings. Early intervention is key so the thought doesn't take hold and start to trigger physiological stress response & release the accompanying hormones. Also a simple 5 minute nervous system reset using your breath is really helpful to press the pause button and get back on track when you do feel the fear kicking in. Also, focus on your why. Use it as your reason to get back up again. When you can focus on why you do what you do and the difference you are here to make, it moves your ego and the fears your inner critic whispers to you firmly out of the way. Then you can get back to business with a renewed sense of confidence and optimism. You are destined to succeed, so let it be easy.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who struggle with self-belief? How can they start building a stronger sense of confidence and belief in themselves?

Have a clear vision of the future, go big and bold and don't hold back with what you really want to create and the ultimate ambitions you hold. Get crystal clear on your purpose and your why. Your vision and purpose are your north star, there to guide you when making decisions and especially deciding what to say no to! i.e. ANYTHING that doesn't take you closer to your vision! Next step is to create some measurable goals & targets for the next 12 months. Get clear on the specific outcomes you need to achieve in the next 12 months both personally and professionally and create some projects & work streams to support their delivery. Then, and this is so important. Work out your next couple of baby steps that will get you moving in the right direction and into a state of momentum. You don't need a full scale locked down 12 month detailed plan. You need overarching strategy that support your priorities and absolute clarity on how to get moving quickly. There is a little more to this planning approach, I teach a strategy called the Aligned Action Funnel which goes into much more depth. (Feel free to reach out if you would like the framework.) The last element of it i'll share here is to reiterate the importance of building in regular review, reflection and celebration as I mentioned above. I highly recommend a good weekly review and planning process to help you stay aligned to your overall vision and on track to deliver your priorities. Seeing your progress and being able to course correct quickly when things aren't going to plan is the ultimate confidence builder as it helps you know exactly what results you are creating and what you are focusing on to make that happen.

Have you ever encountered external skepticism or negativity regarding your business ideas or decisions? How do you stay grounded in your self-belief despite external influences?

To be perfectly honest, I don't pay any attention to other people's opinions when they are nay sayers! It's just noise that doesn't add any value to me or my ability to do great work in the world so I have a laser focus and also take steps to protect my confidence by limiting my exposure to other people's opinions. I rarely peruse social media for example. I run my own company to dance to the beat of my own drum each day and feel a deep sense of agency in how I operate which helps me believe in myself and my abilities. I do have a coach who I can turn to when I have a wobble, worry or wonder. We have a great time strategising and hatching plans for my business and I value her external input and support. Lastly, I carefully hand pick clients to make sure we are fully aligned in our values. My job is ultimately to offer challenge and support and new or different perspectives and ways of working. There may be times when we disagree, but we can always find a place of connection and camaraderie within that. This alignment stops me from wasting energy worrying and supports clarity & boundaries in our relationship which help me serve my clients to the very best of my ability which is my ultimate aim.

Are there any books, podcasts, or people you'd recommend checking out for anyone who wants to change to a more self-confident and belief-rich mindset?

I love Dr Joe Dispenza's work to support self belief & deep transformation. It is steeped in ground breaking research and offers very practical tools to use, particularly meditations which are highly effective. I would also add I specialise in helping business leaders who want to scale their impact and a core pillar of this work is building confidence & self belief. So hit me up!

Finally, what are some practical tips or exercises you can recommend for entrepreneurs to strengthen their self-belief and mindset on a regular basis?

On a daily basis - relax, meditate, hydrate, move your body and always know the most important priority you need to achieve. On a weekly basis - review your week, reflect on your achievements, practice gratitude and celebrate your wins. On a monthly basis - take some time out to be inspired. Spend a few hours in nature, go to an art gallery, read a book in the sunshine. Do something different to fuel your creativity. Every 90 days - Take a full day out to focus on reviewing the last quarter and planning the next. Check in with your vision and ambition, tweak it, dream big and let yourself feel inspired by what's possible. Most importantly, have fun at every opportunity! Your brain and your business results will thank you for it!

Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us here! Where should people follow you to find out more about your work?


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