I’d been waiting to know what business I would run for myself for quite a while. And then this was it. I really knew in that moment. Even though it was a million miles apart from what I’ve done for 30 years. I had no doubts. No doubts at all.
A real eye-opener. It was November 2002. Diana was busy being ‘Corporate Woman’ at the time. One day an email alerted her to a session on professional image in the IBM auditorium. “And I thought, ‘Ooh, that sounds interesting!’ So I went along. It was an hour and I could take an hour out of my diary. There were 100 people in the audience with me. This image consultant stood up on the stage and talked about all kinds of things I knew nothing about.
She started talking about people with different personalities. And I thought, What?! I never ever considered that in relation to me. I’ve seen people in films, plays on TV etc playing different characters and personalities. Then she started demonstrating clothes. It was the most amazing learning experience. Your brain is working overtime I thought, ‘This is absolutely fascinating! I was on the edge of my seat. Then the light bulb went on. I told myself I’d like to do her job. And I’d been in the finance arena for 30 years, as a qualified accountant. So where that came from, I have no idea! I couldn’t wait for her to finish and then, as soon as she did, I went up to her and said, ‘I’d love to do your job!’ “She said two words, ‘You can! ‘Right,’ I said, ‘I will!’
Colour is very revealing
When I decided to become an image consultant, the first thing I wanted to do was experience all the services. I thought, ‘Well, I’ve had my colours done. I don’t need to have those done again. I’ll go and have my image done’. That was a total revelation. I discovered I didn’t actually understand my colours. So I had to go back and have my colours done. And then I had to go for make-up. I was experiencing the whole thing every time. I knew it was right for me.
I have to tell you, I had no idea about the way I looked. My effect on people. And I am a people person but the way I was dressing was not bringing people towards me, It was saying, Don’t mess with me, I’m in charge, I’m in control. It was giving out that message and I never knew that!
I’ve still got one jacket from my corporate work that I use to demonstrate. I can still get a reaction. People say things like, ‘You look like my headmistress!’ Seriously. ‘You’re like a nun in a convent!’ And if one person can see that, thousands of people can see that. I look formidable when I am wearing that jacket. And I used to wear all neutral colours. They make me really formal; really unapproachable and yet I loved being near people. So l learned a lot about that.”
Put the balance in your favour
For the first two years Diana combined her House of Colour work with her job at IBM. She’d spend one day as a personal stylist and the other four in her old corporate role and something miraculous happened. “I actually reduced my hours to 37 hours a week. Which was lovely! That was what I was employed to do. I could still do the job in 37 hours a week. And I’d been working 60 hours a week."
Then Diana took the plunge and left her corporate career behind. “I set myself a target to recoup my investment in House of Colour in two years. Yes the money. I’m an accountant. It has to be money! The initial investment is £6,500 plus VAT. Within the first year I realised that I’d more than got my investment back because of the personal development I’d had myself. “It was huge. A huge boost in confidence. Because I actually knew. I knew who I was. I knew how to look good. I knew how to be myself. It was a process that led to big, big things. So within the first year, I got much more than my payback.”
Those big things include becoming a non-executive Director at House of Colour and being reunited with a shade she hadn’t worn for thirty years. Turquoise. Wow! Can you tell? It stops the traffic, apparently!
Want to make the change like me? I’d love to talk it through with you. You can call me today on 01794 512365 or email me at Diana.firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to having a chat.