We talk to Sandra Peat, founder of new agency We Are Superhuman, about the fear of making a big change in your life. We hope her story inspires you….
One year ago, Sandra Peat was doing a job that no longer inspired her in an environment that no longer made her happy. As an over-stressed mother of two children with an ambition to work, a desperate need to be in control of her own life and a passion to empower women, something had to change. She attended a Shine workshop and, during one exercise in particular, everything did. Now she is a co-founder of Superhuman, the brand new strategic marketing agency for brands that want to inspire, excite and engage women. We talked to Sandra about how things have made such a remarkable turnaround in the last 12 months.
“I had always wanted to do my own thing – I probably tried three or four times over the last few years to break away and set up my own business but usually got cold feet very early on; the lure and security of the salary was too much.”
“I had my first child and a small break from work – and then returned to a really, really intense job at Bacardi. I then had my second child and was made redundant. I took another really intense job and got to the point when my daughter was around a year old and I was just fed up – I’d had enough. Having spent so much time in that limbo of not being desperately unhappy – but also not being very content; having less sleep – and all the extra stresses that come with having two children – I got to a point last year where I decided ‘enough is enough’, life is too short and so I resigned.”
“It was at that point that I met Anna and Cal – so I had quite a different story from the majority of people when they come to Shine. I was introduced to them through a very good friend; they had a space on one of their courses. I sort of knew that I’d done the right thing in making this big jump but if I was to stick at it and not get lured back then I needed support and I needed a new framework for my life – and change the way that I thought about work”
“I’d already come up with the idea of setting up an agency and was happy with that. I knew I loved what I did – but I was really bored of doing things that I didn’t really care about. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to work – I love working – but I realised that I wanted something that I was really happy getting out of bed to do. Having been made redundant, having had a child, having witnessed inequality that women face on a day to day basis, I knew that empowering women was something that I was really passionate about, so I knew that it was the direction that I wanted to go in.”
I don’t know what I expected at Shine; to be coached to find some confidence maybe. Shine helps women to play their bigger game, using their network. I didn’t have a big company paying for my place so of course I felt hesitant – but I also knew that not investing in myself until this point had not worked. I looked at all the things that had ever held me back; I knew I had to work on myself.”
“The course helped me to deal with fear of failure, something I always knew was within myself. That, and confidence. Not giving something your all because you don’t think you‘re good enough. That is a story that lots of people battle with and I certainly have.”
“I really enjoyed the coaching – and meeting the people that I did my coaching with. To me that was a real highlight. We did this exercise where you have to talk about what you desire for a few minutes – which is actually quite hard when you have to just blather on! I got paired with Becks, now my business partner. We were walking around the lovely garden and as we were doing the exercise I was listening to her and I thought ‘hmmmm this is interesting’ and then I did mine – the same. We had loads in common – we were both dissatisfied, we both had similar desires and values. It was a bit like meeting a partner – not in a romantic sense – but there was immediately a connection. We both realised it and felt it and I got this giddy feeling in my stomach when you know that you are on the cusp of something; a new adventure that could turn into something interesting. So having that network at Shine and meeting the person that I am now in business with was a great thing to come out of it.”
I had already set up WeAreSuperhuman as a small agency. Both Becks and I knew we wanted to play our bigger game and so we sat down together to work out what we really wanted. We didn’t rush into it – that would be the definition of insanity in my book. So we had a few months of what we called ‘courting’ and doing some project work. Then we got to the end of the Summer and thought – yes, let’s do it! Since then we have been quietly working in the background and launched officially at the end of March.”
Superhuman works with a target audience that are underrepresented and misrepresented and also represent a great opportunity for brands. The brands have a really important part to play in empowering women – that’s why we work with them. So we have been doing a big project into something that we call ‘the invisible middle’. We did a lot of research who have all agreed that yes, this is a problem. It’s been so lovely to actually see it happen.”
“My life has changed for the better. I am now in control of my own destiny. I can take my children to school and I make my own choices. I can be here when I need to be – if I don’t I can do other things. Someone said something very interesting to me recently. They said, ‘having your own business is like having your own personal development course. There’s nowhere to hide. There’s no hiding behind an organisation – everything stops with you’. That’s quite confronting actually. You have to be brave. But for me the ability to have control over my own life outweighs the fear ten times over. I refer back to the things that I learned in Shine – it really comes full circle.”
“The reality of big organisations is that they are set up to support masculine work environments and masculine needs and don’t necessarily support the feminine needs. I use the words ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ very carefully though; I don’t mean men and women, I mean that organisations make it very easy for masculine energy and masculine values to thrive and something like Shine is fantastic because on a very practical level for women it creates a support network. If they are willing and open to it – and they have that lovely and collaborative community nature to them – well, it’s like a superpower! If you trust it and you leverage it and collaborate it has the potential to make organisations great – in ways that we don’t even know yet! Cal and Anna have big ambitions and I really wish them well.”
“Shine is such a nurturing environment; you are always in control but you feel loved. It’s quite unique. They are inspirational women that hold space to make other women great. It’s an incredible skill for a coach. But they are no pushover! They are a special breed of coach that you don’t see very often that organisations should absolutely invest in.”