Meet My Business Coach

Today we’re speaking with Sel Watts of The HR Linc and wattsnext Group. I am a HR Professional, Business & People Leader, Speaker and seasoned entrepreneur. I started my career in HR over 20 years ago when I launched my first business wattsnext Group in 2007 with the vision to disrupt the HR industry and create great workplaces across the globe. wattsnext partners with Founders & CEOs of small to medium businesses and fast growth startups to create high performing and engaged teams and cultures. We are based in Australia and New York. Having developed and led my own team of HR Professionals over the past 15 years, I know what makes a HR Professional successful, which inspired me to create The HR Linc, a membership community designed to elevate HR Professionals. We help HR Professionals step into a new career chapter: a chapter where HR is a leader, and influencer, a commercial thinker and has the confidence and knowledge to drive change for their companies. This is the membership for HR Professionals that CEO’s want to invest in. Our mission is to elevate HR to have a valued seat at the table. My personal and professional development is a priority, and I am a member of several organizations including EO of which I sit on the New York chapter Board and am President Elect, SHRM, Collective 54, Business Chicks, HeyMama and Impact Theory University. I have drawn on this extensive experience in these vibrant and valuable membership organizations to design a membership experience for our HR Linc members that significantly advances both the personal capability and organizational contribution of HR professionals. In addition, I am the Co-Founder of zzoota, the global leader in leveraging the power of AI, machine vision, IoT hardware, cutting edge software and smart firmware. We digitize moving assets using Artificial Intelligence. I am a proud mother of three sons who are learning a lot about resilience, gratitude, never settling and striving for a dream with everything they have!



[00:00:00] Jessy: Hi everyone and welcome to the Wiim Podcast. Women in Influencer Marketing is a first of its kind exclusive networking group made up of inspirational women. This podcast is where we explore influencer marketing and get real about women in business. Find us wherever you download podcast. And of course you can always find us at iamwiim.com. That’s Iamwiim, double I.com. 

So just before starting to record this episode intro, I just doused myself with some perfume. Definitely didn’t douse. I put a couple spritzes on. I’m like looking at myself on camera right now, cause of course we share these episodes now on YouTube and Spotify has video and girl, I’m getting more comfortable on video, but what the hell does it have to do with perfume?

That’s a really good question. What the hell does that have to do with perfume? I don’t know. Does anyone else have other senses that just make you feel more confident or make you feel, I don’t know, make you feel good. So I just brits myself with some perfume and I’m like ready to go.

Anyways, we had a housewarming party slash birthday party for Paul, and so we had 13 people over at the new house, which is the most we’ve had probably ever, nonetheless, at the new house. And like hosting is freaking hard. That’s a whole other story. But what came up in conversation at the at our get together was that the right daylight savings time, the right savings time, whatever the hell it is the one that I like. The one that I like is the one that’s happening. She’s what are you talking about? I’m like, rambling.

Basically, I was like, oh, it’s so beautiful. My God. It gets dark at eight o’clock now later. And it’s not even summer, it’s like mid May. And my sister-in-law was like, yeah, isn’t that nice that it’s gonna be like that forever and it won’t change? And I was like, that’s the right one one y’all. I’m just excited about that and I just wanted to share, this is like two, three months late. It’s okay. It’s happening.

Anyways, this week you were legitimately in for such a treat. Number one, I apologize for last week. I know the audio quality sucked, the big one. Transparently, I’m in the process of getting a new podcast editor and things have been like a little wonky over here in terms of the podcast, so really apologetic.

I genuinely do appreciate a couple of you that reached out and were like, hey, love the podcast. I just wanna let you know the audio was like a little wonky last week, and I was like, thank you for telling me that I did know about it.

But anyways, I felt like there was this idea of oh God, are you gonna appreciate that I’m telling you this, or are you gonna think it’s obnoxious? And I was like, no. If there’s anything ever wrong with the website, the podcast, like the Facebook group, the Slack, whatever. 

Please tell me if I have a booger on my face. Don’t let me walk around with a booger on my face for the whole day. A friend would not let you walk around with a booger on your face or your website at a whack. I’m just saying.

Anyways, so thank you to those couple people that reached out. Fortunately, unfortunately, I already knew that the audio was out of whack, so apologies for that. So this week’s episode, this is Sel Watts you guys. Sel Watts has actually been on the podcast before. I always love having new guests, but if the guests we have on are that good, I just look for an excuse to bring them back on.

She is my personal business coach. So if there’s any endorsement that’s like legit and really good, I’m gonna be that person to her. I cannot emphasize enough how much she has influenced me in the most incredible ways.

I just found out, actually last weekend, I had a Wiim member over my house. So nice having people over the new house and she’s visiting from California. I was like, yeah, girl, come out to Brooklyn. And anyways, and she mentioned, she’s oh wow. Like, how’s the business? And oh my gosh, by the way, Sal’s incredible. Did I ever tell you how incredible Sel was? 

He had wonderful things to say as well. It was really cool. When I find people that are great to work with, I will recommend them to everybody. So what does sell do? What has she actually helped me with? Cause in the episode we talk a lot about how to think differently about your business, knowing where to focus, mother guilt. Like different phases of your business, how to scale your business, if you should scale your business.

These are all things that she’s worked with me personally on, but damn man, she is so good in the big picture parts of your business, but also in getting incredibly granular and specific about what to do. Also having so much perspective from just working firsthand in her own business and then of course coaching and working with so many other types of businesses.

She’s so articulate, she’s so direct. I feel so connected to her and she just gives me the perfect amount of a kick in the ass. It’s the perfect amount that it doesn’t even really feel like they kick in the ass. Or maybe I just like a kick in the ass. I kind don’t like a kick in the ass if I’m being honest. I’m like, no, tell me what’s wrong. Tell me what I need to do.

I love self-discovery, self-improvement, growth, all of those things, I genuinely enjoy. So Sel is my woman. Again, if you have not subscribed to the show, the podcast, please do. We’re on Spotify, Apple Podcast, YouTube, like anywhere you get your podcasts.

If you haven’t checked out, Wiim the membership yet please do. You’ll thank yourself later. It’s really the membership that you wish you knew about sooner. So if you enjoy this conversation, we infuse a bit about, women in business and what it is to be a founder, a CEO, an employee who wants to grow.

We also, of course, talk all about influencer marketing. So just check it out. It’s iamwiim.com. We’ve got everything in the show notes of this episode. More information. I’m excited for you to learn about sell and let’s get into it.

I just have to express gratitude, I think, before we even start. So Sel’s gonna introduce herself in a minute. But I think that it would be beneficial for people to just hear the experience that I’ve had knowing Sel.

So Sel was like instrumental, in a huge professional shift in my life and she simply did that by like giving me the tools that I needed to be better in business. And like she just supported me so much and still does, and continues to, to this day.

You’re like someone that I hugely respect, admire and I’m just excited to share you with everybody today and have everyone here more about you and we’re gonna talk about all sorts of stuff today. So first I wanted to just thank you and welcome you today. How are you? 

[00:07:49] Sel: Thank you, Jessy. I am so grateful to have been able to work with you for I don’t know, it’s been. Three years now maybe. And oh, so privileged. You have inspired me. And to be invited to come onto your podcast is like very humbling. So I I greatly appreciate it. 

[00:08:09] Jessy: I’m excited to have you here again cause you were on a while back. But since we are now having our members tune in, ask questions, I’m like, all right. Who would I wanna invite now that we’re doing this format so that our members can like specifically ask questions and who can our members learn best from? And you were definitely one of the top people that I thought of, so I appreciate you taking me up on my offer. 

Before we like get into, I’ve got so many questions and just the conversation that we’re gonna have, I would love for you to introduce yourself a little bit about like the why you do what you do, your identity as a professional, but also a little bit about who you are during your off hours.

[00:09:02] Sel: Sure. All right. I’ll just give you a bit of background or context as you would be able to tell. I’m Australian but living in New York City now. So I started got into entrepreneurship relatively late, if you like. I started my first business when I was 30 and I had a three month old son.

And I just really wanted to do something that I could make an impact and that felt limitless. Like I didn’t have someone telling me how I could progress in my career, what I could do, how creative I could be. 

So I started a business in human resource consulting. And the reason I did that was because I had worked in recruitment in HR, not for very long, really in hindsight. And I really didn’t like the industry. I felt that, It wasn’t dynamic particularly the HR industry, recruitment’s very dynamic. 

But I felt that the industry wasn’t dynamic. It wasn’t commercial. The HR people weren’t really enabled to be innovative and do things differently. And I really wanted to disrupt the industry.

And what’s interesting is when I started, as I said, I didn’t have a lot of experience in HR a few years. I also didn’t have any qualifications. I dropped out of university three times. I was trying desperately to, follow the traditional educational path and it just wasn’t for me. 

And I eventually went, you know what? I have a different way of learning and I need to do what is aligned to me as opposed to what we should do. And so when I started the business, I really didn’t have much going for me if you like. 

I was a bit older. I had never been in business. My parents had never been in business. I didn’t have any qualifications. I had a three month old son and I just relocated to another state in Australia and I had no money.

I think it was a really interesting experience for me that I call upon now when I’m, coaching and mentoring people because if I’d gone to a business coach and said, okay, this is my plan, I don’t think there would’ve been anyone that would’ve supported me and said, yes, you should do this. Cause I really didn’t have anything going for me other than what I now consider to be incredibly valuable back then, which was naivety.

I just had no understanding at that point of what I didn’t have. It wasn’t until later, about five years in when people had asked me to talk about my journey that I realized that I didn’t really have anything going for me when I started. 

But the naivety really helped me and I just got started and then I went on to, build my business in Australia. It’s now 15 years old. And throughout that journey, I joined many entrepreneurial groups enormous amount of coaching, mentoring, personal development, and have since then started other businesses.

And then I made a big move to New York City a couple of years ago, which is a story in itself. But yeah, so now I’m here and my sort of, whole approach to life is my life mantra, which is no plan B and really chasing dreams and never settling and really knowing that you have one life and it’s your life, no one else’s and that you should do what you wanna do. So it’s a bit of a background and overview of my drivers I guess. 

[00:12:02] Jessy: I think it’s so awesome to hear your story and you’re not somebody who things were just handed to you. You’re not one of those people who necessarily were like, set up for success yet here you are and in addition to the personal and professional success that you’ve had, you’re like paying it forward by supporting so many other people, which I think is just like an incredible quality to have.

 You teased us with this no plan B. That resonates so much with me. And, I hear you talk about it all the time, how important it is to you, and I just want more of our listeners to like fully understand even what that means to you and like how you infuse that into everything.

[00:12:55] Sel: Yeah. So as I said, no plan B is my life mantra. I’ve got tattooed on my wrist and I utilize it all the time. So you may have heard the Anthony Robbins quote, if you want to take over the island, you have to be prepared to burn the boats. And ultimately what that means is if you really want something that you need to get rid of the safety nets. And I believe that as human beings, it’s natural for us to rely on our safety nets or take the easier option or the plan B if something’s not working. It’s just human nature.

But I’ve always thought about things like this is a bit of a random example or analogy, but if you were abseiling off the side of a cliff and you didn’t have any ropes. If you were holding on with your hands and it was really challenging ,if you had ropes, you would let go and give in a lot sooner than you would if you didn’t have the ropes.

And I believe that this, aligns to most of us where we have got so much more potential than what we realize and there’s so much more in us and we could take ourselves so much further. But we don’t, and that’s why we have personal trainers. I have a personal trainer cause I know that I will not push myself to the extent that they will.

So my view is that I believe that we should really aim to not only try to reach our potential but also to truly strive for our dreams and not let challenges and people saying no, or people judging you or all of the things that can come in the way of us pursuing what we want to do, that we should really keep going and consider our personal goals and dreams and the life we wanna live as a plan A. And there is only a plan A.

And this doesn’t mean that I haven’t changed course or I haven’t even changed my mind, that there is no problem with having go at something and realizing it’s not for you and changing your mind. 

But my no plan B is that I will pursue or live my life, committed to doing what I want to do and trying to achieve my potential as much as I possibly can.

And there have been so many situations in my life where I’ve been pursuing dreams, where I’ve had so much criticism and people telling me I shouldn’t, and I couldn’t over and over again, right up to, today and my no. Plan B has really helped me shut out the noise and not listen to what other people have to say. And I’m a big believer in mentors and coaches. I’ve had them my whole life. So it’s not that I don’t listen to people, but I make sure who I choose to listen to are the right people. 

But when there are doubters, it’s very easy to listen to that. If there’s someone telling you, you can’t do that or you shouldn’t do that it’s very easy to listen to that.

And my no plan B is no, put that aside. What do I want my life to be? Because too many of us are living a life that we don’t really want, that we are doing because we think we should, we think we should for our kids or our parents or what the neighbors will think when really we wanna be doing something different. And I think the world would be a lot better place if people were doing what they actually really wanted to do.

And so just to tie this up, I have three sons now, and I thought about if I could only teach them or give them one bit of advice in their whole life, if I only had the chance to give one bit of advice, what would that actually be?

And so I spent a lot of time thinking about this and I decided that the bit of advice that I’d wanna give them is to chase your dreams no matter how unlikely it might be. No matter what anyone says, if you’ve got a dream, chase it. And it doesn’t matter if you don’t necessarily achieve it, but the journey and the adventure in chasing your dreams will be well worth it. And so when I thought about that, I thought, you know what? If that’s the advice I’d give to my kids, then that’s the advice I need to give to myself. 

And also, I don’t wanna be someone who tells my children to go and live a life that I was too afraid to do. So if that’s what I want them to do, I need to show them that. And so now I live my life, like I’m giving my kids a front row seat in dream chasing and living a no plan B life. And making sure that I live the life that I wanna live and to the best of my ability. 

[00:17:17] Jessy: It’s a really noble but exciting and fulfilling way to approach life. Exciting, fulfilling. Like those are the words I think that come to mind the most. And I love that you like bring it back to your kids because, we’re a women’s focused organization, right? And so many women struggle.

But if I really go after everything that I want, how could I possibly do that with kids? How could I possibly do that with a kid nonetheless, kids. And you have three of your own and like you mentioned originally Australian moved to New York. It seems as if like you are really truly living a life that you want , I can imagine there are people who have said you shouldn’t ,like all the things.

And I guess my question for you in that is, what would you tell anyone listening right now who is even just trying to start at the beginning where it’s like, how do I really even truly identify what my best and fullest life looks like? Like where would you tell them to start to figure that out? 

[00:18:36] Sel: Yeah. Yeah. So firstly, I will say I have endured so much criticism over the years, enormous amounts from when I started the business. And as I was growing it and having the children, I started expanding the business across Australia. 

So I was always traveling, and I would have people saying to me all the time, what about your kids? And I remember having a mentor who similar age to me and he had three kids and he was expanding his business, which was a million times bigger than mine, and he had locations all over the place and he was traveling every week.

And I said to him like, what do you say to people when they say to you, what about your kids when you’re traveling? And he said, what do you mean? I said, when they say you’re away from your kids what about them? Are you thinking about them? 

He said, I’ve never ever been asked that. And I said, I get asked that three to four times a week. As a woman, me pursuing my dreams was seen to be, and is seen to be, selfish and that I’m not being a good mother and I’m not fulfilling my responsibilities.

And even when I moved the children to New York and they got here six weeks before Covid hit, and so we were here throughout that time and everyone was writing to me saying, you’re really selfish. You need to come home. It’s dangerous. You shouldn’t be doing this. And it’s funny because all of these criticisms have actually been the things that I believe have made me a really great mom.

And the things that the boys look up to me for, and they often tell me that I inspire them and is because I am showing them how to live as opposed to telling them how they should live because I was too afraid to live, or I was too afraid to do what I wanna do. So I want, I need my kids to do it, so at least then I’ll feel like I’m accomplished.

So, when you are comfortable with the choices you’re making, because they’re for you, that criticism doesn’t get in very much. And I noticed that when it does hit me, when it does hurt, it’s because I personally am feeling misaligned with my values.

It’s not actually what they’re saying, it just highlights to me that, oh, there’s something I’m doing right now that I’m obviously don’t feel that good about. But otherwise it doesn’t bother me because I’m very comfortable that I’m making the choices that are right for me and my family.

In relation to people who are wanting to make a change. And that could be anything from you wanna relocate, you want to get out of a marriage, you wanna change your career, you wanna have kids, you wanna have another child. All of these things are big decisions. And trying to work out, what matters to me and what life do I wanna live. I think there’s a couple of things to think of. 

Firstly, what I just said about asking yourself, what advice would you give your children? Because when you ask yourself, what would I tell my kids to do? Then that tells you what you believe is the best life or the best decision.

And I often have thought about, as I’ve got older, if my son came to me, when he was 40, and he said to me, these things that I’m going through, what would I say to him and how would I feel? Or what would I want him to do? And if that’s what I advice I’d give to them, then that’s the right advice for me. 

So I utilize that to really work out what I think what is important. And the other thing is that, people are very afraid to try things because they’re worried about failing. And I’ve never resonated with the word failure because my view is that our life is an adventure of just working out who we are and having a go at things and just trying something and seeing where it takes you is really critical.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have it all worked out. And it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work out or you do something and it doesn’t work or it doesn’t interest you, that’s fine. Change your path, take the learning, take the information.

But if you don’t do anything, you’re never going to know. So I think there’s this fear that holds us back, and it’s partly because we worry about what other people think, which is totally fair and true. But I think it’s partly that we don’t back ourselves.

And we need to back ourselves more. We need to believe that we can get through tough times and that we can pivot if we need to, and we can pick ourselves up again if we fail. We need to truly believe in ourselves and back yourself over anybody else. And I think that really helps with making that step to finding out what you want or who you are or fulfilling who you know you are, but perhaps you’re not living that way. 

[00:23:09] Jessy: I appreciate that so much. I can only imagine. And we hear this conversation fairly often in the group. Even we had an event even a couple nights ago, from when we’re recording this as a job fair. And we had over a hundred people. About 15 incredible companies, come on stage and just share. We were trying to humanize the job board.

And so each of the hiring companies came up on stage and shared about what you can’t, like glean from a job listing. Really, like, why do you work there? What do you really love about the company? Like, why should someone really wanna work with you?

And I bring that up because we had to start the event fairly late, to make sure that if somebody’s looking for a new role, they’re like completely off the clock and we’re counting for different time zones.

The event started at 7:00 PM Eastern and ran through about nine, and we had, breakout sessions and all this stuff, but as the evening went on, some people had to drop because they had kids and I felt something shift a little bit and, given the fact that influencer marketing and so many other industries are just like incredibly time intensive. You’re working round the clock, different time zones, like you feel like you’re working 24/7. Trying to balance a million things, plus having kids, plus all the obligations that you just have, sometimes the advice that you get from others, like it can feel like from a loving place, some of the people it is genuinely from a loving place.

So I guess my question is like, how do you sift through what to take in and what to leave in terms of the advice and the generosity that people are just throwing at you. 

[00:24:58] Sel: Yeah, totally. It is an absolute juggle and I think it’s so important to decide on your own, in your own space, what being a mother means to you. What do you think’s really important? Not what everyone else thinks not what the other mums are doing, but what matters to you based on your life and your experiences?

So for example, I know like I have a, like everyone, very busy life. I’m a single mother with three sons. I’ve come to New York to expand my businesses. And, it’s a lot. And I know based on my childhood, so I had a really difficult unsafe childhood and which wasn’t positive at all. 

And I look at my kids and I think, wow they’re so privileged and they probably need a bit of adversity. So that the world’s not so tough for them, when they get older. But to me, because I had an unsafe childhood and unhappy childhood, the fact that my boys are loved, fed, clothed, have a good life. They’re fine. They don’t need me to be baking cupcakes for their birthday at school.

Mums love to do that. I’m terrible at that. I’m not domestic at all. I’ve never done that. They know that if they really need something, I’ll go and buy something for them to take. There are certain things I just don’t do because in the scheme of my life, I have classified what’s really important and quality time is more important than quantity.

And certain things are just not worth my time as opposed to other things that I wanna do for them or do for our family. And I actually had someone ,come into the elevator with me when I was going to go taking my youngest, he’s nine to school, and it was his birthday.

And she said, oh, are you taking cupcakes? And I was like, to be honest, I had not even thought about it and I was like, oh gosh, no. Choose your battles. With, three sons and doing everything I’m doing. And the thing is that if my son, that was really important to him, obviously that would be important, but it didn’t matter to him.

And I think a lot of the times that moms are doing things because of what it shows to other moms and I set my rules a long time ago around what matters and obviously that changes as the boys are getting older. My eldest is about to turn 15 so, his needs of me are changing too.

So I just think it’s so important to spend time on your own with a journal and write down like, what matters to you? And I think how you were brought up will help with that. Whether you had a really great childhood, what was it? What was it that your parents did that really has made a difference to you, or what was missing that you now realize is really valuable?

And write your own rule book. It is your life. And once you know that you are doing things that are aligned to you and your values and your family, because nobody knows what’s best for your family other than you.

Then the noise and the comparison will fall away. You won’t be impacted by people saying, oh, you didn’t bake the cake, or, oh, you didn’t put on a big birthday party. It’ll just slide off you because you know that you’re working in alignment to what’s right for you and your family. So spend some time working that out. I would say. 

[00:28:35] Jessy: And so let’s say you have subscribed, there’s no plan B, like Sel Watts is preaching the gospel. I’m excited. I’m like, all right, I’m on board, I’m subscribed, and this is my journey. I’m so curious. Like you work with all these incredible business people, entrepreneurs, and so much of our group is either they’re entrepreneurs themselves or they’re like, I really wanna leave this company go, on my own, and I’m nervous, I’m scared like what is it, like all the things right .

 I’m curious, the ones that you’ve worked with, the successful women specifically, I’d love to touch on that. What are they doing that is noteworthy? 

[00:29:28] Sel: Yeah, so firstly, I think I’m a big believer in a lot of personal development. So coaches, mentors, reading, listening, constantly looking, being able to truly look at yourself in the mirror and go, what do I need to develop now? Not let me beat myself up, but what do I need to develop? Where am I sabotaging myself? Where am I pulling myself down that’s not gonna help me achieve my goals.

So personal development is critical, and that’s certainly a consistent amongst all the successful people that I work with, if they make a commitment, time and money into their personal development.

So I think that’s critical. And if you, don’t wanna do that, I would probably say it’s gonna be very hard to succeed, especially as an entrepreneur, particularly as an entrepreneur if you’re not prepared to do that because it’s such a rocky ride. And most days you don’t know what you’re doing. And so you’ve gotta be open to learning.

The other thing I would say is, if we are gonna talk about, say, let’s talk about entrepreneurship or even just changing a job or something like that, the resilience that’s required is the most important thing.

So if you don’t have resilience to be able to get back up after being knocked down, I just don’t think someone could succeed in this type of career because 95% of the time, it’s being knocked, not being knocked, whether it’s a client or customer, saying no. It’s every day business as usual is dealing with issues and 5% is the celebration popping, the champagne cork and being excited.

And so you’ve gotta sort of thrive on that and thrive on the challenge and be able to get joy or satisfaction from the adversity and overcoming the next challenge and being able to get back up. So I think that’s really important. 

The other thing that I would say about the women, who’ve been particularly successful. They don’t spend the time worrying about what others are thinking or what others are doing. And I think this is not just women, this is across the board.

But particularly I think women, we do tend to compare ourselves against others and we also tend to underestimate ourselves and overestimate others. And I think spending time on what other people are doing or what other people are saying is so draining of your energy.

And so being able to get really clear on your vision, mission and values, your purpose in life, who you are, knowing that, for me, I’m on a journey. If I talk to you in 10 years time on a podcast, I might say completely different things. Cause I would’ve learned different things and had different experiences.

So being able to, realize that every day we’re on a journey, or every day we are growing and evolving. But being able to cut, as I’ve said a few times now, actually cut out the noise and not worry about what anyone else is doing because to be honest, no one cares. No, no one. Nobody cares.

We think that they do. And we think that when people criticize us, it’s about us, but it’s not about us. It’s about them. And I know whenever I feel envious or bitchy, it’s my problem. It’s got nothing to do with the other person. And so the really successful people that I have worked with and I continue to work with, they just don’t put the energy into anything that doesn’t lead to whatever they’re trying to achieve.

And that is big for me. I’m always choose your battles. Is this worth my energy? Will this energy actually help me achieve what I’m ultimately trying to get to? And if not it has to be removed. 

[00:33:16] Jessy: I’d love to also talk a little bit about like the aspirations of growth. I think that is something that I hear and I’ve personally experienced in my business where, like what’s the final, what’s the end game like? What is the journey? And I don’t know, a lot of us are planners and we wanna plan, we wanna have it all sorted out or at least have a framework of sorts.

What would you tell, those listening who have perhaps had some success and they’re just wondering like, how do I know what my end game is? Are there things that I should be thinking about in order to plan the growth and the next steps subsequently of my company?

[00:33:59] Sel: So the way I look at my life is in phases. And I know that in different phases, different things will be important to me. So when you are say single or pre-children and all of those sorts of things, there’s certain things that drive you and there’s certain capabilities you have.

Then you go into a phase of, say, having babies and having little kids and what’s important to you changes again. That’s a big life-changing situation and your view of your life changes.

Next phase, whether it be you’ve have kids that are teenagers, whether it be that you have built a business and been in it for 10 years. Whether your relationships have changed, throughout your life, as different things happen, different things will matter to you. And so being aware to always be thinking about does this still matter to me? I know that I said five years ago when I started this, that I was gonna scale it and I wanted, 300 staff and I wanted this.

But actually now that I’m at this phase of my life, that’s not so important to me anymore. I’d actually like to be able to, spend more of my time doing philanthropic things so I’d be happy with a smaller business so I could spend time doing that, for example.

So constantly checking in and making sure that you are not pursuing a goal or a business plan that was set with good intentions, but is now being run by ego. And I don’t mean ego is in, if I don’t make it to 300 staff, I didn’t I failed. Or if I don’t get to become a big company, then I really won’t be considered successful or I said that I would and so I better do it. Whatever those things are, always check in with your ego at any one time because different stages of your life will mean that you want different things. So that’s one thing to think about.

I would also spend time, when you’re doing your business planning, thinking about, what do I really want? How do I really want to be living? Because I think that we do tend to make decisions, especially in the business world, and I see this all the time ,where people are trying to achieve or have certain goals that are really just about, what everyone else is saying they’re trying to do, or what everyone else is talking about. 

 We still go through a phase where everyone wants investment and that’s not necessarily the right path for everybody. And it doesn’t mean that if you’re not getting funded, that you don’t have a successful business. In fact, in my view, if you can boostrap a business and make it successful, then isn’t that more of an achievement? But it depends on the type of business you’re in too. 

So I think you’ve gotta think about what is it that you really want to be doing in your life. And for example. I used to say think that, I wanted lots and lots of staff, and I don’t like working with lots and lots of staff.

I’m a really good inspirational leader, but I’m a terrible manager and I don’t want a heap of people reporting to me because I can’t really give them what I know that they need. And I thought that I wanted that because I thought that was success until I realized that success is me being able to do what I’m really good at and what I really enjoy. And once I learned what that actually meant, I got rid of that plan.

So I think that, really delving into success is based on you being ultimately happy and enjoying what you’re doing. And so when you’re looking at your business, think about, what do you wanna be doing?

And actually, here’s an interesting situation. I was talking to this mentor that I talked about before. This was probably, I don’t know, eight years ago. And I was talking to him about scaling one of my businesses. And I said to him , I have to scale this business, I have to scale it.

And he said to me okay, let’s just look at what the job description is for you if you choose to scale this business as per how we’re talking about it. And he outlined what the job would be and he said, would you ever apply for that job?

And I says, no way. It’s all training people and writing processes and getting it, that’s how you scale with people in a consulting firm. And I was like, I would never apply for that job. And he said, you don’t actually wanna scale this business. You think you should, and you think that’s what success is, but you don’t want that job, so that’s not what you really want.

And it was a very eye-opening conversation because I had to adjust my ego. I had to adjust all of these things to go wow, like I was prepared to pursue a goal and a dream, that I would’ve hated doing every single day. That’s pretty scary. 

And I’m sure I wouldn’t have succeeded because how do you succeed when you’re doing things every day that you don’t like doing? So I don’t know, Jessy, I may have just babbled on a bit, but I’m hoping there’s something in there that might help people in relation to the question you just asked me. 

[00:39:00] Jessy: No, it’s like literally I’ve had the same exact revelation myself. So I definitely resonate with what you’re saying and here’s what resonated with me. It’s a lot of the ego stuff and it’s Iike hope that it’s okay to admit because I don’t know. I don’t actually don’t care if it’s okay to admit. Like I’m just admitting it. I’m somebody who I’m a very aspirational person. I wanna achieve a lot in my life. 

And if I step back and just really do some self-reflection that sometimes yeah, absolutely. Sometimes it is my ego coming through and like it is what it is. I don’t think it’s neither good nor bad, but to your point, it’s is that getting in the way of something?

And I happened to have had a very similar revelation, had, an agency with all these, like 12 people and we grew it and everybody wanted to grow. And think two things came to mind. One, I happen to be similar to you. I am a terrible manager. It’s certainly not something that I enjoy and I’m so much happier personally, either outsourcing it or having somebody else manage that piece of my business. Great. And if that’s the case, it’s gonna be really hard to scale a whole business with all these people.

But then of course that leads you to think Is that the goal? I’m like, why? Asking the operative question, why am I working so hard to achieve that? My story personally is it was somebody else’s goal and it was a really difficult decision to raise my hand and say, it’s not my goal that’s yours.

And I’m not gonna stand for something that I’m not for and I’m certainly not gonna put all of my energy into it and I don’t do anything that takes 10% of my energy. Like I only do things that take 200% of my energy and nothing less. So I love what you were saying. I happen to have had a similar experience and I think it’s okay.

You know what? I would love to see I would love to see more women admit things that you don’t hear all that often. I think that it’s a really powerful message to have us just be a little bit more honest, have us be a little bit more candid and I appreciate you saying my ego is getting in the way sometimes.

I think that most people can relate to that in some way, shape, or form. I’d love to hear from you since, one of the many things I appreciate about you so much, you’re such a straight shooter, very honest, candid. I’d love to hear like what other things have gotten in the way professionally, personally, like in your business. Cause I’d love to also hear like how you worked through those moments of feeling stuck. 

[00:42:03] Sel: Yeah. So I just wanna make one more point about the ego. We think of it as a really bad word. So we think, I don’t have an ego that’s a bad thing, but we all have an ego and we are very much driven by that.

And so firstly, let’s just own that, and then be able to ask ourselves the question, is it serving me or is it not serving me? And I think a lot of the times our ego plays a part where it doesn’t serve us. And just like the examples that you were giving Jessy, so don’t feel bad to say, gosh, my ego is driving me to do this right now.

I’m literally doing this because I think people will think I am successful. I’m whatever. We all have that in us, but we know that at the end of the day, it’s not a very authentic way to live for ourselves. And so to be able to check in with yourself and go, eh, yes, I’ve just realized I’ve gone down my ego path as opposed to what I really wanna be doing or what I’m really good at, et cetera.

So, these sort of words that we feel, we shouldn’t associate with ourselves. Like the amount of times I’ve had people say don’t you feel selfish? Chasing your dreams when you’ve got kids and whatever. And it’s like I’m a human being as like my own person as well as being a mother and a daughter and a friend and a boss and whatever.

And people look to us for inspiration and guidance and whatever. And so, is it selfish me choosing to be happy in my life or to try to push myself to achieve the things that I wanna achieve or really have a crack at life whilst I’m here? Is that really selfish? Or if I didn’t do that, would that be actually a bit stupid, really and putting no one benefits from you not pursuing or being your best self.

And I know I’m going a little bit of a track, but I just wanna mention something that, I get asked a lot about, which is around mother guilt. And I know that so many people are paralyzed with mother guilt. 

I just wanna say about that, if there is anyone listening that feels that they have this mother guilt is that you and your children don’t get anything, any value whatsoever from you feeling guilty, it adds nothing.

 It will more likely will take away from both you and your children. So there is no benefit, value, anything in feeling guilty. You make your choices and not all of them will be right. And you learn from them. And there’s lots of things I do as a mom and I go, oh my gosh, that was bad.

I apologize. I learn, I move on. There’s no room for guilt. Sorry Jessy, I went completely off, off track there, but I feel like because we’ve been talking about women, it’s important thing to mention.

[00:44:54] Jessy: I think what I’m hearing you say is it’s being conscious of what is driving your decisions is really important.

[00:45:03] Sel: Yes.

[00:45:03] Jessy: And not judging it either. That’s one thing that I’m hearing you say too, which I really appreciate. And I don’t know man who says our lives have to look anything like what we’ve even seen emulated for us. 

Here’s what resonates with me. So I have a step daughter and she’s six right now and she’s like at such an impressionable age. And when I think about, what I wanna instill in her and leave her with and inspire her with.

So much of it is like what I did not have.

[00:45:40] Sel: Yeah.

[00:45:41] Jessy: Like we all come from different places. You talked about that. Like you didn’t have a great upbringing. I didn’t either. And like it is what it is. But in my instance, like it does fuel me because I have a perfect example of what not to give. You have a perfect example of what not to share, what not to provide. 

And so many of the things that you’re saying like, I wanna be the one who inspires, because telling your kids, you can even equate this to telling your employees, like telling people what to do is, in my experience, like one of the least effective ways to get people to do things. 

If somebody told you what to do would you be like, all right, sure, let’s go do it. It’s this this idea of inspiration, this idea of leading by example I think is also really important. Yeah. 

[00:46:35] Sel: I agree with you. I think that, the way you live is going to have much more of an impact on those that matter to you than what you say to them. And that’s really how I’ve chosen to live because of what I want the boys to, what I wanna instill in them is not so much what I say to them, but more what I’m doing so that they can see what is available to them and they can see that, things are tough, and if you really want something, it’s really hard and you’re gonna have a lot of criticism. 

And they know everything, all the stuff that has happened and happens and you know that they’re watching and seeing how I respond to that. And I think that thinking about, what you do and there’s gonna be a heap of people that don’t get anything from my life and the things that I say because it doesn’t resonate. And then there’s gonna be people that I hope will decide to chase a dream and go against what they think society’s rules are cause that’s a lot of it. This is how society works and this is how we should live.

And really what my message to people is that you don’t have to live that way. You can live however you want, but it will be hard because people will tell you shouldn’t. And you’ll lose friends and you’ll lose family members. That’s all happened to me.

But if you truly want to be live your life, then you should do that. But it’s much easier to just do what everyone else is doing. And so I hope that, people will look at my journey and go, yeah, you know what? I can do that thing that I really want to do and just say no to what my parents are saying or what my husband is saying, or whatever.

[00:48:17] Jessy: Totally, and you know two things. One, I love that you’re certainly not doing it for everybody else. Like the core of it is that you’re just doing it for yourself and what you believe is right. If the byproduct of that is that people are inspired by it, then so be it. And that’s fantastic.

But I also appreciate about you that you are somebody who, sure you talk a lot about dreams. You talk about no plan B and only a plan A and all these things, but you’re also like a very practical person who is like giving people like advice. Do this, do that, think this. Like you’re very tactical person as well.

And so for anyone tuning in and they are wondering, what they could get in touch with you about in terms of like how you work with businesses. What are some of the ways in which you’ve historically helped businesses succeed? 

[00:49:13] Sel: Yeah. So in relation to helping businesses, my consulting firm focuses specifically on staff, so how to engage and increase performance. And we have a very commercial sort of approach in the sense of how do we make sure that we are building sustainable businesses so that we can employ people and we can provide the benefits we need to but ensuring people are actually contributing and how do we make the best outta people? So if you’re looking at how do I create a workplace that is effective and happy in all of those things, that’s what my company does. And that’s absolutely can help in, all of those areas.

In relation to individuals. So outside of my company, just because I’ve ended up doing a lot of coaching over the years and mentoring and predominantly work with people who are really wanting to make a big change in their life or achieve something that to them is big, is scary, and perhaps they don’t have a lot of support to do it. Perhaps they don’t have the resources to do it because pretty much everything I’ve done, I haven’t had the support or the resources and so everything I’ve done is really looked quite impossible at the beginning.

And then, the steps, and as you say, I’m very practical, I have this overarching sort of way I theme of my life, which is no Plan B and chase dreams, but what does that mean on a daily basis? And there are certain things that need to happen every day that enables me to live that life. And so for people who want to get that support to do something that they feel is I can’t do this, I can’t see how I can do this, then that really works. I tend to be able to help those people.

Just think about their life differently and let go of a lot of stuff. And as you said, I’m a straight shooter in the sense of saying, you don’t need to, why are you worrying about that? What does it matter? So I had someone the other day say to me, oh, you’re living my dream life. And I’m like the day-to-day is is pretty tough.

But she said, I really wanna move overseas and all these things. And I said why can’t you do that? And she had some blocks that I could easily see that she could get around, but for her that they were serious blocks. 

But one of the things she said to me, which I think was really interesting, because we can find all sorts of ways to sabotage ourselves. We will have no problem finding reasons why we can’t do something. That’s the easiest thing to do.

But she said to me, what if me going on this adventure to move overseas, what if I’m doing it for the wrong reasons? What if I’m like running away? And I said to us, what does it matter? What does it matter what the reason is? Because once you get there, the adventure will take over, it’s have its own meaning. It won’t be about why you left. It’ll be the fact that you had something that drove you to make the move. And once you got there, and so this is not just relocating, this could be changing jobs or leaving a relationship or whatever. It doesn’t necessarily matter what the driver was or whether you were running away or whatever, utilize whatever it is to get you off the starting block. And once you’re going, that will have its own positive meaning to it. 

So these are the sorts of things that I help people think just really differently about. How to look at their life. It’s not all oh, you can do this. And it’s all just about thinking positive.

It’s not, it’s just don’t worry about that. It just doesn’t matter. Who cares if you’re driven by your ego right now, if that’s gonna get you moving, don’t who cares if what people are gonna say. So yeah, that’s my approach for people who may wanna talk to me about, to make some big change.

[00:52:58] Jessy: That’s such fun work. So I’m one of the lucky people, but it’s such fun work to just have an outsider who is so incredibly equipped to give you that perspective, to be able to challenge you in all the right ways. Like it’s such a fulfilling experience.

 So we have a couple questions that have actually come in from our members and I’d love to be able to ask those questions now. So for anyone listening to the podcast, if you’re a member of Wiim, which you can check out more on our website, iamwiim.com/join.

We invite our members all the time to join into like the live recording so that they have the opportunity, in real time to ask questions of all of our awesome guests. I cannot emphasize enough how grateful I am, Sel, that you’re here today because you’ve just been such a huge inspiration to me and continue to be so and help me instrumentally in everything that I do in business. So our members have a few questions for you. So here’s a question that we just got in.

And I think this is great cuz you were talking about, that you help with the people side of people’s businesses. They asked a very interesting question, what is your advice, if any, for the process of letting somebody go? That’s a really great question. I’d love to hear from you.

[00:54:18] Sel: Yeah. So the first thing to think about is there’s two key things to think about. One is, no one has ever said, I wish I waited longer to let that person go. So take note of that, that the longer you leave it, it doesn’t get any better. It’s something you gotta do it. 

The other thing is that I would assume that you’re letting them go because they’re not performing or they’re not happy or they’re bad for the culture., It’s, something negative. If by not having this conversation, because ultimately we put it off because we feel uncomfortable. We feel like they’re gonna hate us, that we feel mean. If you’re not doing it, it’s because of your fears and therefore, not only are you not doing your job as a leader you are doing a disservice to the person, to your other employees and to yourself. 

So yeah, it’s really uncomfortable and it’s awful and no one wants to do it, but you know what? That’s the job and by not doing it, you are actually making it about you. And it’s not about you, it’s about them. 

So they are the two things that I would say to get your head right about it, to basically take the action because that’s the only thing that’s usually holding someone back. Once you know that you’re doing the right thing legally and all of those things, and you treat people, nicely and fairly it’s awful for someone to have to be let go. But you need to do it sooner rather than later.

[00:55:44] Jessy: I appreciate that a lot. We have another question that came in. This is awesome too. This is on the flip side of that, how do you find great new people to hire? And this is the interesting and operative part of the question, I think, and attract people to a smaller company. I’ve personally struggled with that. When you have, competitors out there with, big companies, all these benefits, things like that but perhaps maybe you are a smaller company. What advice would you give small businesses to attract great talent? 

[00:56:14] Sel: Yeah, so let’s just put aside the situation that we’re in the market at the moment where talent is so hard to find and big companies are paying exorbitant amounts like that is just really challenging time.

But in relation to specifically small business, so when I started my business 15 years ago and started growing up, I had nothing to offer. Every single person that came to work for me could have gone somewhere else and got better money. Probably felt like they had more security more clarity around their role, all of those things. So I didn’t have anything that I could really compete. 

But what I did do is I utilized what I did have, and that was a vision, a really clear vision of where I wanted to take the company, what I wanted to do, and how I wanted them to be a part of it. So I talk a lot about my vision, the values of the company and what we are going to achieve, because remember now too much more than when I was starting out, people want to be part of something bigger than themselves.

And so if you can explain and sell to them the experience they’re gonna have, that they’re going to be engaged in whatever your dream is, sell your dream, talk about your vision and your dream. You’ll be surprised by how much people are really looking for that.

And I’m sure if you’re a small business, you would have dreams and vision and inspiration around what you are wanting to do. So talk about that that is the key. And it’s worked for me consistently right through to still today

[00:57:53] Jessy: That’s so good. And especially as, our organization’s all about influencer marketers. We talk a lot about like storytelling. 

[00:58:00] Sel: Yes.

[00:58:00] Jessy: And things like that. And it’s like your personal why and your dream and it’s so authentic and it’s the reality and it’s what drives you. And so if that’s what you’ve got, go for it. But I think to your point, like it’s a pretty powerful thing to talk about as well. And I love that so much.

So our last question for today and this one just came in from one of our members. What advice would you give a business owner who isn’t so comfortable on social media? I think that’s a great question. Especially in the world of if you work in influencer marketing, you must put yourself out there. And as a business owner, perhaps you need to be this public facing figure. Any advice to someone who’s not so comfortable doing that? 

[00:58:41] Sel: Yeah I think with any area of life, you are going to be more successful when you play to your strengths. So I’m not a big believer in spending a lot of time developing weaknesses. I sort of think I’m weak in these areas. I’ll find people that are strong and we’ll compliment each other, I really need to just double down on my strengths. 

So I get that, it can feel like I have to be doing this thing. I have to be on social, I have to be having my own podcast or whatever. But ultimately, if you don’t like it and you’re not good at it, you won’t be consistent and consistency is ultimately the key in business. And really success in any area of life. 

It’s not even about how good you are or the effort, it’s really the consistency and the ability to stick with something. And if you don’t like it and you’re not good at it, and it makes you feel uncomfortable, I would be saying, what are you good at? And what do you enjoy doing? Or do are you good at developing and managing someone that could do that for you, but focus that you can grow your business without social media like you absolutely can double down on who you are and what your strength is. 

Like really think about it. Ask people that know you. Ask people that have mentored you or worked with you or for you and find out what they see as your key area of strength cause you might not be as aware of it as other people and work out a way to achieve whatever your business goal is doing that. 

That’s my view, you’ll be more successful doing what you’re good at and what you enjoy. 

[01:00:08] Jessy: And talk about like the pressures of other people. I can only imagine so many folks who are small business owners or just business owners in general who work in social media, just feel so much pressure.

They’re like I work in social media, of course I need to be on there in this public thing. I need to look like an influencer. But are you an influencer? No. I was like, if the answer’s no, so I, appreciate that answer so much.

So I am so grateful to have you join us today. Kristen in the audience just said gems. 

[01:00:44] Sel: Oh, that’s so cool. 

[01:00:45] Jessy: That you’re dropping. So I so appreciate our members who are of course, tuning in live, asking questions of all the guests that we bring on. And so good questions that came in today. Yeah really good questions.

What I am gonna do, because I want everyone listening to reach out to you, follow you on social, learn more about everything that you offer in the show notes. I’m gonna drop all of your information, so people can get in touch. But before we end today, is there anything else that you wanna leave our audience with? 

[01:01:22] Sel: Yes. I just wanna say that it is your, life regardless of your commitments to other people, it is your life and only you live it. You only have one as and you are so much more capable than what you realize.

You have such incredible potential. Back yourself and know that if things don’t work out, you will find a way to get through it. So just don’t stay still. Don’t stay still. Life’s too precious to do that. That’s it. 

[01:01:54] Jessy: Don’t stand still. Everyone. Sel such a pleasure. Thank you so much for tuning in everyone, and we will see you next week. Bye, everyone. 

If you enjoy this episode, we gotta have you back. Check out our website from more ways to get involved, including all the information about joining our collective. You can check out all the information at iamwiim.com. Leave us a review, a rating, but the most important thing that we can ask you to do is to share this podcast.

Thanks for listening. Tune in next week.

Sel Watts


Known to many simply as Sel, I am Sue-Ellen Watts.

I am a HR Professional, Business & People Leader, Speaker and seasoned entrepreneur. I started my career in HR over 20 years ago when I launched my first business wattsnext Group in 2007 with the vision to disrupt the HR industry and create great workplaces across the globe. wattsnext partners with Founders & CEOs of small to medium businesses and fast growth startups to create high performing and engaged teams and cultures. We are based in Australia and New York.

Having developed and led my own team of HR Professionals over the past 15 years, I know what makes a HR Professional successful, which inspired me to create The HR Linc, a membership community designed to elevate HR Professionals. We help HR Professionals step into a new career chapter: a chapter where HR is a leader, and influencer, a commercial thinker and has the confidence and knowledge to drive change for their companies. This is the membership for HR Professionals that CEO’s want to invest in. Our mission is to elevate HR to have a valued seat at the table.

My personal and professional development is a priority, and I am a member of several organizations including EO of which I sit on the New York chapter Board and am President Elect, SHRM, Collective 54, Business Chicks, HeyMama and Impact Theory University.

I have drawn on this extensive experience in these vibrant and valuable membership organizations to design a membership experience for our HR Linc members that significantly advances both the personal capability and organizational contribution of HR professionals.

In addition, I am the Co-Founder of zzoota, the global leader in leveraging the power of AI, machine vision, IoT hardware, cutting edge software and smart firmware. We digitize moving assets using Artificial Intelligence.

I am a proud mother of three sons who are learning a lot about resilience, gratitude, never settling and striving for a dream with everything they have!

You can learn more about my background, experience and many ventures, here www.sue-ellenwatts.com.

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