Kellie Lucas

Kellie Lucas is an Author, Consultant, Coach, and Thought Leader.

She tells us that, “I’m most passionate about supporting individuals, teams, businesses and society to create a unique design for their life. We are all unique beings with our own motivators and aspirations and yet we are most often taught and encouraged to follow one externally defined path through life with society expectations and measures of success – education, marriage, children, house, car, material possessions and to climb the career ladder.

This defined path actually doesn’t fit the majority of us and yet there is real pressure applied to comply which constrains us from doing what truly makes us happy, successful and fulfilled. If we were taught and encouraged from an early age to pursue the activities and milestones that we each crave, we would be elevated to our most authentic, creative and powerful selves, resulting in exponential impact in the world – for ourselves, our families, our teams and our workplace.

I also believe that this would result in a healthier and happier community, globally, reducing the level of selfishness, division and only looking after ourselves. This more positive energy in the world derived from people being more motivated and fulfilled would create space to come together more as communities, locally and globally, to work towards resolving many of the global social issues which exist in the world today – such as working towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Alongside my professional coaching and consulting in Customer Success (where the very foundations are in people success, relationships, humanity and defining tailored journeys for success), I explore these themes and related techniques in my podcast (Inspiring Future Leaders), my mentoring and coaching (elevating others and encouraging them to explore their own design for life) and in my writing (second book is in creation stage right now, working title: Exponential Impact!)”

What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your professional journey and what inspired you to choose this career.

I always felt like the odd one out, I didn’t belong in any one group although I was accepted by many and I always befriended and supported the more lonely kids at school – those who were ridiculed for being different. 

I was very lucky to have a very strong family unit at home, where I felt loved, supported and fuelled with the belief that I could be and do whatever I wanted in life. I am very lucky that I still have that support to this day.

My early heroes were Florence Nightingale and Mother Teresa – the carers, the supporters, the nurturers and those characteristics are my superpowers. I am good with people, I have very strong empathy and prominent EQ. And I am learning to give myself the permission to be myself, to be authentic (we do not need to comply to belong) and to continue to belong to many groups. 

My life has certainly been a meandering journey, I wouldn’t say that I ever specifically “chose” a career. Looking back, with hindsight, I understand why I made certain choices in the moment, what each experience has taught me and how all those learnings have evolved into how I see life now.

The overarching motivation and drive, for me, has always been the people. Whether I was working in Finance or IT consulting, it was the people around me – in my team, my company, my customers – who motivated and fulfilled me.

Discovering Customer Success felt like arriving in my spiritual professional home as its very foundations are based in relationships, tailored journeys and understanding what success looks like to each customer.

One size does not and has never fit all. We need to give ourselves and each other permission to design our own life and path to success and elevate each other to achieve those designs.

I know that I felt I had to follow the path that “they” had laid out for me and while I displayed small rebellions along the way, it is only in the last decade that I have felt more certain of my ability to create my own definition of success and what I want and need my life to look like.

I help others listen more closely to that inner voice so that they can live the life they truly desire, elevate their experience and create exponential impact for longer. And this needs to be done at the individual, team, company and society levels.

Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.

As I mentioned previously, my life (as with many, I should think), has been a meandering journey so I suspect many turning points and realisations along the way, with each of them leading me to where I am today and where I will head into the future.

A major event, which no one expected, was when I moved my home to Ghana, Africa, to become Executive Director of a grass-roots NGO, having no previous charity experience, beyond volunteer mentoring for secondary school-age girls! This is certainly the moment when my two worlds combined and led to my belief that we can and should be more human in business and in doing so the business world would more naturally be inclined to really get involved in addressing many of our global social issues.

I would propose that the most significant milestone is the crystallization of the current iteration of my life mission – to live authentically and powerfully as individuals which will filter into our workplaces and communities, creating an exponential impact for all.

I have seen and been part of too many toxic environments, perceptions and practices – at school, at work and at home. I complied with this for far too long (aside from the aforementioned rebellions!), believing the adage that this is just the way things are and we all have to make the best of a bad situation. I spent years “trying to fit in” and wearing a mask to behave as I was expected so that I would keep my job at the very least and hopefully be promoted up the corporate ladder which I kept being told was what I should want and desire. I spent years being proud when my fellow male co-workers (I have worked in mainly male-dominated industries for the majority of my working life) declared that I’m “one of the boys”. 

Well, I’m not! I’m me and my superpowers are my authenticity, my empathy and my balance of feminine and masculine energy.

And it’s draining pretending to be someone we are not. So, we should stop. And I’m working towards helping other people doing that and doing it for myself. Perhaps this is my turning point, after all 😉

Tell us about your goals, interests, and role models.

My goal is to leave this world a little better than I found it, in whatever way I can. I believe in the exponential impact of each person as they travel through life with the compounding of knowledge, skills, experience and motivation so I trust that my best is yet to come and I’m excited for what that might look like.

I am open to opportunities and the evolution of my thinking so I am open to the detail of the goals flexing and iterating over time, which is also exciting to me.

My interests are in providing space for others to achieve their dreams and aspirations and these people are also my role models – I am inspired regularly by my mentees, friends, colleagues and peers. We don’t need to be larger than life or internationally renowned to make an impact or inspire others – we just need to be an inspiration to someone and your contribution will ripple outward from there.

Outside of the mission, vision and work, I love living by the sea, hiking through the forest, along the coast and up mountains. I love cuddling with my dog-sister and dog-nieces/nephews. I love theatre, cinema, dance and curling up for hours with a good book. I love my family and friends who all bring me joy and sustenance when I need them.

Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?

Some of the key challenges I would include here are loneliness, vulnerability and that feeling of not being good enough or companionate as I call it.

Personally, I love being part of a team. I work best in collaboration and community. I support others partly because I know that’s what I crave and need. This is what I miss most about being in a larger organization.

However, all these challenges are based in constructs. Socially defined expectations of how and what we should be doing or feeling. These constructs are unhelpful for the majority of society – who defined them in the first place? Why do we feel we still have to comply still?

To combat the feeling of being in this all by myself, I redefined what a team meant to me. I have a team of partners, cheerleaders and trusted confidantes who I can brainstorm with, banter with, socialise with and commune with.

This action helps to address any challenge that surfaces as I always have someone to turn to and discuss whatever needs to be thought through. I just need to remember to call on my board when I need them. And they do the same with me – it’s a two way street. 

We are all human and we are all finding our way and need the support of others, whether we are stay at home parents, working full time for a company or making our own way in business. This belief that we have to have all the answers and do it all by ourselves is another construct. It takes time and it may even be a lifelong learning but this is a construct which needs deconstructing and reapplying in a much healthier, collaborative and human way.

What impact do you feel you have been able to create with your work so far and how would you want to grow in the next few years?

It took me a long time to realise that my natural skills inspired and impacted others and it still humbles me to think I’ve positively influenced people’s lives along the journey of my own.

I am also often given examples by people with whom I’ve worked where they have passed on tips, techniques and guidance based on their own learnings from conversations they’ve had with me. This is the ripple effect in active motion – which I love!

One of my coaches has coined the phrase “To Kellify” when he hears my voice in his head as he’s confronted by a situation which he needs to disarm.

I know, then, that there are plenty of people in the world who are working towards creating their own perception of their world rather than accepting pre-determined definitions, expectations and pressures which don’t work for them. This is validating and exciting to me.

I would like to continue to contribute to a wider spread of this movement of authentic living, bringing humanity back into business and creating a more connected world. I know there are many others out there working towards the same goal and together, I’m sure we will achieve it.

I would like to see children encouraged to maintain their childlike joy and curiosity beyond their childhood and throughout their life – rather than continuing to be persuaded to conform to a construct which suits almost nobody. 

Let’s celebrate each other’s uniqueness and find a place for each other to have a truly joyful, fulfilling and impactful life.

Let’s encourage businesses to be more human because business is personal and when we are allowed to be our authentic selves, delivering on our unique skills, qualities and missions, we create exponential impact for all. We will also foster more positive energy for a more joyful and connected world.

Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?

It is great to see that there are more women leaders in the world today and I would take the time here to state that anyone can be and is a leader at any stage of their life and experience. I have learned so much from people of all ages because we all have different experiences at different stages of our lives.

I’m Chair of Trustees for a charity called Move the World and we deliver our programming in Ghana, Africa. The main beneficiaries are junior school age children and they are all leaders with their peers, their families and their communities. And I have learned so much from them, our facilitators, our team and my fellow Trustees.

So, my thoughts here are that the glass ceiling is another construct, to an extent. If you truly want to be at the top of the business pyramid, then there should be no limitations. Go after what you want in your most authentic and powerful way. 

However, you can be at the top of your own pyramid in many other ways. I always recommend that individuals really look at what success looks like to them and for them. Not what someone else tells you should be the pinnacle of achievement. Quite often they look very different to one another.

The most important thing for me is that we stay true to ourselves and address the inconsistencies that get in the way as we find them. Women have often adopted a more masculine way of working as this has been seen to be the behaviour required to get promoted. However, we are more powerful when we are our authentic selves. And the world, especially business, needs the balance of masculine and feminine so be confident in bringing your empathy and your softer skills to the table. This will also contribute to bringing humanity into the workplace allowing a more impactful and successful workforce and business. 

The world needs confident authentic women leaders to unite and balance our professional and personal worlds because one intrinsically impacts the other and until we create that balance, the world and the people in it will continue to be at odds and struggle as they do today.

And the more we model this positive, human and authentic way of being in the workplace as well as at home, the more others will see the behaviour that they are being given the permission to model themselves – the ripple effect at work again!

With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?

Start with the basics – look at your values, define what success looks like to you and gather a team of supporters around you. Remember to regularly review your basics to ensure they are still true and working for you. Gather success stories and gratitude memories from every day, keep them somewhere visually accessible so you can draw on them anytime you need them. It is far too easy to get bogged down by the daily slog and perceived failings/lack of progress. These memories will remind you just how far you’ve already come and all the achievements you’ve attained which were not in the original plan!

Remember that you are human, some days are challenging and it’s ok to need and ask for support. No person is an island and we all need community around us to get us through the harder days and to share the highs too! No one person has all the experience, knowledge or answers, it is ok to get input from other people, ask for advice and need partners with whom to collaborate.

Everyone has their own unique set of skills, qualities, experiences, priorities, mission and progress. Your journey is your own and no one else’s. If you compare yourself to anyone else, you are only seeing part of their story and you will be comparing apples with shoes. 

Be gentle with yourself, acknowledge these challenges and emotions. And then work through those challenges and emotions, asking your partners for contributions as and where needed. Get yourself a coach or mentor so that you talk through these things regularly and they don’t bottle up.

Remember life is about exploration and experimentation, each result is a learning and experience. I don’t believe in failure, I believe in learning and evolution. Whenever your path takes you somewhere unexpected, look for the learning in that moment, the cumulative learnings that coalesce over time and the next evolution of your life design.