Happy Valentines Day - My Relationship With Bullies & Entrepreneurship.

This is a very raw and real conversation and self reflection - I really hope this helps even just one person. I explore the connection with experiencing bullying at a young age and the journey to becoming a business owner and entrepreneur. I also talk a bit about my upbringing, my parents, my boyfriend and how surfing saved my life and how this led to where I am today.
My Instagram for Murphy photos to make you smile - @krissieclaire


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Happy Valentines Day, Rich x

Krissie Leyland  0:01 (it's all me chatting to myself)

Hello. So this is Krissie here. And this is a little bit different to what we are normally talking about on this podcast.

I've just been thinking, like, for a while now, why did I end up as an entrepreneur? And why did I want to start a business?

So I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur since I sold ice creams from the tub in our freezer to walkers who used to walk past our farmhouse. Because there was a lovely bit of countryside where I used to live in the middle of nowhere, as I was growing up, I had two sheep. One was called lucky and the other was called very lucky because we did not decide to eat it.

Anyway, so I was probably about six, when I had my first business, and selling ice creams.

My parents were very encouraging of me and would buy some to make me feel better. Mum tried to tell me about the fact you have to minus expenses to work out profits, but I ignored her. And actually, it was not my own money. But anyway, the thought was there. And I really enjoyed I remember choosing the right colours, for my for sale sign and in my best bubble writing and whatnot. And anyway, so I had a really nice upbringing in the countryside, field surrounded by fields and trees and deer and all kinds of lovely things. 

So I guess this is just a bit of a, I don't know, like a self reflection episode for me. But also, I'm hoping that this could help even just one person who's listening. So it's quite interesting, really, when I think back, and like I said, I had a really good upbringing, but I have had some struggles.

I was bullied in two different high schools. Because basically, I had a really good friend friendship unit in primary school, and then decided not to go to the same high school as all my friends. So anyway, thing is, I was severely bullied. And when you're in that kind of situation for a long time, you know, you've been called ugly, freckled face, as they used to call me.

You tend to feel quite worthless, and I lost every inch of my self confidence and self esteem. So I went from a happy, funny outgoing kid to someone who would react to every or everyone with a bit of defence because I just thought that everyone was out to get me so and, and probably including my parents, which I might feel quite awful for now. 

But anyway, these kids in school would make me feel nervous to even walk or talk in front of anyone else. Because I was afraid, people would start picking things out about me and using it against me so but looking back, I was a beautiful kid, I was not ugly, I was fit. And I loved to run, play netball and everything like that. But I just went into a bit of a shell afraid to show my true personality and my true self. So it's quite funny that I'm recording this now as I'm 31 years old.

And I just thought, sod it. I'm going to tell people my story. And if you can relate, then that's great. Please tell me.

So I can remember not wanting to get out of the car to go to school, and my mum would say ignore them. But it was so bad that I obviously couldn't. However, college and university was better. I made some wonderful friends through my new found love of surfing, which I'll talk about a bit later on in this episode. And my God, my life is so good now. I have a wonderful boyfriend who is just my rock. I have a Portuguese water dog. And he is beautiful called Murphy and you'll probably see lots of pictures of him on my Instagram if you check it out.

He makes everybody smile. So do that. Um, so the reason I'm telling you all of this is, I don't know I've never really been able to hold down a proper job because I didn't cope very well with having a manager telling me what to do.

I would kind of get defensive even with you know, it's coming from the bullies and making me feel like shit, and I would just think that, you know, my manager, if he would criticise my work, they would then make me feel a bit worthless. And that kind of brought back feelings from being in school. 

Anyway, it just didn't sit right with me. So I needed creative freedom and individuality. And I'm the type of person who wants to work in my own time, at the time of day that works for me. And when I can have my deep focus time and create great ideas, most of the time, I'm in the shower. And I can't write it down. haha.

I think creative people like people listening, you probably get this, like, you need to be able to work at your own time, when you feel like working on something in particular. 

So you know, and some people like working in the middle of the night, whereas I'm like, I'll wake up at 5.30 in the morning and think, oh, crap, I need to get working on that right now, before I forget, or something. So yeah, 9-5 didn't really work for me. And I'm not sure if that stems from like, I think it's a mix of wanting to create ideas and see them flourish from you know, even seeing an opportunity like walkers passing by and I thought, right, I'm going to use this audience and sell them some ice cream. 

So yeah, I don't know, I think it's a mix of things, and also not wanting to work for somebody else and have them kind of control me, I guess. And because I just feel stuck, and they can't do what I want. 

So anyway, I still suffer from huge imposter syndrome. I think everybody does. I'm not sure if I'm more affected by it because of the way I have been made to feel. But I guess I'm trying to say, you know, if you feel the same, and you feel like, you've got this brilliant idea, and you want to tell everybody but you think, you know, oh, who am I to have this idea and roll with it and tell people like this is what I think I'm here to say if not you, who? If not now, when? So I don't think imposter syndrome will ever go away. But I guess I'm now comfortable with being uncomfortable. Because if I don't do it, who will? Especially when it is something for good. And if you have something burning away in your stomach, and you're like, I really want to do this.

But you're scared of what other people might think. I say do it anyway. Just like go with it. Go with the fear. Do it anyway. Because you know, if you fail, you fail if you don't, what what could happen, like, what if you don't fail, amazing things could happen. That's what. 

And if you have the right audience, you can iterate and tweak your offering until you don't fail. 

The outdoors and surfing saved me and gave me back my self confidence. Surfing grounded me and made me realise that life is more than work. Life is about being outside and like just embracing the elements and appreciating life for what it is. You don't want to be stuck in an office nine to five doing what other people tell you to do, like give yourself a break. 

And I even did my dissertation on surfing as a therapy for disadvantaged children. I tried to set up a business which would provide more access to outdoor activities for children suffering from low self esteem just like I was, it was called Liberty active. 

So this business failed for a few reasons. But at the end of the day, I'm still on a mission to make sure people feel empowered. I want to protect our oceans, our environment and the people and animals within it. Ecommerce, Shopify in particular has given me access to a bigger world of entrepreneurship. Maybe one day I'll sell ice cream again. But for now, I want to give the power of entrepreneurship to others. And I'd like to help them to do it in the most sustainable and ethical way possible. 

Because I want to give back to the thing that saved me. And that's the environment. surfing, being outdoors and yeah, freedom. 

So I guess my question to you is, what do you want to do? If you could do anything in the world? What would it be and what's stopping you? Because if it's fear, embrace the fear and do it anyway.

And also I just to say, like, if you're thinking, Oh, but what if such and such thinks I'm silly for doing this or, you know what if I fail, just do it, just do it anyway. Because you might be the person who helps another person to transform their life. 

And love yourself enough to set boundaries. I think the best thing about running your own business is that you get to choose to set your boundaries. And because your time and energy are so precious. You get to choose how you use that time. And you should teach people how you like to be treated, and how you should be treated.

You decide what you will and won't accept. So back in school, when all the bullies were out there, and they were saying stuff to me, I just let them do it. But I don't accept that anymore. And I will not accept that if I see people doing it to others. And one thing I love about running my own business is that by working with others, so contractors, freelancers, I love the fact that I can give them freedom as well. And I, you know, I always say set your boundaries, don't overload yourself. Learn how to say no. And, you know, don't accept it. Don't accept, if people treat you in a way that you don't want to be treated. You decide how people treat you by deciding what you will or won't accept.

Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. And you teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won't accept.

I actually thank those bullies now because actually, if you're listening, thank you. I wouldn't be who I am if it wasn't for you. I'm empathetic, caring, Funny now again, my personalities come back.

And I'm actually incredibly resilient. Hit me with it. It won't work anymore. So thank you for making me who I am today. 

Now, I want to help others, in particular, those who are helping to protect the environment, those who are helping communities with social impact. And yeah, maybe I wouldn't have wanted to do these things if it wasn't for you. So thank you. Thank you very much. Goodbye. 

Oh, and I just want to add don't want the bullies to take all the credit here. Do I? Thank you to all my beautiful, lovely, loyal, caring trusting friends and my absolutely, Oh God, I don't even have words. There's no word that couldn't explain how much I love Rich, my wonderful partner. Beautiful man. He's away at the moment so I'm getting emotional now.

And my parents, thank you love you. love you, love you, love you longtime. I'm gonna go now this is weird. Thanks if you've made it this far, and listened.

I hope it rounded off all right, because I feel like I was just babbling on but hopefully there's a message in this somewhere and somebody will take take note from it. Yeah.

Bye and Happy Valentine's Day rich. I love you.