Community//

“Stop Apologizing”, With Douglas Brown and Taylor Drake of ‘Bluestocking Society’

Stop Apologizing It is so easy when you are starting out to think that you are wasting someone’s time or taking up space you don’t deserve. How many times have we said, “I’m sorry, I just have a quick question.” Here’s the thing, you deserve to ask your question, and you deserve to make your […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Stop Apologizing

It is so easy when you are starting out to think that you are wasting someone’s time or taking up space you don’t deserve. How many times have we said, “I’m sorry, I just have a quick question.” Here’s the thing, you deserve to ask your question, and you deserve to make your mark on the world. When we apologize, we undermine ourselves needlessly. I always say, there are plenty of people who will doubt you, don’t add yourself to the list! When I was just starting, I was giving a presentation on a marketing plan for a division at a company where I worked. It was a basic marketing presentation, nothing earth shattering but it was important and I knew the content inside and out. Another division head ended up joining the call and continually asked questions, jumping around and throwing me off my game. I was flustered to say the least! I kept apologizing for not having information that he wanted off the top of my head and for the fact that the slides were not in an order that would make his question moot. I apologized for stumbling and losing my place. I’m surprised I didn’t apologize for breathing by the end of it. I stumbled (and that is being kind to myself) through the presentation and couldn’t get out of that room fast enough. But something good came out of this awkward presentation. One of the female executives ended up coming to my desk, and giving me one of the most important pieces of advice I had ever heard. She said, ‘you are the presenting expert and this was your time. Don’t apologize to someone for taking away what is yours.’ To me, this means standing in my power and being confident enough to know that I deserve to be there and I have something to offer. I let this person take away my time and I was apologizing for it!


As a part of my series called “Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started My Consulting Business ”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Taylor Drake, CEO of Bluestocking Society, a career management firm focusing on success strategy planning, personal branding, crisis mitigation and reputation management. She focuses on breaking down the seemingly unsolvable into bitesize and tangible action plans to help people find purpose on their terms by helping each client find their F*ck It Moment.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thank you for having me! I’ve always known I was meant to help others in some way. As cheesy as that sounds, I pride myself in uncovering skills and unique traits in people that they may not realize in themselves. I enjoy helping them not only discover those unique, hidden gems but also translate them into purposeful action to better their own lives. I spent over a decade in corporate roles learning the ropes, climbing the ranks like I thought I was suppose to, but then I realized that I wasn’t doing what was fulfilling to me. My own F*ck It Moment happened a couple of years ago when I was watching a close friend struggle with the corporate culture at their job. I hated seeing someone I cared about be in a situation that was simply not good for them in any way, shape, or form. They did not know how to navigate a situation and job that wasn’t healthy for them. I knew I could help and that is the moment I firmly planted my feet on this path and created Bluestocking Society. I worked with them on their own success plan and thus created the methodology known as the F*ck It Moment. My purpose is to help other people be successful in what matters to them! By realizing this, I figured out my path, stuck with it and forged ahead and am now defining my success and what that means to me.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?

The biggest thing of course would be the pandemic of 2020! The pandemic not only shifted how people were operating in corporate America, but it changed corporate America and business all together. It led to a giant pivot not only for Bluestocking Society as a company, but the way we operate day to day. Our clientele shifted from needing growth strategy plans to succeed or advance within their current role to more of an entrepreneurial business plan. Many used this unprecedented time to strike out on their own and thus needed overall business strategy creation plans and coaching to find their purpose in the new normal. I was fortunate to be able to help them break down this scary time with bitesize action plans. The most interesting story from this time actually has to do with the way we officially coined the F*ck It Moment. It came about because I was trying to get a client to really get to the bottom of what they would do if money was no object, if fear of failure was a laughable thought, etc. and they just weren’t connecting. They were telling me the things they thought I wanted to hear; about standard jobs that didn’t line up with their core beliefs and values. Finally I said, “what if you could just say f*ck it, and do whatever you wanted to do everyday? What is the one thing that would make you scream from the rooftops with pride and happiness?” This conversation then turned into the F*ck It Moment. The moment where you say f*ck it to your excuses, the BS holding you back, and go all in on yourself and your dreams.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

This would be a long list! I have been fortunate in my life to surround myself with a group of inspiring people who do not know the word jealousy. I have a tight group of both professional and personal cohorts that believe in lifting each other up — success is not a pie; there is enough for all of us! Being a woman in corporate America, and then going on to start my own business, has shown me the vital need for people to stick together and lift each other up; women especially. Honestly, there are some pretty strong haters and naysayers that have also pushed me to be the person I am today. Not everyone is going to be a cheerleader, but sometimes the negative can be used for the greatest inspiration.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Hmmm my favorite quote…I would have to go with Rose Tremain’s “Life isn’t a dress rehearsal.” I think that people are always waiting until something is perfect before they make a change. We all say something like, ‘I’ll go for that job after I lose weight so I feel better about meeting new co-workers, or I’ll start my business when my kids are older.’ We live our lives like we have all the time in the world; but we don’t. We only have a finite amount of time and I love the reminder to use that time wisely. Professionally or personally, give it your all every time. You never know when it will be the last time you do something, so make it count!

Ok super. Thank you for all that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. We’d love to learn a bit about your company. What is the pain point that your company is helping to address?

Bluestocking Society is focused on helping people find their purpose so they can live their life to the fullest. The main pain point we address is that so many people don’t have the resources or the system to find out what they are meant to do; what their purpose is. It is important to remember that the purpose is on their terms. I don’t define their success; they do. We break down the seemingly unsolvable into bitesize and tangible action plans to help people get to where there want to be. Our methodology is focused on finding each client’s F*ck It Moment; the moment where you go all in and really double down on your goals. Reaching this moment opens up a whole new layer of dedication and determination and gets people to cement their focus and firmly plant them on the path to success.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Raw honesty has really been a standout characteristic of Bluestocking Society. Sometimes, it feels like people tip toe around the real issues — especially when there is a financial gain to be had. I think by staying true to being open and honest, it creates a productive relationship quickly. I firmly believe that people are capable of achieving any goal; but we have to be realistic about how much effort and sacrifice we are going to put into reaching that benchmark. We often stand in our own way and once we get over the disappointment and frustration of that realization, only then can we really move forward. I always will think of one of my first clients. He was a procrastinator to the tenth degree! We would work out a plan, get it down into nibble size action items (bitesize was too overwhelming for him), and he would come in at the next check in with more excuses. After a couple of meetings that went like this, I finally asked him point blank, “Why are you paying me but doing nothing yourself? I can’t be more involved in changing your life than you are.” After discussing it and seeing how he felt, turns out, he was petrified of getting started because that would open him up to the real possibility of failing. He figured if you don’t start, you don’t fail. This client reminded that it is important to look at the emotional aspect of change as well as the mechanics of it. We had an honest and real conversation that day and moved past his fear one, bitesize success at a time.

When you first started the business, what drove you, what was your primary motivation?

My primary motivation for starting Bluestocking Society was to make the path forward easier on those coming up after me. As I worked my way up the corporate ladder, starting my career in England before moving back to the states in 2012, I realized how little resources there are that focus on the holistic, emotional toll of climbing up the corporate ladder. We always see books on building relationships, how to act more professional, etc., but we don’t have a lot of resources on how hard it is emotionally to feel as though you do not fit in to a certain corporate culture, and the amount that you might have to change to get where you think you should be. While it is important to grow and adapt to situations, it is as equally important to live out our purpose. I realized that I was forcing myself to fit into a world that did not meet most of my needs, and did not allow me the chance to help others. Once I realized what motivated me, said f*ck it and went all in on that purpose, the transformation truly took place. I was happy, efficient and felt useful and was excited to use that motivation to help others find their place in the business landscape in an authentic way for them.

What drives you now? Is it the same? Did it change? Can you explain what you mean?

The desire to help others find purpose on their terms will always be my constant driver. I think the approach to execution of this drive is always changing because each client and situation is different! What works for one person may not work for another — we all have different dreams and different hurdles. Overall though, the drive remains the same — I want people to succeed in their lives in a way that works for them. I want to help get them their sooner rather than later because who wants to waste one moment of life being miserable for a paycheck?

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am but I believe in keeping things close to the chest until it’s ready for other’s to see! I never want to release something before it is ready because it can do more harm than good for people looking to make a change outside their comfort zone.

Everything I am creating right now is to bring more tools to anyone looking to make improvements in their career and find their purpose. That can be making the best of a situation at work, finding a new job or even branching out on their own. 2020 taught us that nothing is guaranteed, so why make it harder on ourselves? I want to instill in everyone that they have the ability to succeed and create their own futures. This does not erase or ignore hurdles created at no fault of their own, however, I know from my own life that having someone believe in you and helping you create your life, can go a long way in having you believe in yourself and seeing positive steps along the way. Bluestocking Society is creating tools for people who want to work hard and to make a difference. Make sure to follow us at @bluestockingsociety on Instagram and sign up for our mailing list at www.bluestockingsociety.co to get first access to everything we offer.

Does your company have a sales team? If yes, do you have any advice about how companies can create very high performing sales teams?

We do not due the 1:1 of the business at the moment. We rely on digital marketing as our sales team.

In your specific industry what methods have you found to be most effective in order to find and attract the right customers? Can you share any stories or examples?

Conversational marketing has proven to be the most effective method to attract the right customers. Since career coaching is such a personal experience, it’s really about getting out there and sharing knowledge and support. This can be from answering someone’s question online or simply to give a bit of encouragement. Sharing useful information and helpful resources is also very important in this industry.

Based on your experience, can you share a few strategies to give your customers the best possible user experience and customer service?

Be honest! It’s so easy for people to get wrapped up in saying what we think other people want to hear but when we do that, we don’t give ourselves the landscape to grow. We hinder ourselves to make others more comfortable. Yes, we should be aware of other people’s boundaries and operate in a way that is respective of our differences, but we shouldn’t cage ourselves because other people aren’t ready to watch us flourish. That is the best strategy to get the most out of coaching amongst other things.

Thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started My Consulting Business”. Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Trust Your Gut!

Starting out is terrifying! I know that I made decisions because of what the ‘experts’ told me to do which did not end up moving my business forward. I tried to do too much since I thought that is what I was supposed to do. You hear people talk about how much content they have created, and all the different avenues to success, but what they don’t talk about is how many wrong turns they made listening to other people. Trust your gut — you know you and your strengths. Listen to yourself and at least you’ll know you’re making decisions you believe in. I know that I spent so much time focusing on avenues outside of my niche because other people told me that is what I had to do. I know my niche, I know how to attract the clients I can help the best. Being confident in that has been a game changer.

2. Stop Apologizing

It is so easy when you are starting out to think that you are wasting someone’s time or taking up space you don’t deserve. How many times have we said, “I’m sorry, I just have a quick question.” Here’s the thing, you deserve to ask your question, and you deserve to make your mark on the world. When we apologize, we undermine ourselves needlessly. I always say, there are plenty of people who will doubt you, don’t add yourself to the list! When I was just starting, I was giving a presentation on a marketing plan for a division at a company where I worked. It was a basic marketing presentation, nothing earth shattering but it was important and I knew the content inside and out. Another division head ended up joining the call and continually asked questions, jumping around and throwing me off my game. I was flustered to say the least! I kept apologizing for not having information that he wanted off the top of my head and for the fact that the slides were not in an order that would make his question moot. I apologized for stumbling and losing my place. I’m surprised I didn’t apologize for breathing by the end of it. I stumbled (and that is being kind to myself) through the presentation and couldn’t get out of that room fast enough. But something good came out of this awkward presentation. One of the female executives ended up coming to my desk, and giving me one of the most important pieces of advice I had ever heard. She said, ‘you are the presenting expert and this was your time. Don’t apologize to someone for taking away what is yours.’ To me, this means standing in my power and being confident enough to know that I deserve to be there and I have something to offer. I let this person take away my time and I was apologizing for it!

3. Learn From Your Mistakes

Mistakes happen to everyone — from Oprah to your first grade teacher, everyone has messed up. The mistake itself doesn’t matter, what matters is taking ownership and learning from them. Think of it this way, if you did everything right, how would you grow and get to the next level? I remember one time a colleague tried to send me an email about her celebrity crush (Ryan Reynolds), with a photo attachment, and accidentally sent it to a client! As soon as she realized it, my colleague owned up to her mistake. She sent a quick, polite email, apologizing for the mix up and assured the client it would not happen again. Luckily, the client agreed that Ryan Reynolds was a worthy celebrity crush and it turned into a bonding moment between the two of them. However, from that day forward, that colleague always triple checked her email attachments because she never wanted to feel that type of embarrassment again!

4. You Can’t Do It All

We are always told how if you work really really really hard, you can have it all. I’m honestly not sure what “all” means, but for women, it seems to be the expectation of a fantastic mom, wife, C-Suite level boss while never missing a bake sale or a client call. This is an unreasonable standard and impossible to meet! We all, men, women and non-binary, spend our time juggling a ton of different things. From a full social life, to a busy work schedule, to elderly family or kids, everyone is juggling to get through the day. One of my favorite maxims is to know which balls you are juggling are plastic, and which ones are glass. The idea behind this is that things are going to fall not matter how you juggle. That’s life. Sometimes you’ll forget your lunch and be five minutes late to a conference call and on other days you’ll make everything work and knock that presentation out of the park. By knowing which balls are glass and which ones are plastic, it is easier to know your priorities. When you know your priorities, you’ll be able to better manage everything life throws at you because you know some stuff will have to continue to fly right by and land on someone else plate. You can’t do everything, but you can do anything.

5. It’s Hard and That’s Ok

Sometimeswe judge our success by how well we see others doing. I know that it was always difficult for me to say out loud that building a business was hard work. From the time commitment, the failures, the effort it takes to build your lists and the constant fear of letting your clients down; not to mention feeling like you are missing out in your personal life and spending less time with those around you. But you know what? Instead of trying to do it all and believing it should be easier, let’s try to normalize saying, ‘this is hard!’. Starting a business is hard. Running a business is hard. It is for everyone — we just don’t talk about it enough. When I was starting out, I believed that I was fortunate to have found my purpose and that I was lucky to be in a spot to start my own business. I did not dare complain because in a way that seemed like a pity me move, when I know others were viewing me as fortunate. However, I finally hit a wall when I was wondering what the point of starting a business was when I was just as unhappy as I was before. I loved helping people, but I couldn’t do that when I was running on empty myself. I joined a mastermind group and that opened my eyes to a whole new world of entrepreneurship. In this group, we all talked about our struggles and the issues we were facing. Turns out, I wasn’t alone! The best part was that we also talked about solutions. What had worked for others and I shared what worked for me. It was eye-opening and anxiety reducing. We all have heard that it takes a village to raise a child; but it also takes a village to run a business. Don’t be afraid to say this is hard, you’d be surprised by how many people feel the same way.

Wonderful. We are nearly done. Here are the final “meaty” questions of our discussion. You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would love to see more people help each other — plain and simple. Whether it’s looking at a community app and seeing how you can help by simply answering someone’s question, or donating canned food to the local food bank, there are so many easy ways to make a difference. The pandemic has shown just how much we have to rely on each other — from public safety to health and wellness — and a lot of people have gone above and beyond in making a horrible time a little easier for others. It would be nice to see people thinking of small ways to help their fellow humans everyday. A general helping others movement is what I would like to inspire!

We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Great question! There are so many people I would love to have a meal with. Heck, even a quick coffee would be life changing! This is hard. I would have to say Kris Jenner. I know she can be polarizing but, her business acumen is truly remarkable. She has turned a less than ideal situation into multiple careers; and taken every bomb thrown at her, and transformed it into a venture. Kris manages to balance work and personal, but has never shied away from showing how difficult it all is. She shows the real side of success and the sacrifices that go along with it. Kris knew what she wanted for her family, and has let nothing stop her from creating a successful life that works for her and her family. I would love to sit with her and learn more about her behind the scenes — what balls for her are glass, and which ones are plastic. How did she work around objections and convince investors, audiences and customers to take a chance with them? So many questions!

Thank you so much for this. This was very inspirational, and we wish you only continued success!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Courtesy of Korelidou Mila / Shutterstock
Wisdom//

Stop Over Apologizing

by Tiffany Dyba
WAYHOME studio / Shutterstock
Wisdom//

Stop Over Apologizing

by Tiffany Dyba
To change ourselves we need to change our perspective
Community//

How To stop Apolgizing For Everything

by Patricia Love
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.