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Jo Gifford: “Advice then happens every day just by being in conversation with wonderful humans as part of daily life”

When you surround yourself with like-minded people and get really clear on who you are and what you do, it all becomes so much easier. Advice then happens every day just by being in conversation with wonderful humans as part of daily life. As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up […]

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When you surround yourself with like-minded people and get really clear on who you are and what you do, it all becomes so much easier. Advice then happens every day just by being in conversation with wonderful humans as part of daily life.


As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jo Gifford.

Jo is an author, podcaster, writer, project manager, creative thinker, wild swimmer, and prolific human connector. Her soul passion and purpose is to create connections and conversations with unboxed leaders that use their brilliance to create change. Human connection is where change happens. When we connect, create, and grow, momentum and magic take their seat.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

My background is in design, and design management. I went self-employed 15 years ago, and have been weaving together my love for content creation, writing, teaching, and mentoring ever since.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
In content marketing and digital strategy, we hear so much about following blueprints, swipe files, and content calendars that feel so disconnected from the humans behind the brands. My clients are all change-makers; people who are following their purpose to create change in the world. I mentor and encourage them to connect with their own energy and to create from that place, which has far more impact and resonance than following a templated document, or rigidly outputting posts, blogs, or videos with no alignment. When we can harness our own creative cycles, and create from a place of true alignment — to our values, energy, and connection to the people we are reaching out to-it’s a whole new paradigm.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Ohhh there are many! From the webinars with only one or two attendees to the live streams with no one watching — we all learn and evolve as we go. It always amazes me how many people have been following my journey for a long time, and we forget how much impact it’s possible to have just by sharing your personal story — the highs and the lows!

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I have worked with many people over the years, and currently have groups of people that I collaborate with and we co-mentor each other. It feels so much more creative and inspiring for me to create products, services and ideas with friends and colleagues whose work and hearts I feel drawn to, rather than placing a bigger value on someone showing us how it’s done. I am currently a part of a co-led, co-created mastermind which is something really special, and it’s exciting to see what we learn from this process.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Disrupting the status quo will also bring some resistance, and will be divisive.

For me, when a different way of doing things benefits the person creating it and their clients and audience, it’s a no-brainer.

As an example, I published my book with a wonderful, soul-aligned publisher using a model that’s disruptive to the traditional publishing industry model. It was hugely beneficial for me to do it that way — I found new clients, reached a wider audience, felt wholly supported in my work, and was able to produce my book without constraints.

A less positive example of industry disruption might be something like the rapid loss of our bookshop spaces due to the enormous rise of Amazon and online ordering in the early noughties. But in either case, adapting, evolving, and continuing to innovate is important.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Some of the best advice I have been given is to keep showing up as me, and that I truly make a difference in sharing my journey.

When you surround yourself with like-minded people and get really clear on who you are and what you do, it all becomes so much easier. Advice then happens every day just by being in conversation with wonderful humans as part of daily life.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

Ha! Well, I am always learning, exploring, and finding new challenges — so watch this space!

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

Until we make flexible working part of the mainstream, women still have to carry the load of childcare and emotional work. I am fortunate that this is not the case in my own life, but for so many women it still is. It’s incredible to think that workplaces are still so biased and unforthcoming to create flexible ways to work around families, mental health, physical health, and all sorts of other factors.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

I am always reading, listening, and learning, and make a point of finding new ways of thinking and different voices to learn from. Some old favorites that I always come back to are Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukov, Playing Big by Tara Mohr, The Big Leap by Gay Henderson, Pam Grout’s E2 and E3, Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer, and Daring Greatly by Brené Brown.

You are a person of great 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 am already part of the amazing BlueTits wild swimming movement, and Co-Admin the Cambridge group. It’s a movement that brings so much joy to so many people, so growing that is important to me.

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

“Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. It’s worse to spend your life on the outside looking in, wondering what if, than it is to try and dare greatly and risk the chance of failure.”

Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

How can our readers follow you online?

Find me on Instagram @thejogifford for all my links and info.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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