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Lorna Smith of ‘EsTeam Coaching’: “Progress over perfection”

Progress over perfection — don’t wait for everything to be faultless, to have all the answers or beat yourself up if something isn’t perfect. Before I launched, I wanted everything to be flawless. All that did was delay me and put added pressure on myself. Showing up and being visible is far more important than being perfect. […]

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Progress over perfection — don’t wait for everything to be faultless, to have all the answers or beat yourself up if something isn’t perfect. Before I launched, I wanted everything to be flawless. All that did was delay me and put added pressure on myself. Showing up and being visible is far more important than being perfect. Your clientele can’t buy from you if they don’t know you exist. In fact, in coaching being imperfect actually makes you far more relatable as there is a myth that coaches have it all together (I’ll let you into a secret…we don’t!).


The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.

As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lorna Smith.

Lorna Smith, Confidence & Mindset Coach, NLP Practitioner and Founder of EsTeam Coaching. After becoming disillusioned with her life and reaching burnout in her successful 15+ year HR career, Lorna realised that she had a higher purpose. Lorna is now inspired daily by the community of women she supports, seeing them transform and experience breakthroughs to fulfill their potential and tackle life head on.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I was born in Birmingham, UK and spent my early years in the Midlands before moving to France at the age of 11 where we lived for 5 years. Looking back, this was a wonderful opportunity and period of my life, although in truth, I didn’t always realize it at the time. It certainly helped me develop resilience, adaptability and appreciate diversity. Can I speak French? “Un petit peu seulement” as I attended the British School of Paris.

Returning to West Sussex (UK) at 16, I studied at the local College and University of Portsmouth where I completed a degree in Human Resource Management.

I grew up in a happy, warm and loving family with my parents, David and Sara and a younger brother, Andy and I have fond memories of my childhood.

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

“We are human beings, not human doings.”

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that life is short and for living, grabbing as many opportunities as we can with both hands.

I have lived a lot of my life doing what I thought I should be doing and always done the ‘sensible thing’ in both my personal and professional life. Whether that is saving for a rainy day or staying late in the office to meet a deadline etc.

This quote hits home for me that life is about experiences. When I’m old, I won’t regret not doing the housework but I will regret not taking those chances, not going on that holiday, having that adventure or spending time with my loved ones.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

“The Greatest Showman” had a big impact on me.

The film taught me that it’s okay to be you, to be different and to be authentic, unapologetically. Seeing the film for the first time, I had a very surreal and immediate reaction of feeling comfortable in my own skin. This was not something I was used to. Naturally, I still have days where I experience self-doubt or crisis of confidence, it would be unnatural not to, but I can work through this much more quickly nowadays.

It also resonates with me in that taking chances can lead to great things, even if there are challenges along the way. If you have a dream, motivation, determination and a support squad, you can achieve anything.

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the film but it still has a powerful effect on me and even just hearing one of the songs on the radio always make me feel empowered.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?

Professionally, I’ve had a successful 15+ year Human Resources career, with 13 years in the Health Service where I had worked my way up from entry level to Management. I chose to leave that role voluntarily in 2019 to embark on a career break and to explore new opportunities. I wanted and needed to make a change as I had found myself living my life on ‘auto pilot’. I was offered a job in the airline industry in summer 2019 and was due to start in April 2020. Understandably, this was placed on hold indefinitely as a result of the Pandemic.

What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?

When lock-down was introduced in the UK, I made a conscious effort to use it as an opportunity. Lockdown gave me the time and space to explore what I am passionate about and EsTeam Coaching, my life coaching business, was born. Over the last few months, I have furthered my knowledge and expertise by successfully completing a certificate in Breakthrough Coaching and an NLP certification. As a result of my own personal and professional experiences, it excites me to be able to help and support others in my new venture. It really feels like I am doing what I’m meant to be doing career wise and I am now so looking forward to growing a community and supporting as many women as I can.

Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?

The ‘journey’ began as a wellness and mindset kick for myself, to lose weight, to feel stronger physically, mentally and emotionally ready to tackle life after lockdown.

The “Aha moment” came one day in the spring. The sun was shining, and I was sat outside in the garden doing an online course to work on my own mindset. During the course I was learning about myself, having breakthroughs here there and everywhere and seeing myself transform.

I suddenly had a light bulb moment that this is what I feel passionate about and what I want to be; supporting other women to feel confident and have clarity to face life head on.

I realised that I wanted to be the person that I needed all those years ago to women in a similar situation now. It gave me, and still does give me, butterflies.

How are things going with this new initiative?

It’s going well thank you and I enjoy what I do. I’m starting to build momentum and am developing some fantastic connections. I’m so pleased that I took the leap and very hopeful for the future.

I think it’s important to be transparent with this question though as the world of social media can portray an ease to setting up a business or overnight success and that isn’t the case. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think it would be easy but it is taking more patience than I had anticipated. When you start out you’re everything, you’re the CEO, the marketing team, the accounts team, the PR team, the IT department etc and sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day so it can be difficult to ‘turn off’. That being said, I think the ‘hardships’ are an important part of the story because if you get up and keep going everyday despite the challenges, you know you’re where you’re meant to be. I’m motivated and determined and my ‘why’ and dream is definitely bigger than the adversities and fears.

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?

My parents, 100%. Technically not one person but they are a team. I had so many wonderful experiences and opportunities growing up and it’s only now, as an adult, that I recognize how hard they worked for us to be able to have them.

No matter what I am doing in my life, they have always been supportive and encouraging and they are my biggest cheerleaders. One particular example that stands out is when, at the age of 34, I sat them down and told them that I was going to quit my reliable, comfortably paid 9–5 job to embark on a career break despite having my own home, financial commitments etc. I was so nervous about telling them as I didn’t want to let them down. It took me weeks, if not months, to buck up the courage to do it and the worrying was all for nothing as they just hugged me (in the days before Covid!) and were fully supportive. Then a few months later, I sat them down again and told them of my change of career and despite coaching being something that they were unfamiliar with, they again were right behind me from day one. I am sure they had their concerns but they didn’t let it show.

I don’t know where I would be without them!

From a professional perspective, my Dad is a self-employed Business Consultant so his expertise and experience has and continues to be invaluable as I navigate my own business journey.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

Whether it be from my coaching course or from social media, this new direction has led to some lovely relationships and friendships that I was not expecting. I now have new friends and a support network across the country, and after talking to another female business entrepreneur online for a couple of weeks, it turned out that we live a 20-minute walk apart. We have since met up for a socially distanced walk and coffee at the beach and embarking on a work project together on female empowerment and equality. It’s a small world.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Progress over perfection — don’t wait for everything to be faultless, to have all the answers or beat yourself up if something isn’t perfect. Before I launched, I wanted everything to be flawless. All that did was delay me and put added pressure on myself. Showing up and being visible is far more important than being perfect. Your clientele can’t buy from you if they don’t know you exist. In fact, in coaching being imperfect actually makes you far more relatable as there is a myth that coaches have it all together (I’ll let you into a secret…we don’t!).
  2. Don’t try to do everything — “you need to have a Facebook page, a Facebook group, website, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok” and so on. If you try to do everything and be everywhere, you will spread yourself too thin, your message will become watered down and you’ll become overwhelmed. Less really is more. Concentrate your attention in a couple of areas and build gradually. When it comes to social media, being comfortable with the platforms you’re using will actually help your creativity, rather than it being too forced.
  3. Be yourself! Don’t imitate or compare yourself to others — In the beginning I watched all the webinars, read all the blogs, signed up to all the mailing lists. Don’t get me wrong, I learnt a lot however ultimately, I got brain overload as they contradicted one another and each one championed a different method. I was changing my approach left, right and centre and lost faith and touch with my intuition. I’ve learnt that what works for one person, won’t necessarily work for me, especially if it isn’t aligned to my values, personality and goal. Listen to your gut, you have all the answers within you.
  4. Self-care is not counter-productive — it is important and should be on the business ‘to-do list’. You are no good to yourself or your business if you are burnt out. In the early days, I was on the laptop 7 days a week as I thought it was what I had to do to be successful. When I wasn’t on the PC, all things business were spinning around in my mind and I soon became mentally and physically tired. I learnt to practice what I preach and have been far more productive since building in some down time so I can refresh. I have also found that, when I have stopped forcing the issue, I have found clarity and creativity during those quieter times.
  5. It’s not glamorous — you’re unlikely to have overnight success, you will need to show up for more than a couple of hours a day and you won’t be working from a balcony of a 5* resort within a week. Realistically, it will be working from the kitchen table, hustling, forgetting to eat and responding to emails at the weekend.

So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?

A few simple and practical steps I have adopted and actually talked about in one of my blogs recently are:

  • Limiting news intake — Of course it’s important to stay up to date with the latest information to keep ourselves and those around us safe however it can be stressful and scary. I now limit the amount of time I catch up on the news to about 30 minutes in the morning and evening. I am also mindful of how much time I spend scrolling social media etc on my phone for the same reason.
  • Making time to unwind — I make sure I do something everyday that I enjoy, whether that be watching an episode of my favourite show or putting on some music and dancing around the living room like nobody is watching.
  • Connect with others — I live on my own so this is really important for me. I talk to family and friends daily, whether that be a FaceTime or a few Whatsapp messages.
  • Look after my body — I try and eat a healthy diet of food I enjoy, get a good night’s sleep and incorporate exercise into my day (usually a walk in the morning to clear my head). Looking after my physical health gives me more energy and helps me to think more clearly.
  • Feel the feels — I allow my thoughts and feelings to come (and go) in their own time. I learnt the hard way that suppressing them is exhausting. It’s normal to feel sad, anxious, angry etc especially under the current global circumstances so I tell myself it’s ok to feel what I’m feeling and show myself care and compassion.

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?

A movement where people know it’s okay to be themselves, truly and authentically. People spend far too many years thinking they need to be something or someone that they are not. I was there too, behind a mask, trying to please others. It all makes me feel so sad.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

Jay Shetty. I find his life story fascinating. His success and mission is admirable and he is still so down to earth and humble.

How can our readers follow you online?

Website: www.sites.google.com/view/esteamcoaching

Instagram:@esteam_Coaching

Facebook Page:@EsTeamCoaching

Facebook Group:@EsteamCoaching

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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