“Live Fully!” - Interview with Jenny Robinson

Jenny Robinson Personal Brand Photography & Publicity Images - Carola Moon Portraits.jpg

The wonderful Jenny Robinson stepped in front of my lens at the end of February. Like many of my clients, she didn’t come because she ‘wanted’ publicity images taken. Her publisher had asked her for a media image to use in her new book Coaching On-the-Go, which she co-authored with Phil Renshaw. So, she ‘needed’ a headshot.

Her brief was clear: an image of herself that she (A) LIKED and that (B) matched Phil’s.

So we created a series of images in front of a white background (to match Phil’s headshot), and that would create a ‘pattern interrupt’: Jenny’s pink blazer worked perfectly to help her stand out, and for any reader/browser/scroller to stop and take notice of Jenny. And with her open smile this photo was an easy choice for her.

After our session, Jenny agreed to a ‘blog interview’ to inspire you with her story & insights. Read on about her mission and how she juggles 8 endeavours in her life successfully.

Let’s Interview

Carola: Hello Jenny, you wear many wonderful career hats, what are they, and who are they for?

JENNY: “Hi Carola, I’m flattered to be asked about my work, thank you.  And, before I go further, thank you too for helping me with my professional brand photographs – they are causing a stir on my social network, I’ve never had so many comments!

Yes, I juggle eight different endeavours.  This year my priorities are a new book that I co-authored with Phil Renshaw, called Coaching On-the-Go, which will be published in June by the Financial Times imprint of Pearson Publishing.  I’m also prioritising my PhD on Mindful Leadership.  But, as you know this needs to be held in balance with my “day job” which is Leadership Development and I’m a consultant to many Blue Chip companies around the world.  Plus I have an alpaca farm, and I run a Mindfulness Retreat Centre which offers mindfulness training at the centre on my farm but also we do some outreach work in the community particularly aimed at vulnerable people or disadvantaged communities.”

Carola: What’s your big vision and impact you’d love to make in the world? Think along the lines of “I have a dream…” 

JENNY: “Actually, I don’t have one!  I know all the classic coaching wisdom is that you should have a big vision and I don’t, I never have and I don’t think I believe in that stuff.  I do have a personal philosophy and that has driven me on: live fully.  Really simple, I take on projects that interest me, that stretch me and that I think will be part of that fullest experience of life.  I also have a strong need to give-back to the communities that I’m part of, so the mindfulness centre works on a gift giving basis, so that everyone can access mindfulness – money is no barrier to anyone learning about their mental and emotional health.”

Carola: What’s been one ‘failure’ that made you grow the most? How so?

Jenny Robinson Personal Brand Photography & Author Images - Carola Moon Portraits.jpg

JENNY: “I don’t know.  I don’t look back and see failure, I do look back and I do have a few regrets.  There were a couple of times when I have not negotiated strongly enough and I’ve walked away from a situation rather than stand my ground.  But at the time, and even now, the costs of standing and fighting were high – it would have meant emotional/financial entanglement with a situation for longer and I take decisions to disengage rather than get embroiled in fighting.  The consequence is that I don’t always feel I get a fair deal, but I do get my life back more quickly and I move forward.  Actually, that very fine judgement of when to persevere and when to walk away, that is my definition of true maturity.  We do it all the time, make that judgement unconsciously and reflexively – but I don’t, I try to really pay attention to those moments, that is when I make my worst and best decisions.”

Carola: You are most likely a ‘scanner’ as described by Barbara Sher in her book “Refuse to Choose!” – how do you manage to keep all the different plates spinning and working well for you?

JENNY: “I haven’t heard of this concept.  Thank you for sharing it, and I will investigate it more.  I’m not superwoman, and I don’t do it all perfectly and I often fail.  Again, noticing what slips and what sticks tells me a lot – my unconscious reveals itself in those moments – so I pay attention e.g. I have made a commitment to teach later this week and I notice I’m prevaricating so I check, does this say something about my motivation to do this particular teaching assignment?  And then.  So, what do I now want to do?  Because if I’m not committed I should know that and not pretend and do a half-baked job.  But if I am committed, what’s getting in the way?  Clearly, my mindfulness practice is central to all this, it keeps me aware and awake and it also nourishes me.”

Carola: Last but not least, you hired me to take your branding images. Where and how are you using your brand photography and what does it mean for you? What does it mean for you to become visible as/with your brand?

JENNY: “I need to tread a very fine line between being quirky and being corporate.  The pictures you took allow me to shine through in a genuine way with enough of a hint of the unusual. I’ve got two shots; one formal and one casual – they are used in all my online accounts.  The formal picture is taken to match Phil’s and will be on the book cover in June 2019.  Thank you Carola.”

What did you learn or take from Jenny’s account? Comment below.

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