Addressing the Elephant in the Room (…or rather the White, Cisgender Man)

Late 2021 marked the relaunch of Big Knows and, with it, an ever-growing understanding of the power of a positive mindset, how to get there, and the changes that can happen when you create the best version of yourself.

However, a month into the Big Knows relaunch, an old contact got in touch with me via LinkedIn. Her message got me thinking…

The message read along the lines of “My first instinct was another straight, white, cisgender man telling me how I need to be better. I actually wonder if a different perspective on life would be beneficial. Some of that male privilege could rub off on me!”

I’ll be honest, it genuinely took me by surprise.

Is this how I come across? Was I giving out the wrong message? Am I the right person to help?

The imposter syndrome started to hit.

But, in life, you have to take a step back and reflect. So, I did some deep thinking and it led me here.
Big Knows has always been about helping people, no matter who you are.

However, as time has progressed, I’ve built a client base that is predominantly female. It wasn’t by design. Whether it’s those who procure my services for their teams or those who buy my services for themselves. Many of the people I’ve worked with have created some excellent success stories and have kindly referred or introduced me to other like-minded friends and contacts.

I realised that this is an area I want to focus on. It’s delivered some excellent results, rewarding for both parties involved and drives real impact in making positive, lifelong changes.

From roots to growth

I was proudly raised in a strong, matriarchal household.

My Mum was fiercely independent with a strong moral compass – she certainly taught me right from wrong! She played the role of both Mum and Dad, so I always knew where I stood.

Full of love and affection, my Mum provided a clear understanding of relationship dynamics – I learnt early the differences between man and woman. And how to be aware of what being a woman means. I witnessed both hysterectomy and menopause in my teens – an incredible foundation that helped me to gain a deeper respect for what a woman, a mother, deals with.

Addressing the Elephant in the Room (…or rather the White, Cisgender Man) Big Knows

I felt her anguish at the stigma of being a single Mum in the 1970’s, of being too proud to claim dole money – she’d rather go without than sign-on. She felt judged as a parental failure as if my Dad’s affairs were all her making. The antiquated and sexist attitudes of the 70’s and 80’s rankled me. Made me more appreciative of the sacrifices she made to ensure me and my sister never went without. Be that food, clothes, a roof over our head, and endless amounts of love and affection.

Being Mum and Dad in the 70’s was bloody hard work.

My Auntie played a very different role. As a successful, Oscar-winning, amateur actress, I learned encouragement, positivity and self-belief – she oozed the stuff. By looking up to her, I understood that confidence comes with the certainty of knowing where your strengths are.

My sister went to Polytechnic when I was 14, so her influence on me was more nurturing. She would always have my back (well, most of the time!) as I entered into adolescence. She’d navigated adolescence and was comfortable sharing how it made her look at her world through a different lens. She shared the highs and lows of how friends, teachers and our close-knit family treated her as she transformed from girl to young woman. Whilst her perspective led and supported me through, at the time, a journey into the unknown, I was acutely aware of how our experiences differed because of our genders. At the time, it felt as if I’d had an easier ride into adulthood because I was a man…

Growing up with them steering me had a resounding impact on my perspective on life. Whilst it may have felt strange to admit that growing up (we all go through a phase of denying that we’re a mirror of our mothers), I soon realised the powerful lesson they taught me: empathy.

Whilst I can never truly understand how different life is for women, compared to men, I’d like to think that I am actively trying to improve my awareness; more so, I’m always open to listening and learning whenever an opportunity like this arises.

In turn, this approach helps me to continuously refine my coaching style.

That’s why I’m able to share some brilliant success stories on how I’ve helped women get to where they truly want to be.

Making real change with real people

I’ve always enjoyed my job.

Seeing my clients find their purpose is such a brilliant feeling.

Denise described my work as “the single most powerful training I have ever experienced – it has been life changing, I feel more positive, I am making changes to my life to improve it not just for me but for my family. Most of all, I finally have my confidence back. Simon’s ability to get the best out of people is truly incredible”.

Lucy said my coaching “drew the best out of her” which allowed her to realise that the answers to the self-esteem and confidence issues she’d been suffering from, were right there inside her all along.

My clients are generally blown away by what they learn about themselves and their minds.

They feel they can get back on track, and now have access to a toolkit to help them through when new challenges arise.

Words can make all the difference.

Addressing the Elephant in the Room (…or rather the White, Cisgender Man) Big Knows

A collaborative and safe space designed for sharing

There’s no hiding from the fact that the majority of my clients are female. Furthermore, there’s no hiding from the fact that being in tune with your emotions creates an open and collaborative space to work together, which is why I get such great results.

Unsurprisingly, this is the most rewarding work for me, as I see the greatest change and have the biggest positive impact. Be that rediscovering their mojo, rebuilding confidence for mums returning to work, helping them to alleviate anxiety and stress, pushing them out of their comfort zone to propel their careers, or helping to re-establish and nurture deeper professional and personal connections.

After all, I can only help support someone that recognises it’s time to shift perspective and embrace positive change.

That said, I have male clients who are emotionally tuned in too. After all, my ideal client is just someone who:

● Is ready to actively challenge themselves
● Opens up to allow fantastic conversations and connections
● Wants to achieve a happier version of themselves.

I want to understand women (as much as a man ever could) and I believe my upbringing and my many female clients PROVIDE a helpful starting point to get to the challenges they face. Plus, I am always willing to have conversations to learn more.

Addressing the cisgender man in the room

I understand that from the outside looking in, Big Knows could look exactly how that person initially thought. That I am just another run-of-the-mill cisgender white man telling women how to do better in their life due to a toxic masculinity defect; mansplaining at its finest.

But I hope I have assured you, that’s not what Big Knows is about. Our mission is to encourage new and effective positive mindset paths that help people to achieve their dreams and goals, enabling them to live a more contented, fulfilling and balanced life.

However, this doesn’t stop here.

I want to develop myself, be more explorer than expert. That’s why I am opening the floor up to you.
If I get any terminology, tone or messages wrong, PLEASE LET ME KNOW.

Get in touch with me at hello@big-knows.co.uk and just be as honest as possible; I’m open to learning, progressing and actively doing my part to try to educate myself and keep up with my clients’ needs.

I want to be your biggest advocate and support you in every way I can.

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