The call from Jeremy Kyle's team came whilst I was ending my child psychotherapy career early 2012. I was tired of rigid bureaucracy, red tape and parental interference; 9 out of 10 children that entered into a therapeutic relationship with me, came with emotional stress that was caused by the parent after all. It was like the Universe said "here's the big break you've been looking for, are you sure you want to give all this up?" I applauded its humour but seriously, what such perfect timing that TV should come knocking on my door now.
The brief was that they wanted a therapist to mediate with families who had appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show. My eyes lit up like a Christmas tree and I faintly heard the audience applause as it echoed out into the distance.
The moment was short lived. The assistant who had called inviting me in was waiting; I needed to make an on-the-spot decision.
I said no.Pardon me?
Apparently my internal moral compass honed in on something which I wasn't consciously aware of in less than five seconds. The assistant did nothing to hide her disbelief; "what do you mean?" she asked. I muttered something about it being out of my zone of genius, and referred her onto a well known family therapist I knew of in Manchester.
It's About Ethics
We live in a society which adulates the celebrity status, the rich and the famous, and the stars of little and great importance. On some evolutionary scale we are attentive to the people in the limelight, for they hold great influence, control and power. I'm certainly not exempt from that awareness, dismayed for a short while regretting my decision for what Jeremy Kyle could have done for me.
After some investigating into my internalised ideas regarding The Jeremy Kyle Show, I believe that it can leave the vulnerable in great distress, which only provides its audience with the evidence that those who are in low income socio economic groups are the low-life of society. Even though I have the tendency to want to help save the world, helping those on the show made me recoil and retreat into my shell. I did not want to be a part of that system, even if it is just part of my own belief system.
More than 15 Minutes of Fame
With almost prophetic vision, Andy Warhol has famously been quoted as referring to everyone having their moment of glory, what we know of today as 15 Minutes of Fame. With the rise of TV shows such as The Apprentice, Dragon's Den, The X Factor and even Gogglebox; people picked up from the streets, are turned into overnight sensations and cast as media archetypes, usually either virgins or villains.
Fame it seems, can last long after contestants have left their show and are forever etched in our memories; even if it just in their own local communities. I certainly didn't want the stigma of having The Jeremy Kyle Show on my CV because it just didn't feel right. Saying no, was my best business decision at that time.
5 Simple Questions to Check in with Yourself
- Do you have any experience on the subject matter?
- If yes, is it extensive enough to be able to give a talk, without further research?
- Is it what you want to be known for?
- Does it align with your personal brand?
- What does your moral compass tell you?
All too often, especially as women we say yes when we mean the opposite. This usually comes down to people pleasing, an appearance to be useful and helpful, or maybe there are issues which run deeper. The word no in itself holds great power, do you use it to your own advantage, or does your no need nurturing?
The clients I see are usually female entrepreneurs, who are trying to bounce back in their business and brand identity. What happens when you're asked to represent that which is out of your own zone of expertise? It is certainly an exciting time to be invited to be interviewed on a radio broadcast, local newspaper, summit or conference, so consciously choosing that which represents your brand is imperative to your expert status.
Your call to action: Comment below to tell me about your own 15 minutes of fame, how did it affect you or your business?