Nina Cooke | Authenticity Is The Key To Your Success – But Why?

Adam LeanPodcast

Today’s guest is Nina Cooke, a business coach, who says her superpower is digging deep to find the root cause of why business owners are struggling and then helps them take steps to overcome it so they can experience richer, freer and easier lives. 

“And in business, you can get tangible results. When you start showing up, when you start putting your marketing out there, when you start making offers,” says Nina, about how and why she got started. 

We’ll chat with our guest about how to dramatically improve your income and success, what shifts you need to make within to unlock the freedom and confidence to turn your biggest vision into reality, and…

  • How to show up in a unique way
  • Imposter syndrome
  • Why feeling like a fraud is a limiting belief and how it will hinder you
  • How to be more authentic with yourself, and why it affects your business
  • Tips to become your authentic self
  • And more

Listen now…

Mentioned in this episode:


Adam Lean: In this episode, we’re going to talk with a business expert about how to dramatically improve your income and success. We’re going to find out how to make some inner shifts that will give you the freedom and confidence to turn your biggest vision into reality. This is P is for Profit.

Adam: Welcome to P is for Profit. My name is Adam Lean and I along with the rest of the team at The CFO Project are passionate about helping business owners improve the profitability of their business. My guest today is a business coach who says her superpower is digging deep to find the root cause of why business owners are struggling and then helps them take steps to overcome it so they can experience richer, freer and easier lives. Wow, that’s a lot. Nina, welcome to the show.

Nina Cooke: Thank you so much for inviting me along.

Adam: So I’m excited to dive in and learn more about what you do and how you do it. So tell us how you got started in this. What’s your background?

How Nina Became a Business Coach

Nina: My background is in the corporate world. I worked for Time Life Books for many years in London, and I left Time Life Books when I was pregnant with my first child. And then after having my babies, I wanted to do something for myself. I didn’t want to go back into an office. So I started a personal shopping company, purely by chance because I was helping someone else in their personal shopping business, online business, and I didn’t want to work with her anymore. 

So I thought well, I understand the mechanics of it. So I started one myself. I’m not a personal shopper, but I quickly grew an amazing team of personal shoppers, a makeup artist who went out there and did the actual, you know, shopping and the makeup work. And my job was to bring in clients. So I did all the sales and all the marketing. I always had this mindset that just say yes. 

So we started off in London and then someone phoned from Manchester and said, Do you cover this area? And I said, Yes. So I thought, I’ll figure out a way of covering that area. And then it just grew. It grew rapidly and I started doing corporate work. I created a successful business. However, it was very limited. And over time, I knew I could do so much more with it. But I didn’t. I couldn’t because I was holding myself back. 

I didn’t do any networking. I didn’t do any physical marketing. So I got all my clients through Google AdWords, sitting behind my desk, and I was able to hide. I didn’t put my name on my website. I didn’t have my face on my website. I was scared. I was scared about being found out that I was a fraud, that I wasn’t very good at what I did. I was scared to be judged, to be criticized by people. And I knew that by hiding away, I was really limiting what I could achieve. 

And looking back, I know it could have been a much bigger business if I had thought bigger, if I had got out of my own way and give myself permission to play a much bigger game. I had all the tools there. Having children was a real eye-opener for me because I could you see how, have a little of the self-confidence. They were pretty fearless. They would try things, take risks, fall over, hurt themselves, whatever got into scrapes. 

And they’ll just pick themselves up and just keep going. And I really wanted to be a good role model for them. And I knew in order to do that I had to stop pretending and wearing all these different masks and start becoming much more connected with myself, feel much more authentic and feel naturally self-confident and have self-belief in myself. And I started a long journey of intensive personal development work.

I had dabbled in personal development for quite a few years already reading books, etc. But now I got into it big time because I had the mistaken notion back then that something was wrong and I had to fix it about myself. And it was wrong because I realized through doing the personal development work, that actually there was nothing wrong with me. 

And all I needed to do was change my understanding of what was actually happening and to stop blaming other people and situations and circumstances before making me feel unhappy and miserable, whatever, it was angry, whatever those negative emotions were, I start taking responsibility for them myself. And during my intensive personal development work, I tried lots of different modalities, etc, trained in lots of things. And it was only when I came across a way, a process of identifying deeply hidden limiting beliefs and then permanently removing them from the subconscious. 

And then replacing them with new powerful beliefs about ourselves. That’s when I had my own big, massive turnaround in my thinking, and this transformed the way in how I showed up, not just in my business, but in my life, in my relationships with other people. So for example, I would, going back 10 years, I would never, ever have said yes to the opportunity of being on your podcast, being on video expressing my message, talking about what I believe in because I would have been terrified about what other people thought of me and that I wasn’t worth listening to and that other people were doing this much better than me. 

So it took me a long time to figure all that out. And when I realized that this was actually the truth about everything and that we can, we don’t need fixing, all we need to do is stop believing our limiting beliefs and start really connecting with how magnificent we are, how powerful we are, and how much we can achieve if we decide to focus on it. 

That’s what I started helping business owners because I wanted to do something that gave tangible results. And in business, you can get tangible results. When you start showing up, when you start putting your marketing out there when you start making offers, when you can start raising your prices competently, when you can start having more sales calls. When you have the confidence to really tell, not tell, but show people how you can help, how you have the solution to their problem. When you can get out of your own way. 

And that’s how I now help entrepreneurs, be their coaches, consultants, experts, who want to, who know that they have so much more to offer but aren’t getting the results they want to get. And they’ve come to the conclusion that actually a new strategy isn’t what they need for their breakthrough. They need to do the work on themselves. They can stop self-sabotaging and they can start taking the action that they know they need to take but they’ve been resisting taking the action out of fear. And the fear then builds up the resistance to taking action.

Adam: Wow, that’s a very powerful. There’s a lot to dig in there. Let’s start with something you touched on at the very beginning. You were afraid that you were going to be found out for being a fraud. And I know that this is something that, you know, with working with business owners and myself even you know, there’s an, you’ve heard the term of imposter syndrome. 

A lot of people deal with that. They’re, they feel like they’re an imposter. They’re all, they’re gonna be found out, like you said, that they’re gonna, they’re a fraud. Can you talk about that and sort of what, why that’s a limiting belief and what you can do to overcome it or what you did to overcome it?

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Nina: Sure. So many people suffer from imposter syndrome. As you said, they feel like a fraud, they feel like a fake. And this is this terrifying fear that we’ll get found out. And if we promise a client that we can help them, it gives them that transformation and then we don’t deliver, then they’re going to realize we’re not very good at what we are, at what we do, and we don’t keep our promises. 

And then what are they going to tell other people? What if other people find out I’m actually not very good at what we do? It’s a chronic lack of self-confidence and self-belief in ourselves. Now the truth for most people who are offering services around coaching, consulting and helping people, the truth is, most of us are very good at what we do. We have enough knowledge, we have enough training, we have enough expertise. So it’s really understanding that about ourselves and believing that. And then we can authentically show other people how we can help them. 

And so starting to believe ourselves as the experts we truly are. And if you think about how many years of training we’ve done, how much experience we built up, the evidence that we’ve helped people, that we have got great results, all of that evidence of that expertise in the training, those years and probably 10s of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars and pounds we put into our training, that is what we bring to the table. 

We’re not just saying oh, this is a six month or 12-month program. We’re actually bringing So much more to the table than that. And when we look at what we can bring, that’s when we start thinking actually I am, I know what I’m doing. 

And I can help. Now there is no coach consultant who can help 100% of the people 100% of the time. We’ve all had clients where we don’t get the results. I mean, this has been very transparent. We all have times who don’t get the results that they want from us. But I bet that most of us are getting a great result most of the time. The way that I dealt with it myself, I didn’t deal with it until I actually did the work that I now do with my clients. So what I did is I worked with my mindset coach on the belief I’m a fake, I’m a fraud. And I raised it out of 10. 

So the more I agreed with that statement, the higher my number out of 10. And I remember my nose was probably around nine or 10. I was terrified of being found out, of being exposed, and that’s why I kept myself hidden away so no would ever find out. And by the time I’d gone through this process to eliminate this belief, and the beauty of the process is that it really goes, it bypasses the rational mind, the conscious mind goes into the subconscious. It’s very logical, there’s no way for the truth to hide. And so I was, the belief was exposed to be the lie it truly is. 

It wasn’t true about me. I just made it up, it was a story that I’ve made up, and I was carrying it around inside of me, and it was really having a big impact on what I was doing. So during the process, expose it is the lie it truly is. And I was able to let go of it. I thought, well, that’s not true. I’ve got so much evidence of what, that I am an expert. Sure, I can always learn more, sure I can gain more experience, sure I’m going to evolve over time, you know, and that’s good because I’m learning. 

However, I’ve never been a fraud. That’s not who I am. And I replaced it with a new empowering belief that I’m an expert and I know how to help people. And once I started showing up as the expert that I am, I became so much more confident in how I spoke about my service. I was able to start raising my prices, I was able to start connecting with people to collaborate into a joint venture with, to invite them onto my podcast and to explore possibilities of working together. 

And this opened up lots of opportunities for me. And I, as I was building up my self-belief and my competence in myself my business grew. Because logically, when you have the self-belief, when you have the certainty in what you do and what you offer, and you know you’re offering immense value, then when you tell people about it, they pick up subliminally, on your sense of competence and your self-belief in yourself. And because they pick up on it, then they believe that you can help them as well.

Adam: Yeah, that makes so much sense. Let’s talk also, along the same lines, you mentioned that you had to stop pretending, and you connected with yourself and you were more authentic with yourself. Can you explain what you mean?

Being Authentic With Yourself

Nina: Yeah, that’s a great question. Being authentic in myself for me feel is being comfortable in my own skin. For most of my life, I felt unlikable. I felt out of kilter with other people. I always felt I was one of those people on the outside. So I’m looking through a cafe window and people are sitting in the cafe at a table, having a laugh, enjoying themselves, etc. And I’m on the outside looking in. I can’t join them somehow because there was a real disconnect. I felt I had to please people, I had to get people to like me. 

And so I would bend over backwards to try and figure out what they wanted me to say that would make them like me, how I should reply. And that just makes I was so focused on myself. And well, I always say that could focus on the other person. I was so wrapped up in my anxiety to please that I wasn’t listening really to what they were saying. And so depending on who I was talking to, I would try and be someone different for each person, which was exhausting. 

And it just felt, I felt completely unconnected with myself. But this was my way of staying safe because I felt that I couldn’t be authentic. There was something wrong with me and I was completely out of touch with who I really was. After doing this work to erase my limiting beliefs, my self-esteem beliefs, I started to realize that actually, I’m okay. I’m fine. I’m good enough. I’m not inferior to anyone. 

I’m as good as anyone else. And I truly believe that it’s this world is a level playing field. We are all equally good enough. There is no question about it. So if that part of me is okay, I don’t have to worry about it. They’re just a matter if I have a great conversation with someone. If I don’t, they can’t impact that self-belief that’s now within me, you know, and what happens in the physical world things are good, things are bad, you know, we’re in a roller coaster as entrepreneurs. 

Things go up, things go down. And all of that doesn’t have any impact on this feeling authentic and congruent. And it helps me to run my business a place of great integrity, where I have, I trust myself and I attract amazing clients. I attract clients who are very committed to the work that they do. And they are very much in tune with, our values really synchronize. So feeling authentic means that I can write my messaging, my marketing from my heart rather than from my head. 

Before, I used to write my messaging from my head. What do people want to hear from me? That wasn’t the right way of doing it. The right way for me is what do I want to say? What is my truth? What do I believe? What can I share with my audience? Now, it’s okay that some of them won’t be interested. But if I speak from my heart, then some people resonate with it. And that is the truth. So rather than focusing on those people who don’t open my email, I can instead focus the people who do open my email. How many clients do we really need? 

We don’t need everyone to be our client. It’s just the people who resonate with us. And so when I started marketing and messaging from my heart and not being worried about what people thought, I wasn’t worried about what people will think that I’m too woo woo or this or that. I’m not woo woo, I’m very grounded and very practical. I like things that work. That changed everything for me. And it was only because I stopped being scared of what other people thought about me and I started putting the focus instead on, you know, how can I serve? What information can I get out there that will be upheld? 

Adam: So, what are some tips to become your authentic self? I mean, I guess the first one would be to do things from your heart, to act from your heart and not your head, right? What are some other things that somebody listening can do to take steps today?

Take Control of Your Own Feelings

Nina: I think the fundamental thing is for us to know that anything that happens in the outside world does not create any of our negative feelings. So there may be that, you know, you have a call with, a sales call with a prospect. The prospect says no, too expensive. I don’t have the time. I’ll think about it. And you come off the call and often you can feel I’m never going to get anyone to pay what I want them to pay. 

I’m too expensive. People aren’t interested in what I have. For us to know, first and foremost that these thoughts and feelings are not being caused by the prospects saying no. We are creating these thoughts internally. And these thoughts are just limiting beliefs which have been triggered. And it’s our thoughts which are creating our mood, our low mood. When we know that no one can ever make us feel anything, then we get back into control. 

Okay, so it’s my thoughts that are making me feel like this. I can’t control the outside world. I can’t control what other people say and do. But I can start handling my thinking. It’s not by controlling it because we’re not thought police. We cannot sit there and, you know, control every thought that pops into our head. We get 10s of thousands of thoughts every day, but it’s knowing that these thoughts that all made up their stories. 

No one’s ever going to pay me that much. It’s a story. I’m never gonna get what I want. I’m never gonna figure this out. I’m never gonna make it work. These are just stories. And we don’t have to pay any attention to them. We have, we could just say, okay, that thinking is not helpful. It’s not true about me. And I could just let it go. And once you can, when you expose thoughts for being absolutely harmless and not true about us, then they lose their power. Once they lose their power and we, it’s like, we’ve got a tabletop of rubbish thoughts. 

You know, really self-sabotaging thoughts, when you could just say, Okay, these thoughts aren’t helping me and just push them all off the table, you’ve got a clear tabletop. Your mind is in clarity. And then you can start focusing on Okay, that call didn’t go how I wanted it to go. What can I do now? What can I look, how can I learn from that call? Maybe I can listen more deeply. Maybe I could ask different questions. Maybe I’ll spend more time listening rather than talking. 

Maybe I can build a better bridge from their challenges to my solution. Maybe I can handle objections in a different way. All of these things where you start thinking about how you can get better at what you do. So the most fundamental thing is to realize our thoughts are just not true. The less attention we pay to them, the less damage they can do. The more attention we pay to them, that’s when they become real for us. And that is completely within our own control to be able to do that.

Adam: That’s powerful, very powerful. That makes sense. So if you could go back to when you first started your first business and give yourself a piece of advice, what is the one piece of advice you would give your younger self when you first started your business?

Validate Yourself

Nina: That’s a great question. What piece of advice would I give? The first piece of advice I would give is, actually the two pieces of advice. One is don’t worry about what other people think about you. Because you don’t know what people think about you. You’re just assuming. You’re making it all up. You are mind-reading. 

Adam: That’s true. Yeah. 

Nina: Don’t waste any thoughts or energy on that because you don’t know for sure. So just take that off the table completely. The other piece of advice I would give myself, my younger self is go for it. Go for it. It’s the game. It’s a game of life. Play the game of life. You are going to have setbacks. You are going to fail. You will make mistakes, you’ll get wrong most of the time. But just enjoy it. Don’t take it too seriously. The more you fail, the more you learn. And be courageous, be resilient, bounce back up and go for it. 

It’s not going to kill you. You’re not going to end up with a bad grade because if your business doesn’t work out, you’ll figure out something else to do. Actually the third, to have a third piece of advice, you’ve got everything you need inside of you. Don’t go looking for it in the outside world and don’t go asking, don’t go looking for people to validate you and who you are. Don’t rely on that. It’s a really sticky, slippery path. Validate yourself. You’ve got everything you need.

Adam:Wow. Yeah, that’s very powerful. Thank you for that. So, what if somebody would like to learn more about you and about your process because this has resonated, whether it’s the imposter syndrome or being authentic or the idea that nobody can make you feel anything, where, you know, where can they go?

Nina: Well, I’ve got a free video training which talks a lot about limiting beliefs and how you start getting out of your own way. And the training is Smash Through Your Income Glass Ceiling because we do create an income ceiling above our head. We think we can’t push past that. So it’s how to smash that ceiling once and for all so you can actually earn the income that you deserve, that you want. And the link for that is And it’s very short little videos. And I hope that, you know, anyone who goes along with that and starts watching them gets a lot of value out of them.

Adam: So that’s Nina Cook, and we’ll put the link in the show notes. So slash 

Nina: Forward slash 

Adam: Forward slash free training. 

Nina: Free video training.

Adam: Free video training. We’ll put that in the show notes. 

Nina: Thank you very much. 

Adam: Yeah, no, that’s very powerful. I’m gonna check that out myself. So is there any last piece of advice, anything you want to leave for the audience?

Nina: It would be reiterating the main thing I think, is the fundamental thing is don’t take your thinking seriously. Don’t believe it’s true about you if it’s negative thinking, if it’s positive thinking, yeah it’s true about you. But just don’t spend your time, your energy going down the rabbit hole, you know, tying yourself up in knots, stopping yourself and taking action. Just say, Okay, I’m thinking that. Not useful. Brush it aside and just go for it.

Adam: Yeah, I love that. Well, Nina, thank you so much for being here. This was amazing, invaluable information.

Nina: Thank you so much. It’s been really good fun.

Adam: Yeah, so everybody listening if you would like to see if Nina could help you with your business, of course, please reach out to her. Her website is ninacook, that’s COOKE We’ll put that in the show notes. But thank you so much for listening. And remember, the goal of your business should be to make more profit than last year and to turn that profit into cash you get to keep. This is Adam Lean for P is for Profit.