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What I Wish I Knew: Up Close and Personal with Brooke Tierney

by Charlotte Woolford

Speech bubble with text 'what I wish I knew'

From the benefits of coaching, to be proud of  her failures on her CV and lessons she wishes her 21-year-old self knew, Brooke shares with us the importance of facing life head on and embracing challenges, in order to live a more authentic, powerful and fulfilling life.

In this next instalment of our “What I Wish I Knew” series, Charlotte Woolford talks to the real, sometimes uncomfortably raw but  humble and brilliant  Marketing Guru, Brooke Tierney.

Who springs to mind when you hear the word “success”, and why?

That’s a hard question to answer because I’m not even sure of what success looks like! There are many people I look up to and am inspired by, but no one comes to mind when I think of who is the absolute definition of “success”. I view successful people as those who are challenging themselves, giving a damn about something and are generally happy with whatever life they are building. They own their story and their path. Success is a personal thing. It should be what you deem successful, not anyone else. But it’s taken me 20 years to realise that!

How important is mentorship and coaching in your opinion?

It is  the best gift you can give yourself. I genuinely believe that. No one has all the answers but having someone who can steer you through any challenge is a massive gift.

I  have been very lucky to have had many coaches and mentors throughout my career. All of which have helped shape me as person – inside and outside of work.  I still have my notes from my very first mentor session. I was 27 and having recently lost my mum to cancer, was bringing a lot of personal stuff into my work self. My boss at the time told me after a performance review that I needed to get my issues in order or else (my words not hers). So reluctantly I found myself a mentor and after 6 months, had unravelled a lot of personal things that were holding me back in a professional  sense. It was the kick up the bum I needed. It still carry the advice with me today.

What were the biggest learnings you took away from The Marketing Academy?

The Marketing Academy was both one of the hardest and best things I have ever done in my life

I didn’t realise how big of a deal securing a Marketing Academy Scholarship was until I started telling people. I also didn’t realise how life changing the program would be until I was neck deep in tears, contemplating how I start to take bricks out of my wall… I had been told by everyone for years that I had a wall up keeping people out- but until The Marketing Academy, I didn’t realise I was also keeping the real and best version of myself hidden too behind the wall. I’d been so blissfully unaware that I was miserable.

I learnt to remove the mask. Confront the shit sandwich of emotion, the challenging times I had experienced and expose the cracks of vulnerability I’d spend 12 years trying to cover up. The Marketing Academy taught me to be brave to ask for help. I learnt you can’t make a comeback alone. I found 30 cheerleaders in some of the most creative and brilliant minds in Australia on The Marketing Academy. They called me out on my bullshit, cheered me on, supported me and fed my ego and confidence. I learnt that sometimes all you need is a little bit of validation and nurturing, but you need to be brave enough to admit it and vulnerable enough to accept it.

I wouldn’t have set up my own business, The Sister last year if I hadn’t found my confidence. And I found that on The Marketing Academy.

How important do you think it is to continually learn and develop?

It’s super important. I have always believed you should make your brain hurt whether that be through formal or informal learning. One thing you should know about yourself though is how you learn. I was always terrible at formal training, as I have a very short attention span. I hated text book training so for me,  I made sure I  surrounded myself with different people who have different views. People who were way smarter than me. I learned that way. I like having my ideas challenged even if I have thrown the odd tantrum along the way.

Someone once said to me that if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room and I honestly buy into that.

How have your previous failures set you up for later success?

I wear my failures and screw ups as a badge of honour. It shows that I was brave enough to take a risk and try something different. I actively call out things I have stuffed up along the way. I am not embarrassed or worried by it.  It all adds to the experience. We learnt at The Marketing Academy to think about “what’s the worst thing that could happen.” Unless it’s going to harm us, it’s probably not that bad.

What would you say to your 21-year-old self if you had the chance? 

Surround yourself with people who know way more things than you about everything. Listen more!! And always make your brain hurt.  Say yes to all the opportunities that come your way. Take a job that you might not know how to do because you get to work with an amazing leader. Throw your five-year plan out the window, it’s defines where you are going and you will miss out on some really cool things... Be brave, be open, and embrace the chaos because it all helps shape your story.  It makes you who you are.


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