My guest today is a fabulous connection I made on LinkedIn. She is engaging, supportive, funny, wise, and talented. I was honoured to be a guest on her excellent Podcast, where we got to talk about all things blogging!
Please welcome Private Investigator Lewis, a.k.a Trisha Lewis, author of The Mystery of the Squashed Self, and communication and confidence coach.
About the Author
Communication coach, actor and business owner, Trisha Lewis empowers women to find and be their ‘unsquashed self’ – released from the ‘shoulds’ and ‘self-doubt spirals’.
Trisha has a background as a freelance actor, entertainer, speaker and story facilitator. She set up her communication coaching business in 2016 – at the age of 59. She now works with women starting or growing their own business – with soul and originality.
Trisha pulls on her life and business growing experiences along with common themes in her client work – to ensure her written and spoken resources resonate. This includes her popular ‘Make it Real’ podcast.
‘The Mystery of the Squashed Self’ is Trisha’s first full length book – and true to form it brings the challenges of 8 fictional, but reality based, business owners to life. The common link being ‘self-squashing’. Trisha took her own advice when deciding to write a business book that didn’t follow the standard style!
Trisha lives by the seaside on the south coast of the UK with her husband. Her children are all grown up and she has no pets – other than the robotic vacuum cleaner which she admits to talking to.
Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?)
I am in my ‘fourth act’! I set up my communication coaching business in 2016 – a year before my 60th Birthday.
It was a personal challenge to overcome my resistance to the ‘business world’. For decades I had a portfolio career – actor, speaker, reminiscence facilitator and celebrant. I was a late university student – graduating in 2005 from Bournemouth University in Communication. Communication was the common theme – hence setting up a communication coach.
When I made this move the impostor syndrome gremlins came thick and fast! I was motivated to work out what was going on – and in the process of working on myself, working with clients and meeting many business owners who resonated with my story… I gathered the material for my first book – The Mystery of the Squashed Self.’
I do write articles and plenty of short form content – and still bring my actor skills in to my work with my videos involving ‘Investigator Lewis.’
3 very grown-up kids and many grandchildren. Living near the sea in Bournemouth with husband and the nearest thing to a pet – a robotic vacuum cleaner that we talk to.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)
I am a first time author but this is not the first thing I have written for public consumption! I have written a number of one-woman plays in my freelance actor and speaker work. I have also written a couple of hundred ‘celebration of life’ pieces in my work as a celebrant.
What genre is it, and what is it about?
Non-fiction business book – self-development.
It is about ‘self-squashing’! Spotting the symptoms, understanding the drivers and taking step by step actions to ‘unsquash’.
Between the ‘Setting the Scene’ and ‘Big Reveal’ chapters – there are 8 ‘cases’ brought to Investigator Lewis by 8 frustrated business owners.
Each one is a story of something very real – networking and content creation confusion, identity and guilt conundrums and comparisonitis and people pleasing pesky squashers.
Each case is written up by the Investigator and then taken to Professor P who shares the psychology that drives the behaviours and fears. There is then the Investigator’s report and recommendation and finally – a ‘crack your own case’ section – and exercise for the reader to carry out.
What or who inspired you to write this book?
Feeling ‘odd’ in the business world (and other areas of life). My own experience and the experiences of my clients and connections. Every time I did a talk or shared content on the topic of ‘feeling squashed’ or ‘fear of coming out as you’ – it resonated – so I knew the book would be of use!
I was also inspired by my own personal challenge to write a book – and the character I had created – Investigator Lewis!
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Don’t do a book because you think you ‘should’ or ‘someone has said you should’ – and don’t make it wishy washy bit like everyone else’s book! You need a lot of enthusiasm to keep getting over the humps of ‘shall I just give up’!
You want to look back on the book and think – yes – this feels like my voice, my perspective, my idea…
Do market research if non-fiction – will it resonate – is it something that will be engaged with. And what else is out there – are you able to put your own slant on something?
Work with a book coach – and get a good trusted team around you!
What do you enjoy most about writing and why?
The immersive quality of it. It is good to focus on something away from content creation and marketing and client work – there is something very therapeutic about the process! I like finding words – playing with language – conjuring up the voices and visuals as I write.
List three interesting facts about yourself
- I was one of only 6 girls in the 6th form of a boy’s school!
- I was a member of a Murder Mystery company for 3 years!
- I am doing a TedX talk in 2022 – a bucket list tick!
What is your most favourite part of the publishing/writing process?
Seeing it after it has been through the design process!
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Spread the word. Leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Share photos holding up the book on social media! Talk to friends about it.
What is your next project?
I have my next book idea in birthing stages. It will connect the rehearsal process that an actor goes through – to the growing of a business. I might invent a character again – who knows!
This is for frustrated female small business owners who deserve more rewards for their efforts. Why the confidence dip? Why the sense that you are having your personality squashed? Where has your motivation gone?
A business book with a difference.
What is the psychology behind self-worth draining people-pleasing and comparing?
Enter Investigator Lewis and the stories of 8 small business owners. Then marvel at the way Professor P takes the investigator’s notes and reveals the drivers of the emotions that drive the behaviours.
The stories are of everyday business life – from networking to marketing frustrations. By bringing the stories to life through character and dialogue, the author makes them eminently relatable.
The recommendations and ‘crack your own case’ exercises are action focused – step by step fear beating actions to unsquash yourself and achieve success that has authentic you at the heart.
This is not a ‘do it like this’ business book – it is a ‘self-awareness and ‘why’ answering book.
A fun read for serious professional development.
Connect with Trisha here: