Transforming your Personal Brand: Meet Rachael McGuinness

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Meet Rachel McGuinness, our next inspirational interview as part of our Brand Transformation Campaign. After years of feeling unconfident and unhealthy, Rachel took control and transformed her brand to a healthier 2.0 version!

Tell us a bit about who you were before the change? What was your personal brand (i.e., how other people perceived you)? How would you compare today’s version of you to the one before? 

Back in the year 2000, I was in a corporate role in the telecoms industry – I was overweight, unfit, unconfident and a little bit introvert probably because I was overweight. My dress size from the age of 17 to 37 fluctuated from a size 14 to an 18, I briefly hit a size 12 for a couple of weeks in 1992!

I guess friends perceived me as fun, with a good sense of humour and zest for life. In a work environment I was very much a behind the scenes person organising events, very efficient at what I did.

Comparing Rachel 1.0 to Rachel 2.0 – completely different. I’m slimmer, more confident, extrovert, very sociable and loving life. I don’t mind being in the public eye and love delivering talks and workshops to clients.

Tell us where you are now and how your brand has changed?

Today, I’m Rachel 2.0 due to several changes to my life over the past 18 years. I now have my own health business inspired by a transformation in 2000. Last year I decided to reboot my life and split from my husband of 30 years to do the next phase of my life on my own terms. It was also an opportunity to restructure my business too. My business is called Wake Up With Zest, so I try an embody what living with zest is all about which is following the 80:20 rule – 80% healthy and 20% have fun and do what you want!

What made you think you needed to change? Was it a bolt of lightning moment or did it happen over time?

In the year 2000, I was on business in Barcelona, and I woke up one particular morning after too many cigarettes, eating too many tapas, drinking far too much Rioja and feeling sleep deprived. I hauled myself out of bed and on the way to the bathroom, I caught my reflection in the mirror. I looked pale, my skin was spotty, I had bags under my eyes and I was fat and out of shape – in other words I was a mess.

I decided that it was time to get healthy as I was 3 years away from being 40.

How did you set things in motion? Did you leap in or make the change in increments?

I stopped dieting and started eating healthily, I stopped smoking and joined a gym and cut out my week day drinking.

I’m a bit of an all or nothing person. I leapt in and did all of the above the same time and it worked.

What was the reaction of others? Did they support you or did they resist the change?

It was mostly positive. Lots of people kept asking me about my transformation and how I did it, which in fact inspired me to start my health business

The ones that didn’t support the change would say, “Don’t lose too much weight – you’ll look haggard”. People’s reactions are funny. When you’re looking good and feeling good, they want to sabotage your best efforts!

What was your most valuable resource/what kept you going?

Being fit and 40, and not going back to my old ways.

How do you feel now that you’ve made the change?

I’m now 54, I feel amazing, confident and am more extravert. I feel fitter, healthier and have more energy than I did as a teenager.

What’s your advice to anyone contemplating something similar?

JFDI – life is too short!

Thanks for such an inspiring interview, Rachel!


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