‘Center Stage’ Interview with Jo Gifford

My last interview was waaaaaaay back in June. I have been procrastinating the heck out of posting this & I can’t take it any longer! It is time for my interview with the one and only Jo Gifford.

The problem with interviewing Jo is this – she is the Empress of ‘Doing Clever Stuff With Words’ and so, rather than fumbling around in the dark, trying to write an intro that would do her justice, here she is in her own words.

“Jo Gifford is a recovering overwhelmed entrepreneur with an addiction to making things easier. Champion of working smarter and creator of the Brilliance Ignition Process, she has a loyal global audience and a stellar client list of biz owners making big sales and a big difference.A widely read contributor to Huffington Post, Selz, Regus, Prowess, YFS Magazine and many more interwebz rabbit holes, she is a respected UK voice on life as a pocket-sized enterprise owner (main coping strategy= juniper berries. Ok, gin).Jo’s background – a seasoned blogger, copywriter, podcaster and graphic designer with an MA and research interest in creative thinking for small business – makes for an eclectic and colourful killer content approach.”

S: Good morning Jo! So excited to be having this interview with you. My first question to you is this: what compelled you to become a Brilliance Ignitor?

J: I have a strange mix of career (designer, writer, teacher, blogger, podcaster, consultant), but the thread within it all is creative thinking. I knew that if I can teach people how to think creatively it’s a game changer for them in so many ways.

S: From where I am standing, it all gels together beautifully and you have this seemingly effortless way of getting people to harness their creativity, in so many different ways. You have a brilliant sense of imagination, so I want you to imagine this: If you could send a message to yourself 20 years ago, what would you tell the younger Jo?

J: That the energy and beliefs I had then were so right, and to not learn self doubt.

S: If only, hey? It’s such an important one to tackle, a conversation I really should have with my kids come to think of it! Ok, let’s talk about food. What’s your favorite dish to order in a restaurant?

J: Something vegan – usually a buddha bowl.

S: Yummmm! I love a good old hippie bowl. If I could hire someone to come chop and prepare everything for me, i’d have one every day (maybe three!)

S: What are the 3 most important qualities you think people should concentrate on in order to be a good friend?

J: Listening skills, empathy, thoughtfulness.

S: Yes, yes & yes! Can’t argue with that (I’m waiting patiently to disagree with you) I particularly appreciate listening so much. I am always so surprised when someone repeats back something I said to them ages ago, or in passing. It’s such a good feeling when someone has heard you. This might possibly be my favourite question of them all: what motto do you live by?

J: Choose curiosity over fear.

S: Ooooh Jo 😍! Can we get that printed on t-shirts?! I am amazed by where curiosity can take us if we can only remember to activate it. Here’s one I couldn’t wait to ask: what’s your favourite word & why?

J: ‘Brilliant!’ Because brilliance describes SO much.

S: And EVERY time I use it I now think of you! See what you did there?!… Jo, next question for you coming right up: What’s your secret super power?!

J: Being able to see other people’s brilliance and tease it out of them.

S: For SURE! It is such a gift and you do it so BRILLIANTLY!! Now, you cant be good at everything woman! So, tell me, what are you really bad at?

J: Details. Ahem…

S: Haha! I’m surprised. I wouldn’t have said that about you, you must hide that well. I know this next question is a hard one, and I’m not sure how I would answer it myself, BUT, what’s your most favourite quote from a film or line from a song?

J: Oh gosh, so many song lyrics I adore. Let’s go with “I wish I had some bubblegum”. Hahaha, not a meaningful one, but I have just been to a festival and that lyric is my current ear-worm.

S: I’m so glad I don’t know it! I have enough ear-worms swimming round my head. A serious one for you now – What do you want people to remember about you?

J: That I inspired them in some way, and that I maybe bought some light into their life in a small way.

S: No worries there! You are inspiring people more than you know, my friend! And what would you say are the most important life lessons we can teach our kids?

J: To be kind, to be thoughtful, and to never let go of creativity.

S: Wow. I have had conversations with my kids about the first 2, but talking to them about never losing their creativity is such an important one. Note to self! Jo, what’s the best thing you’ve ever bought?

J: My bengal cat, no question.

S: Damn, I should have seen that coming! Was thinking you were going to say your unicorn onesie! Some people don’t like this next question so much, but I shall ask it anyhow: what would you change if you could take a time machine back to your past?

J: Nothing – I have learned from everything and it all had to happen this way.

S: Mmmm, that’s such a healthy mindset. I think it’s something that we all struggle with and take years to come to terms with. Ok next! Cast your mind back & tell me who was your hero when you were a kid?

J: My art teacher.

S: Ahh god bless our teachers; if only they knew what a lasting effect they have on us hey? And tell me this Jo- what do you think you would do if you weren’t a Brilliance Ignitor?

J: I would love to be a makeup artist, I would teach, I would do all sorts of things.

S: Basically anything where you can spread your sparkle & genius, I get it. This one is a deep one. Think back & tell me what was a major turning point in your life & how did it affect you?

J: There have been several, but my nervous breakdown at 29 was a huge one. It propelled me to do my own thing. Also becoming a mum of twins was HUGE (and wonderful)

S: It’s so brave & powerful how you share so deeply about everything that you have experienced. So many people have breakdowns & feel extremely isolated; you are helping & reaching people you have never even met by sharing you story. Next one: Tell us something really bizarre or funny about you that we don’t know!

J: I play the violin, and I am addicted to almond butter.

S: Well I definitely knew about the almond butter addiction and as for the violin, we are going to need a video clip of that! I’m wondering, what does your ideal day off look like?

J: A slow morning, coffee in bed with music on. Then brunch somewhere new with the papers, an art gallery mooch, a bike ride or walk, early evening cocktails.

S: You’re making me wonder why on earth i’ve never had a day off like that! I’m writing that down somewhere…We are almost at the end of our 20 questions. Describe what it’s like to do the work you do. What do you bring to the table that is special/unique?

J: I love the work I do with clients. I am able to see people’s brilliance and help them to really connect with their message in new ways that have profound and lasting effects.

S: Everyone needs a ‘Jo’ in their life, furreals! You are incredible. And for the finale -what question would you have liked me to ask? How would you answer?

J: How I have my coffee. And it’s oat milk flat white all the way, please! x

S: Haha! I may need to add that one to my list of questions! Super important. Sadly I have never tried oat milk. I do promise to rectify this ASAP! Jo, thank you ever so much for this, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing your answers & I’m excited to share this with my audience. If anyone reading this wants to connect with you & your brilliance, where should I send them?

J: They can head over here & get all sorts of freebies! (you can also find Jo’s book here – highly recommend! And, call me biased, but I also lurve this article on how to prepare for a personal branding photoshoot)