Stop Colouring In and Sketch Your Future

Penny Haslam Blog, Expert Advantage, Keynote, Visibility

Stop Colouring In


My new poster-woman for the Expert Advantage is Rose St Louis. She watched one of my talks and decided to stop colouring in and raise her profile, for her career and business. The next day she emailed me:

“Penny Penny Penny!!!

This afternoon I recorded my first ‘vlog’. I posted it on twitter and it’s getting some love which is cool. #makeyourselfalittlebitfamous. I don’t even mind if people think it’s not that great, I’m glad I gave it a go. My industry colleagues said I was so brave and some said they would give it a go now. Thanks for your feedback, it will mean that my next attempt will be even better…”

She did a great job and I’m so chuffed for her.

Rose St Louis' first social media video

Rose St Louis’ first social media video – go Rose!

I use the phrase ‘stop colouring in and sketch your future’ in my keynote speeches to remind audience members not to dilly-dally when they know that ‘getting out there’ would mean a promotion, more customers or more engagement with existing clients.

But I can’t take credit for the phrase. It’s something my straight-talking friend Gail said to me when I called her up last summer. The conversation went like this:

Me: I need to send a marketing email to everyone I know, telling them about what I do, and how I could help them ‘get out there’, but I haven’t got my logo/banner/database/content/messaging/blahdeblah absolutely perfectly brilliantly just right. I really don’t think this is my thing. I’m not going to do it. It’s for the best…

Gail:  Mmm, right. That is an option for sure. (Silence). But really Penny, you need to stop colouring in.

Me: (Looks at floor. Totally busted.)

Gail: You’ve got all your pens and pencils out of your nice little pencil case. You’re making sure that everything is just so, just right. You’re colouring beautifully inside the edges. But it’s stopping you from getting what you want. Penny, stop colouring in and sketch your future…

So I did. I sent the email.

My excuses, of course, were coming from the vague, almost unpindownable, little voice that stops us from going forward and onto success. In truth, my excuses about were based on a notion that putting myself out there would make me look stupid and lead to failure. With 20-20 hindsight, that all looks pretty flimsy now my emails are doing alright and are really useful to people. You can subscribe here and see for yourself.

So, when you make the decision to stop colouring in and sketch your future, you start to say yes to taking part in a panel discussions, going on the radio or television, speaking at meetings or events, saying yes to networking…and you make yourself a little bit famous, which is of course, a massive boost for your career and business.

As for doing a social media video like Rose, it’s easy:

FOLLOW THESE FIVE STEPS and you’ll feel the love too


  1. Don’t worry about production values. So what your camera angle is wrong or someone photo bombs you at the end! Slick corporate videos don’t come across as that authentic these days, but a real life, real person, at a real event does.
  2. Keep what you say brief and to the point, but don’t rush it. Explain stuff, look happy, share the joy.
  3. Hold your phone steady, and sideways, just like a cinema screen.
  4. Be near the phone so the mic picks up what you’re saying.
  5. Video IS the future, so get to it!

Follow @rose_stlouis on Twitter to watch her first ever social media video and say bravo.


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Penny Haslam is an award winning inspirational speaker, visibility coach and consultant

For more information about booking Penny to speak at your event, or raising your profile, call her: 07808 477423 or email penny@pennyhaslam.co.uk.