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088. Welcome back to The Surveyor Hub Podcast
Episode 88Bonus Episode14th July 2022 • The Surveyor Hub Podcast • Marion Ellis
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In this episode, your host chartered surveyor, industry coach and mentor Marion Ellis shares some insights and background to the podcast for new listeners - how it got started and what's been happening for her in 2022.

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Marion Ellis 0:07

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So the other thing that's been quite challenging for me this year is at 47, I have a diagnosis of ADHD and it's something that I always knew about but didn't quite recognise. I went through menopause at 43. And I got my HRT sorted. And I thought, yeah, I'm on the last leg of what it means to be a woman. And something just wasn't quite, quite right. I was struggling with anxiety, which, obviously, with all the pressure, and the online stuff hasn't helped. And that really sent me into a spiral of depression and what I call feeling very black. And that's a really horrible dark place to be. And it's even harder to pull yourself out when you don't have the right network of support around you. I don't have the right language yet to talk about ADHD and what it means for me. And some of you might think I'm oversharing, I have a habit of doing that it's an ADHD thing, it transpires and there's a lot of judgement around it, you know, is it really a thing? What will people think of me, if I wear this badge? Or have this label? How will that affect my business?

You know, I, what I've realised is I've got to a stage in my life where I have so many coping strategies. And, that's helped me to where I need to be, and that's great. But when some of those things fall down, or they don't work anymore, then that's when things can really get tricky for me. And it shows up and manifests itself in all sorts of different ways. And bringing attention and awareness to that has been really interesting, quite liberating, it's meant that I do now need to manage my work, the kind of work that I do, make sure that it sustains me if you like, that I'm looking at my energy and how tired I get and the difference that makes. But I'm in control of that. And I have to now create some boundaries, a framework for me to work within. And that's been one of the tricky things is me putting all of that together because consistency is hard. So for me to show up every week with a regular email with a regular podcast, is quite, quite difficult. So I've had to adapt to the different ways that I work. But you know, the more I've started to tentatively talk about it. And I'm sure we'll talk about it and it'll come up in the podcast, in due course, that I come across lots of other surveyors who also have neurodiverse challenges, shall we say, and we need to learn to embrace it, talk about it more, I do believe it's a superpower, or other it's got me to where I need to be. I know, I was particularly successful at dealing with complaints and claims because I harness that, you know, jump in, firefight, get things done, which is what, you know, ADHD is really good at, but take away the structure of a corporate firm, take away some of the boundaries that I had when I ran the blue box business training business that I used to work with, and I found myself out on a limb, which is why I found it really hard this year trying to work out well what actually is wrong with me because my hormones are meant to be sorted now. So, you know, I come across other surveyors who have had these challenges, these difficulties. And as I said, I don't have the right language for it. You know, someone just on my assessment, described it as high functioning. And when I mentioned that to someone else, you know, they were quite dismissive of that, saying, well, that means you know, that you don't need help. And, it's a bit like the whole diversity piece, you know, sometimes we don't have the language to know and I never want to upset anybody. All I can do is share some of my journeys, and some of the challenges and hope that it offers support and signposting to others. So, yeah, that's been fun, but I'm in a much better position now.

And you know, I'm thinking about the work that I really love to do, and also what it means for me to be a surveyor. And why I do what I do. I'm not a practising surveyor anymore, in that I don't provide surveying advice, per se. But I do consider myself to be a surveyor, and I come across lots and lots of other surveyors who also reached that point in their careers, where they want to get involved in other things. And one of the things I learned early on in my personal development journey, I guess, about 10-15 years ago, was I do what I do. I just happen to do in the world of surveying, and I think you have to hang on to that. We define ourselves as surveyors so much. But actually, we, you know, have other skills that we can bring in in lots of different ways in different areas. So, the journey of you know, what it means to be a surveyor is actually, you know, the essence of this podcast. I love talking to surveyors or people in the business of surveying, and why they do what they do and how they got to where they are. And if you've not seen it, I'd really recommend a very famous TED Talk by a chap called Simon Sinek, who, I'll put a link in the show notes for this, you know, he talks about Apple and how they transform their business. But I think if you watch that with the lens of why am I a surveyor? Why did I get in into this, it's not necessarily all about the money. But usually, there's something really meaningful there. You know, for me, it's about making sure people have a safe, warm, dry home to live in, a roof over their head. And the way that I do that, you know, used to be by going out doing surveys and giving property advice, the way that I do that now is to support other surveyors, businesses out there, so that they can do that. And that has a much greater impact.

You know, so where does that come from? For me, it was my childhood experience of what it meant for my mom to buy her right-to-buy house, which turned out to be a disaster. You know, so I know what it's like to have that vulnerability. But also, you know, she had a defect problem to solve a tech, she didn't have a survey, she was advised not to get one. And that then led me to deal with complaints and claims, you know, and it's funny how you turn around and look back and start to join all of these dots. So anybody who's coming new into the industry, no matter where you are, that story is really powerful to tell, and you will bring everything that you've learned, and that life maturity into your work, particularly if you work as a residential surveyor.

So my career and background, I started off as a surveyor down in Croydon. During the usual homebuyers, building surveys, and mortgage valuations. And after about six years, I moved to a central role with a corporate to initially deal with audits, but then quite quickly into complaints and claims, as the last crash and recession took place. And that taught me a lot about not just customer experience, and how to prevent claims. I'm one of I think probably the only surveyor in the UK who's qualified in, in customer experience, it took me down that road, you know, you can prevent a lot of these things through good service. But also there was a lot of focus on how can we get surveyors to perform better. Ultimately, you are the people out there writing the reports, ticking the boxes, but you're human, at the end of the day, you're not a robot, and therefore mistakes will happen. And what I learned more, was not just about customer experience, but about employee experience, and what it means to support surveyors to be successful, so that they don't fail. And everything else that you need around that is not just enough to be technically competent, it's about having the wisdom to know what to do at the moment. And what gets you to that moment. So that's a lot really, of the essence of what I believe, what I talk about. When I work with my clients, whether that's through the mastermind, the next one starts in September, or the business club, however, I work with clients, I'm always coming back to how can we set ourselves up for success? What does that mean? And that's where the coaching and the personal development comes in. And very often surveys do not do any of that, and they don't get support through it.

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The podcast came about just before the pandemic. And the idea was that, again, we'd have some technical conversations about what it means to be a small business surveyor, some of the regulations and changes that were coming up because the home buyer, home surveys standard was due to come out. And I learned a lot about myself at that time, about what it means to be visible because I never intended or plan to, but I realised that when you embrace your vulnerabilities and put yourself out there that you learn a lot about yourself, but you help others too. And so we just thought, let's give it a go. Let's just try this podcast, I went to an IRCS CPD event. And I asked the survey is there's about 70 there, and I asked a few of them, how do you keep connected and, you know, they all said they came to CPD events. But I noticed that nobody was really talking to each other. And networking is a really difficult thing, you have to have a purpose for it. Otherwise, it's just a waste of time. But it occurred to me that all these surveyors will be driving home. And they could listen to something. And I used to listen to lots of podcasts and audiobooks in my corporate job when I was travelling up and down the country. And so I thought, let's give this a go. We could do a short series and talk about all sorts of stuff, get a bit of engagement, and see how it goes. And I imagine surveyors driving around in their cars, you know, listening to me or others talk. But obviously, what then happened is a global pandemic, which nobody could have predicted the scale or what would happen over the next two years. And that's where the podcast I think, really came into its own because, as well as informal meetup sessions that we organised in the free Facebook group, it became a place where we could just talk, and my skills, if you like, as an interviewer, I would never profess that any of these are interviews, I prefer to call them conversations, two-way conversations because it takes the pressure off me. But that's where it really sort of came into its own because we started to talk about more meaningful stuff. It wasn't just about the regulations and standards, and, you know, it was about people, and everybody likes a good career story. And if I think about the mentors that I had, when I was going through my journey, as a surveyor starting out, they made a real impression on me. And, I'm mindful that a lot of people don't have that. And so, you know, just by having a conversation sharing a career journey on a podcast like this, I know this made a difference and helps people feel connected and hopefully inspire them or give them some ideas of the next steps that they need to take.

And I've learned a lot about myself doing these podcasts is actually really helped me with my mental health actually going through the pandemic. The podcast kept me going because whilst my kids were at home when my daughter cut all her curly hair off because she had found some scissors which wasn't great. You know why all this stuff was going on, for me, it was an anchor. So thank you to everybody who allows me to do this who listens to these podcasts. It got me through and I hope it got you through. And you know, sort of fast forward to where we are now where is the podcast going and I've thought about a different direction I've thought about do I rename it to my business - love surveying - which does what it says on the tin. For me, I'm passionate about surveying and the way that we operate as people. But you know, you can always you can also overthink all of these things, and the surveyor hub people know. And so we'll stick with the name. And I've thought about and I've experimented; the last season that I had business-focused related topics, I spoke to non-surveyors to try to get more women in and if there are women out there who would love a bit of visibility, would love to have a chat and talk about their careers or talk about what's important to them do reach out, because it is hard to find women, and it's hard to convince women to come on the podcast. But I promise you, I don't bite, and you'll get a lot from the support and experience that I can give you.

But the podcasts, you know, we'll continue as long as I'm able to do it, I've got some great people, some surveyors lined up to talk about their careers, what matters to them, some of the things that are going on. And I hope you're in you really enjoy it. One of the things that we'll be talking about in a couple of the earlier episodes is young surveyor of the year, which is the award that our IRCS has, and that's one of the things that actually really keeps me going although I don't directly work with students, and people - newly qualified - I tend to work with people a bit further down the line in their career, I do love engaging with people who have just started out, because the enthusiasm that they have, it's that effervescence, it's that passion, it's seeing things in a new way. And I even get prickly even just thinking about it. It's just having that, you know, starting your career and knowing that you can make a difference, and you're going to achieve things and your life is going to change. My life certainly changed when I qualified. It meant that I wouldn't lose my flat and I could make my mortgage payments, it meant that I had some security and a profession. And so it makes a real difference for us, but also for all the different people that we work with and will work with through our careers. So I'm really curious and interested in, everybody knew coming through, and I was really interested or sort of really pushed, if you like for, in the Bouchard report for more to be done. And for matrix and those members of matrix and young surveyors to get that support and even in schools, because the more that we talk about it, the more that we share everything that we know, then that's how we make a better place. And it sounds you know, it sounds a bit idealistic, let's make the world a better place. No better place than what we found it in. Because that's quite hard. When you're running a business, when you've got people to pay when you've got pain in the ass customers, you know, it's really hard to come back and focus on those things. And I think going through my own career journey, the ups and downs, no focusing on my ADHD, which is, which is all about interest, you know, doing things that I love, and when I do that, when I'm interested, then I can really focus otherwise I get very distracted. You know, but if we come to that, then that's when we do good. And when we do good, we can't help but feel good. And who wouldn't want that in their career and their life? And it's not the truth that you can't earn money doing that you just haven't found the way yet. And so, I'm, as you can probably tell, I love surveying, I love people's journeys, what they do, how it all comes about, but I think we just need to talk about it more and pay it forward, not just for the new people coming through, but also thinking about surveyors later on in their career. When you retire, you don't just switch off, and there are lots that people can do to give back or just to feel connected.

Virtual Summit that I did in:

I thought I was going to do a little bit of an intro to the podcast. But, I hope that gives you a bit more insight as to me, what I'm about, and what the podcast is about. And do follow me on social media. I'm on Tik Tok, hanging out on LinkedIn or obviously, there's a Facebook group. Do share the podcast, you know, with other people who you think might be interested. If you want to get involved in supporting the community or the podcast in any way then do reach out and let me know I'm always open to creative ideas and for people who want to really add value and give back in some way. But for now, thank you for listening to this little intro and hope you enjoy the podcast going forward. I'll check in with you again soon. Bye bye