Perfectly Imperfect – It Starts with Action

Presence Plumb

Fellow podcaster Presence Plumb whose podcast , “It starts with Action”, draws on The acronym for ACTION – Awareness, Confidence, Tenacity, Intention, Openness and Now (Presence) is our guest today.

Being Perfectly Imperfect, Presence admits that fear of failure and fear of success has held her back. Her proudest moments have been showing vulnerability and being open . “This just whom I am”.

“I set the intention of how I want to show up as a leader. I realised I was not  where I wanted to be I realised that I could change.. If you want to become more confident,.  if you have the intention to show up  as someone who’s more confident. You can become, whoever you want to be.  It’s your decision.. You can absolutely change anything regardless of where you are right now says” 20 year old Presence.

Presence has set up a friendship group, a mini community that has calls once a month to share obstacles , challenges and opportunities.  “ The crucial thing is to be clear about the kind of accountability needed and find people with whom you can be trusting and open” counsels Presence.    Her shout out is for reverse mentoring where older and younger people mentor each other.  We can all  support and encourage each other no matter what generation we hail from.


Paula: 00:00:00 Welcome to “TesseTalks” with your host, Tesse Akpeki, and your cohost Paula Okonneh, where we share with you top leadership and management strategies. This is a journey of discovery. We are learning that leadership is personal and professional, and we hope you walk with us in this adventure. Our guest today is Presence Plumb, and she will be talking about superpowers with vulnerability. Presence is a 20 year old economics student, coach and podcaster. After overcoming, anorexia and depression from alopecia, she developed an interest in understanding the mind and habits of top performers. So Presence started her podcasts. It starts with action, when she discovered that the only way she got to where she was by taking action, when she didn’t feel ready, as she says, “people have so many goals and dreams, but they either delay it or they choose to take no action”. So her curiosity on why and what she could do to help others take more action became the mission of her podcast. Alongside with podcasting, Presence is studying and working on other projects with the aim to be a better human, both by herself and others. Presence you make me feel small, but welcome to the TesseTalks and I’ll turn it over to you, and Tesse.

Tesse: 00:01:41 Hi Presence. I’m so delighted that eventually we’re able to get you on the show. Thank you so much for coming, I’m in awe of you and what you’re achieving. I’m really curious to hear a bit more about your podcast. It starts with action.

Presence: 00:01:57 Thank you so much, Paula and Tesse for having me, I’m really grateful to be here. So yeah, my podcast, “It starts with action” is just all about taking action, interviewing other older people who have more wisdom than me to understand how they got to where they are and if they could share their secrets and any actual steps for us, young people. Personally, it came from me overcoming, anorexia, and took me so long to take the first step to me, like six years to realize I just really can’t live like this anymore. And then now I’m thinking of back, why did it take me so long to take the first step? And then for example, changing my mindset because of depression from alopecia and if you don’t know, alopecia is where your hair follicles attack itself, so you lose all your hair. I was with an autoimmune disease. And yeah, it took me a long time until I decided that, okay, enough is enough. And then I started talking to different people to overcome my shyness, and I realized that so many people have so many goals as well, they have so many ideas and things they want to try things they want to change and overcome like other people with anorexia. And I just realized we know what we want, we have dreams of goals, so why are we not achieving it? And why are other people successful? And if you’re not successful, and then I love listening to podcasts and the word that always comes up is action. So I became curious. If what we have to do is take action to get to where we want to be, then why are so many people not taking the action? And that’s all down to different things like self doubt, fear of failure, fear of success. There’s just so many things that’s stopping us from taking action. Like the solution is simple, but, there’s actually so much more behind the word action. And then over time as I’ve podcast grew, I came up with this acronym full action, and now say that the podcast is more than a podcast, but a way of living in a way that I try to live  up to and how I want to live my life. And so “action” stands for “Awareness, Confidence, Tenacity, Intention, Openness, and Now”. So is having self-awareness of what you want to do in life and who you are, AC. Confidence, because I was someone who’s really not confident from being bullied a lot and losing all my hair, just super self-conscious all the time. But talking to other people who are more successful, they all have that confidence that they can do it and their ability to trust themselves. So that’s something that I want to live up to. T, for Tenacity is a determination, not giving up. I, for intention, so having intention for everything that we do instead of living life just felt like I was living life as a robot, just not really thinking, just living. But once I started to realize, Oh, people who are successful have intention, I feel like I’m living life, just setting that intention, how I want my day to be, how I want the situation to be and see intention. And then, “O”, for openness of being open to dreaming bigger, being open to believe that something that you think isn’t possible actually is, like something as small as just talking on a podcast to being here. I never ever thought in my life that I would ever be so comfortable with talking because I was someone who really struggled a lot with networking or just talking to family in general. So yeah, being open to the possibilities of what life can bring. And then “Now” is now, as in present ,like living in the present and enjoying the process because just taking action every single day, but if we don’t enjoy the  process, then what’s the point of getting to where you want to be. So every time I saw the podcast, I just get a bit like a little anxious. I’m just overly excited.

Tesse: 00:05:43 Excitement Is brilliant. We love excitement. Don’t we Paula?.

Presence: 00:05:51 “I” is for intention. Setting an intention for how you want to show up in different situations or what you want to achieve out of a situation. For example, I used to wake up and just eat breakfast and go about my day, but I don’t ever set the intention, so now I do wake up, I set the intention of how do I want my day to be like, or I go to a meeting of , how do I want to show up as a leader or as a team member? How do I want to show us a daughter? How do I want to show as a good friend? Just having the intention of how you want to show up who you want to be, makes everything a lot more like you’re in control of life and just feels like you’re living up to who you want to be, as opposed to just living passively.

Paula: 00:06:35 I also want to change “A” to amazing. I love everything that you’re saying. A lot of us need to hear that amazing a lot.

Presence: 00:06:45 Thank you

Paula: 00:06:47 That’s great. That’s wonderful. So now I know you went to LSE, have things  changed for you since you went there? And for the listening audience who may not all be in England, “LSE” stands for the “London School of Economics”, fabulous school. So go ahead and did things change since you went to LSE?

Presence: 00:07:11 Yeah. I think things have definitely changed, I guess. Firstly is that I come from a background where like my mom didn’t go to uni and single parents, and so. Getting into university was something that I didn’t actually think of back in the day, I went to like a, not a school where we didn’t really think about university. But then I changed school, and then I realized everyone was talking about university and I did well in school, and then I thought, huh, okay, let’s try. So I didn’t expect to get into LSE, but I’m just really grateful that I got in, and once I got in, I realized that you meet different people, just the environment changes, and the people around me are all really intelligent. Imposter syndrome is real. But at the same time, a lot of things have changed because my GCSE and then A levels and then COVID happened, so locked down happened.  Six months of no school at all, and I was someone who just focused a lot on school because I used to be bullied for having really bad grades, and so there, I became really obsessed with getting the best grades and that’s just been my whole focus until basically lockdown when I didn’t need to go to school, and I had a lot of spare time and that’s when I discovered just how life isn’t just about grades and that I really enjoy coaching and podcasting and doing all these creative stuff. And then university time came back into a lot of intense study, a lot of maths it is not that I don’t enjoy it, but sometimes it’s really stressful and I do wish that Uni could be a part time, that will be perfect. But overall, it’s been a really great learning experience, it’s a big jump, a big difference from A levels, alot more independence. No one really cares about if you do work or not, everything’s on you. So it trains me to take ownership for everything, which is good. But it also requires like discipline that I’m not going to go and do podcasting all day and forget about this assignment I have to give in.

Tesse: 00:09:17 Wow, again, I say very impressive. And thank you so much for your honesty Presence. I’m really interested in what you would say to young people who have fearfull of doing things because they’re afraid of failing. What would you say to those people?

Presence: 00:09:33 Afraid of failing. What stops me a lot is the fear of failing. Surprisingly, the reason behind a lot of things that I’ve ended up doing well in is because I didn’t think of it like starting the podcast. Some people now ask me, why did I decide to start podcasts when there’s like millions of self-help podcasts and competition is high and you’re not scared of failing. And I just started it because it was fun, I think I thought it was fun, and I thought that it would be a great opportunity to learn how to communicate. Because, when I first started the podcast, I just managed to talk to people my age and I never thought I would be able to have the courage to reach out to people like Tesse to talk. So I just saw it as an opportunity to learn how to be a better communicator, and it was really fun, which is why I’m still doing it to this day. It just didn’t come up to my mind. But I guess with some things like maybe something, a business, for example, which is something that I’ve been recently trying to work on, which I think it’s failed and there has got to me, but I think it’s about thinking about what’s the worst that could happen, keep going down. Like for example, I do think about this question a lot in terms of I’m in LSC, I’m doing economics. I can take this opportunity to go and work at the biggest investment bank if I wanted to, because everyone is heading that way anyway, get a ton of money. Or I could maybe take the risk and do my own thing it is what I’m still open to because I’m in my first year, I still have a lot of time to explore, I’m not saying, Oh, I’m definitely going to go all in on entrepreneurship. I don’t want to label myself or have an expectation myself, but I think how I see it is, okay what’s the worst that could happen? The worst that could happen is that okay, I fail, and then maybe I don’t get into a super good job, maybe I need to work like part-time at McDonald’s for example, but I am grateful that I have an amazing mom who lets me stay in a flat, which I have everything basically. Like what do I actually need? I need a room to sleep in, food. It has ALDI  (a supermarket). Like the worst that can happen isn’t actually as bad as it actually is. So what do you have to lose? Especially if you’re young, I feel like we are lucky that we don’t have as much responsibility. I don’t have children. I don’t just have a ton of responsibilities. Any time to try new things and fail it’s now it’s when you’re young. I think the more you fail when you’re young, then the more experience you have and the better at being in the future. I think.

Paula: 00:12:12 That’s an excellent answer because that keeps a lot of people, young and old, fear keeps a lot of people young and old from achieving their dreams, achieving their purpose. And I’ve been talking a lot about purpose to the young people and more mature people I like to say.

Presence: 00:12:30 And I also want to add is, maybe flip it around. Like you’re scared to go for what you want. What is the consequence of not taking action? What’s the consequences of not getting what you want? Imagine, for example, because I had anorexia when I was 14, it went to a point where I was rushed to hospital because I was too weak and I’d spent three months in hospital and the doctor told me that if I don’t do anything, I’m literally gonna die, and I was looking at my heart rate monitor, it was literally going like down to  twenty. And it’s not when you’re like close to death or when you see a lot of people suffering that you start to think about, you know, what you’ve achieved and if you’ve done what you wanted to do. But I remember when I was in hospital at 14 and just looking around everyone, who’s suffering from different illnesses, especially there’s a girl next to me who was paralyzed for life, I always mentioned it on different podcasts. She didn’t have the choice to do what she wanted to do. And now the rest of her life, she’s in hospital. And we’re lucky that we have the choice to do whatever we want to do. And that you deciding to not go for what you want, because you’re scared to fail. Is it really worth it? Do you want to look back when you’re on your death bed and say that I didn’t try that. Gosh, it’s too late now.

Paula: 00:13:48 You’re bringing tears to my eyes. But what you have said it is the absolute truth, which is why I love the name of your podcast. “t’s starts with action“. It was a decision and that decision was the action in itself. And as I listened to you saying that I have goose bumps all over me because I’m like, this is a young, 19 year old who had the realization at the age of 14, that look, it starts with me, I have to make a decision. And you said that you had a choice and the girl next to you didn’t have a choice. And that made you spring into action. So with that, are there any resources or support groups that you as a young person can find useful that you feel you can share with people like you, your age group and even older? Because sometimes we are inspired when we hear someone younger than us talk about things that we are struggling in our older ages.

Presence: 00:14:46] I have a friendship group. I basically created a mini community where I go on the call once a month to talk about life in general. And we share the obstacles that we go through or what we want. So having a group where you go on a regular call, it was really helpful. I think I changed a lot mostly is because of changing my environment. I really like to talk about personal development and mindset stuff, but I never talked about it because, where I live, no one really likes the topic and every time I talk about it just feels like it’s just not interesting. But it wasn’t until I started the podcast and I attracted people like minded to me and then a friendship group formed. And then that kind of accountability and just finding people where you can trust and be open about it is what I think really helps. It doesn’t have to be my group. Although if you’re listening and you’re interested to join, then feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn, happy to add you it will be super cool to meet people, but if not, then find one person or just a small group, where you can openly share your struggles and struggle together in a way. That’s why  like masterminds and having a community of entrepreneurs together, doing different things, but doing it together is super helpful. I think that’s the main thing I would say.

Tesse: 00:16:05 It’s like a big shout out there. I love that bit, Presence about struggling together, doing it together, achieving together, celebrating together. One of the things that is top of my mind now is generational conversations and generational arrangements and organization and communications across communication across generations. What are your thoughts on that kind of generations, different ages coming together and just doing these wonderful action pieces you’re talking about?

Presence: 00:16:37 Personally. I love talking to people older than me, I feel like I learn so much. I learn a lot from my friends as well, but I just love talking to older people. But I think talking to other younger people, we all really love to have a mentor, someone older than us who can guide us and share their experience. I think that, a lot of us, also think we don’t have value to provide, and so we don’t really reach out like we want help, but we’re afraid to ask for help from people that maybe we don’t know, or someone older, because we feel like, Oh, what have I done that I can really reach out to someone like you to ask for help or to even talk to you? I think the main thing is that. So I think it’s about being just both parts being open and, the podcasters that are vulnerable and just say, Hey, I don’t really have a lot to offer, but this is like what I’m interested in, and I saw that you’re interested in this too, I’d really like to connect. And I feel like the older generation, if they could also be more open to encourage people to reach out, it would also make our generation a bit more comfortable than if that helped.

Tesse: 00:17:51 Absolutely.

Paula: 00:17:53 That is great, that is wisdom. The Bible says something like that “out of the mouth of babes”. That is absolute wisdom, younger people, older people need to reach out and listen to what you younger people have to say, because we learn a lot. And the world really is in the hands of the younger people. We are moving out, and so you guys are the ones coming in. And so what you say and what you do is relevant

Presence: 00:18:21 Yeah, it’s interesting because I personally, also never really, like the fact that you guys asked me to go on a podcast. I was like, what? Really? So, yeah. I definitely think that having the older generation reach out to the younger generation, other than the other way around is an interesting also they would make us a lot more comfortable to talk more and learn. Everyone wants to learn, but it’s more so like they’re afraid to reach out. So if, either way, one part can do it first, then yeah, that’d be good.

Tesse: 00:18:54 Yeah, one of the things I really like about you, among the many things is I think Presence is precious. It’s that thing about your openness to reach out, but your openness to accept invitations or to try things you haven’t tried before. And what comes to my mind is the concept of reverse mentoring or reverse coaching. Where people, different age groups, different abilities, disabilities, everything, people just help each other. Is that something that ignites anything in you reversing? What is the traditional way of support?

Presence: 00:19:29 This is very interesting because I really like coaching and, i’ve coached young people, but I thought it’ll be so cool one day to you know, to coach someone older.  I have reached out and I have lots of people that say, I didn’t have enough experience. Well, I could probably have said I know more things than you do. And then along my podcasting journey, I came across a com a startup called “Gen-Z at talks”, which is founded by Dan Sullivan. And so he reached out to me, and we started talking and his goal is to bridge the generation gap. So to bridge that and millennials, and then what he does is a range of different things is still doing new things. But right now it’s just like different shows interviewing other Gen Z around the world. And that’s when I realized, wow, there’s so many young people out there is doing crazy things, and that’s what really inspires me to also try different things other than just focus, everything on school like I used to, is because I see other young people who are my role models, who are doing just really incredible things. Dan is planning to launch something related to reverse mentoring. It hasn’t actually been launched yet, but I’m really excited because I’m going to be a part of it, and I don’t know how it’s going to go, but I’ve always wanted to, I’m not always wanted to, but I just think it would be really interesting to see how I can add value to the older generation. Because as a podcaster, I always have to reach out to guests and it’s just something that is always on my mind. Like how can I stop asking so much and start adding more value? Because I feel like I don’t really have that many skills exactly, but I don’t know, I’m just really excited for this reverse mentoring scheme coming out soon and seeing how I can help, and if I can make a difference.

Paula: 00:21:07 And I know you can, because, just like our fingerprints are unique, each one of us are unique, so you’ve got something special that you are going to bring, and no one else Presence can bring to that table, no one else can bring to the world. So you’re special, and I’m so proud of you and listening to you as a more matured woman. And as I hear you talk and hear so much wisdom and you have so much potential. And so just as I’m so proud of you, I want to ask you, what do you think makes you most proud? What do you think you have done that you’re most proud of?

Presence: 00:21:46 Ooh, what makes me proud of myself?

Paula: 00:21:50 Yeah.

Presence: 00:21:51 I think I do struggle with a bit low self confidence and doubt. I think the proudest thing that I’ve ever done, surprisingly that’s changed everything for me is, generally just being vulnerable. I went through different phases. So the first phase was having anorexia and then semi consciously, recovering from anorexia, not telling anyone about it and then losing my hair, wearing a wig, not telling anyone about it, and then being in the recover dish, but just up to that point. I felt comfortable in myself, I was wearing a wig, but the thing is, I didn’t tell anyone about it. I just kept it to myself and I was comfortable, but I wasn’t truly being myself as I am now. I wasn’t truly being able to reach out to people like connect. I’ve never had a true friend that I could really deeply connect with. And that’s something that I’ve always wanted, and I would say the proudest thing that I’ve done that’s really changed everything is just being open. And I shared my story on one podcast ages ago, and that really changed a lot because that was when I just shared my biggest insecurity, something that I never wanted people to know about. I never wanted people to know about my past, I was really ashamed of it, but once I just decided why not just share? I managed to connect with other people in a much deeper level. And I managed to make some incredible friends that have just made my life so much better, but it was all down to sharing my biggest insecurity and just being vulnerable with this is who I am. I am probably the most imperfect person you’ll ever meet. But, I dunno, this is just who I am. And I think before I was just really, I didn’t want to show that side of me. I just wanted to show that, no I’m the student where I’ve got all the best grades and this is just who I am, there’s no flaws to me, but I think right now I’m just accepting that I’m far from perfect, and I don’t need to show up as someone who’s perfect for people to like me, I just needs to show up as me. And that is the proudest thing I think is just like showing up as who I am, because I didn’t before, and I don’t know if that’s a good answer. That’s just, I think, I think that’s what I’m proud of is just being okay with who I am.

Tesse: 00:24:15 That’s fantastic. I I’m so touched I’m in admiration of you, that’s why I thought it’s lovely to talk about superheroes with vulnerabilities because you are my superhero for sure. One of the things I came across, a few days ago was a saying that said, “You can impress other people with our strengths, but we connect with others with our vulnerability”. And I think that  really is something.

Presence: 00:24:39 So true

Tesse: 00:24:39 IS something, yeah, absolutely, and you showing up as you is excellent. So I’m going to ask this question, because I think it’s a fun question is like, Your emoji, what’s your favorite emoji or avatar?

Presence: 00:24:53 Oh gosh. The emoji. I always use. I use emojis for everything. Like Every single message I use an emoji. But every time I talk to someone on like zoom, I always do this. I don’t know why every time zoom freezes, my friend always takes a screenshot and shares it to me, and I always do this thinking face, so that’s my favorite emoji, I would say. I’m always thinking, yeah.

Paula: 00:25:30 Thinking about the next big thing that you are going to do to change the world as Presence, Plumb I’d like that. So we’re gonna wrap up from talking with one amazing young woman. She has touched my heart. She said some things that I think we as,  I’m not sure what generation I am, but I’d actually call myself a seasoned woman. I’m not 10, I’m not 20, I’m not 30. let’s leave it at that. But you’ve said some incredibly deep things that I know that I’m going to think on ponder on after we’re finished here. And do you have any last thoughts?

Presence: 00:26:14 I think my last thought is what I wish I did a bit earlier. Is to try to really think clearly of who you want to be and realize that we can become whoever we want to be. I never thought I would be comfortable with talking. For example I never thought that I would be recovered from anorexia, make sure you don’t attach your identity to, how can I say it? I attached my identity to anorexia, so I never changed, I never went away from that anorexia identity. And so I think thinking about your identity is really important and making sure that it’s who you want to be is important. And if you’re not where you want to be, then realize that you can change it, realize that if you want to become more confident, you can become more confident if you focus on it, if you have the intention to show as someone who’s more confident. So The main messages is that you can become, whoever you want to be, and it’s your decision don’t feel like you can’t change it. You can absolutely change anything regardless of where you are right now, it’s not the end and everything will get better. You just need to take action.

Paula: 00:27:24 Thank you Presence, one amazing young woman. And as I wrap up here, I’ll tell our listeners, please head over to Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else, where you listen to podcasts and click subscribe, especially if you like what you’re hearing. And if you’d have loved this particular interview, please write us a raving review. If you have questions, or topics, that you would like us to cover related to leadership and governance. Please just send us a note and remember your topics can be personal as well as professional. And if you want to be a guest on the show, head over to “” to apply. Thank you all, and Presence, it’s been an amazing time talking with you.

Presence: 00:28:23 Thank you so much for having me.

Paula: 00:28:25 I love it. Tesse any last words to Presence?

Tesse: 00:28:30 Totally, love my superhero being with me in the show, I’m so glad that you have brought your presence. Thank you.

Presence: 00:28:39 Thank you.