Emma kicked off our latest 24 question series by getting to the bottom of a curious naming mystery when she chatted to Lisa Appadurai of The Wellbeing Musketeers, which she runs with her partner Tracey Bloss. All for one and one for all!
24 fingers: For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Emma Goode of social media agency 24 fingers, and today I’m joined by the lovely Lisa Christmas LongSausage, and I’m sure she’ll be able to tell us why she’s called that on Facebook, because I promise you that isn’t her real name. How are you today Lisa, are you okay?
Lisa: Hi Emma I’m fine thank you.
24 fingers: You can tell us that now actually. I usually start with what’s your favourite word but feel free to share.
Lisa: I was rather inebriated one evening watching TV and watching the credits roll on the end of a programme. Somebody’s name rolled past whose surname was Christmas, I made the chance remark that I’d love to be called Christmas. The LongSausage part, I’ve no idea where that came from, I think it got tagged on that same evening. That was 10, 11 years ago and just kind of stuck really…
24 fingers: I love it. Lisa, what’s your favourite word?
Lisa: My favourite word, for this year anyway, is progress. It stems from my holiday I had just before lockdown, which I took as an opportunity to try and think about what I was going to do this year, how things were a bit up in the air in a few areas and I needed to formulate a plan while I was on holiday, think about the future.
I had also coincidentally managed to snap a beloved silver ring I’d been wearing for years and decided to replace it. While browsing in a shop on holiday I was looking at some lovely jewellery and there was this pretty little ring with the word progress written on it in the Thai language. It just seemed so appropriate so I thought “d’you know, I’m going to have that as it sums up what I’m thinking about at the moment”.
24 fingers: Life’s too short, buy the ring: that’s my motto. What gets you up in the morning?
Lisa: My filter coffee and my daily gym work out – or at the moment my home gym workout. I can’t do without either of those.
24 fingers: What do you honestly, truly think of social media?
Lisa: I’m loving social media for the fact I’ve got lots of friends and family in far-flung countries so it’s amazing for being able to keep in touch and see birthdays and photos and the like going on. I’m also slightly addicted to it at the moment as for the past few weeks I’ve been working from home a bit more, so I’ve had more time to scroll, but I’m not loving the noise you get from social media. Being bombarded with endless rubbish and adverts, and the amount of quite nasty comments in different groups. People are on quite a short fuse.
24 fingers: Keyboard warriors I believe they’re called. Kindles or books?
Lisa: Books, definitely for the smell and feel of them.
24 fingers: 100%. What do you feel is the biggest challenge your industry is facing right now?
Lisa: It’s not just a “right now” thing, I think it’s been for a long time, it’s just changing people’s perceptions. People come with the idea they want a diet plan or a pill or some funny green powder to drink and suddenly they’re going to be thin and beautiful and feel wonderful. That’s not how we work, personally. It’s trying to get them to see there’s a different way and one that can be successful for them in the long-term.
24 fingers: I have to say I’m a convert of funny green powders, but I absolutely agree with you, it’s got to be a long-term solution. I’m very much “I want fixes right here right now” and get very frustrated when I haven’t achieved my goals tomorrow. I phone my coaches up and say “I’ve done X,Y,Z and want it to happen now” and they say “slow down, there’s been decades of abuse”.
Lisa: I think it’s wishful thinking for people, and I’m like that myself. I hope if I try something new that it’s going to happen instantly but I know in my heart and head I’ve learned probably that it’s going to take a while.
24 fingers: What did you want to be growing up?
Lisa: I wanted to be a veterinary nurse, and I became one so I was very lucky.
24 fingers: So what led to you founding The Wellbeing Musketeers?
Lisa: I had a long passion for health and fitness and nutrition since the age of about 17. I qualified as a fitness instructor and massage therapist, and then about 10 or 11 years ago I saw an advertisement for an open event for a new scheme being set up in Southend. I went along and chatted to some of the management of that new team and got an application form, and was one of the lucky ones to get a job as a health and wellbeing practitioner and it led on to this.
24 fingers: Now you’re favourite word was progress: can you use it in a sentence?
Lisa: Yes, though this isn’t me, it’s George Bernard Shaw. He said “progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”. I think it’s very apt for the type of work I do.
24 fingers: It’s interesting about mind shifts – I’ve had a few lately and the difference to how I used to think – just take one thing and suddenly it was like a switch going off in my brain. Now, can you make it rhyme?
Lisa: Yes and this is also appropriate: it’s progress, don’t regress.
24 fingers: Very good. I’m going to steal that one. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Lisa: I would tell myself not to worry about what other people think of me, their opinions of me, know I can be confident and bold enough to speak my mind, as long as I’m not horrible. Be a bit more bold, really. I was a bit of a frightened rabbit growing up.
24 fingers: What’s the best thing anyone’s ever done for you?
Lisa: Bought me a lovely pair of Gore-Tex running gloves, which were very unglamorous, but without me saying anything, he noticed how cold my hands got when we went for a run together. Then out of nowhere, he produced these lovely gloves which back in the day – this was quite a few years ago – were actually very expensive. I was quite overwhelmed that someone had actually noticed without me saying anything and I’ve still got them to this day. I still wear them in the winter.
24 fingers: If you won a big award of some kind, who would you thank?
Lisa: My teachers at school, first and foremost, because they wrote me off. I was off sick quite a lot at school and had glandular fever a couple of times, and my teachers told my parents I wouldn’t pass my exams or get anywhere in life and I feel I’ve proved them wrong. I’d also thank my lovely clients I’ve seen over the years. They’ve been amazing on the whole and trusted me with a lot of their woes, and they didn’t know me from Adam when they first met me, but they really made me feel quite humble and grateful that I was able to help them.
24 fingers: You might not have had it yet, but what’s been your career-defining moment so far?
Lisa: It was when somebody told me that I’d changed her life. She did that herself and may well have done it without my help, but she said that to me and that was wonderful – it made it all worthwhile.
24 fingers: You obviously gave her the tools to change her life.
Lisa: I hopefully planted a seed there somewhere.
24 fingers: Definitely. It germinated. I know you’re up early, can you give us a timesaver for the day?
Lisa: I always put my makeup on and get dressed while the coffee’s brewing, so I have to be quick about it. I also always make sure if I’m going to be out at lunchtime then I prep it the night before. It’s a life-long habit.
24 fingers: Amazing. You’re a better woman than me. Where do you see your industry in 24 months?
Lisa: Well it’s going to be growing I think, because people are going to be looking to better themselves health-wise and so on, but I’d like to see more people embracing long-term change. Moving away from a visit to the doctors to get more pills, when perhaps other changes they could make might make an improvement for them, and just look to the future and embrace the fact that they can make change if they’re patient, and not throw it all away if it doesn’t work in the first few minutes.
24 fingers: I will remember that. Where were you 24 months ago?
Lisa: I was still employed doing a similar health role and very happily so. I had a wonderful small team of colleagues to work with and a wonderful client base too, so I’m very grateful for that. At the time I was thinking of striking out on my own at some point in the future but it was never really a serious thought I don’t think at that point.
24 fingers: And yet you did it. What’s an interesting fact about The Wellbeing Musketeers?
Lisa: I don’t know if it’s interesting but it is a fact. Tracey and I could be any one of our clients. We’re both in our fifties now, Tracey’s a single mum of five and a nanna as well, I’ve had mental health issues over the years, I’ve had problems with food. So we really can relate to the struggles our clients have, we’re not just sitting in a higher position preaching at people and saying “well you should be like us”, because we understand how time-consuming these things can be to sort out and the damage you can do mentally as well as physically.
24 fingers: I don’t think there’s anything better than talking to someone who listens and gets it, rather than judging. I think that’s a huge thing. I know the people I’ve worked with in the past have been empathetic and not tried to rush me.
Lisa: We try to make our client experience really chilled out. We don’t wear a uniform or even wear a T-shirt with our logo, anything that would make us stand out as an official kind of person. We’re not medical people, we’re mates you have a chat but maybe we’ve got more knowledge in a certain area that benefits the client.
24 fingers: Brilliant. If you had a 24-minute Skype chat with anyone who would it be?
Lisa: It would be my grandma, who passed away when I was 13 and my grandad, who unfortunately I never got to meet.
24 fingers: What’s one word you’d like people to describe you with?
Lisa: I’d like to be known as kind. I hope I am, most of the time.
24 fingers: Would you mind taking a selfie?
Lisa: Hair and eyebrows – not good at the moment!
24 fingers: What’s your favourite social media campaign or group you follow?
Lisa: I follow and I’m part of the Myprotein Facebook community. I probably shouldn’t be plugging a supplements company, but it’s one I buy from and I was invited to join their VIP community and it’s absolutely wonderful. I’ve made what I feel are really good friends, though I’ve not met any of them. Everyone’s super-supportive. I don’t understand Twitter or Instagram I’m afraid, I’m a bit of a dinosaur.
24 fingers: Twitter’s the best. What’s one quote sums that defines your work ethic?
Lisa: I saw this online, I don’t know who it’s from but it sums things up for me. It’s: If you have a passion for what you do, regardless of status or income, you’re a winner in life. I find that to be true – I really love what I do. If I could afford to do it for free I would, but sadly I can’t.
24 fingers: Not yet. What’s been the best part of your day?
Lisa: Today’s been the workout this morning and later on it will be putting on my pyjamas as I’m not going out again.
24 fingers: I’m envious now you can put your pyjamas on at 5 o’clock. Finally, anything to plug?
Lisa: Just us, Tracey and myself as The Wellbeing Musketeers. If you want to make a lifestyle change, and have been thinking about it for ages or you’re trying lots of different things that aren’t working, we can help you. We want you to feel empowered and confident and help to improve your current and future health. This isn’t about looks as much as your actual state of health and how you can manage it better and avoid developing long-term conditions.
24 fingers: How can people find you?
Lisa: They can find us through Facebook. No website as yet but hopefully in the pipeline before too long.
24 fingers: Talk to me about that. Thanks very much Lisa, I really enjoyed our chat. Inspiring. Carry on the good work.
Lisa: I will, thank you.