Inspiration Over Lunch: Self-Made Success From The Kitchen Table

“Be true to yourself” are the words that have been playing positively in my ears since earlier this week when I had the pleasure of sitting down for a chat with Barbara Scully. A successful freelance journalist and self-proclaimed hardcore feminist, Barbara has spent the past five years building her career and reaching goals she had set for herself with the clear principle of , well, being true to herself.


After listening to Barbara speak at the Irish Blogger Conference back in May, I was both entertained and inspired by her no-nonsense, engaging and hilarious talk (Top that off with the fact she’s a cat-lover and I had become a true fan-girl). Hearing Barbara’s passionate plea to get more women on the Irish airwaves which, she often frequents herself, the knowing nods from around the room of mostly female bloggers showed she had hit on a big issue. This applies to numerous areas of politics, business and general society in Ireland. Although, we’ve come on in leaps and bounds in the past number of years in our progressive country, we’ve got a long way to go. Barbara’s request to the blogging world was that “We need more feisty women”. Looking at what Barbara has done, it’s clear she practices what she preaches, when you consider her past and present portfolio of writing, radio work and community involvement.

Once a PR executive, a travel agent, a Reiki master and even at one stage, a parish newsletter editor, Barbara has gained vast experience across a number of areas – all of which have required excellent writing and communication skills. Moreover, she certainly hasn’t shied away from opportunities to learn, write and get her views heard as she has appeared on shows such as Midday and Vincent Brown. Of course, there’s no accounting for raw talent. When I asked her if she had ever gained a third level qualification in Journalism or writing, she explained that she had done a 10 week course for the sake of learning some journalistic terms but actually, half of the journalists out there don’t even have a degree. Like Barbara, they have the skills and the drive to make themselves heard with their natural way with words.

Community Radio station BAI CRAOL Feile 2015, Royal Marine Hotel Dun Laoghaire. June 2015. No fee for repro - please credit Paul Sherwood - copyright Paul Sherwood © 2015

Community Radio station BAI CRAOL Feile 2015, Royal Marine Hotel Dun Laoghaire. June 2015.
No fee for repro – please credit Paul Sherwood – copyright Paul Sherwood © 2015

As someone who has gained (and continues to gain) great success in her field, it wasn’t a surprise to learn that like all successful people, Barbara has had some challenges along the way. These challenges come in the form of negativity and in many cases, keyboard warriors. As something that many of us have dealt with or will have to deal with especially with the growing development of online communication and social networking, I was interested to see what Barbara’s thoughts were. Her comparison of negative commentators to people with “road rage” was absolutely spot-on. They walk around like they’re normal day to day but once they get in their car or behind their computer, they think they’re protected and so, say what they want so they can feel important. In conclusion, the clear learning is that the best thing to do is pay no heed to them. Be courteous, polite, move on and certainly, as Barbara says “Don’t take your eye off the ball.”

As for gaining success in general, she re-affirmed that, there’s no secret. Hard work, staying focused and being true to yourself is the way forward. According to Barbara, “Success is being happy in whatever you’re doing”,  whether that means being a housewife or a businesswoman, being fat or thin and whether you wear designer clothes or everything out of Penneys. Knowing that you’re being yourself and are comfortable in your own skin is what matters above anything else.

To learn more about what Barbara has to say, check out her website or follow her on Twitter.

  • Lisa Collins

    Great post and how wonderful that you got the chance to meet her. She was really impressive at the bloggers conference. I think when you get the opportunity to meet those kind of people who are very much “rocket launchers” it spurs you on that little bit more.

  • Hi Lisa! I totally agree and indeed, it was a fantastic meeting. I like to meet people who have been there, done that and gained great success. We become like those we spend the most time with so I like to spend my time with superstars in what they do :). Hope you’re well! @disqus_F4cWg1nKr6:disqus

  • As a young person hoping to study Journalism next year, this was a really interesting read. I’ve watched Barbara several times on television and have always thought her to be a very articulate woman and well able to get her point across – she has done remarkably well. Reading this has made me even more excited for the next few years ahead – thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Catherine, SO glad this was of use. It’s so important to hear from people who are out there, doing it! For me, Barbara offered so much advice and inspiration! Good luck on your journalism career 🙂