It was World Escape Day – you know, the amazing day organised by the fab people at Escape the City, and I was asked to be a speaker.
Which was cool – yay me – but also a bit strange because rather than prepare a talk on nutrition or health or food, I was asked to inspire the people at the event in their quest to quit their jobs and go do something amazing instead.
I dutifully (because I’m a very good person) prepared my notes and planned on talking about:
- Really listening to the people who are further along their journey and taking time to answer the questions they might ask you (such as ‘what do you really want’ or ‘how can you make a difference’ etc) because they are asking them for a reason.
- How, when you work for yourself, you have to become your brand. Which means you need to be confident in being totally yourself. One of the tag lines of World Escape Day is #differentispossible and I cleverly planned to intertwine this with ‘different isn’t just possible; different is actually necessary’ (clever huh?)
- And then I was planning on finishing with a brilliant final thought about the fact that there are always reasons for not doing something, but that those reasons get harder to work around as you go through life; therefore do it now, rather than waiting for the right moment.
To really emphasise point one, I shared my story about a time when I answered a question that was put to the audience by a speaker at an event for entrepreneurs.
The speaker, a well respected and successful business owner was talking about knowing what was holding you back and then doing something about it. He asked the audience ‘do any of you have something, on a scale of zero to ten, which is so scary that it’s actually paralysing your business?’
Now, I was in a room of around 80 go-getting, confident and successful business people (I know: I can hear you already ask what I was doing there!) so I’m guessing the speaker wasn’t actually expecting anyone to put their hand up.
Except someone did.
One solitary someone stuck their hand in the air.
That someone being me.
I plopped my hand in the air, feeling like a total fool, and worried that he was going to ask what I was so scared of.
Luckily he didn’t ask that publicly. But when I went to speak to him afterwards, he asked me what it was.
So I told him that his question had made me realise there was one major fear holding me back and which had always held me back in one way or another.
It was my fear of using the telephone.
Yup. As a fully grown adult, who in theory should be perfectly ok with talking via a handset, I admitted to him that I hated talking on the telephone.
Not just a little bit.
Enough that I would barely phone friends for a chat. I hated it so much that I had only recently learned to call back potential clients who left messages for me (thanks to a brilliant coach who helped me with that one!) And I hated it enough that my plans to start bringing my nutrition to businesses was failing because I was unable – literally unable – to pick up the phone and speak to people that I had promised to contact.
And as I told this sorry tale to a group of strangers, all waiting to be inspired, I felt like a total and utter muppet. Like the fool of all fools. And just like a fool, I kept on talking. About being scared of the telephone.
When I looked around the room, partially expecting people to be throwing up at the thought of me being so daft, I was surprised to see a number of people nodding. Nodding because, I’m guessing, they too hate the telephone. They too realised that they might have something which was holding them back like crazy. The sense of relief that I hadn’t just gone and blown it was pretty cool.
So cool, in fact, that I then found myself telling this same group of strangers about another mind block I’d had (in relation to point number 2) which had also been holding me back. Something which had been stopping me from really putting myself out there as a nutritionist.
You see, I’m really lucky. I don’t have any body issues. I am, and have been for a very long time, totally happy with my body shape and size.
That’s not to say I have the figure of a rock star. In fact I am rounder than you might expect. And if you put me on some scales, I’m probably heavier than I ‘should’ be. But in real life, I don’t care.
Until you put me in a room with loads of other nutritionists, or until you asked me to publicly declare that I can help with weight loss, that is.
Because nutritionists, and fitness people, and sporty-types and heath folk are almost always pretty darned slim.
And because because talking about weight loss made me feel like a fraud. My little voice in my little head started blabbing on about me not being thin enough to talk about weight loss. About me not looking like a nutritionist.
Now: the point of this isn’t to get your sympathy. I’m over this now.
I’ve realised that actually I’m fine and that it’s actually refreshing to be a nutritionist who looks like a normal person (whatever that might be!) All those fears were a part of my ‘journey’ as a business owner to become more confident as myself. In fact, that was the whole of point 2 – to show people that they have to be themselves if they are going to build a business around themselves.
I just had no intention of telling these lovely people that I definitely don’t look like a skinny nutritionist and suddenly, thanks to already oversharing about the telephone, I ended up oversharing some more.
And once again, the response wasn’t quite what I was expecting. People were glad that I told them. They seemed to appreciate me being so honest. In fact, a few people came up to me afterwards and thanked me for being so vulnerable with them.
So, the point of me telling you about my adventures in TooMuchInformation last night is this:
You never know what people are going to think. So you might as well just give it to them straight. Say how it is for you, and then see what happens.
A good lesson to learn, no matter what you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.
(top quote from Mary Oliver at the end there!)
And after all that, you might even trust me to help you with your nutrition…!