Last week I booked a skydive, hosted my first ever event and hung out with new friends. Next week I’m launching a brand new project that’s been months in the making, visiting two cities and starting work on another new thing. This year I’m visiting places I’ve never been before, meeting people I’ve never met before and having experiences I’ve never had before. Life is busy. Life is good. Life is new.
I never realised the importance of doing new things until I stopped doing them. I blinked and suddenly I was two years older, had spent the last 104 Friday nights doing the same thing and felt a bit… flat. I had a lovely life, lovely children and a lovely husband, but I’d lost a bit of a sense of who I’d been before, who I wanted to be now and what I was capable of beyond mum life.
I realised this weekend how far I’ve come since then. By not letting my inner critic drag me down and pushing myself past those moments of self-doubt, I’ve managed to get to a place where I’m doing new things, working on new projects and meeting new people without being crippled by fear, imposter syndrome or last minute nerves. I’ve learned how to look fear in the eye, give it the middle finger and do it anyway.
I’ve always been a pretty confident person on the outside. When you work in the media you need to be a bit bolshy. But a lot of the time I’d put on a mask to hide those secret feelings that were telling me I didn’t deserve to be there.
I allowed some people to make me feel like I was less than – either people I worked for, or strangers on the internet or, sometimes, friends – and I let their opinions dictate my own ideas about myself and my capabilities. There were opportunities I didn’t put myself forward for, outfits I didn’t wear and places I didn’t visit because of those feelings.
That’s why, when Charlie contacted me last summer about putting on an event around building confidence I was – immediately and unequivocally – all in. I’d been in that place where I lacked confidence and I’d come out the other side. And so, The Confidence Lab was born.
It took a while to plan. Charlie and I live on opposite sides of the country. We’re both busy mums working on other projects alongside this one. Although we’d both presented at events before we’d never organised one of our own, and we had lessons to learn and mistakes to make along the way. But we did it, and we did it well.
We brought a room full of lovely women (and two men!) together and it felt really special. We talked about general confidence, body confidence and confidence after trauma, including practical exercises people could take away with them after the event.
My friend Dan (in the pics above) shared his inspirational story and had people crying and laughing. We had cake and prosecco and everyone left with a goody bag full of gorgeous products. And afterwards me and Charlie looked at each other and realised we’d made it happen and we’d helped people feel good. And that, my friends, is a bloody wonderful feeling.
So if you’re in a bit of a rut at the moment and feeling like you could benefit from a new challenge, experience or project then my advice is to just jump in. Start small. It doesn’t have to be jumping out of a plane or organising and hosting an event. It could be walking a new route to work or taking up a new hobby. It could be saying yes to more things or experimenting with wearing brighter colours. Or it could be buying a ticket to our next event – because there will be a next one. In fact, it’s already in the planning. There’s no stopping us now. Watch this space for details.