“Try again. Fail again. Fail better” – Samuel Beckett
Approximately one year ago, after a fortnight of my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome flaring and making me question my ability to achieve my goals, I became even more determined and set my intentions publicly on my personal Facebook profile.
This was what I posted:
“I am feeling rested and revived at last.
Setting my intentions today!
I have a journey and a story to share.
Until now, I have been sharing this via the safe haven of my blog.
However, I know I need to spread my wings (or just put on my Big Girl Pants!) and tell that story further afield and in other formats.
I’m very much looking forward to creating the opportunity to do so.
Sometimes your journey and story is no longer about you, and it becomes greater than you.
Keep an eye out for my Facebook live later this week when I will explain more and reveal all 🔥 🔥🔥”
The post was a little cryptic but I was actually preparing to enter the FireUp 2019 speaker competition by doing a Facebook Live on my personal profile about how I could make an impact at this entrepreneurial personal development event being organised by my former coach Lewis together with five other successful coaches and entrepreneurs whom I greatly admired.
It was the scariest but potentially most fulfilling opportunity to present itself to me, but honestly, I felt deep down that I was ready for this.
I spent a few days scripting what I would say on the live entry, but I kept putting off actually doing it. It had already been a week where I was working through my goals and deciding what I wanted to commit myself to long term. I had already indulged in extensive soul searching and self exploration. Eventually I decided to cast the script I had been writing aside and speak from the heart. I was frightened but I was ready to share.
Of course I’ve written much of what has happened in my life in this blog, but writing here always felt safe! Speaking about and articulating my inner thoughts and experiences to a crowd of unknown people was a terrifying, but strangely appealing prospect. The internal ‘push-pull’ thoughts and feelings continued for a few days, but when I eventually went live on my profile, my emotions really started to well up. The realisation that I was possibly starting this huge new chapter in my life by entering this competition was an overwhelming feeling. Upon finishing a 12 minute outpouring and saying “see you later” to those that viewed, my hopes and desires to win the opportunity really bubbled to the surface. I really did want to do this.
Three days later Helen Packham, a former TedX speaker and an expert in public speaking and coaching people to use their stories to build their business, announced the winner, again via a Facebook live. Just as she started to speak and introduce the competition and the criteria she used to make her choice, our three dogs all started barking. I was listening intently with Big Al asking what she was saying. I left the living room and went to a quieter place. I don’t know how or why but I knew this was my opportunity to win. This was the moment where I would fully and finally accept my journey and my story, and use it to support and inspire others to keep trying, keep failing, keep trying again…and ultimately succeed.
Helen announced my name and I ran for Alan and Sophia. “I won, I won!” Tears poured down my face as my heart pounded with the realisation I was really going to stand in front of 300 people and deliver my message. Everything that had happened over the years all of a sudden made complete sense. I was exactly where I should be and I was about to stand on a stage I needed to be on.
Thankfully I was off work for the St Patrick’s Bank Holiday and I spent the day putting together my slides. It just flowed and the message I wanted to convey was already there. I had my coaching session with Helen that evening; I described the story, my key message and the things I wanted to entwine into the speech. Helen identified the key moments and coached me on how to tell the story, a story which spanned just over ten years but would need to be conveyed in just 15 minutes. I finished the call knowing exactly what I had to do and say that day. Despite knowing this I woke every night, usually at about 3am, with new ideas and thoughts whirring in my head. There was so much to say, so many memories, key moments, key decisions and anecdotes flooding continuously back into my memory. It was an emotional rollercoaster accompanied by fear, anticipation, nervousness but mostly excitement.
Some days in our lives are literally life-changing. 23rd March 2019 was one of those days.
I arrived at BMA House London that morning in my new red dress, accompanied by ‘Big Al’, not totally happy with my hair and make-up as I didn’t have my usual entourage and treatment available from my friends, hairdresser and make-up artist Rachael & Nicole to hand. I kept fiddling with my hair throughout the day but the addition of my signature red lipstick just before going on stage made my confidence resurface. I have never in my life been more nervous. I had spoken many times on platforms across the world about my work in pharmacy. This was totally different. This was my story and my message to these 300 souls full of passion and entrepreneurial spirit looking for the answers to a successful life. Did I have the magic bullet?
My coach Lewis told his story immediately before me requiring me to dab my tears away and take a deep breathe. There was a welcome interval to ‘fix my face’ and then it was time.
I took to the stage to the sound of ‘Dreams’ by The Cranberries. I looked out across the crowd and started to speak; the microphone wasn’t working! The sound man who had chatted to me earlier in the day about being in Belfast the previous week working at the BMA conference, flew like the wind down the side aisle, ran up the stairs and immediately stuck his hand into my pocket to locate the microphone box which hadn’t been transferred properly from the previous speaker. I giggled at the personal intrusion and made the crowd laugh. It was a light moment which eased the tension. He disappeared from the stage and I began again.
You could have heard a pin drop.
The only moment which broke the silence as I spoke was when I pointed out my Big Al in the crowd; they cheered and whooped at our heart-warming love story. I ended the talk with my key message to the sound again of ‘Dreams’, and to the surprise ascent of my coach Lewis who leapt onto the stage and hugged me tight. He and I both knew this was one massive moment in both our lives as I had also acknowledged his role in changing mine during my presentation.
A standing ovation! Cheering and Clapping!
A moment I had visualised throughout the week and now saw materialise before me. Our compere for the day, and one of the other speakers Jermaine Harris also ran onto the stage and embraced me whilst I squealed into his ear “I did it!”
I returned to my seat to find my loving husband in floods of tears and beaming with pride. That meant more than he will ever know as I knew he was worried about my ability to cope with my increasing visibility and potential vulnerability.
I had pulled it off. I had done it! I was so incredibly happy and yes, I was proud. This had been one hell of a journey over one decade and it was time to start the new chapter of my own story book.
The after party was the most amazing event. Everyone wanted a selfie with me. I felt like a celebrity as I danced, chatted and got to know the entrepreneurs who had come from across the world to this fantastic event.
Since that day I have completed my accreditation as a Coaching Master with the training delivered by Lewis and his business partner Liam James Collins; my success and transformation coaching business continues to grow.
Having witnessed my performance at Fire Up Jermaine Harris got in touch with me and is now my mentor; he is supporting my aspirations to become an established speaker and coach.
Lisa Johnson was one of the other keynote speakers I had admired hugely and I was admittedly a little star struck when I met her at Fire Up. Having now had the chance to get to know Lisa I realise she will find this a tad amusing as she is so incredibly down-to-earth, friendly and approachable. I now find myself in her mastermind with other incredible and inspiring women cheering each other on towards our biggest goals and dreams.
Some days in our lives are life changing – this was definitely one of my mine.
Watch my Fire Up 2019 memories here: