For my entire life I had been paralysed by the fear of the unknown and the ‘what if’s’ of life.
I would stress and worry about things and I realised that the language of my internal dialogue was very negative. To a degree, I had picked up these habits from my parents who are/ were both natural worriers. I didn’t have a lot of self-belief and was coasting through a very mediocre life with no real purpose or passion. I didn’t love what I did, I didn’t love my life and I was too stuck to see any way forward. Quite frankly I was an unhappy woman but I wasn’t consciously aware of this, I just had a feeling of discontentment, which I tried to fill with things rather than people and experiences.
Then I learned what real fear is when my world collapsed and I was diagnosed with cancer. The first diagnosis didn’t really change anything about my life if I am honest with myself. I was going through the motions of treatment, albeit trying to remain positive but it didn’t change anything about my life. It didn’t make me re-evaluate my purpose in life and reason for living. I was going through this awful treatment and wondering why it had happened to me, but nothing had really changed. Then the universe gave me a real kick up the backside and made me sit up and listen.
A week before I was due to finish chemo, I found another lump in my breast… against the odds, the cancer had returned while I was undergoing chemo and it was clear that there was a huge concern about the cancer spreading. I was looking the real potential of death in the face. What followed was two weeks of pure terror while I was put on every single scanner imaginable to have my whole body checked for any further tumours. I can’t tell you how scary this was and I went through it all on my own. My body felt like a scientific experiment, I had so much radioactive tracer in me either injected or ingested that I was like the Ready Brek kid.
BUT, this was the defining moment and turning point in my life and dare I say it, the best thing that could have happened to me. It made me take a really hard look at my life. I asked myself:
“if I am about to die, am I happy with who I am, what I have achieved and what I will be remembered for?”
A very sobering conversation to have with myself and the answer to all of those questions was no.
So, I did something about. I wanted to be known for helping and inspiring others and I wanted to be in control of my own destiny. I found myself an amazing coach in Salli Glover. She helped me with NLP techniques to start to see the world differently. To set goals and create positive intentions and take actions based on those intentions. The thought of leaving the safety of employment was a terrifying one and I grappled with my lack of self-belief and fear. I initially wanted the safety of being within an organisation on a self-employed basis and went for interviews for positions and was about to join a firm on that basis. But I suddenly had a realisation that I had to do this by myself.
So, a week after finishing radiotherapy, I jumped off the cliff of fear and left my employed role. I started my company 2 weeks after that, after spending a weekend freaking out about going it alone and not joining the firm who had offered me a self-employed role. Terrifying!
I asked myself the question…
“What’s the worst that can happen? Even if it all goes wrong, is it going to kill me?”
The answer was no, of course not, so I went for it.
Logically, my decision was completely insane! I had enough money to last me about 5 months, 2 clients, no brand, no one knew who I was and I had never run a business before. But, I had to follow my heart and listen to my gut instinct and it was telling me to go for it, so I did.
That was not quite 12 months ago. My life is now unrecognisable. I have built a brand, a business, written and published a book, got over the fear of public speaking am regularly featured in the media and I dominate the first 6 pages of Google!
How did I achieve all of that? I stepped out of my comfort zone. I made fear my friend. I acknowledge that it is there and that it is my conscious mind trying to protect me. But I don’t let it rule me. I follow my heart and push through the fear. I have been taught to lean into the discomfort and push through the dips. I have a list of positive intentions that I read every single day and I have to keep updating as things happen so fast. Nearly every day, I do something that it out of my comfort zone.
I have just had the best and most positive year of my life. Don’t get me wrong; it hasn’t all been plain sailing. I have worked harder than I have ever worked in my life. I have been consumed with terror about how I will pay my bills and whether I have done the right thing. Stood up to do my first talk with my legs shaking and palms sweating. But, I kept going, kept pushing forward and kept believing and my confidence has grown every day. As a result of opening myself up and putting myself out there, I have had the most amazing people come into my life and the most fantastic opportunities come my way. And, in my own way, I am making a difference in the world. You can do it too.