So after last weeks inspirational gathering organised by Kinship Creative with guest speaker Hayley from Southwood Stores, the pressure was on for me to face my fear and speak at the Social Club meeting at The Common Room. It's always been one of my phobias. They suggested I went on a Public Speaking Course when I worked at Cable & Wireless and I was so defiant about not attending. I would have rather left the company than go on the course! How Emma pursuaded me to do it on the way back from Kay's gathering, I will never know, but once the announcement was made, there was no going back!
I had a very busy week rearranging the shop for our Christmas Shopping Evening. An Artful Life 'popped up' with us, so I had to vacate a room and make the shop look Christmassy! By Thursday morning the jam jars were washed for the cocktails, the alcohol and nibbles were bought and Fairytale in New York was on repeat! We were ready! We couldn't have been more surprised when the shop was bursting at the seams, even the windows misted up! Thank you to everyone who came and for those that couldn't make it, try and get to us this Friday for 'Indie Friday'! The independent version of Black Friday. 10% off then too!
I had prepared some notes earlier in the week about my working life! My early years, relieved I hadn't passed one more O Level to go on the two year business course. A year spent working in London which didn't involve much work and on a whim, walking into Trailfinders to spend all the money I possesed on a 'Round the World' ticket! Arriving in Melbourne and straight off the plane and into a job at KPMG. A relief as I only had £400 of my Dad's money to my name! £400 he wanted back!
After a year travelling (I missed out the really fun part!) I arrived back on British turf and straight into a recruitment agency where, after an interesting temping stint at a mens magazine (and I mean those on the top shelf, not 'FHM'!) I got a job with Cable & Wireless. I won't continue, but it shows that if you make an effort, work hard, then things work out. I certainly haven't been work shy, despite my poor academic record! I continued with the tale of course and the journey that led me to set up Vintage Style Hire and more recently Vintage Style Living, the businesses I run today.
I had gathered a few things together, an article in a magazine about me planning Jimmy & Michaela's wedding at Jimmy's Farm, the book our furniture was featured in written by Annabel from Love My Dress and a favourite shoot in You & Your Wedding Magazine at Le Manoir, with Michelle from Pocketful of Dreams , we even met Raymond Blanc! If my talk fell flat, at least they would have something to read!
Once I got going, I loved it. They were such a great group of women, thank you to each and every one of you. It was so lovely to get some supporting words afterwards.
So, after nearly 20 years, I overcame my fear! I think perhaps my anxiety previously was mainly confident issues. I think because I didn't do A Levels, because I didn't go to University, I always felt inferior. I recalled a story about when I was representing Cable & Wireless on an exhibition stand in South Africa (a pretty big deal!), a man chatted to me for about an hour. I confidently answered all his work related questions, I confidently answered any other questions and then he said "which University did you go to?" I said, "I didn't go to University". He replied, "well, what are you doing here then?" Before I had time to reply, he turned his back on me and walked off the stand! Those kind of things knock your confidence!
So, after nearly 20 years, I've come to realise, if you are passionate about what you do, you can talk in public, you can give other people confidence and to quote Kate Winslet in her BAFTA speech last year, "Look At Me Now!"