A few weeks ago I wrote about my wonderful day at the Country Living Spring fair. Since then I've received so many lovely messages and comments from people who have followed my progress for the last year, congratulating me and wishing me well - I will NEVER get over how wonderful you all are. But when I think about the last year I really consider myself lucky.
When I was invited back to Country Living to do the panel talk I knew it was miles out of my comfort zone. The truth is of course, that I was very nervous. I've never been a fan of public speaking, I get all word-vomity and rubbish just pours out of me and I say words like "y'know" and "That kinda thing" to fill the gaps. When I manage to stop myself I normally relive it all (in slow motion) during the following seconds/minutes/hours analysing and over-analysing every word I said "could I have offended someone?" "Did I really just say that?!" (I'm sure some people will relate to this blind panic!) so although I knew it would be great, I 100% doubted myself.
The other week when I wrote about it on the blog I said "I sat alongside Catherine Piddington, founder of Piddington Jam (the most delicious jam in the world) and Claire Howeson, the designer and founder of Penmayne of London (the most fabulous hats in the world!) and we talked for an hour about our experiences, giving as many tips and advice as we could think of to help the entrepreneurs starting out. "...
I really did mean it, but what I didn't explain was that sitting next to two ladies who have their products in huge household-name shops like Selfridges and Harrods (to name a few) was very intimidating, I felt completely unworthy and in awe of them both, after all, I don't have a clue compared to these amazing women! But after a little while, sat with my 'Madonna Microphone' on, it dawned on me that that was kind of the point, wasn't it? Don't we all feel a bit unworthy at times? The fact that Country Living had asked me to be there should have been more than enough but I still felt like I was fooling everyone into thinking I knew what was going on! So I decided to simply admit that I'm winging it. Everyday, making it up. And that's OK.
It takes years to become proficient at something and even then, when you run a small business, as many of you will know, you have so many strings to your bow, situations and issues crop up constantly that you aren't used to. We simply can't live in our comfort zones the whole time, we can't know exactly what to do in every situation (and thank god, otherwise it would be so boring!) but what we need to remember is that that is OK. We're allowed to wing it, It's how we'll learn! We aren't alone out there, so many other people are pretending too. So next time you feel unworthy, or clueless, or nervous just remember, we're pretty much all making it up as we go along - and you probably know more than you give yourself credit for, you just don't believe in yourself enough to feel confident about it!
For me, as soon as I remembered that I wasn't the only one who was winging it, it made it easier to just get on with it. So I shared what I did know and I unashamedly didn't try to pretend to know 'the rest'. What's the point? Hopefully the Knowledge I've gained from my experiences so far will be enough to help just one person. And today what I know is that we're all in the same boat, making it up as we go along and seeing what happens, and when you think about it like that it's actually quite fun! Let's see where 'Winging It' takes us and enjoy the journey!