I'm an introvert...
I love the fact that my business lets me sit at my desk and talk to women business owners all over the world, without having to step out of my front door. I prefer my own company and I don't really like the spotlight on me.
BUT over the last few years I've been challenging my beliefs about myself. I decided to put myself 'out there' and see if I could stretch those boundaries of my comfort zone.
Let me tell you how The Apprentice helped me face my fears...
Well before The Girls Mean Business, I had a sideline business with a friend - it was a men's makeup business and we were one of the first of our kind in the UK.
Before you ask, the thing we sold most of was concealer, followed closely by anti-shine powder!
Because we were an unusual business we used to get lots of PR coverage without even trying. We were featured in loads of well-known newspapers, we won business awards and one day we got an email from The Apprentice UK 2011 TV show asking us to bring our products and pitch to the Apprentices.
I was simultaneously thrilled and petrified! Every fibre of my being said NO!
The idea of being on TV paralysed me. But my biz partner and I had a chat; she couldn't go on TV as she owned a chain of children's nurseries and felt it could cause issues with the parents - I agreed. So it was down to me.
We had to take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so we did.
And six months later we drove down to London to pitch our make-up business to the Apprentices. They were looking for products they could take, sell and make the most money on.
I was so nervous I can barely remember any of it but from the 15 seconds (out of an 8 hour day) that were shown on the show, I did pretty well. We didn't get selected after our pitch as our products ruled out 50% of the population. But I had faced my fears and done the TV thing. It took away the mystique and a bit of the fear. Want to see it? Here's the link to the show on YouTube and my few seconds starts at 10:13!
I hated public speaking. So when I found out that the local Business Club needed more committee members I went along and offered to chair the Club (no-one else wanted to). I did this because the Chair had to get up on stage at each meeting and give an introduction. I figured that the best way to get over my public speaking nerves was to put on my big girl knickers and face them head on. I hated it the first few times and, to be honest, I was never that good and never really enjoyed it, but I did it. It made me push my boundaries and I did it.
A year or so later, one of my acquaintances on Facebook asked if anyone might want to go on TV on a quirky but fun programme for people who love food but wanted to lose weight. My only question was 'do I need to be filmed in my underwear/bikini? Because if so, I'm not doing it' but the answer was no, it's all fully clothed.
I thought about it, about my nerves on the Apprentice and thought 'well I may as well give it a go, I could lose a few pounds' but the main reason was that I wanted to see what it was like. I knew that it would be going out on BBC2 so would be seen by just about everyone in the UK - if that didn't cure my fear then nothing would! And that's how I ended up on the Hairy Bikers Diet Show.
I was petrified of webinars, so I decided to face that fear head on and start off doing LIVE webinars rather than go for the easier pre-recorded option. I was scared stiff of holding my own events, so I did 4 in 2013. I always figure that the thing I'm most scared of is the thing I probably need to do asap and it's really worked.
I have no idea what my future holds but if I need to go on TV or radio, that's cool - I'm not scared now.
If I need to get up on stage and speak, I can do it and I won't lose too much sleep. As for webinars, I can do them without batting an eyelid, and I actually really enjoy them these days.
And just imagine if I'd said NO to all those things?
Imagine if I'd let my fear stop me, instead of putting on my big girl knickers and deciding to face those fears head on?
I'd have missed out on some memorable experiences. And I'd still be scared.
So, lovely lady, what do YOU need to face up to?
I'll bet there are things you've been avoiding because you're scared and YET they would take you forward in your business. If I can do it, so can you.
That's my challenge - it's time to put on your Big Girl Knickers and try something you've never done before or something you've been dreading.
You'll be the better for it and you'll feel so proud of yourself afterwards - AND you'll not be scared of it any more.
What's not to love?