27/06/2016 11:22 BST | Updated 25/06/2017 06:12 BST

What I Learnt From Doing a Bikini Competition Before I Was 'Ready'

'There is power in you that is greater than any judge, expert or professional. Your pure essence, spirit and true self is enough. That is all'. Jane Borthen

On Saturday I took part in a bikini competition and I can honestly say it was one of the hardest challenges I have ever undertaken. It's not just the physical aspects of the diet and the training, it is the mental battle of getting up on that stage and allowing yourself to be judged. The week leading up to it was crazy and not only because the diet is so much stricter, but overcoming all of the fear to step on that stage took a lot of mental preparation. Your thoughts can literally take you out of the game and leading up to the contest, I managed to convince myself several times over that my bikini was going to pop off and that I was going to trip and be a naked, orange heap on the floor!!

The question I have been asked by many people 'Is why would you do that?' It started as an ego driven, let's see if I can get in the best shape of my life, kind of a challenge. It finished very differently.

In the final month, it became apparent that I wasn't ready, but I wanted to finish what I had started and see what it would teach me about myself. Here's what I got:

When I got on the stage, I knew I didn't look like the other girls. I could go into all the details about why that was the case or tell you what I plan to do to make sure it doesn't happen again, instead I was hit with this overwhelming thought - Don't give your power away. Why let someone else decide if you are good enough. In this life there are no permission slips, the difference between someone who is going for their goals and someone who is not, has more to do with what is going on in their mind, rather than their external appearance. That said, I had made some external changes to get me into a place of being comfortable with my body, that part was undoubtedly hard work. I am 36, I've had two children, my life experience is etched all over my body. However, beating my inner critic and not paying attention to what I think people might be saying about me (it's their business, not mine) is another level of self mastery.

You are more than your body. I felt really strongly that there is a power inside of me that is so much more than my body. Sure it's great to feel good in our own skin and if you don't like what you see, it's possible to start to make some better choices and get on with shining in the world. Each of us has an awesome body and it can be made slimmer, fitter and stronger when you start living with more awareness and with more purpose.

You have a right to be here, take up space, speak your truth and go for your goals. As i get older it's becoming more clear to me that there is no point in hiding in the shadows or waiting for Simon Cowell to offer you a deal. I new it was outlandish to want to do a bikini competition, but I had reached a now or never kind of point. I had come to terms with the fact that no one was going to personally invite me to participate, I had to make it happen. That's it I thought 'Don't spend your life singing into your hairbrush', if you want to do something, just do it.

Everyone is beautiful just as they are, in each moment. It all starts with a decision, decide one way and not the other. Just decide now to like yourself and in that moment, in making that decision you will stand a little taller, make a better choice and be on the path to doing what you want.

What do you want? Ask yourself everyday. If you're not going for it, what tiny baby step can you take that feels better.

It can be hard when you do something as all consuming as a bikini competition to move on, let it go. The temptation can be to do one of two things; binge away to make-up for all the months that you were so careful and strict, or to set the next challenge and get your head into that. I don't feel like doing any of that. To me it feels like time for me to exhale, heal, rest and become more playful and fun loving. I am going to eat more fruits and vegetables, still exercise, but it's time to shift my focus. I was put here for a reason and for me it's about serving in a way that feels authentic. I am going to go with the flow more, focus on what's important and for me that feels like a summer of camp fires, belly laughs and beaches.