23 Sep SAY YES!

Last Thursday a friend emailed saying she’d been let down by their keynote speaker for a networking evening the following Monday, apologising for the short-notice, would I stand in, that she’d understand if I couldn’t / wouldn’t with a p.s. ‘you’ll be great’.

My first thought was ‘Is this even possible?’ As many busy working mums will know, with equally busy children, we bust a gut to leave the office on time, to then deal with conflicting timings, locations and activities for the children after school. God forbid forgetting where you left your car, the lights being on red or that all important call coming in. Mondays are as busy as any other evening and involve a 35-mile round trip for swimming lessons. The location of this particular event was 20 miles in the opposite direction. It would be.

This curveball grabbed my attention and I felt nervous and excited in equal measures, even selfish knowing that it would mean relying on someone else being taxi driver, ‘chef’, bag un-packer, hair washer and story reader for the evening.

However, the more minutes I thought about it the more I really wanted to take on this challenge. I’ve only ever spoken in public once and to this day I don’t remember the words; it was rather a blur from walking up on to the stage to returning to my seat in the auditorium. I certainly don’t remember enjoying it and it’s not something that comes easy to me, hence me not voluntarily putting myself forward ever since.

This was an Inspire Business event, all women, all entrepreneurs, who would be there to network, build friendships, establish business relationships and hopefully learn from or ‘be inspired’ by the speakers. No pressure then.

I agreed. With no going back I parked the entire thing somewhere in the middle of my mind and got on with Friday and Saturday as usual, with the exception of waking up with a mild ‘vodka head’ on Sunday but nothing a run didn’t sort out. I had weeks of notice the first and last time I spoke and over that time I remember feeling all sorts of emotions, panicking, writing, re-writing and day dreaming escape routes. My brief this time was to ‘tell us about your journey from when you first started the company.’ Having written the beginning, middle and end in my mind whilst running earlier in the day and with a little much appreciated help on Sunday evening, we mapped out a presentation.

Hunday Manor

I arrived at the venue in glorious late afternoon sunshine with views for miles. I stood for a few moments in the gardens looking out to sea feeling lucky to have been given the opportunity to do something that I wouldn’t ever have put myself forward for. So, thank you Lucy (please forgive me for thinking ‘oh god’ when you emailed) and for believing in me, thank you to all the ladies (and one husband) present for listening so beautifully and not heckling, and thank you to my ever supportive partner and children for allowing me to have a few hours of ‘me’ time. I definitely feel I’ve achieved something and would wholeheartedly recommend everyone pushing their comfort zone from time to time, whatever that might be. Go on, you might surprise yourself and really enjoy it too :). To quote Richard Branson ‘If someone offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes, then learn how to do it later!’

Blog post written by Sara Young, Director CBA Events.

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