Sitting in the LBN committee meeting last week, we were all discussing possible changes to the website when our new Chair, Diane, piped up and said “I think we should have a regular blog, encourage the members to write something each week and, as committee members, I think you should lead by example. So, 500 words each should do it, soon as, please (she can do a mean school ma’am, can Diane). Shocked faces round the table. What? I haven’t really written anything since Uni and 500 words was two, handwritten sides of A4 if I remember rightly (that dates me), and what would I talk about? And who would want to use their valuable time reading it? All sorts of doubts flooded into my mind and that little imp that sits on your shoulder and says “you can’t do it” got himself nicely settled.
And then I thought about it and realised that this was the same sort of feeling I had when I first became self-employed and was planning my first Pilates classes. Full of excitement for the new venture and equally full of worries that anyone would actually turn up and want to pay me for teaching them. I was convinced in those first few months that someone was going to come up to me and say “that (i.e. you) was rubbish. I want my money back”. Luckily, that hasn’t happened (yet!). What did help me in that very early stage of my business was joining the LBN and meeting other women who were coming across the same challenges and overcoming the same self-doubts. I confess my initial reason for joining was mostly to have an adult conversation rather than any thoughts of coming away from a meeting with a handful of new clients, though I do, and have had, several members in my classes. And I personally think that’s where the LBN’s strength lies – a meeting place for women who tend to be sole-traders, though not exclusively by any means, and who, by definition, tend to work alone, to come together, meet others in a similar situation, learn something, be inspired or just have a coffee and a chat and an excuse to get out of the house.
I did read somewhere that women tend to be more frightened of success than failure. I couldn’t get my head around this at first but I think it probably has a lot to do with the lack of confidence many women have. If I’m successful I’ll be putting myself out there, standing out, being prominent and then what else will people expect of me? What other demands will they make? And I’ll have even more chances to mess it all up.
The truth is, you just have to get on with it and tell yourself actually, I’m pretty good at this (or, I’m not, but I had a go) and silence that grumpy little imp. I’m not sure I will ever get over the idea that one day someone will tap me on the shoulder and say “that’s it, game’s up, you’ve been rumbled” but I certainly have more belief in myself and people still do actually pay me for what I do – result!
And, if you are one of those lucky people who laugh in the face of self-doubt, then please, offer yourself as a speaker to the LBN and tell us all how to do it.
(And that, ladies and gentlemen, was two, handwritten sides of A4!).
Danielle Hone is an experienced Pilates teacher with classes in the Kendal and Kirkby Lonsdale area, including a ‘Mummilates’ group for pregnancy and beyond. You can discover more about Danielle by checking out her website.