“I intentionally get myself in situations beyond my ability and then rise to them”
This is an affirmation I picked up from a book I’m reading and working through – Barbara Stanny’s Overcoming Underearning.
It feels fitting for today, as I prepare a 10-minute talk I’m due to give on Monday evening on a London stage.
I’m one of the speakers on The Inspire’d Stage in Mayfair this Monday Sept 5. The Inspire’d Stage is a platform for inspirational, personal leadership, Ted-like talks. If you’re in London, I’d love to see you there. Some friendly, supportive faces in the audience will make all the difference. Check out the website – inspiredinlondon – for some videos of previous speakers, Monday’s line-up (also see below) and to buy tickets (£12.50). Tickets also available here.
Looking at that affirmation again, I know speaking for 10 minutes about my journey from addiction, an eating disorder and other self-harming behaviours to recovery and self-love isn’t “beyond my ability” as such. But it certainly challenges me. It takes me out of my comfort zone. It makes me feel a bit queezy.
This is all good stuff.
You know this, right? You know that the stuff that makes us feel a little sick to the stomach, that gives us chills and makes us want to run away fast is the stuff we really need to be doing? That phone call we don’t want to make. That conversation we don’t want to have. That piece of work we don’t want anyone to see. That big leap we don’t want to take. The stuff that scares us is what we need to do.
Not all the time. That would be system overload. I know for me, stepping up makes me want to instantly retreat. But the more I take big leaps, the more those big leaps start to feel like small steps. And the less they frighten me.
I do need to be prepared for the ‘afterburn’, though – that moment of self-doubt that kicks in as soon as I do something a bit different, as soon as I speak up or put myself out there.
That hit me this morning when I saw my write-up for Monday’s talk – the write-up I’d written myself – advertised on Facebook. I wanted to hide.
Here it is: “Our second amazing speaker at Inspire’d Stage event on 5 th of September is : KATHERINE BALDWIN is a former international news journalist who once had a desk in parliament and a seat on the prime minister’s plane. At the same time, however, she was secretly binge eating and drinking, compulsively exercising and self-harming in other ways to help manage stress, numb fear, mask low self-esteem and to try to ignore the gaping hole between her job and her authentic self. One minute she was quizzing Tony Blair in a press conference in Shanghai, the next she was bingeing her way through the minibar of the plush, five-star hotel. Eventually, the pain got too great – Katherine’s shiny exterior cracked and she was signed off work. Following a rock bottom moment when she questioned the point of her life, Katherine found the courage and tools to walk away from her high-status role and to pursue her soul’s work rather than her ego’s work: using her experience to help others break free from whatever trap they’re in and to achieve their unique potential without pain or self-harm. Katherine is a freelance journalist and writer, motivational speaker and coach who’s been in addiction recovery for 13 years and who is passionate about the importance of being real. Her philosophy: if we’re all honest about what’s truly going on for us behind the mask – particularly high-achieving, outwardly successful and confident professionals – then we give others permission to do the same. The result: less stress, less self-harm, less addiction and less suicide, and more people living authentic, real, wholehearted, fulfilling lives. Katherine will soon graduate from the School for Social Entrepreneurs LLoyds Bank Start-Up programme, where she has been developing a social enterprise based around the importance of being real and authentic to break negative patterns and avoid self-defeating behaviours.”
I read that and I felt shame. Was that me? Did I write that? What will people think? Will I be laughed at and ridiculed? Who do I think I am?
You know that voice, right? The voice that wants to keep you small.
For me, it’s always there. I take a leap out of my comfort zone and it tells me to get back in my box where it’s cosy and warm. I put up the ad for The Inspire’d Stage and that voice tells me to take it down. I want to be visible but as soon as I’m visible, I feel shame.
But I don’t get back in my box or take the ad down.
I get on with preparing my talk and doing some long overdue work.
It’s time to get clear about my purpose, about the various hats I wear, about the skills I offer and about my income streams. It’s time to do some web design so I have two separate sites.
I now know that I need one for the ‘From Forty With Love’ work I do – this blog, the book I’m writing, the first-person articles I write (there’ll be one in Red magazine this Autumn on commitment phobia), the motivational talks and the relationship coaching I’m beginning to offer. More to follow on that. It’s exciting. This blog site could probably do with a bit of a revamp too. I’ve barely changed it in years.
And I need another website for my other hat – my PR coaching, consulting and copywriting – the work I do to help other individuals and businesses get their message out there, into the media and out into the world.
While there’s an umbrella that sits across the two – authentic storytelling – I’m targeting different markets so I need to keep things clear. I need to split my Twitter feeds too.
But first, I’ll give myself space to connect to my intuition, to what it is I’m supposed to say on Monday night. I deserve to give myself time to prepare well.
I hope to see you there. I’ll be alongside some fabulous speakers, plus you could bid for the wildcard and get out of your comfort zone. Why not? What have you got to lose?
SIMONE VINCENZI, The Purpose Strategist and award winning speaker is warmly welcomed back to Inspire’d. He is founder of GTex, former Michelin starred chef, and a man responsible for helping thousands of people using his own Purpose Awakening SystemTM.
LYNSEY BONELL, Much loved superstar of the UK Improv and stand up comedy circuit is an actor, improviser and writer, who performs regularly in London. She has appeared internationally including: New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, Melbourne, Copenhagen. She has taken a number of shows to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as well.
KATHERINE BALDWIN, is a former international news journalist who once had a desk in parliament and a seat on the prime minister’s plane. She shares her story of secret binge eating and drinking to now working with self-harming high achievers.
UTTAM R MARAZ, fearless speaker from WARREN RYAN’s FEARLESS SPEAKERS ACADEMY he will tell us of the amazing transformation that he has been through to find happiness through the toughest beginnings of his mum death and father suicide.
KP FUSIONEERS, amazingly talented currently gigging all over London and promoting their new EP. They stole the show at the ”Spice of Life Open Mic” this month, and we are thrilled that they are going to be closing out the night for us.
WILDCARD, as always, the line up could also feature YOU! We are one of London’s only nights to have a unique opportunity for one person to be featured as the wildcard, where we select someone who would like to share their message on the night, and this slot is often very magical.