Gosh, this first post feels so intimidating.
The pressure to get it just right, perfect, feels huge.
It’s like being faced with the first pristine white page of a beautiful new notebook and then feeling like your handwriting is too messy for it’s perfection.
But one of the things I am learning is that the best antidote to fear is action. The fear will always be there. It won’t go away (or at least it doesn’t for me). I have to acknowledge it, and then take action despite it. Or maybe in spite of it.
So here goes for my first post, fear and all.
I’m Jen. I’m a ‘retired vet’, a wife, and a mum to two boys.
I’ve been variously described as a ‘mending activist’, and a ‘community champion’ and a ‘change maker’.
And now I’m a coach as well.
So how did I get here?
At 15 I had a dream. A big dream. I wanted to be a vet.
My secondary school science teacher told me I would never get the grades, and that’s when my stubborn streak kicked in and I decided to prove him wrong!
For the next 4 years I threw myself into achieving that dream. I worked harder than I have every worked before (or since). I look back now and I marvel at that young person, feeling the fear of failure but ploughing on regardless. Applying herself 110% to achieving a dream. Finding out what she needed to do and going one step further.
I did it.
And it nearly killed me. I developed an eating disorder, I was binge drinking and I was self-harming. But I got a space at vet college, so it was all worth it.
Or was it?
Fast forward 10 years and I had graduated, was still in the grips of a debilitating and all consuming eating disorder, and the dream wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
The job was stressful – the long days and the on call rota left little space or energy for much else. I felt sick every day driving into work. I would end many days in tears. This very much wasn’t the dream.
Fate smiled on me though. I somehow met a man who loved me, when I couldn’t love myself. He believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. We got married, we had two kids, I went back to vetting in between the kids and part-time work meant the pressure lessened, but the anxiety never went away. It never was the dream job I worked so desperately hard for.
Two years ago I decided enough was enough.
I could either spend the rest of my life working in a job that made me anxious and stressed, and that was ‘ok’ at best. Or I could walk away and look for something else.
I walked away.
I left behind the stress and the worry and that sick feeling in my stomach. But I also left behind my identity.
Being a vet had been a part of my life for 20 years. Working towards it, studying, graduating, working. It was all I knew how to do. As much as I hated it, it was a part of me. If I wasn’t a vet, what was I? Yes, I’m a wife and a mum, but what do I say when I’m asked that all important question in the playground “And what do you do?”.
The Big One…
So what exactly do I do?
I’m still figuring that one out, but I know that there is something deep inside me that needs to Make a Difference. That needs to help other people to make a difference, and to start to think about different ways of living, consuming, and doing business that aren’t killing off our planet. The planet my kids will inherit.
Four or five years ago, as a reaction to the realisation that my then 3 year old was already a fully paid up consumer who had tuned into the message that more stuff would make him happy, we spent a year buying nothing new. Since then I have started and run a successful blog, discovered a love of writing, built an online community, overcome my fear of public speaking by diving straight in at the deep end with a TEDx talk, written for the Guardian, the Simple Things magazine and The Green Parent.
I learned new skills, and I stepped out of my comfort zone. And I also learned that each and every one of us has the power to change the world.
I never really thought that I could make a difference. I was only one person. Surely my actions, in the grand scheme of things were inconsequential. How could I ever make a difference?
Well I can. You can. We all can. Our actions matter. Our choices matter. The things we buy, or don’t buy, the businesses we support, the businesses that we own. They all matter. They all have an impact. Whether that impact is a positive one or a negative one is up to us.
That message is one that the world needs. Right now more than ever.
I want to spread that message, inspiring each and every one of us to step into our inner change maker. To make a difference. As cliched as it sounds, to be the change we want to see in the world.
My mission is to empower each and every one of us to believe in our own power to create meaningful change.
Whether you are a business owner, solopreneur, blogger, or just you (and by the way, ‘just’ you is more than enough), I want to help you to get clear about your mission, your why. And then the ‘how’ you can make it happen. I want to prove that ‘good business’ means you can live the life you want, have a positive impact on people and planet, AND make a profit all at the same time.
I want to help as many people as possible unlock the potential that is inside them, often stifled by layers of fear and a lack of self-belief, and all the other stuff that life piles on top of us, and then to go out there an change the world.
Crikey, this has turned into an epic post. I guess that’s the thing about making a start – it’s that first step that is hardest, putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, or one foot in front of the other.
But 1000 words later I’ve written my first post. I’ve taken my first step. I’m getting out there and I’m changing the world.
I’d love for you to join me in my journey. And for you to take those first steps too.
Together we can do this.