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Anxiety is NOT a dirty word

I've battled with a lack of self confidence my whole life. I have an innate fear of failure and am a natural worrier. Or so I thought. Until the day I said "My biggest problem is a lack of confidence" and someone replied "Are you sure? You seem awfully confident about that." Suddenly my thoughts were flipped completely. Now, obviously, it wasn't quite as simple as that. Worrying is a learned behaviour and it will take a lot more than a single challenging conversation to undo years and years of negative behaviours. But you know what? It's a start.

To those who are closest to me it's no secret that I've struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. It came to a head when I was working in a job I didn't enjoy and wasn't very good at - something, you'll come to learn, I don't handle very well! I took 5 months of work and got great Cognitive Behavioural Therapy from the NHS. It's worth mentioning that therapy of any kind isn't a wave of a magic wand and then poof! All better! It takes serious hard work and dedication, not to mention an open mind and willingness to change the way your brain works. I was functioning and living a normal life again. I was back in full time employment and well on my way to rebuilding some semblance of a career. Then about a year ago my employer gave us the option of working with a Performance Coach. We were having regular team sessions with him and they made individual meetings available to us so I took one up. I was more in control of my anxiety on a daily basis and my depression had been conquered so what was next? My confidence, naturally.

I'm probably best described as an outgoing introvert. I like my own space and time alone but love spending time with people. In fact, the success of other people and how I can be a part of that is one of my biggest drivers and makes me good at what I do. But whereas I'm very comfortable with people I'm familiar with, strangers are another matter entirely. So I went to him with my confidence issues. Turns out the only thing holding me back was me. Duh. Over the course of just a couple of sessions Martin Murphy taught me how to manage my fear of new people, the unknown and more specifically networking. I headed off to my first real networking event absolutely terrified but determined to put everything in to practice. After a nerve-wracking first 2 minutes entering the first ever Business Sorority rush event I was considerably calmer. Founder Heather Gray immediately rescued me from my awkward hovering in the doorway, armed me with a name badge and an 'intentionally cringy' get-to-know-you activity. Two ladies then swooped in and started talking and I felt more at ease. I'm sure it comes as no surprise to you all to find out that by the end of the night I was on the roof top bar learning to salsa dance and sharing secrets with what would become a new group of friends.

Fast forward to today and I've been promoted, taking on more and more responsibility and am, quite honestly, thriving in every aspect of my life. So my advice for you today is to give some serious thought to what you think holds you back and challenge it. Look a bit deeper into why that was your response and see if you can unpick it and discover a way to overcome it. All we can ever do is try. For more information on how to become a member of the Business Sorority please click here. Martin Murphy, The Performance Coach can be found here.

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