"Oops I Did It Again".... just being Me!
Recently, I heard an old Brittany Spears song on TV. I smiled on hearing the tune, and decided to download one of her greatest hits albums on my iPhone (I was never a huge fan when she was at the height of her popularity…I was more of an Aerosmith, Linkin Park and Nirvana fan at that time). Later that morning, I Popped my ear buds in and headed off to our horse barn….
So, there I was - a 52-year old woman in her muck boots and favorite old sweatshirt, cleaning her horses stalls out, dancing and singing too “Oops, I did it again”, with two Labrador retrievers as my audience! As you can imagine Bailey and Bodie were most probably a little confused by my slightly unusual behavior, but nevertheless seemed rather enthralled and entertained, remaining to watch me!
Random thoughts ran through my head as I rocked away, some of which I thought I should share. The first one was that “Oops, I did it again” should be the title track of my life… for which I could write a huge book, or more likely a series of books, on my life and career adventures so far!!
Hmm..... I'm thinking TV mini-series - or perhaps I'll just settle for some later blog entries :o)
My second thought was to do with, how I felt in the exact moment that I had been singing and dancing in the barn, (although anyone that had heard or saw me, would probably not have described that noise and commotion as singing or dancing :o). Maybe it was because I knew that living on 40 acres and being in my own horse barn there was an extremely high likelihood that no one but my trusty pups would ever see my musical extravaganza….but I don’t think so…
It suddenly came to me that, in the last few years, I had learned for the first time in my life, to do just what I wanted or needed to do, without fear of what others thought, or whether they would still like me or not!
On the surface, I look like I have always been confident and decisive, willing to stand up for myself and others, anywhere or anytime - but what very (very!!) few people ever knew was, that I’m an introvert by nature, painfully shy and for many years I literally forced myself to be confident. Even some of my closest friends assume that I have always had bucket loads of confidence, thinking that I'm kidding them about being an introvert.
Since I was a young child, I always wanted to succeed in any environment that I was in, can be highly competitive and rather adventurous… all of which make for a difficult life when you’re a super anxious introvert! You have no idea how many times I would feel so nervous before presenting in front of others at meetings, conferences etc. my legs would feel like jelly and my stomach would be churning so much, I was convinced that I was about to throw up and when I finally did manage to speak, my voice seemed to go up several octaves, sounding more like a rather odd Scottish Pixie, than an accomplished healthcare professional!
Yes, I did find that the more I managed to push myself out of my comfort zone, the easier it got. But the most effective strategy for me, was to be my authentic self, to become deeply self-aware and to also know and understand the effect that I had, on others around me.
Travelling out of my comfort zone took a lot practice and patience (and Imodium), but the funny thing was, that once I got over the first few shaky minutes of speaking in front of others, I could connect with my audience, and I found that I actually really enjoyed being in those situations, it was awesome!
And now, one of my favorite things to do is to speak with people at workshops and seminars, and to work with, and help people who have similar challenges with their confidence!
Singing and dancing along with Brittany Spears may have looked slightly crazy to anyone who actually had seen me - but it was so much more than that. It was an example of my total acceptance of myself, and an acknowledgement of the long journey that it has been, one that I'm happy to share!
So for anyone out there that thinks that I've always had an abundance of confidence - that my life and career has been (and continues to be) all dolphins swimming, sunshine and rainbows and shining stars......like many others, my life is a work in progress, tough at times, but I learn how to improve it a little more each and every day.
For me it's truly important that people know the real me - Pam. I'll never be a tall beautifully proportioned model, be able to sing like P!nk (who has a phenomenal voice, awesome lyrics and a wicked attitude that I love!) or be able to dance like Shakira .... and I'm finally okay with that.
I've found that when I go with my gut instincts, slightly roguish, rebellious and rather challenging nature, and stay true to myself, whether it be in my personal life or my career - things just get better, I gain confidence and I'm happier in my own skin...
Just me, being me.... even if it is a rather short, ageing Scottish woman, rocking out to her favorite tunes whilst mucking the poop out of her horse's stalls and loving life!!!