Learning To Fly

Hello! Hope you’re well and have had a fabulous Easter weekend?

It’s been yet another busy month for me, so having a couple of days off to catch up with myself (and eat some chocolate) has been great. When I say busy, I mean I’ve done a lot of walking in readiness for The MoonWalk which is now only a few short weeks away – Yikes! I’m slightly behind in my training due to a week of weird-total-body-failure-illness-type-thing which kept me in bed for 5 days – not much fun. However I lost 9lbs, so silver lining…!

Anyway, getting back to the MoonWalk, I’ve managed to walk at least three times a week, including the long weekend walks that the plan sent by the Walk The Walk team suggests – although I obviously missed the week I was ill, and the 12 miler I should have done last weekend, but I did manage the 14 miles required for this weekend, so fingers crossed I’ll still get across that finish line in a reasonable time in May.

A few of you have asked why I’m doing the MoonWalk, and apart from the obvious opportunity it’s given for saucy jokes about my boobs needing your support (!), the real reasons are a bit more serious.

Firstly, I wanted to carry on with some challenges this year after (nearly) completing the 40 for 40 list. I had so much fun doing all of those silly things I’d always wanted to try (yes, even the colonic in a weird kind of way) that I didn’t want to lose the excitement and pleasure I’d gained from those experiences by just heading back to my old life of sitting on the sofa waiting for things to happen.

Secondly, it’s a great way to get some exercise into my schedule without really having to think about it, or go to a gym. I hate gyms. I’m not too keen on exercise to be honest… but walking to and from work is easy – I’ve got to go in both directions anyway, so why not walk it? And with the nicer weather and lighter evenings, it’s been rather pleasant actually.

Finally, and more personally, my Godmother died at the start of last year from Breast Cancer. She very kindly and unexpectedly remembered me in her Will, and it was her amazing generosity that allowed me to pay for all of the great things I did on the 40 for 40 list last year. So, doing the walk is my small way of saying thank you to her. She unknowingly changed my life for the better, and I’m hoping that in a very tiny way, I can pay that forward by raising funds walking around London at night in my decorated bra.

At my Christening - being held by Aunty Freda - my Godmother

The money I’m raising doesn’t just go to cancer research; it also goes towards purchasing things like Scalp Coolers which helps reduce hair loss when having Chemotherapy – the loss of which can be as devastating as the illness itself for some – as well helping support Cancer Care Centres across the country, offering help, advice and maybe just shoulder to cry on, to those around and affected by the disease.

Over 300 men get breast cancer each year too – it’s not just a disease that affects women. So, if you’re feeling like you’d like to do a little something to help too, please pop over to my MoonWalk page, where you can find out a bit more about Walk The Walk, and perhaps click on the link to my fundraising page. Even £1 would be very much appreciated.

Apart from stretching my legs with all the walking, I’ve been stretching my mind this month too. Attending the Sensability “Success Skills for Actors and Media Professionals” run by Alison Matthews, this one day workshop at the start of the month covered a lot of ground based in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) which was very much tailored to the people in the room. Learning how to read people, finding out whether you were a Visual, Auditory or Kinaesthetic person, and setting anchors and goals for ourselves was fascinating.  Turns out some people really can’t hide how they feel about something even without saying anything! I love learning new things, and some of the items covered by Alison really struck a chord. Well worth spending a sunny Sunday in a windowless room!

I hit the Ballet at Sadlers Wells with the delightful Deborah mid-month, a couple of days after her birthday. Fizz was obviously called for, as were a few giggles at some of the slightly more experimental elements of the evening – including the outfit on one chap in the audience! The evening was a showcase of new male talent, which overall was very enjoyable, although some bits were a bit, well, odd! Still, it was a lovely fun night out with one of my most favourite people. Happy Birthday D!

Rather miserably I lost my newish job mid-month, as the project has had to be put on hold till much later in the year, but amazingly I only spent a week fretting about being unemployed again as the very same company asked me if I’d like to return and work on a new series of “All Star Mr & Mrs”. Um, Yes Please! I absolutely love the series, and am so excited to be doing a big shiny floor studio show… seriously how lucky am I!? I’ll tell you more about the dates and tickets next month as things get organised – it’d be great to see some of you there in the audience.

Then last weekend, it was time for a bit more learning, as I attended an extraordinary two-day seminar.  WARNING: To warn you now, this next bit is rather long, and having read it back in all honesty it’s a bit gushy. Some of you ladies might like it. Chaps may want to turn away now. I have thought long and hard about not including it at all, as it’s not what I usually post up here on BlobbyJogger. But, I hope you’ll indulge me and read on in the spirit in which it is intended…

For those of you that really know me, you’ll know I have a fairly low-level of confidence when it comes to “me”. For others, reading that sentence may come as a massive shock. Yes, I know can be a bossy madam at work, and I can be full of funny stories and laughs at the pub, and seem on the surface to be a pretty confident person, but I’m going to let you in on a secret. A huge secret. Most of the time, inside I’m squirming – serious butterflies, shaky hands, dry mouth – the full works. Walking into a room full of people I don’t know is possibly my worst nightmare. Actually not ‘possibly’… It is my worst nightmare. You know when I arrange to meet you in the pub, but I’m waiting for you outside when you arrive? That’s why. I’d rather stand on the street corner for an hour in the rain without an umbrella waiting for you, than go in there alone. Remember, when I first met you, I probably shook your hand and politely said hello, but didn’t really manage to make much eye contact with you? Again, that’s why. I’m better in small groups or more often than not, one-on-one, but I still quake with self-doubt and worry every single day. Hmmm, maybe I should be up for Best Actress at the Oscars?

So, to give you a bit of background, having read an article about Speaker, Life Coach and ‘relationship guru’ Matthew Hussey and his ‘Get The Guy’ events a few months ago, I decided to attended his “Secrets of Attraction” seminar in February… And yes, I know! I’m slightly embarrassed to be admitting that in public! But c’mon, I’m a single lady, and it’s fair to say I haven’t been doing too well on the dating front due to the fact that I, well, just don’t go out! I’m fully aware that Mr Right isn’t going to turn up at my door, ring my doorbell, and ask me where I’ve been all his life (although it would make life a lot easier!), so I thought that maybe, possibly, this so-called ‘guru’ could offer me a few pointers… I was a bit dubious, but I figured it would only be a couple of hours of my time… I wasn’t doing anything else… it might be useful… it could be fun… oh go on then, what have I got to lose? Take a deep breath, smile, try to look confident, put one foot in front of the other… Going alone, I went one Saturday afternoon to a beige North London hotel conference room, along with over 120 other women.

Now you may instantly assume that this kind of event attracts ‘ladies of a certain age’, desperate divorcees or knitted yoghurt hippy types that are just a little bit odd. Wrong! Taking a long look around the room as the pumping music played whilst we waited for the event to start, I quickly realised that everybody there, they were all like me – just normal people. Some were shy, others very loud. Some alone, some with a group of friends. Blonds. Brunettes. Twenty-fives. Fifty-fives. Big ones, small ones, short ones, tall ones.

As we sat, all with pens and pencils poised, Matthew Hussey took to the stage and instantly took over the room. Sharing some rather amazing nugget of information, he told us how to create the opportunity for men to come up and talk to us – it turns out some chaps don’t know how to approach women as we can be a bit scary apparently – who knew?! He showed us how to give the perfect smile to a guy we like the look of (which he did almost too well actually), told us simple things like leaving just a little more room between us and our girlfriends when we’re out so that it’s easier to be approached, to how to start a conversation when we’re in line for our morning coffee. And this was just the tip of the iceberg. Matthew had me hooked, and not just on the dating stuff (although that may prove to be useful in the future) but about the confidence side of what he was teaching – and I knew I wanted to learn more from this remarkably empowering individual. So I signed up for his full Women’s Weekend there and then.

So that’s where I was last weekend. Again, heading back to the same big beige room, again nervous as hell, in I walked. Heading towards the back of the room, I took a seat, pencil and paper at the ready.

Before I’d arrived, I made two promises to myself about the weekend. First, knowing that we would have the option to go out on the Saturday night in small groups to practice what we learnt, I made a firm internal commitment that I wouldn’t back out and slip off home early like I usually do. I had to do this. Properly. Secondly, if Matthew at any point asked for a volunteer during the weekend (as he had done at the seminar previously), I had to put my hand up. I obviously didn’t want to get picked, but I had to push myself out of my comfort zone and at least put myself out there.

Midway through Saturday morning, sure enough Matthew asked for a volunteer. I put my hand up. Oh shit. I was the only person with a hand up. Oh shitty shit shit. I was invited up on stage. There was a polite ripple of applause as I nervously walked to the front of the room. Oh no, what had I done? To be honest, I’m not really sure what Matthew was talking about at that point, I think something about men looking after their women… bad day at work… wanting to help. All I remember is the room feeling very hot, everything suddenly getting very dark, and not being able to breathe. Not being able to focus. Desperately not looking at the women in the audience. Certainly not looking at Matthew until he spoke directly to me. Holding my hands really tightly in front of me to stop them shaking. Looking at the floor wanting it to open up and swallow me whole.

Then, through the fog, I heard Matthew say that we were going to hug. Oh Jeez! I could feel 120 sets of eyes swing round all focusing on me, and in my head, they were giving me ‘evils’… I pulled some kind of funny face, heading to my default ‘fake it till you make it’ confidence mode and the audience let out a laugh. OK, I can do this. Awkwardly I went in for a wobbly lopsided hug. Grinning, Matthew pulled back and laughingly scolded me “Oh no, we’re really going to do this…” and gave me a gentle nod of encouragement – so I threw my arms open pretending it was fine, and went for it.

That day, in that moment, it was the best hug of my life!

Standing on stage a while longer, Matthew explained something else very important to the room that I unfortunately paid no attention to at all, my brain now totally mush with embarrassment and mortification.  I was eventually thanked and given another polite round of applause, as I stepped down from the stage not making eye contact with anyone, heading back to my seat. I attempted to put a little skip in my step, and made another funny face. It got another laugh. Really though, my legs felt like jelly and I wanted to run and hide in the toilet, my heart beating out of my chest.

Amazingly though, the world didn’t end nor did I die of shame. In fact, as we broke for lunch several women came over and complimented me on my top (they’d been admiring it while I had been petrified on stage), some patted me on the back for having had the confidence to volunteer (oh little did they know), and lots of them smiled and said hello to me just because I was simply smiling at them. It was a millimetre shift…

Over the course of the weekend, I scribbled half a book full of notes, went out on the Saturday night – something I haven’t done for at least five years – listened, laughed, questioned my own thoughts, understood previous errors, and greedily sucked in every bit of information given.

To say that it was one of the best weekends of my life would not be an understatement. Listening to and watching this extraordinary man speak to us all with such true passion, personally having several ‘lightbulb moments’, seeing and getting to know some of simply amazing women also in attendance, going out on a Saturday night and actually – shock horror – being asked for my phone number by a chap, bouncing up and down whoop whooping to Nicki Minajs’ ‘Starships’ with a hangover on Sunday morning, feeling a bubble of something exciting inside, and an element of confidence that quite simply I’ve never had – well, it was incredible! Another millimetre shift…

I sit here writing this a week later, still with a big smile on my face, a sense of positivity about the future, and a little bit of smugness that with just that small amount of new knowledge inside, over the next few weeks and months, I can’t wait to take this further.

And yes, I know… I sound like I’ve been sucked in by some sort of Cult. I promise I haven’t. I’m a firm believer that people come into our lives for a reason. There is a reason I read that newspaper article last year… There is a reason I walked into that big beige room… Extraordinary people, friends, colleagues, strangers even, come into our lives and gift us something that the other needs. Sometimes they are with us just for a day. Other times, people stay with us in our lives for a few months or years until, whatever it was they provided you with (and vice versa) disappears or just simply is no longer needed, and they slip away. The truly lucky are those that meet someone who stays in their life, in their memories, or as part of their daily consciousness forever. Right now, I feel I have met one such person.

Now, regular readers will know, and others can see above and below, that I usually do a little ‘pinklink’ to the things I’ve done each month, to the places I’ve been, all things that I – in some small way – want to recommend here on BlobbyJogger. I don’t get paid for them. I do them and write about them because I think they might be fun. I hope you might enjoy them, perhaps find inspiration from them, or just want to have a laugh at them. You click through if you want, or ignore them if they’re of no interest. For the first time ever I’m going to recommend to all the (single) ladies, to put your hands up.  If anything about my weekend with Matthew and his team at has struck a chord with you, if you want to find out how some men think, want more confidence when you go out, how to give a brilliant smile to that cute guy, find out what to put in the perfect ‘but does he like me?’ text message, or just want to understand people or yourself a bit better, click on this link and go to one of the Matthews’ events. You too may have a millimetre shift…

I want, no, I need to carry this on, so much so, I’ve applied and have been accepted to attend Matthews’ immersive five-day Retreat in Florida later this year, where I hope to continue working on my confidence (or lack thereof), as well as addressing other issues – issues that I’ve now learnt we all have in one way shape or form. Some may want different jobs or careers. Others, happier more fulfilling lives outside of work. We may feel we’ve taken a wrong turning somewhere along the way or that we’re simply not living the life we had planned for ourselves.  Some want to work out a plan for the future, or others like me, may be lacking in the core confidence people assume we have in spades… Genuinely, I’m so excited I can hardly wait for The Retreat in September where maybe, just maybe, I’ll get another life changing hug…

Till the next time

xoxo

PS: I hope he doesn’t mind, but below I’m stealing an element of my friend Dan Trelfer’s Internet Column, (it’s not a blog!) Cracking The Kindle

This month’s soundtrack: Learning To Fly – Kate Earl

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~ by BlobbyJogger on 10 April, 2012.

2 Responses to “Learning To Fly”

  1. Bravo! A very heart-warming, revealing & brave blog! x

  2. What a fantastic tale, BT – a few revelations in there at first, I think, but then when I really thought about it, a lot of your confessions made sense. Hope you have a fantastic time in Florida!

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