I sat down one night recently and started reminiscing about my life 18 years ago. I hadn’t had the best teenage years having been badly bullied and very poorly with glandular fever (not once, but twice). I never really experienced the highs of being a teenager, the shopping trips, the parties or the sleepovers so when I met my first boyfriend (my now husband), I was very shy and timid with no real life experience to help me to adjust. Sitting back and thinking about the change in me in just a couple of months has made me realise that actually even the impossible is possible, as long as you have the right person or team by your side.
The first time I stayed with him (he lived in Devon), I spent most of the time crying that I wanted to go home. I didn’t know what homesickness was, until this point, now I knew. I had never experienced that feeling of being alone but in a room full of people. I struggled with it, I felt embarrassed, ridiculous and just plain crazy. Sometimes these feelings still come up in working life…..like preparing for a presentation, making an awkward call or standing up for yourself in tough situations. However it also taught me that as long as I have unconditional support and a desire to do it, I can overcome these hurdles not only personally but in business too.
Skip forward 2 months from that first night away and I would catch the 6.09pm train from Gloucester every other Friday night. It was always on platform 1 (the furthest away) and my parents would always wave me off. With my headphones in my ears and a wealth of CD’s to choose from, I’d trundle on down to Exeter. Unfortunately at Exeter, there was only the dark and dingy yellow lights to keep me company for the next 40 minutes awaiting my connecting train to Barnstaple. Sometimes I was the only one on the platform and as a 17 year old girl, this was pretty scary. However I knew that nothing could stand in my way, I was going to reach my goal, even if I was nervous and shaking like a leaf at times. This little train would stop at every unknown, tiny town in Devon, or as it felt until finally the end of the line, Barnstaple. I’d get in around 10.20pm and be picked up by my future mother in law and one very happy boyfriend (now husband) to begin our weekend of fun, only for it to all come to a grinding halt as I boarded the train on Sunday afternoon to return home.
Why am I telling you this? Well at 35, I’ve still not mastered the art of believing in myself, I don’t think anyone truly has. However I’ve evolved and grown as a person in both my personal life and my business thanks to people by my side. The bad apples have taught me to stay strong, the wonderful people have taught me to evaluate and grow. Being a sole trader might mean being alone in your business but you are only there thanks to the support of your “behind the scenes” team, whoever they are.
Thank you to every bad apple that has taught me resilience and to every star that has believed in me!