I wrote for another international publication an open letter to myself. It was addressed to Mandie Holgate from 2011, actually from the 11th January 2011, when I first became ill and had what was to be a life changing flare-up of Lupus. Being rushed to hospital with what looked like a heart attack (it wasn’t, it was pleurisy) and seeing the scared faces of those you love and doctors, changed the way I work, live and feel. And it got me thinking about what would I say to Mandie Holgate of 10 years ago or even 30 years ago?
People are always shocked when I tell them that I used to lack confidence. They rarely believe me until I share a few stories, like the fact that when I trained as a coach 10 years ago one of the first goals I set myself was to walk into a coffee shop and have a coffee on my own. Sounds ridiculous for someone who now happily appears on TV, on the radio and even speaks to large audiences. On that subject when I first trained as a coach and someone said I should network I will never forget the abject horror and fear that used to literally change my physicality when asked to deliver a 60 second elevator pitch in front of a room full of people. My face would go red, my neck would get blotchy, my heart would feel like it was trying to escape my chest and my voice would falter and croak! And yet I’ve since not just learnt to love it I can fix someone’s fear of public speaking in one coaching session, and it is one of the chapters of my book “Fight the fear – how to beat your negative mindset and win in life.” Which has been on my dream big wish list since I was 8 years old!
Looking back I too find that Mandie Holgate has changed drastically, so if I could go back and do the full Marty McFly (Yes I’m a massive Back to the Future fan!) what would I say to me? (If it was not going to risk the time continuum and the world exploding!).
1. You are good enough.
Like many, I was bullied at school and into my first job and this had a massive impact on my self-belief. I always thought everyone else was better than me and that I was not good enough. No matter what I was good at, I assumed everyone else was better. I can remember when my children were little I wrote a book for my son and sent it to some publishers. Of the 10 letters I sent, I had over 50% personal replies. I plucked up the courage at my son’s school to speak to a best selling author about what I’d done and he told me to keep going because no one ever receives personalised replies. And what did I do? I assumed he was being nice and that he said that kind of thing to everyone. He’d been right hadn’t he? I am now an international author and the publishers asked me to write the book not the other way around. So Mandie do yourself a favour and recognise that you are good enough and in some instances, you are pretty damn awesome at some things. That is not arrogance or big-headedness, that is the facts Mrs, accept them!
2. Awful things do not define you.
I wish I had accepted at an earlier age that bad stuff happens and it’s all going to work out in the end. My Nan and Mum used to tell me this, however, I never listened to them. Out of the most awful moments in my life, there has always been something amazing to happen. When I had severe depression and nearly died I went on to train as a coach and it’s changed my life and thousands of other people’s too. When Lupus flared I had to change the way I worked and it revolutionised my business success. Even through dealing with life and death it’s a chance to learn and feel immense gratitude for all you have in life, so Mandie accept that bad things happen, it’s rarely your fault, you can’t stop them from happening, however, you can change what you learn from them and think from them. And lastly, on the subject of awful things, so many times in your life you will see that what felt like the end of the world is just a minor blip in your life that you are unlikely to remember in 6 months time, let alone in 30!
3. Stop worrying about what people think.
I still have to utilise the tools and techniques from my book on this one! And from coaching for many years I know it impacts on many impacting on their success. It is because I care deeply about people and so I worry if I’ve done my best for them. That is a good thing Mandie, it’s not supposed to define your thoughts and actions and impact on you going for the things you want because you’re wrapping yourself up in false worries and beliefs. As someone once told me “You have no rights to thoughts in other people’s heads.” So I stop worrying about them and continue to do my best.
4. You are too sensitive.
All of my life I’ve been told I’m too sensitive. It was branded at me like a weapon growing up and it was only about 5 years ago that I realised what my family had told me was a curse and damaging my happiness was in actual fact my gift. If I was not so sensitive I would not be able to be the coach that I am. Just with the most silent sigh or the movement of an eye from a client, I can see the real issue impacting on that client and get them to deal with it. That level of sensitivity is not something I can always put into words however I described it to my husband as my pzzzt. It’s like an invisible burst of magic that enables me to see things that no one else can. I’ve spotted pregnancy before anyone has been told, marriages that are sadly going to end and tackled head on the lifelong fears that have been impacting on success in just a short conversation. Mandie your sensitivity is not something to be ashamed of, it’s something to be grateful for and to embrace.
5. And lastly Mandie I would say to the 14 year old young lady that you are, that today right now whatever you want to be or do you can if you believe in yourself and the only person that can take your success and happiness away from you, is you.
I wish I’d known these lessons even 5 years ago and would love to know what a Marty McFly moment would have created in my life if these lessons had been learnt 30 years ago. I’m just relieved that these lessons have been learnt and I share this knowledge with people online, at speaking engagements and in my writing so no one else has to suffer and get to their dream goals faster. Mandie I wish you’d known how great you are, others could see it, and I’m glad you will get to learn how to see it too.