June 22, 2018
Do you ever get to a point in your life where you literally go…
How did I end up here?
It often happens when really really good stuff happens, or when you have hit rock bottom.
And of course on birthdays right?
This month I turned 40.
Four Zero…I know, I know???
For context, this means when I was born the following things had not been invented yet
- Fitness Trackers
- Fruit Pouches
Now if that doesn’t make you feel old.
Like seriously…I have been alive for 4 decades, and a whole heap of shit in this world has changed.
Its funny, when I was a teenager I thought that by the time I hit forty I would have my life all figured out, I’d be happily married, in a proper job, couple of kids on the go, a house I owned, a couple of holidays a year, maybe a semi-decent car, definitely a tidy wardrobe…wow I didn’t want much did I?
I didn’t want much at all in fact.
Well, my life at 40 doesn’t look like that at all really…and I’m not that fussed.
I think the biggest revelation though having hit that big milestone earlier this month is that although I still feel relatively young, like come one…I have so much I still want to do with my life, I still don’t feel much like an adult yet.
- I hate washing up
- I don’t like ironing clothes
- I hate having to make big decisions
- I hate having to read maps (or follow the sat nav)
- Boys still stink
- And I still begrudge paying for toilet paper
I wonder if any of that will ever change.
There has been one big shift though as I hit the 40 mark that I wasn’t quite expecting.
Other women warned me it was coming, but I wasn’t too sure.
The big revelation?
I don’t actually care what people think of me anymore.
I know that sounds flippant…and maybe I should care what some people think….and maybe I do when it is people I love and respect, or where I need to make a good impression for work or something.
But generally speaking, for people I don’t know, that will probably play no role in my life?
I couldn’t give a flying fuck.
And trust me I used to…oh how I used to. Every internet trolls comment, every Daily Mail article, every negative book review, every “but running should be free” email, I used to make it all so personal….but somehow I don’t really hear any of that unnecessary noise now….and its amazing.
My fear of judgement is minuscule compared to what it used to be.
Because there was a time where I second-guessed everything because I was absolutely crippled by the fear of people thinking badly of me.
I recently did a survey with over 100 women from my latest life coaching programme, and the stats were shocking
- Less than 5% of the women interviewed liked the way they looked
- 62% feel uncomfortable in social settings because of how they look
- And worryingly 55% believed that how they looked held them back in life
For such a long time I felt like this too.
I was so critical about how I looked, and not only about my weight but my height, my teeth, my freckles, the mole on my face, my slightly wonky nose, my frizzy hair, my hit and miss dress sense…the list was endless.
The thing is though it’s exhausting.
Look I’m all for making the most of what you have, I like wearing nice clothes and having my nails done as much as the next woman, but this pursuit of perfection on top of the exhausting pursuit of smallness is just soul destroying.
And the reality is, even with all the will in the world, a wonderful stylist and extensive surgery, my looks are unlikely to change much anyway.
So I got to the point earlier this year where I was like,
Look guys I can change the world or I can focus on making myself look better…I ain’t got the energy to do both
I mean I’m joking, well slightly…but I realised a good few months ago that the days of me giving a shit about being criticised for how I look are well and truly over, and in truth, I’m not even that fazed any more by what people think of my character or anything else they might have an opinion on….iI reckon much of that was connected to a fear of being judged by my size anyway.
People are going to think what they want to think, sadly once someone has formed an opinion it is very difficult to shift that anyway…so whats the point in even trying?
Surely the most important person to impress is yourself right?
And if not impress, then surely at least we should accept who we are and be OK with it.
So why this blog post today?
Well in a couple of hours I am hoping on a train to Folkestone where I will be giving a Tedx talk about the fear of judgement.
The irony is over the last few months as I prepared for what is quite a big moment in my life, I realised just how consumed I have been with that fear of judgement throughout my life, so many missed opportunities, or slightly ruined experiences because I was worried about how I looked or what strangers might or might not think of me.
Crying over blokes who were mean to me in bars, or girls who made bitchy comments…spending weeks analyzing a comment, or a look given by someone where you can’t quite work out its intent, always jumping to the negative outcome first.
On Saturday I will stand up in front of an audience of a few hundred and share my big idea worth sharing….and I will be judged.
A few weeks after that the video will be available on YouTube and I will share it with my followers…and I will be judged.
All being well the video will be shared a couple of thousand times more and fall into the hands of people I have never nor will ever meet…and I will be judged.
And seriously? I really do not care.
Judgement is simply a human trait.
We developed that trait as a survival mechanism to work out who was a friend and who was a foe.
And to some extent, it is still a useful tool.
But I am done with living my life to please other people.
I have got shit to do.
This blog came about because of my fear of judgement.
I almost didn’t continue with the sport of running after some little kid shouted “Run Fatty Run” and his mates all laughed, and then again when I came dead last in a race and found the finish line gone, that was kind of embarrassing I can tell you…but the final straw was when a doctor told me I was too fat to run a marathon just days ahead of my second marathon.
He made that judgement purely on how I looked as I walked through his door.
There was nothing on my medical notes to say I shouldn’t run, not that he looked at them and if he had cared to ask me what training I had done, he would have known that I was actually in the best shape ever and on course to run a sub 5 hour marathon.
Today I read a twitter comment from a woman who run along a 5 minute stretch of road and had to endure numerous comments and car horns beeping, as she tried to mind her own business as she trained, what followed was literally hundreds of comments of women experiencing similar….do you know what that does to your confidence?
Do you know what goes through your head when you get that level of attention, are they mocking me, why are they laughing, what was it they actually even shouted out?
That fear of judgement is rife for women when it comes to sport.
What do we do?
Yes. The small-minded behavior and comments of some people (mainly idiots) needs to stop…but we also need to become more resilient and just think “Fuck Em” and get on with living our lives.
I can’t wait to share my talk with you.
I am no longer worrying about what other people think about it, I just want to do the topic justice and hopefully inspire women around the world to live BIGGER BOLDER lives, without the fear of being judged.
So watch this space.
Oh, and if you are on my email list, look out for an email later today about a special offer I have running this weekend only for my Living a Bigger Life Group Programme where you can get £200+ off the price of the 12-week course.
If you want further details drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to respond ASAP