When I was younger nothing really seemed to phase me; I wasn't afraid of driving across the country to see friends or family on my own; wouldn't think twice of hopping on an aeroplane to meet friends in another country; I'd happily walk to town on my own without worrying about getting attacked/run over or tripping over; and I would confidently stand up to talk in front of a few hundred people.
The school I went to was small, less than 15 students per class and less than 500 pupils in total. Everyone knew each other by name, knew which house they were in, who's sibling was whose, which bus they took home and what games they played. There were pro's and cons to this; everyone knew each others business, but on the plus, you felt like one big community, a family. I had the extra benefit of being selected as Head Girl in my final year (swot!) which meant I was a role model (ha..ha..ha), the BIG fish in a little pond; the go-to student for those who had concerns and wanted someone to talk to. It also meant I had to do a lot of public speaking; a verse at the annual Christmas Carol concert in the local Cathedral in front of the whole school and their parents; a poem at Burns Night dinner; and a speech at the end of year Speech Day awards.
I left school and sixth form, a very confident and independent female ready to face the challenges that lay ahead.
Little did I realise or appreciate, that I'd very quickly become the little fish in a BIG pond once I got to University. No longer did I know everyone by name; or where they were from; or what course they were studying (although these became the standard questions students asked each other!), I was just one single person amongst several thousand fresh faced students. My confidence took a huge knock. I dreaded having to do group presentations in lectures to the other students in my class; I would never have put my hand up and volunteered to give a solo presentation, I hid away at the back of the room and 'blended in'.
I soon made friends and loved every second of my three years spent at University, but I can't help feeling that it did alter the person I am today.
From then I have worked in 3 different companies - a medium size, a very large size and now I work for a very small business. All of which have taken me time to adjust and find my feet before I open up and 'become me'. I didn't step in the door on my first day with a beaming confident smile and a firm confident handshake, it has taken time for me to feel comfortable in these companies.
For those that have been reading my blog, I now face a new challenge... the WI. I have been the face behind the computer screen organising the setting up of the group, the Facebook comments, the Tweets, the person updating the blog and responding to member enquiries by emails. That, I can do, no problem.
Tomorrow, however, is the first meeting - the one that I have organised, and (very proudly) managed to market it well so that we have around 50-60 ladies coming along, the one where I have to stand up and introduce myself, give the "this is me, the name behind the tweets and messages... hello" and when I think about that, my stomach knots up and I worry that I won't be able to do it, that I'll chicken out and find an excuse.