When I set up ollie and fred 9 months ago I searched high and low for free courses, talks and events that I could fit in during the school day or in the evening. I’ve picked up something valuable from everything I’ve attended so far and it’s really helped to build my confidence and develop a positive outlook.
I went to see Sacha Lord talk about his story (for those of you that don’t know Sacha is the Co-Founder of The Warehouse Project and Parklife in Manchester) and something he said really struck a chord with me. He said ‘question everything’. I went home and thought about it and realised that I do question everything – it’s how I’ve ended up running my own business.
I haven’t always questioned everything though and it’s something I’ve learned to appreciate about myself as I’ve got older.
When I was 30 I sold everything I owned and went travelling for a year on my own. It was one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my life. I sort of reset myself, I escaped from the box I’d been put in at school. I realised that what I’d been told at school about what I was good and bad at wasn’t true.
I felt as though I was seeing myself through fresh eyes and realised that actually you can do pretty much anything you want in life and most of the time the only thing that’s stopping you is you.
What’s amazing about all of this is that since I started my own businesses, I’ve discovered that two things I’ve always thought of as huge weaknesses are actually my strengths. I feel under confident in so many ways but actually I’m massively confident too. I’m on a new business course at the moment and somebody said don’t confuse being nervous with being under confident. That’s what I’ve done all my life! I’ve realised that I am confident in so many ways and I can say it without feeling like an imposter.
I’ve also discovered that I am a creative person. I can’t draw or paint or write creatively but I am a creative thinker and I love that a part of me is creative. I’m good at thinking around problems and moving in different directions. I’m good at questing things.
It has given me a massive boost and it feels great to shake off the labels given to me by random adults in my formative years who didn't really know me at all. I don’t fit in a box and it’s an absolute joy discovering that I have these qualities in my 40s.