Early last year I braved my first HDSDI networking event. As a naturally introverted person (albeit one with an extroverted job), entering a room of strangers is completely out of my comfort zone. Everyone was really friendly though and I quickly felt comfortable and welcomed. I knew I would be back, but as I run classes 4 mornings a week I had to wait for the next Tuesday event. When I did return for my second event I signed up for a coffee and chat session with Jo, which I would highly recommend.

It was great to find out more about Jo, talk about our businesses and discuss our previous experiences. We chatted about the importance of celebrating your unique backstory and the positive challenge of stepping out of your comfort zone. She took me by surprise at the end however, by asking if I would be the speaker at one of her events.

I have to admit, my initial (internal) reaction was “Nope. No way. What could I have to say that anyone would want to listen to. I’m not a proper businesswoman. I just sing nursery rhymes.” Externally though (in classic people-pleaser fashion) I said “Maybe.” I told Jo that I didn’t want to let her down by saying yes and then pulling out, and asked to think about it. In her beautiful and supportive way she said that was fine, that she believed I could do it and pencilled me in for the next event I could make – 7 months later.

On the drive home I thought about what I would say to someone else in the same situation, about our discussion on testing yourself and why I felt unqualified to talk to others. I realised that actually that was what I had to talk about and that I had decided to take the leap. When I got home I messaged to say yes before I could change my mind.

7 months and some research into Imposter Syndrome later it was finally time to speak. I had prepared, planned and practised and was ready to go. I was nervous, excited and nervous some more. But, Jo was encouraging as always and I thought again what reassurance I would give someone else. Listening to everyone’s introductions reminded me that everyone was friendly and no one was there to judge me.

And it went well. Yes my heart was racing and yes the paper shook when I read a small quote out, but everyone was lovely and so supportive. Questions at the end were because people were interested, not because they were examining me! The positive feedback was fantastic and a real confidence booster. I was buzzing afterwards and felt really proud of myself.

With the help of Jo and the HDSDI community I stepped out of my comfort zone. I proved something to myself and it’s boosted me to take on more challenges this year. So, if Jo asks you to talk then please take that leap. You won’t regret it.

Check out Mez and her Caterpillar Music Guildford Classes here.