So it has been a whole week since my TEDx talk video about Living a Bigger Life went live on YouTube, you can watch it by clicking here if you haven’t seen it yet.
And here’s the thing.
I am super chuffed with how it has turned out, I think I came across as confident, knowledgeable and passionate about my subject
AND…I don’t completely hate how I look in the video…which is just as well because I talk a lot about not caring what you look like
We are not what we look like
But this is the irony of my work.
I believe 100% that we are held back as women because of the fear of judgment, and I am I guess more in tune with this than some, but I can’t kid you that I don’t have moments where I worry about what I look like and how people might judge me.
More than 1800 people have watched my video over the last 7 days and the feedback has been incredible, but I wanted to share with you some of the things you might not be able to tell from that 13-minute video.
- My rehearsal was shockingly bad.
- I didn’t stick to my script.
- I wasn’t wearing what I had planned to.
So, I found out I would be doing a TEDx months and months before the big day. The lead up is intense, and feels like it goes on FOREVER!!!!
When I submitted my proposal it was based on a very loose idea…that of,
If women are not playing sport because of the fear of judgement, what else are they not doing
I wasn’t 100% sure how I would fill 15-18 minutes….like clearly I can talk for that long, I am a professional keynote speaker for goodness sake, but it was more around what I would focus on. What I would include, what I would not…how much of myself I would bring to the talk.
I literally spent 3 months crafting that talk, writing and rewriting it….sharing it with valued colleagues for feedback.
But a few things happened in the last few weeks which forced me to change it in the final few days
- I went to a conference in San Diego with Lisa Nichols and learned some incredible things about creating impact through your speaking, by sharing your authentic story
- I launched a new online programme “100 Ways” which was going down a storm, I had also collated some new data from surveying 100+ women from this group
- I had some dental work which affected the way I spoke…like seriously there were some words from my original talk that I literally could not say any more
So when I turned up on the rehearsal the day before I felt completely underprepared as my talk had changed significantly from the previous one which had been just 2 or 3 weeks before.
I think to see the space adorned with its TEDx branding and the red-carpeted dot brought it home to me just how important this talk was.
So during the rehearsal, I tripped over my words, lost where I was in the talk…oh yeah and swore a lot
I went to sleep that night gutted with myself for not being better prepared.
But the following day I refocussed, and with eh support of one of my speaking buddies, I worked on the talk and did a whole heap of relaxation and visualisation techniques, to ensure I didn’t let the nerves get the better of me.
I was last on.
Which added even more pressure…save the best to last and all of that.
I had decided not to get into what I would be wearing until the last minute, just in case I spilled something on myself.
So with 30 minutes to go, I headed backstage and started getting ready. Hair, makeup, clothes…should have been the order, but I got dressed first and then started to do my make up….and much to my horror my foundation squirted onto my white short and all over my red jacket…I could have cried.
I had spent the best part of 3 months working out what to wear and in the last few minutes before going on stage I had to change it somewhat.
Luckily I had another white top with me, and baby wipes took most of the makeup off my jacket (as I didn’t have another one of those), in the end, I didn’t bother changing from my Primark jeans that I’d been wearing all day into my more expensive River Island ones…as I suddenly thought to myself,
This has happened for a reason…it shouldn’t matter what I wear on that stage I just need to show up as me
I stepped onto that stage after a very long day with the simple belief that what would be would be, like whatever I delivered on that stage would be enough.
The talk I give would be the talk I give
And I think that attitude served me well because no less than 3 minutes in I got completely lost in the script and jumped right the way to the end of the talk.
I could see the stage manager sitting with the script folder shaking her head like
Where the F is she going with this?
But it was OK.
I knew the talk well enough to bring it back. All those months of practicing meant I knew my content inside out, even if it wasn’t completely the order I wanted it to be in.
So there you have it.
It wasn’t perfect
But neither am I
Neither are you.
We don’t need to be perfect, we just need to show up as yourself.
That is enough.
I was enough.
You are enough.
If you have been inspired by my Living Bigger TEDx talk and would like to use the Living Bigger message to work on your own life goals, no matter how scary then give us a shout.
My next group programme starts on the 1st October you can find out more about it here
Don’t show off young lady
Nobody likes a show off Julie
I can’t remember who specifically told me those things growing up, but it’s the overwhelming message I got from the adults around me.
Stay humble, don’t stand out from the crowd, don’t get too big for your boots…give everyone else a chance too.
I’ll just shut up.
I mean thats the alternative isn’t it?
Hiding away, keeping quiet about your skills and qualities, not letting people see the full version of you
I have been thinking about this a lot recently.
It is a very peculiar thing having a presence on social media. Whether you are an online coach and fitness influencer like me, or you simply upload the occasional update on Facebook, getting the balance between showing up and showing off is tricky.
Over the years I have often found myself posting something on Instagram and thinking,
Oh no I’ve turned into one of those annoying people
Or worse still
WTF do I think I am?
It’s actually not that dissimilar to the dilemma I face as a speaker too.
The world of being a professional speaker, you know someone who is actually paid to stand up on a stage and speak to an audience on a range of topics is a weird one, and it’s hard to describe it to anyone who hasn’t experienced it.
I often flip from feelings of absolute imposter syndrome to the feeling that my message is somehow shaping the world in a blink of an eye….never anything in between.
Some people say you have to be a real show off to be a speaker, but I disagree…and it has taken me a while to fully embrace this side of me.
For example I am anxiously waiting for the release of my upcoming Tedx talk…and I’m not sure how I feel about complete and utter strangers seeing and hearing me talk from their desktops and phones all over the world, it is a little nerve-wracking.
But funnily enough…not as nerve-wracking it turns out as speaking in front of your entire family.
That is what I did on Saturday at my older brother Gary’s wedding.
He asked me to make a speech during the ceremony of his wedding to his long-term partner Vicky, and I was absolutely honored…but equally a bit baffled. I am the least lucky in love person you could meet and this is the 2nd time I have been asked to make such a speech at a wedding…the irony is never lost on me.
What the hell could I possibly say about love?
And that’s when it came to me
The reasons why marathons are like marriages
And I started to have a bit of fun with it.
Me and my siblings, and my lovely Mum in the middle keeping us all in check
I wrote the speech sent it over to him and his future wife and then completely forgot about it until the night before when I thought I’d better have a look at it, and that’s when the panic set in.
The whole marathon thing seemed like a ridiculous idea, after all the day was not about me it was about them, and neither of them can run for a bus!!!
But it was too late…I had committed.
As I sat at the front waiting for the bride to arrive I think I was more nervous than my brother, and that’s saying something, but as I looked around the room I knew I was among friends (and of course family old and new) and that if nothing else at least it would be a talking point.
I was super shaky as I walked to the front.
No warm up exercises, no vocal stuff to calm my voice…I just had to give it my best shot.
I took a big breath and began.
A few minutes later after some laughter, lots of nodding and some tears from my wonderful audience I finished up with….
Yes, Marriage is a Marathon.
You will come out of it stronger than when you entered it
Don’t forget Gary & Vicky just how proud we all are of what you have achieved today and remember to smile for the cameras.
I sat back in my seat, my sister hugged me and I shed a tear (OK a few tears), the emotion of it all getting the better of me.
It was done.
I was 100% me, I had tried to be quirky and unique and I had meant every word.
Since the wedding (which was a beautiful affair) I have had so many of my family tell me how great/clever/unique my talk was, and just how proud they were of me, even my Mum mentioned it, and getting a compliment out of her is a bloody miracle (thanks mum)
So the big question is was I showing off, or was I simply showing up?
Showing up, the only way I know how I’m afraid.
Visibility plays a major part in my Living a Bigger Life coaching programme. Helping women to show up in their own lives as themselves without apology. The impact of this on their relationships, their careers and in achieving their goals is phenomenal.
The next cohort of this 3-month programme starts on the 17th of September. To secure your spot or to ask me any questions you might have, feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com
A massive congratulations to the happy couple, and thank you so much for allowing me to play a part in your big day.
What would you talk about if you were given a platform to speak out to the world? Which one message would you want to share?
Do you even have something worth sharing?
Now I have always been an opinionated person.
I’ve always had something to say….just ask my Mum.
So it probably comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me or watches me from afar that at some point I would put myself up to do a TEDx talk.
What you might find surprising though is I’ve always been quite fearful of public speaking.
In my twenties, I would do anything to avoid having to talk in front of a crowd of people…I’d go all red-faced, I’d sweat and my voice would wobble all over the place if ever I had to.
Throughout my 30s though I worked as a project manager and consultant on the Olympics and I often had to give presentations and deliver training, and so it got a little easier, but I always suffered from nerves and also a bit of imposter syndrome, you know that feeling like you are kinda blagging it, and perhaps people shouldn’t take what you have to say too seriously.
Well…let me tell you, I have never felt as nervous as I did on Saturday standing in front of an audience of a hundred and fifty people in a theatre in Folkestone…knowing I had 15 minutes or so of time to fill with my idea worth sharing.
Especially knowing it would be filmed and the video could haunt me FOREVER!!!!
But before I share with it how it actually went, and when the talk will be ready for you to watch, I want to share 5 lessons from the process which you can use for any BIG goal.
Start to Visualise
In December last year, I created a vision board of all the things I wanted to achieve in 2018. On it, I included a Tedx talk…I knew I wanted to do one, I didn’t know how, but I knew I had to put it out there as a goal and start visualising how doing one could complement other business and life goals for the year. I pinned the vision board next to my desk and looked at it daily. It didn’t take long for the opportunity to find its way to me when a friend forwarded me details of Tedx Folkestone who had an open application process for potential speakers.
One of the easiest ways to make your goals happen is to actually sign up for them. I know it sounds basic but so many women say to me, “I really want to do a half marathon” and I reply “well sign up for one then”. When I sent in my application back in January I had a very loose idea of what I wanted to speak about, but I didn’t worry too much about the talk itself because I knew I would have months to prepare and that there was a process to follow. We grow into big goals like this…the process of overcoming fear helps us to grow as people.
Trust the Process
When you sign up for a marathon, you don’t head out the following day to see if you can cover 26.2 miles, you basically sit down and work out a training plan right? So likewise, I knew the first time I attempted to write my talk I knew it would be nowhere near the finished one. If I had started panicking and second-guessing myself right at the start I wouldn’t have had the time or headspace to really work out what it was I truly wanted to say. The passage of time helps you to form and then reform your ideas.
Ask for help
You don’t have to do scary stuff by yourself. Get yourself a support team. I had all kinds of help over the last 6 months preparing from this. Support from the Tedx team in Folkestone, and my fellow speakers at the event. My speaker friends from The Professional Speaking Association, including the folk from the various business masterminds I am in. Also, I asked for feedback from my clients…the ones most aligned to the audience I wanted to impact with this talk. The thing with asking for help though, is you have to be willing to take feedback onboard, otherwise whats the point in having it….and let people go over and aboard for you, one of my awesome friends came down to Folkestone on the day to help me with a final rehearsal, she went over and above to support me, and it felt a little weird at first…but it was 100% what I needed.
And then finally and most importantly
Believe in yourself
Now baring all of the above, the bottom line is when it comes to your BIG GOALS…often you have to actually do them yourself. You will find a moment where you are like “This is it…its just me up here, nobody else can help me now” then you have to dig deep and fill your head with positive thoughts. You have to have faith in your own abilities to pull something out of the bag on the day no matter how nervous and unprepared you are.
So how did it go?
Well, I was last on out of 11 speakers, so the nerves had been building all day.
20 minutes before I was due to go on I managed to get makeup all over my white vest (luckily I bought a spare), my heart was racing and other than being able to remember my opening line my head was actually quite blank.
But I had been working on this talk for weeks, I have been working on the topic of this talk for years, and in many ways, I had been preparing for this moment my whole life…I know that sounds proper dramatic right? But its how I feel.
So I stood in the wings listening to the intro, took some deep breathes, did some last minute facial warm-ups and then I heard
Next up we have Julie Creffield with her talk Living A Bigger Life
And I stepped up onto the stage with a smile and positioned myself in the spotlight on the infamous small circular of red carpet.
And sorry my lovelies I simply can’t reveal what happened next…you will have to tune in next month for that!!!
The video recording from my talk won’t be available until the end of July, so you are going to have to wait until then to see how it went. Trust me I am as frustrated as you…I just want to see it NOW. My memory of how it all went is a bit patchy, it went by in a blur…there was laughter and lots of nodding from the audience who I could just about see…and I think I made most of the major points I wanted to cover…even if I didn’t keep exactly to script.
I feel incredibly lucky to have been given the opportunity to share my views on the world in this way, but I am not going to lie…as scary as that day was, nothing compares to how nervous I am about letting the video out into the world. But this is what I signed up for right? I have set myself the lofty goal of getting 1 million women to watch my talk…because I know if 1 million women stopped dieting and instead started to love themselves, we could really start some momentum with radical self-love and the pursuit of big dreams, at whatever size you happen to be.
I will need your help to get this video seen by other women around the world. I can’t do it all by myself. So keep an eye out on social media over the next few weeks for ways you can help with this.
Ready to start living a BIGGER life yourself?
The next round of my Living a Bigger Life group coaching programme starts in September, and places are already filling up nicely. I also have 3 spaces for 121 clients this summer.
Check out my life coaching programmes here or drop me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org to start a discussion about how I might be able to support you.
For the longest of times, I’ve not wanted to talk publically about what I eat.
It is hard enough being judged as an overweight woman without the stress of what you put into your mouth being scrutinised too.
But recently, in light of my upcoming Tedx talk about living a bigger life no matter your size, food and the concept of dieting are both things I have been thinking about a lot.
Most of my thinking has been around the fact that the average woman in the UK spends 31 years on a diet
31 Bloody Years!!!
That’s a long time to be caught up in the bubble of hope/despair, restriction/binge. good/bad, success/failure…believing that food is the enemy and that life will get better if only you could stick to the diet this time.
It is exhausting.
I’m currently working on a new book too called Living A Bigger Life, How to STOP dieting and Start Living which I am super excited about….so I am doing lots of reading and thinking around these issues at the moment, to clarify what it is I actually think and feel about these issues.
So yes…I am going to start talking more about my views on food.
Because in part I need to follow my own advice and start worrying less about what others think about me and my views.
In the past, I have always had this nagging fear when I talk publically about food or diets because I know many people who have never battled with their weight will be rolling their eyes and already imagining what “I don’t diet” means for an already overweight person. Because let’s face it overweight people are lazy, glutenous and stupid right?
I’ve been called out on Twitter after appearing in the media,
“Oh great, fat woman telling us what to eat”
When I actually wasn’t telling people what to eat, only sharing my own experiences.
Being told via email.
“You are encouraging obesity by stating you are healthy when you are not”
And repeatedly asked
“Do you have to eat loads/stay fat to stay on brand?”
So, yes it is time for me to start speaking out to challenge this level of ignorance.
Because in my experience of working with overweight women the amount of time, money, energy and effort that overweight women put into dieting and eating well in many cases will far exceed the effort that many naturally slim people need to when it comes to food over their lifetime.
There is an assumption that if you are slim you eat well…when many of us know people who have a healthy BMI who have a terrible diet.
Many overweight women have struggled with body image, weight gain, low self-esteem for a long long time, often starting the dieting process as teenagers, yoyo dieting, gaining weight through child-rearing, and then struggling to prioritise their own health.
Remember folks 31 years is a long bloody time to be focused on one goal…and never managing to achieve it.
I spent at least 20 years actively trying to not be fat via dieting…but these days I absolutely do not diet, because I know traditional dieting does not work….well at least for me, and hundreds of the women I work with it does not.
So just to clarify my position on this, when I say I don’t do dieting what I mean is,
- I don’t restrict whole food groups
- I don’t go to weekly weigh-ins
- I don’t weight myself weekly
- I don’t follow a plan
- I am not either on or off my plan
- I am not good or bad according to what I have eaten
- I’m not part of a club or group
- I don’t refer back to a book
- I don’t buy special products
- I don’t drink shakes or take pills
- I don’t count calories
- I don’t have a weight loss goal
- I don’t hate myself as I currently am
- I don’t believe life will be perfect when I am slimmer
However, this is not to say I don’t prioritise my health and general wellbeing, and food is a big part of that.
I know a lot of the people that believe that to lose weight you simply have to “eat less and move more” also believe that concepts like “Intuitive Eating” “Mindful Eating” or “Anti Dieting” are basically an excuse to just eat what the fuck we want, no matter the impact. leaving us to revel in our “I’m a body positive advocate” status.
This stuff is a minefield.
So no I don’t diet, but what I do do is
- Believe that food is primarily a fuel source for my body
- Think about the foods which make me feel good both physically and sometimes emotionally
- I do plan in my head what I might eat each week and sometimes each day
- I do look at labels…although I try to focus on foods which don’t come in a pack
- I do look up recipes
- I do batch cook
- I do keep an eye on how much water I am drinking
- I do keep tabs on my emotions and stress levels
- I do make sure I am eating enough to fuel my training and my lifetime
- I do focus on foods which are closest to their natural state
- I sometimes have foods that are not
- I limit my alcohol intake because of my training, but I also do not describe myself as a non-drinker
- I also limit meat and dairy, but I am not a vegan
It has taken me a long long time to find a way of eating that appears to be working for me.
And when I say working I am not talking about weight loss, I am talking about feeling good within myself.
Not feeling hungry either physically or emotionally.
Not being on or off of my regime.
Not feeling like I can’t have a life as well as look after myself.
Not feeling like I can’t eat out.
Not feeing like life can resume once I get to goal weight….because remember, I don’t have a goal weight…because I am NOT ON A DIET.
In 2015 I wrote a book called New Year, Same You which was all about ditching new years resolutions (many of which focus on weight loss when you are overweight) and replacing them with more robust actionable health and happiness approaches, in that book in one section I dished out what was at the time my beliefs about food.
In the last 3 years, however, my views have changed somewhat, as I have experimented with new ways of eating.
Because remember the word DIET, simply means “what we eat” and that may change throughout our lives according to all kinds of different factors.
I can’t see me ever dishing out nutritional advice, because I am not a nutritionist, but there are certain mindset concepts, therapeutic exercises, thought processes I have had to go through to get to this point, which I feel there is some value in sharing with the women I work with.
Because ultimately I believe…and this is the concept I will be exploring in my Tedx that
If women stopped dieting and instead focussed on being the healthiest and happiest versions of themselves, then perhaps they would find their natural weight, learn to love their bodies, become stronger physically and emotionally, and basically get on with the job of living an exciting, adventurous, purpose-filled life…and become wonderful role models for the young girls that are coming up behind us.
As part of this move towards being more open about the role of food and diet on wellbeing, and the constant feeling that overweight women often have around not feeling like they are worthy at the size they are, I am launching a new programme to explore some of this stuff in a safe space.
It is called 100 ways.
I am recruiting 100 women to work with me for 100 days to ditch the diet and to start focussing on health and happiness using 100 simple concepts which can be implemented daily, contributing to a life filled with love and acceptance, self care and understanding of our bodies…but most importantly to give women a sense of hope that they can make peace with their bodies.
We shouldn’t be at war with them.
We really shouldn’t.
If you think you might be interested in taking part in this programme drop me an email to email@example.com. The programme starts on the 1st June, and the deadline for signing up is Friday 25th May.
The basic criteria
- Long-term dieter
- Female Aged 25-65
- Enjoy supporting other women
- Willing to share their experiences in an honest way
- Ready to start loving their bodies
If you would like to come and see me deliver my TEDx Talk live on June 23rd book your ticket here
Change is hard.
It is scary.
It can make you feel vulnerable.
It can often feel like the journey ahead of you to make the change you really want to make is so difficult, so complex and so overwhelming that it is easier just to stay exactly where you are.
Change can also take time.
Or does it have to?
How long does it take to change a lightbulb…and no this is not a joke.
Well, it depends on if you have a new one to change it to, if you have a stall to climb on to reach, and if you know how to do it.
But for most people, the act of changing a lightbulb takes less than 60 seconds.
How many of us though have left a broken lightbulb for weeks, maybe even months because we haven’t prioritised it enough, it has become one of those things that never quite gets done on your list…and you know it grinds on you every time you find yourself in darkness, or switching the switch before remembering…and then the moment you get the job done and you have light again…ah the joy the relief…and then moments after you forget about it altogether.
Because the change is complete…you can now move on to the next thing which needs fixing.
Now I don’t work with women who need fixing, but I do work with women who want to change. Perhaps for some it starts with wanting to change their habits, become a little bit healthier perhaps, or maybe they want to change their careers, or their relationships, or maybe even how they view themselves.
I have wonderful strategies, tips and tools to help them with this…but they have to want to change in the first place and be willing to do the work.
These changes don’t have to take a lifetime though, a lot of the changes we want to take literally only take the time it takes to make the decision to change,
I want to stop drinking diet coke
I want to stop leaving my bed unmade each morning
I want to start getting a manicure once a week
I want to stop saying yes when I really mean NO
Then do it.
Too often we long for the change, the results the change will give us, but we are reluctant to actually make the change, we have resistance to it, because our natural reaction to change is fear…fear of the unknown…it is a human instinct, which is why I believe change is something we need practice in.
And sometimes we wait for permission to change.
When I was younger I desperately wanted to be a writer and I used to write (See the irony here) to my Uncle Les (My Nans Brother who was a writer) and tell him of my desire to become a writer, begging him for advice or connections he might have to make it more of a reality. His response was always the same,
“Julie…if you want to become a writer, you have to write”
And that is what I eventually did. It took me a while to make the change and actually just get on with the job of writing. 8 books and hundreds of blog posts later I now teach other people how to get their ideas into book format (my next course is coming up on the 25th May in case you were interested)
But the point is…sometimes the things we want are literally already there, and if not they are just a few actions away.
We get so overwhelmed with the options, the hoops we think we need to jump through and so we do nothing…then we get frustrated that everything is still the same, or maybe even getting worse.
Decide today to change.
Just one thing.
It doesn’t need to be a big thing…or maybe it is.
Change can happen fast or take a little longer…it doesn’t need to take forever though.
I help women…
- Think differently in one of my 1 hour talks
- Learn to run in 5 weeks (I have one of those courses starting soon)
- Train for a marathon in 8 months
- Write a book in 26.2 hours
- Completely overhaul their lives in 90 days
What could you do by committing to working with me over the next few months?
My Living a Bigger Life Mastermind starts on Monday 28th May and lasts for 90 days
I have a few spaces left for 121 clients who I work with for 6 months
Drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss either of these, happy to arrange a FREE 30 minute telephone call to see if I can help in just half an hour.
Make that change.