I launched a brand new website this week, and there was absolutely nowhere to hide.
Now this is not the first website I have ever launched…in fact this is probably the 4th or 5th. But with all of the other ones though I had the luxury of hiding behind a brand or someone elses business…no such luck with this one.
juliecreffield.com is all about me and that shit is scary.
Do you find that when you start putting yourself out there like this, you know in life or in business all those mind goblins start having a go at you? I think of my mind monkeys as little traffic wardens circling my car with their camera’s and ticket pads just waiting to pounce, waiting to give me what’s for.
- Standing up in public to give a talk
- Choosing a new hairstyle or look
- Entering a new relationship
- Launching a new business
- Taking up a new hobby
They all require the same about of resilience, which I prefer to describe as my “Care not, just Fucking Do It” attitude. But as with many of the principles of my coaching, it is not just about attitude, it is about action too.
So often I have head people describe me as
Trust me I am not fearless. I am fearful most of the time. Even writing and posting this article I feel the fear…the only difference is I don’t let my fears get in the way of achieving the outcomes I have imagined in terms of the goals I set for myself?
Because I understand fully the impact achieving those goals will have. It is much like putting on your first pair of lycra running leggings and heading out the door in them and I’ll tell you how.
Lycra is a strange old fabric which kind of gets a bad press really.
There were the lycra clad aerobic instructors of the 80s and then the lycra clad cyclists of the 90s…now it’s all about the runners I reckon. The reality is if you take part in any kind of fitness activity Lycra is going to become your friend pretty soon. It has to. Even if it isn’t the most flattering of materials…it is integral to your enjoyment of sport, besides you are sure to find it in lots of your everyday clothes too…ladies you try finding pants without lycra!!!
When I first started running more than 15 years ago I went our in cotton tracksuit bottoms, a t-shirt and a pair of Rebock classics. I didn’t know any better. Gosh if I ever tried to reenact that there outfit now I doubt I would get to the top of my road. When I run now I wear tight fitting lycra running leggings, even in my lumpy bumpy size 18 body, I put on those bad boys and I hit the streets without a care in the world, because I couldn’t give a flying fart what other people think of me when I am out running.
Long gone are those days where I run after dark, or in secluded backstreets…I am loud and proud now.
The wearing of Lycra in my plus size body has taught me a lot about being seen over the years, lessons which I think are absolutely transferable to life and to business. Think about it, if I hadn’t had the courage to be seen in my lycra, to have been photographed in Lycra…to appear on national TV in lycra, there is no way I would have had the profile nor the experience of coaching the thousands of women I have worked with over the past 4 years, and this website wouldn’t even be a thing.
So here are 4 of the lessons that Lycra has so kindly taught me visibility
Hiding your imperfections only draws attention to them
Have you ever noticed a person on the beach on a really hot day covered head to toe in clothes because they think the sight of them in a swimsuit will draw attention to them? The thing is the curious mind in all of us makes them a target as you try to work out their story. The truth is on a beach and in life, people are normally so preoccupied with thoughts of their own insecurities they barely register those around you…and if they do?? See below.
Those that matter don’t mind, and those that mind don’t matter
I have spent my whole life being heckled. Obviously while out running in my plus size body I am a bit of a target, but these heckles are not always restricted to when I am out training. People somehow find the need to shout out all kinds of stuff in all manner of places. What I learned from this though is I am never going to stop showing up as me…and if that means wearing tight-fitting clothes to play sport or red shoes to go dancing then so be it. I have turned up to really important meetings in my running kit, appeared on national TV, and given talks to 1000s of people in Lycra…knowing that they can see all of my lumps and bumps because I have an important message to share. But if my lumps and bumps are what they are focussing on, then that says more about me than it does them.
People respect openness and honesty
In a world where everything is photoshopped and styled to within an inch of its life, I think most of us find seeing someone in their true state kind of refreshing. Just because you have the glossy instagram feed and a different designer handbag each day it doesn’t make me want to work with you any more….because nobody knows if all of that is fake anyway? The more you can show up without the crutches of perceived perfection the more people will want to be around you. Now don’t get me wrong I am all for making an effort, having your nails done, wearing nice clothes when appropriate, but nobody can look perfect and polished 100% of the time. There is nothing more empowering and bonding than a big bunch of women red-faced and sweaty after a race…and add mud and you are on to an absolute winner.
Your body is an important part of your story
Of course people make snap judgements about you based on your appearance, in fact, I am writing a blog post at the moment due to go out next week called “Just because I am fat doesn’t mean I am new to sport”, but regardless of other peoples reaction to your body, you get to choose how you treat it.Our bodies in many ways tell a story, and by embracing and unlocking the confidence to accept, understand or even share your story it becomes easier to change that story or boldly embrace it, whichever you chose. Oprah Winfrey in her glorious speech at the Golen Globes said, “Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool you have” it is why I am not a big fan of those hold me in pants.
It scares me that so many teenage girls drop out of sport because of fears around being judged for being sweaty or being seen in fitness clothes. It worries me that in the business world women hold themselves back because they feel like they have to have the perfect hair, the perfect smile, the perfect backdrop to show up on things like Facebook Live or YouTube. It saddens me that women hold back from pursuing new relationships thinking they will wait until they have lost weight, or have a better wardrobe to woo a future mate.
You might not be jumping at the chance to get out there this weekend in your Lycra, but however you show up, make sure you show up as confidently as you can as yourself. Life is far too short to be held back by fears around how you look, especially when you have so much to offer this world outside of all that. What you look like does not define who you are.