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Do you believe you are important?

That’s quite a difficult question for most of us to answer I think. Of course the answer is yes, you are important, but do you believe it?

Over the last few weeks I have had the honour of interviewing many amazing women for my The Super Woman Life series. They all had one thing in common. None of them believed that they had done anything special, or that they were anything out of the ordinary. 

Let me tell you these are incredible women, they have achieved amazing things against unbelievable obstacles and they are inspiring so many people, but they can’t see it. They think they are just “normal”.

Of course, the reality is, they are normal.

We all are.

 

Does that make us any less impressive, or any less important?

 

Hell no!

Part of the issue, as I see it, is that we all grow up looking up to someone. It may be our parents, grandparents, teachers, celebrities… whoever it is that we admire, we put them on a pedestal. They are perfect. They have achieved phenomenal things and inspired us to be the best version of ourselves we can be. 

Then as we grow, we update our idols. We begin to look up to other people in our industry, friends who have survived and celebrities who reflect everything we want to be. 

We continually update our list of people we admire but at what point do we allow ourselves to be on that list?

 

Well, the sad thing is, most people never do.

We are all achieving amazing things, overcoming our fears, learning, growing, helping others… changing the world, but we are unable to see it.

I have been fortunate enough to meet some amazing people in my life, and from a young age too.

My background

I didn’t grow up in a show biz family or anything but I loved theatre and did a lot of musicals in my teens and twenties. I did all sorts of shows, I even did one night at the London Palladium. I had friends who did pantomime, I wrote for the local newspaper when I was at school writing reviews for plays and shows we had seen with school. As a result I met, and often spent time with, lots of celebrities.

These are some of my most treasured photos of me meeting Alan Rickman following an interview I did with him for the local newspaper. Even at 17 years old, I wasn’t star struck, I had met enough actors and performers to know they are just people. I worked with Jane MacDonald on a show and at one time was meeting so many “famous” people I don’t even have any photographic evidence because it just didn’t seem like something that significant (and of course we didn’t all carry a camera phone in our pocket then!).

Despite this, I have still struggled with feeling overwhelmed at the thought of talking to some people I have interviewed. 

Imposter Syndrome

I still don’t feel starstruck at the thought of talking to, or meeting, celebrities. What I do struggle with is interacting with people I really admire. People I feel have achieved so much more than I have. My imposter syndrome comes out to play and I ask myself questions like “Who am I to interview them?”, “Why would they want to talk to me?”, “What have I got to contribute?”. Sound familiar?

What if I told you that everyone feels the same way?

I have spoken to many people in the public eye and rarely do they think they are any better than everyone else, most are still amazed that they are recognised and that anyone listens to them. More importantly most would still be surprised if someone they look up to approached them to do some work. 

Last week I interviewed the beautiful Theresa Cheung. Theresa is an author and spiritual expert. She has also been one of my greatest teachers. 

A few years ago now Theresa contacted me by email. Having read Theresa’s books for many years, at first I thought it was spam. Imagine my surprise when I replied and ended up chatting with her on the phone about a project she wanted me to work with her on!  I was blown away. Why on earth would this best selling author want to work with me?

Well, she was searching the internet and I had written about using Star Wars to help children with mindfulness.  She was looking for someone with an understanding of the spiritual aspects of Star Wars and before I knew it I was on a panel at Comic Con! Here we are with some of the other contributors to the project!

We have kept in touch ever since so when I started my Super Woman Life interview series I contacted her to ask if she would be interviewed. Bearing in mind she was on Russell Brand’s podcast recently and has been featured on various TV programmes talking about how we are all coping with lockdown and the dreams we may be haivng, I was honoured when she jumped at the chance. Not only that but when I interviewed her last week, she spent the first few minutes complimenting me – you can imagine how that surprised me!   

That was what got me thinking about this subject. It doesn’t seem to matter who I meet, who I work with, there will always be people who I admire and look up to, and who I am amazed want to work with me. 

For me it is a sign of respect. I am in awe of their knowledge, their skills and their strength.

 

Gaining Perspective

Some of the women I have interviewed for this amazing series have wondered why I have approached them. What have they done that’s so remarkable? Why would anyone be interested in them? Yet some of them have actually cried as they watched back their interview and heard them telling their own story. We are all capable of incredible strength and courage when necessary, we just get on with it. When we see that same resilience in others we are amazed at their courage. Somehow watching themselves back on screen enabled them to detach from their own story and see their own strength, their achievements and their own ability to inspire others.  

We are all SO important. 

If you have any doubt about that, just stop to think about what the world would be like without you. That’s a bit intense, but if you are still struggling with believing your are important, that’s a great way to realise how many people love you, need you, would miss you, you have an enormous impact. You are incredible.

 

Accepting compliments 

I am slowly learning that I can look up to people and still be important and have an impact myself. Admiring others doesn’t mean I don’t respect myself, or that I feel unworthy.  

Learning to accept compliments and praise is something many of us struggle with. For years I would bat away compliments with a justification or a dismissal. Over time I have learned to say “thank you” or “that’s so kind”. Sometimes it still takes effort to do that, but I am getting used to it and you can too. Next time someone pays you a compliment accept it graciously. It isn’t big headed or showing off, it is being graceful and grateful.  

I’ll start you off. You are amazing. You have achieved so much and I am so proud of you for the way you have coped with this year. I love you.

 

Do you want to read more about confidence? Have a look at these articles.

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