Many of you know that recently myself and Daniel from the Urban Cyclery have been part of a process that would enable us to pitch infront of a 'Dragons Den' type board members for a significant amount of money to set up and launch our project correctly.
I will talk about this in another blog but really wanted to talk about handling facing fears, nerves and anxiety when put into uncomfortable situations.
I remember when planning our pitch that I was confident and ready, I know our business inside and out as we had been working on it for over a year to make sure it would be viable for investment.
As we got out of a taxi at Make Liverpool (another project at the North Dock which had already received investment earlier in the process ) I remember thinking "What on earth am I doing here - I can't do this! Stand infront of people who could decide the next stage of our future" and thats where the doubts started to come in.
(Above is a photo of Make Liverpool - a place where this journey began and the place we would later pitch in)
I began to get really nervous and as we sat and waited to pitch a few other Beautiful Ideas folk who where also involved in the process said hello and I began to feel relaxed. I remember watching a good friend of mine Polly pitch and think "wow - she is awesome" - she was confident and really engaged with the board. Seeing the room really did help rather than going in blind. The last 15 minutes waiting to go in, the beautiful Nicola Higham calmed my nerves by talking about cake and how vegetables should not go in cake! haha - it really did distract me from my nerves.
Walking into the room, I remember my stomach wanting to be sick but my husband Dan, looking at me to say "calm down your ok" ... We had forgot a print out of our presentation so fortunately Dan had to hold the remaining one - which was great as the board could not see my nerves (and shaking hands).
As we got into the flow of the pitch I began to relax UNTIL the page I was most passionate about, the reason for this project came up. The page about suicide and the amazing friends and family we had lost. I remember holding my tears back as I talked about a family member to the point of needing to take a breath to compose myself. Once I had released this tension I found myself relaxing and really being able to talk about the project so much more.
I remember that it felt like it wasn't me talking and I was watching myself from a distance.
Towards the end of the pitch we had ran out of time but I had brought cakes for the board to ice and they really wanted too! At this point my anxiety levels where calming and I could really engage and answer questions. It did however turn into a "who can ice the best rose" competition which was fab!
The point is that despite our anxieties - if we face our fears, stop overthinking and just go for it we can really achieve great things. Yes, my hands where shaking... Yes, i shed a tear... but I did it, stood infront of a small group of business people and successfully shared my business idea. It was worth it! I had nothing to lose! We went on to get invested in but most of all we will now be able to go on and work with people like myself suffering with mental health issues. To encourage them to do things just like this.
Fears and thoughts are things that hold us back but can be overcome.