‘What I wish I knew’ is actually a story I tell as part of the Keynote Seminar that I deliver globally called ‘Talking Anxiety’.
In ‘Talking Anxiety’ I share my own experiences of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) and being a high performing, highly successful – but highly Anxious person.
These experiences are wrapped up in ’10 Top Tips’ for managing Anxiety in Life & Business and is delivered to Corporates, Universities, Businesses & Stages worldwide.
However, I haven’t always been a Professional Speaker (I still can’t believe it’s my job – hugely surreal!) – it began with an emotional breakdown outside a Premier Inn in North Somerset, UK – I’m a classy guy eh, I choose my breakdowns well!
At that point – I had lost hope, felt overwhelming frustration and pain from years of living with OCD, GAD & Anxiety.
I wore a mask for every situation – as anyone who has suffered with a Mental Health condition will know – when you have low self-esteem, low self-confidence and you seek approval from others – you are naturally subservient to more dominant, ‘stronger’ people – and try to be what they want to see in you – not who you are.
Living day to day in a state of ‘fight or flight’, battling your demons, struggling with your adversities can only last so long before you reach your limit.
I hit my limit that morning when I broke down uncontrollably and I knew I then that either I had to let this out – or it would consume me.
It was then I took a very odd decision – given that globally Public Speaking is a bigger fear than death (!) – but I chose to show people the real me, my true story – by speaking to a handful of trusted people at an event I regularly attended.
It was a selfish act – quite rightly – and I encourage anyone to do the same – however the dynamic changed when it started to help other people in my situation. They saw me and I saw them – for the first time ever.
So I ‘Spoke’ again…and again…and again…
Fast forward to today where my adversity has forged my most exciting future!
So – what did I wish I knew at that point?
There is always hope.
Opportunities are everywhere.
The truth is liberating – don’t hide behind a mask.
Every storm runs out of rain.
Step up to speak, to share your challenges – if you can help just one person – then surely that’s what it is all about.
Most importantly – ensure you are living a life on your terms – not one that has been dictated by other people, situations or conditions – get to know yourself again.