Oh, HELLO 2017!
I can’t begin to tell you how I LOVE LOVE LOVE January! That blank piece of paper – just waiting for you to live the next chapter of your story. It excites me more than words can say. All that hope – all those dreams – just waiting to be realised. It’s also the time of year I tend to take stock of life, make plans, be grateful for what’s been and be excited for what’s to come.And it got me thinking about daring to DREAM and how we often forget or lose the nerve to dream as we get older. Life takes over and practicalities outweigh a passion for living and the pursuit of the things that makes you smile!
When I was about 10, I remember going to my mates house for tea – as you do! I tried on her mini-dresses (she had a WAY better wardrobe than my offering of hand-me-downs from girls at church), we listened to – SWOON – Wham – dreaming of how she was going to marry Andrew and I was going to live the rest of my years with George (part of my youth disappeared Christmas Day 2016) and danced on her bed like NO-ONE was watching!
Her mum asked me what I wanted to be when I was older.
“A Blue Peter Presenter” came my reply, with all the assurance and conviction that this would be my reality.
“Oh – I always dreamed of doing that” she answered. “But I never did anything about it”.
Never had a line hit me harder.
Even at that young age, I remember thinking how awful to get to a moment in life when there was something you always wanted to do but never did anything about making it happen. This totally struck me as a reality I didn’t want for my life, so I set about making my dream my reality!
Not even a careers advisor at school could put me off when, by the age of 15, she met my dream to present Blue Peter with a careless but practical “But what do you REALLY want to do”! Yeah, I KNOW! Looking back, I was so full of the desire to land the dream, I didn’t even clock her reality-check of a line!
I had a dream and every intention of pursuing it. SO…
- I wrote to the editor of Blue Peter, who sent me the standard letter, advising me to get as much experience in media as possible.
- I went travelling for a year to “find myself” and gained crucial life confidence along the way.
- I started working for free at our local radio station and wasn’t even put off by one of my bosses in local radio who told me I’d never make it as a presenter because of my “soft R”. Thanks Keith! Nothing like encouraging new talent!
- I faced my fears to land a job presenting on the local hospital TV station. It was all kinds of terrible with some creepy older men, but I had to shake my shy somehow!
- I taught myself to type – at evening class and with one of those teach-yourself books – so I could get a “proper job” with the BBC as a Production Secretary, then spent years commuting into London and working my way up through the ranks – eventually working at BBC TV Centre as the Assistant to the Controller of BBC1 – with a 2 hour commute each way from my home in Essex – whilst moonlighting on Nickelodeon with 3 am starts at the weekends!
- I kept pestering Blue Peter until finally….
- I got an interview…
- I got the audition….presenting a full 30 minutes of a show with the actual presenters, in a studio complete with trampoline action, interviewing an olympian and, of course, making a Christmas Card…
- And, even though there was a “favourite” girl in the line up and I subsequently found out I was making up numbers… I guess the audition went well because THIS happened… My first ever presenter picture at my desk where I was STILL working as a PA for a week before heading off filming the Blue Peter Summer Expedition to South Africa!
This was on the cover of the BBC’s internal magazine – Ariel and a colleague from my local radio days called to let me know she’d put it on Keiths desk, with his morning coffee!
Who would have thought that the girl nicknamed CHERRY HEAD at school (I was so painfully shy I’d would go red when the teacher even spoke to me!) would land her dream job! On TV! To a live audience of 11 million back then. Talk about improbable!
But I’d adored Blue Peter and ever since I was a 5 year old tomboy who liked climbing trees, I’d longed to be one of the girls on there, who bucked the trend for girls to be – well, girly! To me they were badass – and doing it – and loving life! And that wasn’t the norm then so I wanted IN! Forget the fact that I was shy and had no drama or performance experience – I had a dream. And that was that!
The weirdest thing about landing my dream job was – realising I was STILL ME! I guess sometimes you have a vision of “if I did that dream job, I’d be like THAT” – some rose coloured version of your life! No. You’re still you! But a fulfilled you – beyond your wildest dreams!
Fast forward to adulthood and somehow, so many of us forget to dream!
So, my question for you for 2017 is this:
Without the house, mortgage, responsibility, kids – What’s YOUR DREAM? What would you do with your life if you could do anything? Are you living the life you want to? And if not, why not and could 2017 be the year you empower yourself to LIVE?
I went on THE MOST inspirational day at Southwood Social Hub at the end of last year – run by the awesome Hayley Southwood – my amazing friend and general happiness guru. It was a Vision Board session with the inspirational life coach Jessica Rogers. The weirdest thing, I mentioned this blog post to Hayley and within an hour she called back, saying Jessica had just, coincidentally, booked another session – Vision Board and How to Set Goals! Talk about serendipitous! I can’t recommend it enough if you’re feeling lost, like making some changes or trying to clarify the life you want to be leading!
Somehow, with the pace of life it feels indulgent to take time out to create a clear picture of what you want, but it’s so empowering! I came away feeling energised and excited for life after creating a visual reminder of things that are important to me. Sometimes all you need is help sorting out where your head’s at!
I guess if we’ve learnt anything from 2016, it’s that life is precious and can be shorter than you expect. So 2017 – it’s happening!
We need to DARE TO DREAM! And then – We need to LIVE IT!
I’ll leave you with this awesome quote from Eleanor Roosevelt! Says it all!