If you would have asked me 5 years ago that when I started this blog that it would lead me to be on a speakers panel for an established well-respected company, there is no doubt that I would have laughed and told you that is such a ridiculous thought. To think that I could be capable of standing up in front of an audience, sharing my story and a message that holds great meaning, was well out of my realm and capacity.
I have always been someone who loves to pass on words of encouragement and positivity, but never had enough self-belief or confidence to put that energy into something like public speaking. It seemed as though in order for anyone to truly listen to what you had to say was if you were extremely successful, entrepreneur, CEO, super famous or something like that.
Yet on Saturday 23rd March, I headed down to London to not only attend the HBC Summit 2019 but to give my first public speech that was entitled “Adversity encourages you to love your authentic self”.
For those of you who may not be completely aware of my journey, I have battled with severe mental health conditions for over nine years; an eating disorder that nearly took my life away, and depression that lead me to want to and try to take my life. There was nothing inside of me that I could feel would ever overcome these traumatic, consuming, life-threatening illnesses. It seemed as though there was no alternative but to surrender to the darkness, or to merely exist as I was for as long as possible.
Though, there was another choice that I could make.
That choice was to choose to thrive.
The choice is by far the most difficult, challenging and demanding one to make, yet the rewards of which will be given back in abundance. Opening up my mind to the concept of giving myself a chance to grow from the adversity that was ultimately destroying me, was not without its drawbacks. But once I began to realise that it was me that had the ultimate say in how life could turn out to be, there was a huge wake-up call. Before then I had no comprehension of what will make my life full of the most fulfilling and meaningful one I could possibly have. I went on a mission to find other stories of overcoming adversity and how it is possible to find happiness, appreciation, and love for one’s self after it all. After reading. listening, and watching so many remarkable journeys the message was clear…
The key to it all was to learn to love my authentic self.
The Growing Butterfly was born through adversity. It has guided me through so many obstacles but has brought far more positive experiences that have enhanced personal growth and deepened the connection that I have with who I am, what are my most inner desires, and how I wish to make my mark, no matter how big or small. Being able to share a message that is full of passion and comes from the heart in whatever way possible, has been the most valuable incentive to keep creating content, sharing my story and encouraging others to see that however dark days may be there is always light within just waiting to be revealed and allowed to shine brightly.
When the opportunity presented itself to apply to speak publicly about a topic that I am passionate about, I jumped at the chance. Despite my fears and tribulations about doing so, it felt right to give it a go. How can you grow without stepping outside your comfort zone? Receiving the email to say that I was able to give a speech was a shock, to say the least. Leading right up to those final few seconds before it was that time, I was completely filled with anxiety and fear that I would be terrible at it or that what I had to say wouldn’t connect to anyone else.
Every single doubt couldn’t have been further from the truth (not to blow my own trumpet!). The feedback from the talk was so overwhelming that my heart was nearly unable to take in so much praise and love in one go. The engagement that the audience seemed to have was unbelievable. What made the moment that much more unforgettable was having my mum there to witness it, and to see the undeniable joy and pride in her smile for what I had just done.
To be a part of such an incredible event such as HBC Summit was an honour, and I don’t make that statement lightly. The HBC community is the most empowering and uplifting place to be for someone who thrives off networking with like-minded individuals. Fab Giovanetti and her amazing team put on such a fantastic day packed full of great things to try, taste and listen to. Getting to talk with fantastic innovative brands, companies, influencers/bloggers is one of my favourite elements to events like this as they present new waves of thought and direction for myself to take both personally and professionally.
Talks covered so many different aspects to the health and wellness industry. To of my favourites that I got the chance to listen to were:
– ‘What’s Next for Gut Health? Taking Our Microbiome to the Next Level’ – with Kristy Coleman, Nutritionist, and Dr Sara Celik from Panel Sponsors Renew Life.
– ‘Under the Microscope: Ingredients Shaking up the Beauty Industry’ – with Sarah, Founder of BYSARAHLONDON, Shiona Redmond, Founder of Graces London, and Gemma Ortega-Perez, Relationship Manager at Formula Botanica.
You can’t go to a health and wellness event and not be able to try out a great selection of products that can improve your overall health and wellbeing. There were health-promoting beverages from Coconut Merchant which I sampled such their creamy coconut coffee, and Lo Bros Living Drinks which are organic living drinks made with kombucha in the UK (surprisingly tasty and refreshing!). There was delicious samples of Boost Balls, Kate Percy’s Go Faster Foods, and Grind Nuts to try too!
What added to this event was finally being able to catch up with fellow bloggers such as Ceri Jones (@cerikitchen), Samantha Amie Forester (@fitnessforester), and Camilla Dempster (@camdempster_). As well as being able to meet new amazing ones who I admire greatly like Simone Venne (@msholistic), Amy Lanza (@nourishing.amy) and Sophie Parker (@oatsodelicious).
Though social media can have really bad press, I am ever so thankful that it has provided me with the chance to meet some many beautiful people that I would probably never have otherwise met.
Coming away from the entire experience has made me re-evaluate myself and the direction that I can head in. Not only have I been inspired and filled with knowledge from so many amazing individuals, but I have found a strength inside myself that I wasn’t utilising to its full potential. I can speak openly and honestly in front of others, conveying the message that I truly believe that everyone can benefit from hearing.
I hope that through sharing this that you can take something positive away and maybe even be empowered from it. Whatever or where ever life will take you, you always have the ability, the courage, and the power to create wonder from it all. We are all worthy and deserving of loving who we are and the life that is only ours to hold.