Dancing in my best friends living room, at 10 years old, to The spice Girls Wannabe is one of my earliest memories.
These powerhouse women, full of fun and ‘girl power’, travelling the world doing everything I wanted to do, had me spellbound.
Even then I knew they weren’t the most talented people in the world, but they had what we now call the X factor. These 5 women oozed it, they stood out and they made themselves heard.
Normal young women with a dream, that was unfolding in front of all of our eyes.
I was mesmerised.
I wanted to be an actress from a young age and ambition coursed through my veins.
Coming from a working class family in the north east of England meant I wasn’t surrounded by glitz, glamour, or often much ambition, so this window into a world where ‘normal’ people succeed, had me transfixed and I wanted more.
I can remember reading Geri Halliwell’s autobiography later in my teens and wondering how she had become so successful. This isn’t meant to be a dig at Geri, but she symbolises someone that in the past we may have called a ‘jack of all trades, master of non’.
As I read her book I learned she had done it all, tried many things and the Spice Girls just happened to be the one that paid off.
From then on it became something I unwittingly studied; the ability to bounce back and never give up. I knew the kind of life I wanted and I decided to do ‘whatever it took’ to get it.
You see talent isn’t enough. There are many talented people who are sat doing a job they hate and many fairly mediocre people who are sunning themselves on glorious beaches as the money pours into their bank accounts.
I am not that talented.
I don’t say that from a place of lack of confidence though, I’m good at what I do, but I don’t have degrees coming out of my ears, I didn’t excel in one area and I have done nearly everything the hard way.
At 34 I wake up most days and do what I want. I often take stock and wonder how on earth that is the case. How have I ‘winged’ it this far?
Every now and then I get a case of the old ‘imposter syndrome’ and wonder if I’m eventually going to get ‘found out’ (whatever I would be getting ‘found out’ for, I have no idea), but I know this is a common feeling amongst entrepreneurial women.
However even with that sneaky devil of self doubt, that may often rear it’s ugly head, I know logically that I have achieved many times in my life and that you can too.
I know this because I truly believe in people and I know that people just need to find a way to unlock their self belief and then give life a go.
It's all about taking a chance, a punt, a calculated risk and seeing what roads it leads you down.
-At 11 I became an professional TV actress by writing a letter to a casting agent which included the line “I would like to be in your TV show because I am not shy one bit!” (hardly the most polished of cover letters!)
-At 19 I signed to Sony as a solo singer after a chance meeting on a Saturday morning kids TV show, with a music manager.
-During being pregnant with my second daughter, I set up a website called imapregnantmodel.com and emailed every business at a Baby Show exhibition and picking up tons of work.
-I set up an adult acting class without having a venue, lesson plan or experience of teaching. I did this by emailing a journalist and telling them I was going to do it and then ‘working it out afterwards’.
-I set up my current positive mindset workshop and online course, The Happy Me Project just months after the death of my husband, after having an influx of emails from others asking how I coped with the challenges life had thrown my way.
Before I did any of this stuff, I had no clue what I was doing or whether it might succeed, but I did it anyway.
I have learnt that life is about jumping in, having a go and if you fail, or it doesn’t work out long term, nothing really happens, you just learn a lesson and move forward.
I have learnt that with every tough bit in life there is something good to come out of it (when my husband got brain cancer, I became a high profile supporter of The Brain Tumour Charity and used the sad thing to create something good: https://www.thebraintumourcharity.org)
Being a parent is the ultimate ‘learn as you go’ job and I will fail and win on a daily basis and yet it is still one of the most rewarding jobs in the world.
In order to really live we have to be willing to mess up and to try, we need to get a little brave every once in a while and see what adventures we can go on.
The lessons I can offer you right now on your own journey, are to not try and perfect everything, that doing something is better than waiting for everything to 'get in line' and be ‘just right’, before you make a leap and that even if you don’t get it right, so what, you will have some amazing stories to share along the way.
*The Happy Me Project workshop tickets can be purchased at www.iamhollymatthews.com/workshops