How to believe you can do anything

How to believe you can do anything

I came across a Facebook thread today that consisted of this simple question: ‘What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to sell?

I’ve sold some pretty tough things in my time, but hands down the hardest was writing copy for a product which was literally “Air In A Can”. It wasn’t air for your computer, or your bike, or anything practical.

It was literally supposed to be purified air that had ‘health benefits’. Legally and morally, it was a minefield. Not to mention the number of people who bought it and complained they’d received an empty can (what were they expecting? Maybe they thought, ‘They can’t possibly be selling empty cans to people’).

When I sat down to the task of writing the copy (after much objection – I don’t have a reputation of being awkward for nothing), I had no idea what to write. But eventually, I came up with something I was happy with.

And at that point, I felt like I could sell anything.

Progress Not Perfection

Sometimes there’s times in life where something seems ridiculous, or impossible, or unattainable. But when you do it, you have a kind of ‘I can do anything now I’ve done that’ moment.

Another example is when I spoke at Google in London a few years ago. At the time I was in the middle of a depressive episode, on heavy medication, and had been working 80+ hour weeks in the run up to the event. I didn’t think I could go through with my presentation, which was in front of customers and senior people at the company and even Google employees.

But once I got into the flow of it, I was fine. I even enjoyed it towards the end. I don’t have much public speaking experience and it’s terrifying for me as an introvert, but after I finished speaking and walked off the stage, I felt amazing.

Speaking at Google

Often, now, when I think about a task that seems impossible, I go back to those times. And some of the worst times I’ve had in my life, where I’ve thought ‘I’ll never get through it’. And I realise that I did. And it wasn’t so bad. And sometimes it worked out better than I thought possible.

So if you’re like me, and you self-sabotage, and you think ‘I can’t handle that’ or ‘I won’t be good enough’, even if it’s something like a ridiculous work task or public speaking, face your fear. Think back to other difficult things that you got past or ended up in succeeding at or that worked out for the best eventually. You’ve got this.

The story of the crisis management team

The Crisis Management Team

Once upon a time, in a job far far away, most of my role was social media for one particular company. No two days were the same. It could be a brilliant day where everyone was lovely, or it could be a terrible day where everyone was angry. Death threats were not uncommon. Wishes of cancer were not uncommon. On my worst day, I sat at my desk in tears for nine and a half hours straight while angry tweets came pouring in.

Did I mention that I was the only person responsible for social media 24/7, and that I had no cover?

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Some thoughts on Manchester


In recent years I’ve been to several cities that have had terrorist attacks and are common terrorist targets. Ankara. Paris. London.

We’ve seen hundreds of armed police and military personnel running through the streets in Kiev. We’ve seen controlled explosions in Paris. We’ve been to countries that are in full blown active war in their own homeland.

I have never been afraid to walk those streets.

But Manchester is different.

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9 things to do when you don’t feel like blogging

9 things to do when you don't feel like blogging

It’s been a while since I blogged. Life has been pretty shitty, for reasons I’m not going into just yet. What I will say is that one bad thing never happens on its own. There are at least three bad things that happen to me at any one time, and they are always massive life changing things, not like accidentally leaving the freezer door open.1

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  1. Which I also did recently. But I digress.