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Breaking News about Halo Jewellery UK - And Losing My Mastery Over Self-Sabotage

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

A few weeks ago, I was relieved discover that despite the number of years that I’ve been on the planet, I haven’t lost the ability to be stunned, excited and scared all at once. You see, at the end of June I’d applied to be part of the something called the Small Biz 100 campaign.

The Small Biz 100 is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign that chooses 100 small businesses from all around the UK and showcases one business each day for the 100 days leading up to its culmination of Small Business Saturday, which this year is on the 5th of December. The idea is simply to get people to support their local communities and small businesses instead of the Amazons of this world.

Small businesses are defined as businesses with up to 50 employees, of which there are over 5.6 million in the UK. They employ about 13 million people, and have been particularly hard hit by the Coronavirus pandemic because many are small eateries, factories, independent shops and service-people or market traders.

Given that my business is in its infancy, my expectations of being chosen were, very sensibly, zero. I’d applied on a whim, just so that I could learn the application process. I remember I had to do a video for the submission, which for me was an utter nightmare, since I had never videoed myself. All sorts of insecurities came to the fore, and I became conscious of the spots on my face, the gap between my teeth, my terrible nose, and my hybrid accent. I considered submitting a silent video of just my products, and then dismissed the idea. Never one to do anything by half measures, I thought that if I’m going to look idiotic, I may as well look properly idiotic.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, Halo Jewellery UK has been chosen as one of the 100 small businesses to be showcased as part of the Small Biz 100 campaign. I was stunned into silence. After the silence came the whoops of excitement. To be recognised by a national campaign would give the business a huge boost in credibility. Suddenly there was someone else out there who thought that my business was worth looking at.

And then began the self-sabotage. How could I possibly have been chosen? Could they have mistyped my email address? Maybe nobody else applied? My dad said that perhaps they just picked the names out of a hat? And then I stopped and thought about it objectively. What are the chances that they would make a typo in the email address and send it to me? Very low. What are the chances that nobody else applied? Even lower, given that there are millions of small businesses out there. And the Small Business Saturday team said that it would take over a month to review the applications. I think we all know it doesn’t take a month to pull a name out of a hat.

I know it’s not just me. A lot of people excel at this type of self-sabotage that undermines their confidence. I listened to a podcast recently, which talked about exactly that. When we want something badly, we work hard and try our best. This is what we would say is putting our foot on the accelerator. But at the same time, something else is often going on in our heads. Doubts and negative thoughts which mean we are simultaneously putting our foot on the brake.

The podcast asked us to take the time to actually write down the ‘brake’ thoughts, and for once, I obeyed instructions and actually did it. Take a look at the diagram below. These are thoughts that are regularly, and I mean regularly going through my head. Do you recognise any similar ones that swirl around in your head when you’re doing something that means a lot to you?

The meaning of a lot of my thoughts above is fairly obvious, albeit damaging. But here’s what some of the more insidious, harmless sounding statements actually mean.

This is just a hobby. By saying this, I’m telling myself and everyone else that the outcome of what I’m doing doesn’t matter. But it does. It’s not a hobby. I’ve not seen many people devote up to ten hours a day five or six days a week to their hobby, no matter how much fun they think their hobby is.

Money isn’t everything. Of course it isn’t. I know that, and so do you. But by telling myself this, what I’m doing is giving myself permission to not make any money; to undercharge; to give freebies away. But actually money in this case is more important than ever, because I’ve pledged to give a fair chunk of it to those who need it more than I do. I have to get the notion that making money is being greedy out of my head.

It takes forever to create a successful business. Without a doubt this is true. But instead of using it to reassure myself when things are moving slowly, by telling myself this all the time, what I’m really saying is that I don’t expect to see success anytime soon. If I’m not even looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, how will I ever see it?

And the most dangerous one of all? I’ll just tell people I’m retired. Really? So I won't even acknowledge that I'm working on this? That’s just an excuse so I don’t have to explain to anyone if it doesn’t work out. Well you know what? Retired folk don’t create websites, write blogs, make jewellery and take photographs. They don’t spend hours learning new skills, getting out of their comfort zone and thinking about what their new product range should be. And they certainly don’t make applications to the Small Biz 100.

So I decided to grab the bull by the horns and follow through with the podcast’s advice. I wrote down all these thoughts, and then, objectively, against each one, wrote a counterargument. And I go back to what I’ve written every so often. So I’ve tried my best to lift my foot off that brake.

And I know it's working because I can feel the difference in me. Don't get me wrong. I'll never be in any danger of becoming over-confident. Nor could I ever become part of the “Fake it till you make it” brigade; I find that artificial, and anyway, it’s just not me. But I am now happy to say “This is what I do,” to anyone who will listen. And I’m sure it will make others believe in Halo that little bit more. After all, if you want others to believe in you, you need to believe in yourself first, right? I’ll end on a quote by Henry Ford – “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

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