Dove, Jess Weiner and how to be your own cheerleader

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Jess & 1 - 2007

Five years ago, I found out that Jess Weiner, Dove self-esteem project's US advocate, was in the UK. So I stalked her.

I mean, I emailed her telling her she basically had my dream job. I'd written books for teen girls, I was hosting body confidence workshops in schools and I REALLY wanted to do that on a national/global scale. I offered to take her for fish & chips - it's what all British people eat, y'know - and I was blown away when she wrote back saying 'yes, let's do it.'

We met, I intro-ed her to the joy that is mushy peas, and she was super-selfless and shared how she was doing the awesome work she did with teen girls globally. What can I say? I wanted in on that.

We stayed in touch, and I started delivering Think Pink workshops nationally and I developed a programme to be delivered alongside the PSHE curriculum in school, I even went to parliament to talk body confidence. In the meantime, I pestered Dove here in the UK, pretty much saying 'you should totally work with me, I rock.'

FYI: Never be afraid to blow your own trumpet. If you know you rock at something and can deliver on what you're offering, shout it loud, baby.


Anyway, I'll cut to the chase. On October 31st 2011, I made a vision board. I do it every Samhain because I'm a witch, and it's magick and well...I love to cut and paste. I put a number of things on there, but in my work and career area, I put a picture of Jess and the Dove symbol.

A year and a day later, I'd been signed by Dove's self esteem project as a member of their Global advisory board. Oh yeah.

I share it for a number of reasons.

1. I'm freakin' excited to be working with some of the most incredible change makers  for girl-kind in the world. 2. I get to do the work I love, on a global scale, be an advocate for self-esteem and positive body image, and support the incredible work that's being done thanks to Dove's total dedication to real beauty and healthy self-esteem. 3. Don't ever knock the power of a vision board. That shiz is magick. 4. because I wanted to share this awesome news with my mumma and well, she's not here. (Don't fret, this isn't a pity party,  hang in there.)

When I couldn't ring my mumma to tell her about this exciting new adventure in the world o' SASS, I made eye water. LOTS o' it, but because she's just died and I miss her, I'd completely and conveniently forgotten that no matter what my news, her response was always a totally underwhelming 'ohhh, that's nice, love.' It didn't matter whether I scored a 5 figure book deal with HarperCollins, set up my own publishing imprint or appeared on national TV, the response was still the same.

It's no different when I tell the Viking something I'd like a whole lot of kudos for. He'll look up from polishing his helmet - not a euphemism, he's a re-enactor - and say 'that's awesome, beautiful girl', kiss my head and go back to his helmet rubbing.

Thing is, and this is always a hefty blow to any ego, especially mine, no one will ever be as excited about your life, your accomplishments, the things you dig as you are. Fact. My mumma wanted me to be a teacher SO badly. There was a time when I even considered it because I was desperate for her approval. Imagine if I had? Imagine if I'd taken a trip to I-need-to-please-you town with a detour down I-need-approval alley? I'd be 34, parentless and unhappy because I hadn't followed my heart. Turns out, despite her big dream of me becoming a teacher, the mumma was proud o' me anyway. She told me so on the day she died. Nothing like leaving it to the last minute, mumma. Support from the people you love is important. I am beyond blessed to have an incredible team o' cheerleaders - we high five and chest bump each other's accomplishments and achievements,  but it's not essential. The only approval and big thumbs up you really need in business, love or life for that matter, is your own.

That doesn't mean that I don't still seek approval, that would mean I was without ego, and well...g-friend isn't Buddha. Yet. But I do follow my north star, check in with my heart -  'how does this feel?' and if the answer is awesome, epic or some other over-used American-o phrase that means pretty fucking brilliant, then I give myself a big thumbs up and go for it.

So, the moral of this story? Ask people for help. Play the long game - from when I met Jess 'til now has been 6 years. Vision boards rock. That is an actual fact. Become your very own cheerleader. Go on, you know you want to rock the pom poms.

Oh, one last thing...If you're holding back on doing something because someone you love won't approve? Don't. Chances are they'll still be proud of you anyway, and if they're not? Do it anyway, life is TOO short to NOT do what you love. Just sayin'.