Last Saturday, I had the honour of being the after dinner speaker at my old sailing cub in Brightlingsea for their annual Laying Up Supper.
It was actually really nice, as I haven’t been back to the Club in years.
Whilst I’ve had mixed feelings about my time at the club, often feeling that people may see me as a failure, I was surprised at the really warm welcome I received.
I recounted some stories from my childhood, especially my many adventures on the water around Brightlingsea, as well as embarrassing a good few people that may or may not have influenced my childhood! I also took the time to thank those members that have really supported my career so far, as well as showing them my next big crazy adventure plans!
What it did remind me about was that whilst I myself like to constantly remind others to not judge a book by its cover, I myself am guilty of passing judgement and sometimes my perceptions of how others see me couldn’t be more wrong.
I had assumed that the club members saw me as a failure, and that technically I was an imposter, so why would I even be asked to speak? But I couldn’t be further from the truth. Whilst I am sure there are people that have judged my past sailing performances, particularly in the Paralympics, not everyone sees me as a failure, or now thinks that I am reaching too far with my dream and ambition to one day race in the Vendee Globe.
I suppose it really is “imposter syndrome” and my own shortcomings in terms of confidence and self doubt , and something that I really do need to work on.
So a rather personal reminder from the evening to myself- I am good enough and not a failure, therefore I should be proud to be invited back to speak, I should be proud to share my journey with the club, and perhaps most importantly I shouldn’t assume people are judging me!
Thanks must go to Fiona Brown though for organising everything, sorting out all the technology and inviting me to speak in the first place, as well as to all the club members for not only making feel welcome and supported, but also for your incredible donation to Hannah Stodel Racing- it means the world to me!