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Small Steps

Blog ideas regularly come to me in the middle of the night or as I’m dropping off to sleep. In fact, this one was midnight!!! and when the idea for this blog came to me, I had to put pen to paper quick or I would have forgotten it by morning.

I want to take a look at what can hold us back in life, both personally and professionally. My inspiration for this blog was motivated by the number of messages I get daily from people who want to set up their own cake businesses or embark on a new hobby. They are hesitant for various reasons and give themselves excuses as to why now isn’t the right time for them or because they feel they may not be good enough.

Our mind is an integral powerful part of us all but it does have the ability to skew our thinking, putting perceived obstacles in our way. It’s easy to focus on the “what ifs” and what could go wrong, rather than what could go right. If you wait for the perfect time it will never happen so just go for it and embrace the challenge – you may be pleasantly surprised!

As I’ve already mentioned, I get numerous messages via social media from people wanting to start piping but instantly putting an obstacle in the way with their own negative thoughts and lack of personal confidence. I regularly see comments such as “I would love to try one of your online courses but I don’t think I would be very good at it”. It seems to be human nature to put ourselves down when we look to a new challenge or opportunity that pushes us out of our comfort zone. Most of us are very good at giving other people compliments but we are not always so positive about our own abilities. So, I say nothing ventured is nothing gained and expect a few bumps in the road but don’t let that deter you from starting your journey. You may find a skill you never knew you had or an unexpected love for something new. You could also find out that you don’t have the skill required and that’s okay too. I tried my hand at fondant work and I just don’t have the eye or the patience for it but I gave it a go and I won’t let it stop me from trying new things. We all have special qualities and unless you challenge yourself to try something you will never find out what your own special gift is.

My business has grown my confidence but at the same time self-doubt does creep in at times. There is always that inner voice asking “What will people think of this new flower? What will people think of my new online course? Is this cake good enough to share with my followers?” I think it’s only human nature to feel this way when you are sharing something you have invested a part of yourself in and are so incredibly passionate about. I recently shared an image of a cupcake with some mini- Russian flowers where one flower was on the skew. I struggled to see past this slight imperfection but on the whole it was a lovely image so decided to let my audience be the judge and it had very positive feedback. So, I believe it was the right decision to post it and I didn’t get shot down in flames because of the imperfection and it ended up being a very positive experience for me. So, what I took from this was that audiences don’t expect flawless perfection, they just want to see you as a real person who does have vulnerabilities just like they do.

The trick is to learn to manage your own self-doubt and learn to overcome it. Don’t let it take over or rule your life or stop you doing what you want to do. I recently saw a quote that said “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough”.

I try and not let my own fears hold me back and I want to inspire others to be the same. Being in a comfort zone is where we are least challenged and a place where we are not evolving. Various times during my life both personally and professionally I have found myself clinging to my comfort zone and struggling to move forward but I owe it to myself (we all do) to push through this. There is a lot to be said for the familiarity of your comfort zone of course but ultimately, I try and push through my fears at every opportunity and not let it hold me back. I want to encourage others to do the same. I have become well known for my online tutorials and absolutely love teaching my skill to others but during the process of filming my courses (I have just finished a few new tutorials which is super exciting so watch for this coming out soon,) they always take me so far out of my comfort zone you wouldn’t believe. It all comes together in the end though and my students feedback is recognition of this.

The recent pandemic and global lockdowns that has gripped us for so long, has heightened these feelings for some including me. You don’t have to believe what your mind tells you or let self-doubt cloud your thinking. In fact, making pretty cakes has helped lots of us escape from all the negative news around us. It is definitely my happy place. Remember this period of time is only a small snapshot in our lives and there is so much more that is good and positive ahead.

One of my biggest lessons in life and business has been to prioritise my mental wellness. This is essential for every aspect of our lives, both personal and professional. I have taken control of my own mental health. I can recognise now what triggers a wobble in my wellbeing and try my best to manage it before it gets out of hand. Accepting you have a problem is half way to managing your future wellbeing. I don’t always get it right of course but it’s a work in progress and I will continue to fight on as we all need to.

Be kind to yourself, forgive yourself, trust yourself and refuse to compare yourself to others. This is one thing I really do have to work on a lot. It’s easy to look sideways at what others are doing and start to feel inadequate. I know in my heart that I have a successful business but sometimes I have a crisis of confidence. Try and turn comparison into motivation and inspiration and never allow the success of others to make you feel inadequate. It’s time to stop being your inner critic and start being your inner advocate. Instead of saying “I’m new and it is not very good.” Spin it round and say “I’m a beginner and I am so proud at what I have achieved”. Turn it into a positive and be proud. We will applaud your journey. I love to see the start of a student’s journey and then see their progression months later. This gives me a warm feeling inside. Remember you only see my successes on my social media but trust me, there are often kitchen nightmares too especially when trying to perfect a new flower. My positive spin on this is would be “It’s a work in progress”.

Comparing ourselves to others can have such a negative impact on our lives. I wanted to touch on this because I regularly receive messages from students and bakers who feel they are not good enough and compare their work unfavourable with others locally or on social media. Focusing on these feelings can inhibit us from successfully reaching our own goals and make us anxious, consuming too much of our essential energy. My advice is to trust your own work, don’t compare yourself to others as you are not them, just be the best that you can be and keep striving for your own goals. I’ve just retold that to myself too!!!! If your follow your own path you will enjoy your journey.

It’s important to keep it real. I spent a long time believing that every social media post and blog had to be nothing but 100% positive. This does not reflect real life nor is it a true reflection of my life or business. Sometimes I need to vent as we all do and it is good for others to know and to share in your anguish sometimes. It is amazing how cathartic it is to put it out there sometimes when you have had a bad day. The members of my Facebook VIP Cake Community are brilliant at supporting each other and it is a safe place to have open and frank discussions whilst getting a bit of sympathy and feedback. Whatever has bugged you today you can bet someone has been there too and that is somehow comforting to know that you are not alone.

How can a blog or social media interaction possibly come across as sincere if you are not honest with your audience and only paint a picture of the good side.

Sometimes life and business can be tough but remember to take small steps and if you keep striving to be the best you can be you will reach your goals.

Keep baking.
Kerry xxx