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Podcast Episode 9: Redefining Success and Self-Care as an Introvert In The Workplace with Fiona Campbell-Howes

Guest: Fiona Campbell-Howes, B2B Tech Writer

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I’d like to offer a warm thank you to quiet volunteer and community member, Julia, for her comfort zone stretch in reaching out to Fiona and leading this interview. Well done! To watch Julia’s interview with Stacie on perfectionism, please download the Quiet Connections App.

 

Rose Burch
Hi friend. Welcome to the Quiet Connections podcast. Do you feel anxious and not good enough in social situations? Feel like you’re weird, broken or don’t fit in? You are not alone. Join Haley and Stacie on a journey to quiet confidence. Picking up key insights to help you feel more calm and confident. So you can finally Speak up, join in, and feel like you belong too.

Stacie Clark
Hello, and welcome back to the Quiet Connections podcast!

This is a special one today, because, not only are we joined by our wonderful guest, Fiona Cambell-Howes, who is an introverted entrepreneur, Founder of a global company and freelancer, – with an inspiring message to share with you all.

But this episode is also a real life example of a comfort zone stretch made by one of our quiet community members, Julia, who reached out to Fiona, set up this call, and leads the interview! And as it’s always important we acknowledge those comfort zone stretches and all the wins that we make along the way – I’d like to offer a huge well done and thank you Julia.

So, when you think of a woman who has founded a successful global company, and numerous freelance businesses. What do you see?

Now add presenting at conferences, delivering training workshops and working with top tech brand names such as Microsoft and Slack. You probably picture a person full of extroverted confidence, who must never struggle to speak, network, or feel doubtful, don’t you?

It’s easy for us to assume that others don’t experience the same anxieties that we do. And for us to believe we’re less capable than they are. Or for us to strive for success based on what we are told it is meant to look like (even if it’s not what we actually want, or suits who we are).

Which is why I am super excited to share this interview with you today, because Fiona has a different message to share, that we think is important for you to hear!

Stacie Clark 
Hi Julia and Fiona. Thank you so much for joining me today and Julia, thank you so much for setting up this interview. We’re joined by Fiona Campbell-Howes, and Julia who some of you may already recognise from an interview we did a little while ago about perfectionism, and also from being an active member in our quiet community.

So, Fiona, would you like to start by sharing just a little bit about who you are and, and what you do?

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
Sure. Yeah, so, so I’m Fiona Campbell-Howes. Until very recently, I was the founder and CEO of Radix Communications, which is a copywriting agency, a specialists technology copywriting agency based here in Penryn in Cornwall.

Julia 
And I’m Julia. As Stacie said, I’m one of the members of the quiet community. I’ve done some mindful baking, baking sessions if some of you recall, but I’ve also been interviewed by Stacie about my TED talk on on perfectionism and my relationship with perfectionism.

Today I’m really happy to be interviewing Fiona with Stacie, because I think Fiona’s experience can be really valuable to the quiet community. The first time I heard Fiona speak was at Google Women Techmakers event. I think a couple or three years ago. And she was talking about her experience as an introvert of setting up a business and running a business and I thought it was extremely inspiring, that it might benefit all of us. So thank you Fiona for joining us today.

To people who already don’t really know you can you tell us a bit more about your background and what got you into setting up a business here in Cornwall?

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
Yeah sure so. So, kind of, professionally I’ve worked in the tech industry for my whole life. So I started out about 25-26, years ago, working in PR in a kind of technology PR agency, but really quickly I realised that the whole kind of media relations side of it, so schmooze schmoozing journalists, taking journalists out to lunch, that, that wasn’t for me. And I really preferred the writing side of things, so I love writing press releases and case studies for my clients, but I really didn’t like the social side of it at all.

So kind of over the years since then I’ve specialised more and more on the writing side. So I did work in house for a bit at a big tech company in their PR department. But I’ve mostly specialised as a writer, and I’ve actually gone freelance as a writer, four times now in my career. And the third time I went freelance was when I moved to Cornwall about 13 years ago, so I moved from London to Cornwall, because I met a man and I moved down here to move in with him and Falmouth. and I went freelance, I thought well I could work from anywhere as a writer, so I can freelance easily from Cornwall, but what happened was, like, just work kept coming, there was just kind of more and more work, there was more work than I could do myself, so I thought well at this point, I could like just pass it off to other people or I could hire people, and start an agency. So, so that’s what I decided to do. So, 13 years ago I set up Radix grew it to a team of about 17 people. And then a couple of years ago sold it to the other two directors. I stayed there for a little bit to just kind of see the transition through, and then earlier this year in March I left Radix and I set up as a freelance writer for the fourth time in my life.

Julia 
That’s an amazing background. Yeah, that’s really amazing. Thank you for sharing that. So you’re saying that you, that setting up this business was quite, quite the adventure, I understand. Is that what you feel most proud of is in achieving in your career?

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
So I do, I definitely do feel proud of it. Sort of having set up the business and grown it to this bigger team and then having all these kind of clients, globally around the world, because we, you know we were writing for people like Microsoft and Slack and Xero, and Salesforce and companies like that, so I do feel proud of that. But I think the thing that I’m proudest of is the creation of the jobs. Because when I, when I first moved to Cornwall I was already quite aware that Cornwall needed to have better jobs, it needed to have better, better paid, more permanent, more kind of digital economy style jobs and I thought well that’s something that I can help a little bit with, if, if I’ve got this work, that’s coming.

So the fact that I created 16 jobs, almost brought a new capability to Cornwall as well, because you know b2b technology copywriting is quite specialist area, and it’s mostly concentrated around London and the home counties, and to have set up an agency which is quite, you know, a world class agency you know with a global client base here in Cornwall it’s almost kind of brought that skill to Cornwall which is now being perpetuated because I’ve left but the agency is still continuing to hire people, and we’re still continuing to take on clients from around the world. So I think that’s what I’m most proud of.

Julia 
That’s really amazing.

So thinking about all of that. Like most, most of our community, might feel like “oh she must be such an outgoing person and such a confident person”, but actually you consider yourself as an introvert.

So can you tell us more about like what it was like to set up this business and to, and to move on from the freelancer world, as an introvert and doing all of that?

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
Yeah, so I mean, I think there’s two sides to it so, so actually growing the business and sort of signing on new clients and talking to clients and, I really loved that side of it, I absolutely loved that side of growing the business, because we were based in Cornwall and the clients were kind of in London or they were around the world, there wasn’t that kind of social aspect to it. And as an introvert, and somebody who has social anxiety as well, I really don’t enjoy small talk, I don’t enjoy socialising, I don’t enjoy any of that, but I do love to talk to clients about work and you know what their problems are and how I can solve them with my writing.

So I really enjoyed that part of it, it was the, it was the parts, it was, it was the having the people to manage, managing the people, and I apologise to anybody at Radix that might be listening to this, I think, I think they already know. I mean they were absolutely lovely people, they are absolutely lovely people, but as an introvert, I’d like to have kind of my own space, and my own quiet time and my own alone time. And when you’re running an agency and it’s kind of an open plan office and you’ve got 16 people around you and there’s people coming up to you all the time with questions about things. And then, because the office was only a minutes walk from my house, and I had my young family at home, like that, literally that one two minutes walk was my downtime in the day. That was my quiet time and that one or two minutes I mean you you will both know as introverts as well. One or two minutes of quiet time in the day is not enough.

So that was the bit that I found difficult, kind of always having people around me, always being in conversation, always having to answer questions and kind of just having all that kind of noise around me was the difficult part.

Julia 
It’s kind of emotionally draining.

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
It is absolutely draining and you know as a classic introvert you know any kind of interaction and noises drains energy. And that’s all you’ve got in the day.

Stacie Clark 
Did you have any techniques for how you manage that for such a long time? Like, of course, being in the office, was, was there any like secret thing that you used to do that just helped it a little bit.

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
I did not in the office or in the office I just like put up with it. But it was it was it was sort of coming out at weekends, you know, I’d have this really kind of stressful full on week. Then on Saturday morning. I would just be, I just couldn’t do anything. And then, you know, my husband would say oh you know let’s go meet up with so and so, or let’s take the kids out to so and so. And we would go and I would just have panic attacks and just be really horrible and I eventually realised I need that Saturday morning, I have to have that downtime, because otherwise I just I just can’t cope with this. So we came to an arrangement in the end that I would have Saturday mornings to myself but he would take the kids out and be alone in the house. So, that was telling blissful. Yeah, it was it was because I was I mean, genuinely getting quite worried about myself a certain point,

Stacie Clark 
At some point you really do need to ask for what you need to actually care for yourself so yeah it’s great to see that actually that made a difference to have those those mornings Saturday mornings to yourself.

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
Yes, and I do think, you know if, if others are listening in a similar situation, I do think you need to ask for that at work as well, I mean, I didn’t feel like I could, because I was running the business I felt like I need to be there for everybody all the time. I need to go on all of these client calls I need to be in this meeting, I need to be in that meeting, and I think if that’s affecting your mental health, which it was for me, I think you need to ask for some time. If you’re not, if you don’t have the power to give yourself the time you need to ask for it. And if you have got the autonomy to give yourself the time then you need to give yourself that time. Don’t be so hard on yourself to push through everything.

Stacie Clark 
Such an important message to share.

Julia 
Yeah, definitely. Definitely a powerful message to hear, because most of us don’t necessarily have the confidence, or have the courage to actually ask for what we need. Sometimes we haven’t even identified what it is that we need when actually it’s, it’s just some quiet time. And especially at work, it’s, it’s so hard to have other people who understand the importance of quiet time for us. And, and that’s a really powerful message to hear from from somebody who used to run a business, like there is, there is space for, for quiet time and you can you can ask for that to be to be arranged. That’s, that’s really, really powerful I find.

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
And I, I think a lot more employers, kind of understanding this now. I mean I’ve seen a huge change in the last 10 or 15 years in the kind of understanding of different personality types and understanding of mental health issues as well. So, I mean, I know, I know as an employer that if somebody came to me and said, you know, I’m really struggling with this and I’d like to change my, kind of, working schedule to be like this, to, for my own mental health, and I’d be really, really willing to do that because you want your people to be at their best. And I think a lot more employers are really aware of that, and much more so than 15-20 years ago.

Stacie Clark 
Absolutely. Yeah, and I think like, it is an important thing to acknowledge and that actually there are many different ways in which we can actually work, like our work days don’t always have to be like that traditional nine to five or, and I think just having those conversations like, employers and employees having those conversations and come into an arrangement can be such a fantastic thing to actually ensure that people are working at their most productive, and that they’re feeling comfortable. And I know from my personal experience, social anxiety in the workplace was a real barrier. And I just was almost like, falling to pieces, whilst trying to hide the fact that I was feeling so anxious, and that I was struggling to talk to customers and, and struggling to talk to my boss and things like that. And yet, when I look back on it. I kind of see that like, if I’d actually just taken a little step towards communicating that to my boss then I actually think that she would have been really really understanding, yeah.

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
Yeah, definitely. And I think it takes time to do, even understanding yourself what you need. Yeah. So I, you know I was, I wasn’t aware, really, for a long while that I needed those Saturday mornings to myself and then as soon as I became aware of thatm it was like “oh wait, I can make that happen” and that was a huge difference that made a huge difference to my life. And now, and now that I’m freelance again, I realised that, because I’m an introvert, after every, kind of, client call or conversation I need to have some quiet time, so I now schedule that in for myself. So, if I’ve got an hour long client call, I will just schedule in like half an hour of downtime after that, when I’m just going to do nothing but time to recover. I kind of wish I pushed that more for myself while I was running a business because I didn’t feel like I could say no. I felt like I had to be there for everyone and do everything, and it would have helped me a lot more if I had been honest with myself and my team. I need to build this time in for myself.

Stacie Clark 
Yeah, and is that something that you would encourage all business owners to, to make sure that they’re doing?

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
Yeah, and I think, because you’re right that people won’t always come forward. And not even know what it is they need. So, you know, I think if you’re a good business owner and you care about your team, then you’ll, you’ll, you’ll notice signs that people are not enjoying themselves, feeling under too much pressure. And often, like it’s not, it’s not a big change that has to be made to make them feel better. So it might be something like, you know, letting people work from home and I think COVID-19 has been really good for that, so great. A lot of business owners now realise that people can work from home and it’s fine, you know they’re not going to be skiving off, they are actually going to be doing work they’re probably going to be more productive if that’s the environment they like being in. So, yeah, I think, yeah, if, if you’re feeling anxious at work definitely talk to your employer about it but if you’re an employer then definitely be, you know, be aware that your team might be facing these issues and kind of look out for little signs,

Stacie Clark 
And also give yourself permission to have that time as well, that you need.

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
Absolutely, yeah I think that, I think that’s probably one of the most difficult things. That as the leader you want to be there, you want to be seen to be there. You don’t want to be seen to be like, weak in any way. So you feel like you have to handle every situation you have to be confident in every situation, you have to be on all the time and there for people. And I think, yeah it does help to be a bit more honest with yourself and your team about what you actually need.

Julia 
Yeah, it’s always that, that question around like, being, being honest with yourself and being a little bit vulnerable to be, to allow yourself this kind of confidence around, acknowledging your own needs and making sure they are respected and you respect them and yourself, you’re then yourself. And it’s appearing a little bit vulnerable, but actually for the better because, that means that not only you’re honest with yourself but you’re also honest about who you are and how you’re feeling with your, with your team and they might relate and they might feel you’re, you’re kind of a more understanding and more empathetic, as a leader. And I feel to me, these are, these are really important, I know that for me, knowing that my boss kind of allows for some time for themselves or, or conscious of like their own mental health kind of means that they will be for other people and they will feel more comfortable as a member of staff, or that sort of more empathetic leaders. So, so I realise that’s a good quality.

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
Yeah, I definitely agree with that and I, and I think it is something that’s difficult especially I mean, Julia, you’re a perfectionist, and I’m a perfectionist and so there was that whole side of it as well. It’s not just the, you know I’m introverted I need quiet time, but it’s perfectionist and I need to be this perfect leader and I need to be perfect in every situation.

Julia 
Yeah, like 100, 100% all the time and be there for everyone, and make sure I’m the best all the time so that people can rely on me. Yeah.

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
It can be really hard on ourselves, like I never felt like I could take a holiday, you know I took a holiday, you know I had time off work, but I worked through every single holiday, every bank holiday, because I felt like that’s what I had to do, you know that’s, that was my perfectionism driving. I can’t be seen to like relax and take time off.

Julia 
Yeah. And actually this is exactly what you must have needed. Looking back realising all of that, how does that make you feel?

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
It makes me, well I am actually grateful that I’ve had this experience of running a business, because it was very high pressure, because I made it very high pressure. I was quite hard on myself. And I am grateful that I’ve had that experience to learn what I actually need and how I actually want to work and how I want to kind of interact with people. So I don’t think, if I hadn’t gone through that experience I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t really know myself as well as myself now.

Stacie Clark 
Everything happens for a reason. Yeah, even like what we consider to be bad things actually are just learning experiences so, yeah, that’s amazing.

Julia 
Yeah. And so looking at your freelance activity now with all that knowledge that you’ve gained from leading Radix and, and all that knowledge about yourself and your needs. That, that you’ve gained so far. How does that kind of, is conveyed through, within your freelance activity?

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
So I am now a lot, well, I’m a lot better at organising my time, so I know from experience how I want to work and how I don’t want to work, so I’m a lot better at that. I know, I know what kind of clients I want to work with and what kind of clients I don’t want to work with, so I’m going to pickier about the kind of work that I do. I know, I know what I want to get out of working there. So I think one of your questions was around, you know how do you, how do you get the confidence to follow your dream, and I think my thought on that was, be sure that it is actually your dream. And I thought, you know, I’ll come down here and there’s all this work, so I’ll set up an agency. That wasn’t my dream. You know, that wasn’t what I really wanted to get out of life, I just thought I should. I thought that was my,

Stacie Clark 
The ‘should’ word.

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
Yeah. So, so now. Now I know what I want to do and, you know, I don’t want to kind of build and grow business and maybe always focus on growth and targets and doing better this year, and the next year. This year. I just want to work on nice projects with nice clients and like, to give my time to them, so that I’m not like too stressed, I like a bit of stress, but I don’t want to be absolutely stressed every day. So I’ve learned a lot of that, but I do think, you know, maybe it’s just me, maybe it’s like lots of introverts, we feel pressure to be something that we’re not. If we’re like talented at something we feel pressure to be like really really successful about things and success means like getting out there and, you know, making people aware of you and growing and getting bigger and, you know, that I think you just have to be really sure is that actually what you want to do, or does your ideal life actually look like something else.

Stacie Clark 
Oh, I love that so much, I’ve been having multiple conversations with clients recently about this idea of like, success, and, like, people even just recognising good qualities in themselves as being like, it has to, like, if they’re not doing something grand or something big then it has no meaning and that it, it doesn’t count. And like, I just keep having these conversations, that actually, the more and more we explore that, the more we realise that actually it’s really small things in life that can be really meaningful. And that like, you don’t have to have this like international global business, in order to actually have been successful in life, it could just be that you’ve had, you know, that like you’re really good at attending to your garden, and you’re really good at that, actually those little things are what brings joy and, and those things are just as impactful and meaningful, like in the grand scheme of things. So yeah, I really love that the sense of like, you really have to be, like, honest with yourself, actually, what is, what does success look like, what does that look like for me.

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
That’s exactly it, because I mean, I think my whole life I’ve kind of defined success as in other people’s definitions of success. What other people would like to see me doing. And now I realised that, that’s just, just leads to a whole lot of stress and pressure because it’s never, you’re never good enough, you know, you know, I used to think “Well I’ve built this agency and is doing pretty well and you know, there’s a lot of us and I really really push myself hard” but then I look around and there’s like huge agencies and global agencies and then when it’s tiny compared with them so should I at some point, I started thinking well I should probably, you know, open an office in the states and you know start growing globally. And then just the thought of getting on a plane and going to the states and looking for an office, I was like “no” that’s somebody else’s view of success, it’s not mine.

Stacie Clark 
Absolutely, yeah, it’s such a big thing that so many of us experience, is that pressure from like, what is like, what do we believe that other people are expecting from us. And yet, that expectation might not always match up with what we truly want, and

Julia 
No, and who we truly are as well.

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
And I think the earlier in your life that you can sort of disentangle those things. The more enjoyable your life’s gonna be, because if you spent, I mean I’m nearly 50 and I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to live up to other people’s visions of success, and it’s just led to a lot of work and a lot of mental health issues for me, I mean I have. I’ve been through periods of panic disorder, you know I have anxiety attacks I’m also agraphobic so I can’t really travel. You know, and all of that is from trying to live up to somebody else’s ideal of what I should be doing.

Julia 
And, and do you think this is this is, the sort of like message that society in general, like is kind of conveying at the moment? This is kind of like, we should live up to what society’s expectations for people are?

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
So I think there has been a lot of that and I think social media has been responsible for a lot of that, and like people putting their best selves out there on LinkedIn and Twitter and Facebook and what have you, and Instagram, and you know you’re thinking oh god you know I’m gonna live up to this ideal now. I think that the the pandemic has almost reset that, being a kind of global reset for everybody. It’s really interesting, about you know, what actually does matter. And you know, what do we want out of life and can we continue to live at this pace, because it was just getting ridiculous. Even me, I was like, up to London, every week on the train, you know, first train in the morning, one hour meeting in London and back on the train and train in the day for one meeting.

Julia 
I’ve done that too and it was, yeah.

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
Yeah, now we know we could just have had that meeting by zoom and then you’ve got hours back!

Stacie Clark 
You’re very inspiring Fiona, because like, you have gone from like, from what, on the outside, a lot of people would have perceived as being like the dream, of like this big agency, global clients, and then actually, you’ve been like no that’s not me, that’s not who I am and I’m going to go back to freelance and more like intimate one to one type thing, which actually felt like it’s quite a thing like for introverts, like that intimate one to one type, a sense, and I’m having that freedom to actually care for ourselves and take, take time.

Julia 
That’s actually quite interesting because, I mean, the role of a freelancer, you’re, you’re kind of on your own, and you need to have that income coming, and you need to generate those leads So to me, it kind of feels that for an introvert, it might still be quite a challenge, because you still need to generate those leads, you still need to network and, and to get this pool of clients that you can, that you can work with to guarantee that income, so how how do you do, as an introvert, to guarantee, to kind of lead your, your freelance activity?

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
Yeah, so I mean that is an interesting one because sort of back to the mid mid 2000s late 2000s when I started Radix, the kind of prevailing thing was, you have to go out and network, you have to go to, kind of, actual physical networking events and meet people. strangers and talk to them. And that I just found that utterly terrifying and I know lots and lots of people find that utterly terrifying. And I forced myself to do it because I’m driven and I thought it was the sort of thing that I had to do so, I forced myself. I realised that it’s not actually that bad when you actually get there. But I still didn’t really like it. And I also realised I wasn’t getting any business that way. So that wasn’t, that wasn’t working for my business. So, and what was working for my business was was sort of online networking, so definitely being on LinkedIn, that’s where, in my freelance days, and now, that’s where most of the work comes from. So, it’s far far more valuable for me to kind of nurture relationships, like, kind of professional relationships on LinkedIn than go to networking events. And I think, I think that’s, I think that’s important for introverts to notice that there is not, there’s no one route, you know, you don’t have to go to physical networking events, that you absolutely don’t have to, you can get business in other ways and, you know, LinkedIn, in particular, professionally is really really good for getting business. So once I realised that, I was quite happy, like minimise the number of networking events that I actually went to.

Julia 
It’s actually interesting because to actually realise that physically going to networking events didn’t bring you any sort of work, whereas going online and meeting with people online in a much more comfortable way was actually the best way for you to get, get those clients as well. So yeah, I think in here there’s some sort of like, because you felt more confident going online then your personality kind of came when I came across much better than going to physical networking events.

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
I don’t think, to me it’s not to do with my personality. I really admire people that like really put their personality out there on on LinkedIn and other social platforms because that’s not me, I’m a very kind of closed person, I don’t like my personality to come across, what I want to come across is my capability, my experience, my ability to actually do the work. So I, yeah I feel, I feel confident that that comes, and especially as a writer, because, you know, writers you, you’re not speaking, is not the thing you know, speaking is not what we do. Writing is what we do, so like, on the internet, you can put your writing forward, you know your writings there and it kind of speaks for you. So, so, from my point of view that’s, that’s worked really well, much better than, than the in person networking.

Stacie Clark 
I love that, because what I heard there is tha, you’re actually, you’re utilising your strengths, and you’re working to your strengths and naturally that’s what has been successful, is you just, yeah acknowledging this is what I’m good at. And I’m going to use that to its most advantage.

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
Yes, absolutely yeah, so you know speaking is not the best advertisement.

Julia 
To say that, but at the same time. I’m sure you’ve, you’ve had to speak to people and you had to deliver presentations before, and, and you kind of put yourself forward. During, like for public speaking and such events. How did you cope with those?

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
Yeah, that’s a really good question because you’ve asked me to come on this interview because you saw me present at the Google Techmakers event and I think you may think that I came across as very confident. I can assure you that I felt exactly the opposite. And although I do, I have done a number of speaking engagements, I really don’t enjoy them. And so, you know, for the kind of five or 25 minutes that I’m onstage speaking, that’s fine. But then after that I’m just, I just go to pieces. So, you know, after you saw me speak, like, I had to go and sit down in the dark corner where nobody can see me because otherwise I would just be having panic attacks, so, so, so basically I hold it together for the time that I am on stage and then I go to pieces. That’s it. And preparing for them as well. So yeah. For me I have to be really really prepared for those things, I have to be really confident that I know exactly what I’m going to say, I can’t just get up on stage and wing it.

Julia 
Yeah, that’s what I’ve always felt around public speaking is, the more the more I prepare the more rehearse, the more confident I feel about delivering the presentation. I’ve also found that engaging with the audience was was quite comforting because I felt I was in just on my own, presenting. So I kind of had, I kind of found that having engaging with the audience trying to make them involved as well and asking them questions kind of put them on the same spotlight that I was on and kind of sharing that sort of difficulty. I’ve always found that this was, this was quite helpful, and to share the responsibility of delivering the presentation.

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
Yeah, I think, I think that’s a really good point. So, it helps you not feel so exposed, and so alone. And I know this is something that I’ve really experienced at work because I, well when I was at Radix I used to run a lot of workshops for clients, like messaging workshops, and they would be like quite intense like four or five hours, workshops, and I used to do them where, they all, the client team were like sitting around the table in the room and I’d be like standing like a teacher, basically at the whiteboard and writing up the things that they were saying and to ask him questions and stuff. And then, after a certain number of days I just started to have panic attacks in the middle of things, I absolutely hated it I felt like it was exposed, like everybody was looking at me, like I was on my own. So that was the point where I actually went and got CBT, cognitive behavioural therapy, because I couldn’t cope with doing these workshops anymore, and there was just, they were all I was thinking about, was just like terrified of the next one to do them all the time. And then I just tried a different approach one time so instead of standing up. I sat at the table. And instead of writing on a whiteboard and basically just like projected my screen and like type notes so they can see the writing appearing up on the big screen, and that completely changed it I haven’t had a panic attack in a workshop, since doing that.

Julia 
That’s really great.

Stacie Clark 
Yeah, I can relate to that as I remember, I did, I went into university a couple of years ago, and was giving a presentation in front of some students. And as I got there I started to feel really really nervous and I was like, right I need to do something to make like myself feel more comfortable in the situation. And I spotted a beanbag in the corner and I was like, I’m actually just going to sit on the beanbag and rather than stand up and like, make myself like, feel too exposed, I’m gunna like, settle into a beanbag, feel comfortable and just like, talk to them as if we’re just having a casual chat. And that was so effective for me because I felt more comfortable. I felt more confident.

Fiona Cambell-Howes 

Yeah, that’s really important too. Yeah, and I think you know a lot of people have this fear of getting up in front of an audience and talking. And I think if there are things that you can do to make yourself feel just more part of the audience rather than are all looking at you.

Julia 
Definitely, definitely agree with this statement. I’m conscious that we’re reaching the end of our interview, unfortunately, it’s been really interesting. But, I mean, the reason this is so inspiring is because you put yourself through so much exposure and so much, so much comfort zone stretching through your career and especially through Radix and, and it’s really inspiring to see you as an introvert kind of going through that, and having the same fears and the same anxieties, but still finding your own ways to kind of make through it. And that’s, that, I think that’s the most inspiring thing from this interview, is that you always managed to find a way to make it comfortable for you, even though it wasn’t too comfortable. So I guess what I would like to end on is what sort of advice would you give to people for them to feel a bit more comfortable stretching their comfort zone?

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
So I think it’s definitely finding the right way for you. Just forget what you’ve seen other people do, you know that that might work for them but if that doesn’t work for you just don’t do it that way, find, find the way that that works for you. And just, I mean, don’t, don’t, don’t feel like you’ve got to get yourself too far out of your comfort zone. I mean, if you like really pushing yourself then, then yes, but you know, don’t feel pressure, you know, don’t feel like you know you’re letting somebody down or you’re not living up to somebody’s expectations if you don’t like really put yourself out there. I think, it’s about being honest with yourself about what you are comfortable with and what you’re not and building your kind of life and your career around what you feel, what you feel happy doing you know, if you’re being ‘successful’, in inverted commas, but you’re not happy then you’re not being successful.

Stacie Clark 
No. It’s not success is it!

Thank you so much.

Julia 
That’s a lovely message, thank you so much for being with us today Fiona, that was, that was great, a great interview and I’m sure it will inspire so many people in the quiet community to, to kind of like, feel, feel that they, they can do it as well and they don’t need to stretch themselves too much to be successful and to kind of, yeah, do what they want. So, thank you for your experience.

Stacie Clark 
Yeah, everybody’s kind of experiencing these anxieties, like, none of us are truly alone with this. So thank you for your vulnerability it’s been really great hearing your story.

Julia 
Thank you.

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
Absolute pleasure, thank you very much for inviting me and I will like one last thing is I was terrified to do this interview.

Julia 
I was terrified as well.

Fiona Cambell-Howes 
And now I’ve done it and it was lovely. I really enjoyed it. It’s been great to speak to you.

Julia 
Oh, thank you for your time on this and thank you for your brave, very brave, for your courage.

Stacie Clark 
And thank you so much, Julia for setting this up.

Julia 
My pleasure.

Stacie Clark
So how might you redefine success on your own terms? As a more introverted, naturally quieter person. What does that quiet confidence look like for you?

Thanks for tuning in, and be sure to check out next weeks episode. In the meantime, stay connected.

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