No, I’m not talking about anything to do with Nike, but rather my first interaction with Welltodo founder, Lauren Armes. It was April 2017 and I was experiencing my first ever Health Bloggers Community event at The Hoxton, London. I remember feeling so overwhelmed and out of my depth. What was little old me doing at this huge event where ‘famous’ bloggers met? Me, with fewer than 1,000 Instagram followers, with no blog or no name for myself. But that’s what I learnt, that I DID have a name for myself. Amy Lanza. Lover of plant-based food, wellness and passionate about being the very best I can be.
Despite my #positivevibesonly I still felt like a thorn among the roses of large named bloggers who I look up to – some of whom I now call friends. Then came the panel of speakers – wow, was I in for an eye-opening treat. And boy did I feel ‘star-struck’! Lauren was engaged in a Q&A session hosted by the HBC team and I found everything about her inspiring. From her background in marketing and international business development, through to her journey to set up Welltodo. Her aim was simple: to inform and connect brands, influencers and investors within the wellness industry – an industry I so desperately wanted to be a part of. What I didn’t realise, was that I WAS already a part of the industry, simply thanks to my pure passion, interest and love for it.
The discussion led further afield into how we, as influencers, can expand our reach and our section of wellness. Rather than waiting for the ‘perfect time’, the ‘perfect moment’ where our blog/post/photo is ‘exactly right’ it may be worth to JUST DO IT. At least this way we can track our journey, as can our followers. We can see our progress, our improvements and more importantly, to show that we are human. We make mistakes, we learn from them and then we grow. No one or no one thing is ever really perfect, and that’s something, that as a perfectionist, is difficult to grasp. What is more important though, is to try.
To try and to fail is better than to never have tried.
So the next day, I starting believing in my worth as an Instragram influencer. I began to share more personal snippets in my posts, which evolved from simply posting kale salads and porridge bowls to including motivational quotes, what was going on that day in my life, and my hopes and dreams. Letting the virtual world in on your dreams is no easy feat, and I am not admitting to sharing 100% of my life, but I am proud of myself for showing the Amy behind the bowls. To write that some days I feel as though I have ‘lost my sparkle’ or that I am suffering from comparison paranoia is liberating. The comments I receive are always so encouraging, too – I am not the only one. Simply by opening up a little more and showing some self-confidence and self-belief, I managed to delve deeper into my passion. I began to truly enjoy social media, and since then have stayed connected with many of the people I met.
One year on from my first HBC event, I am even more passionate and invested in my Instagram feed, re-named last year as @nourishing.amy. This was another decision which took me a long time to reach and act upon. I had thought to myself for several months to change my handle to enable followers with one glance to know what I was about. But what’s the ‘perfect’ name? when is the ‘opportune’ time to change it? When am I ‘ready’ to make the change? Again, this boiled down to a quest for perfectionism; an unattainable dream that floats on the outskirts of reality. I recall one Sunday in particular, walking the woods with my parents. I raised the topic of changing my Instagram handle and they both volunteered so many ideas – @eatwithamy @amyeats @healthyamy @healthy.a @nourishing.a to name a few… I must have belittled my achievements to date, as Dad exclaimed “WOW 800 people are following you, my Amy? That’s incredible.” To which I replied that while I was so happy with the progress I had made, it was nothing compared to my friends who had at least 2,000+ followers. There I go with the comparison thing again! But their response grounded me, and made me realise the great fortune I had, and to not be so hard on myself. So I planned, and I prepped, and I played around with names for a while… but when was the right time? I took a leap of faith, and I JUST DID IT. It felt great, and I’ve never looked back.
I am at a similar junction in my life that is social media now. I have wanted to start a blog for months. I used to think it wasn’t for me, I wasn’t good enough, I didn’t have enough to offer compared to other people. While talking to mum last week though, I realise the true barrier preventing me is my fear of rejection. The fear of putting hard work, love and time into something that falls on deaf ears. What if no-one reads this? What if the only hit I get is from my mum? What if I feel like a total failure because I will never be the most successful blogger in the world?
What if, what if, what if…
What if I just did it anyway and see the consequences? I was made to think about the real reason for writing. It had to be FOR me. Of course, I would love to share this with as many people as possible, but ultimately, I have to gain something from the act. It also, mum pointed out, may be good for me to not be the ‘best’ but to do my very best instead was what counts.
Who knows, this may be, and I hope it is, the start of something beautiful. So, JUST DO IT.