I arrived at work early this morning, groggy and slow, after having one of the shittiest sleeps I’ve had in ages. I think I got maybe 3 hours max between midnight and 3am this morning. I’m a ‘9 hours a night’ kind of person so it’s going to be an interesting day. Thank god it’s friday and expectations are slightly lower than unusual. 

I blame my restless nights sleep on two things - Firstly, on adrenaline after attending the Committee of Ballarat's Round Table Dinner which was hosted by Ryan Shelton, and secondly, by eating a super rich sticky date pudding at 9.30pm which is far too late for me to be eating so much sugar. Having given up booze and caffeine for the last few years, I’m ashamed to say that OD’ing on late night sugar is my new slippery slope. 

All sweets aside, last night was a fabulous event and I had an absolute blast. I’m discovering that meeting and networking is quickly becoming my new super power and I love it. I’m also learning from the absolute best - good networking is a skill that has to be mastered and I found myself taking mental notes all night about how people were interacting and engaging with others. I also discovered how great Ryan Shelton is. 

For those of you who don’t know who Ryan is (I didn’t up until a few weeks ago) He’s an Australian comedian, actor, writer and the host of ‘The Imperfects’ podcast with brother’s Josh and Hugh van Cuylenburg (The Resilience Project). The ‘Podcast of Week’ is one of their recent episodes about Menopause which I recommend that EVERYONE listen to - ovaries or no ovaries, it blew my mind. 

Being the star speaker Ryan shared a great story about discovering his purpose and how by simply defining it, he could reframe his entire existence into a more meaningful one. Like so many other people he’d spent most of his career trying to get ‘there’. In his case, it was to have his own TV program and be the funniest man on earth. Everyones ‘there’ is different but what often happens is that we focus so much on getting ‘there’ that we neglect what's in front of us right now. We forget to look up; to look around. The kicker is that there is no ‘there’ there. 

The antidote to not missing your own life is being present, I’ve written about this many times and have very much come to the same conclusion as Ryan. I love it when my views on the world align with people I admire. It validates my thinking and sharpens the vision I have of me being on stage sharing my story one day (long term goal: earn millions on the speaking circuit talking about how HUCX disrupted the Australian housing market and brought affordable, energy efficient homes to thousands). 

As the name would suggest, ‘The Imperfects’ podcast is about being imperfect. Vulnerability is encouraged and celebrated as guests are invited to share their own struggles and imperfections. Towards the end of the evening there was a Q and A session where Ryan answered questions from the audience and someone asked if it was good or bad that he shared so much about his own personal experience. Was people knowing more about him than he does about them a good thing? 

I felt really seen by this question. The idea of publicly sharing very personal experiences is what this blog is. Ryan is famous and has a podcast with a massive following… I have a mailing list of 50 odd people and god knows how many people read this online - I never check. But I can guarantee that there are way more people who know more about what’s going on in our life than I know what’s going on in theirs. 

Much to my relief, his answer was ‘yes’, it's a good thing. I believe it's a good thing as well but it’s always sat a little off with me. I’m not really sure why. Maybe there was an arrogance to it. Maybe it's the engrained ‘tall poppy syndrome’ in NZ that makes sure that you don’t get too big for your boots. The audacity that others would be interested in what we’re doing, when everyone else’s stories are just as valid and valuable.  

My belief that this is a good thing is validated whenever someone tells me that one of my blogs was exactly what they needed to hear. I’ve had friends of friends reach out saying that my writing had encouraged them to take a different perspective in a stressful situation. I’ve had friends say that they’ve used me as motivation when they can’t be bothered going for a run - they imagined me at 6am in freezing Ballarat and think, if Jess can do it, so can I. Every now and then I just get a one liner just saying ‘thanks, I need to hear that.’

The thrill of having a positive and impactful influence on another person it's pretty powerful stuff. Maybe even more powerful than late night caramel sauce.

Video of the week
SEEN | 22 of 22 things by Ryan Shelton
Podcast of the week
The Imperfects: Dr Louise Newson - Maybe it’s Menopause
Font of the week
Relaate: Font of the week by Alex Slobzheninov

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