#upfront conversation with Jayne Hardy

I’m humbled to introduce Jayne Hardy, founder of The Blurt Foundation; increasing awareness and understanding of depression. Jayne is beautifully ordinary yet utterly extraordinary. Her work and her story are remarkable. Jayne spoke at TedX Brum directly after me and she left her stage wishing she’d known about #upfront and is now a big supporter of the approach. Here’s what she has to say about her relationship with public speaking and the value of #upfront…

I’m Jayne Hardy, I live in Cornwall with my family and am the founder of The Blurt Foundation which is a Social Enterprise dedicated to helping those affected by depression. It was only two years ago that I had a full day of panic attacks because I was going to have to present to an audience of about 100 people at the School of Social Entrepreneurs graduation. It was dreadful but I did it. Since then, I have taken small steps to build my confidence by saying ‘yes’ to all public speaking opportunities that have presented themselves to me because I knew they would give me the chance to practise and get better at it. I’ve delivered many social media workshops too which have really helped me to build my confidence.

Being asked to be a speaker at TEDxBrum 2016 was the biggest test for me – TEDx is so prestigious and it’s recorded and put on YouTube for the world to see. But actually, the nerves were more because my talk topic was one where I was kinda letting it all hang on on the stage and felt really vulnerable about doing that. It was an incredible learning experience too.

“I prepared thoroughly, upped the self-care beforehand and made sure that I did all I could to be supported in the experience. All things I will implement each time I speak in the future. ”

What I found so interesting about witnessing #upfront, was the way the audience reacted to it and also to the energy of the people who joined Lauren on stage.

“It bridged the gap between the audience and the stage. Also, as I was the speaker on afterwards, it definitely made me want to rewind time so that I could have arranged to deliver an #upfront TEDx talk.”

What I truly love about #upfront (and I do love #upfront, I think it’s genius) is that it gives people who are terrified of public speaking, the chance to have a ‘something in between’. A chance to sit on the stage, sit with that situation and see what it’s all about from a speaker’s perspective without actually having to speak. Added to that, I can’t help thinking that by adopting #upfront as a speaker, you’re also minimising your nerves about speaking as you have people there with you who are sharing that moment with you – the limelight, the nerves and the experience.

“It’s a more inclusive approach, rather than an exclusive one and I like it. A lot.”

One of my barriers is that I struggle with feeling like an imposter and unworthy of my spot on the stage. Rationally, I know I have something to offer and there’s a reason I have been asked but depression really has gone to town on my self-esteem and so that’s definitely a work in progress for me.

“Confidence comes from doing things just a teeny bit outside of your comfort zone.”

Doing your best and then rinse and repeat. Even when things don’t go well too, I feel as though there’s always a lesson in there somewhere. A lesson that you can learn from so that you can flex and adapt for next time. Just never give up. Everything you see someone else doing, is possible for you too. It’s just lots of micro actions combined over time. Everyone has to start somewhere. I really believe #upfront is a way for people to start and I will absolutely be sharing my stage at the next public talk I give.