Hello WHYs Woman of the Year – please introduce yourself and tell us why you wanted to do a TEDx talk
Hi! I am Helen Bartram from the North East of England. I run a couple of businesses helping individuals – The Holistic Academy Network, and Blossom Academy. My passion has always been with helping children and families, though I have always had a burning desire to help people.
You can watch the interview here or continue reading below
So why did you want to do a TED talk?
As a student, I used to watch a lot of TED talks and thought,
One Day I’ll Do That
But I never realised I would do it so quickly – at this stage of my life.
What was your TEDx talk about and why did you choose that subject?
The title was –
Confessions of a Guilty Mum
It was all around Mum guilt which is something I have experienced a lot but only became aware of in the last couple of years. As soon as I became aware of it, I saw it everywhere and I started working with parents and families and realised they were just like me.
They are living this Mum guilt but they can’t even see it and so I wanted to firstly raise awareness and secondly – to let other Mums know that it is completely normal. And you can do something about it.
So, you sent your video in for some feedback. I want to mention that even though I am an international award-winning speaker coach – that is not how we met. We met at another event. So, you don’t come from a professional speaking background. I sent your video back with some feedback about things that could potentially be changed. What happened then?
I think I surprised myself. I recorded the video and I knew the competition was stiff, so a little part of me thought –
I haven’t got a cat in hells chance
But then I thought I had nothing to lose and so I threw myself all in. I wanted people to hear this message. I remember getting the feedback and thinking – “well, that’s not too bad!”. So, although there were tweaks, it was reassuring that you liked the overall message.
I think fear about the feedback is what stops some people going for it. I think the main thing with you was that you were worried about standing up on stage, so we opened the barn up here and got the red dot out and you came down with a few of the WHYs Council. How was that?
It helped my self-belief and built my confidence. It gave me the tools that I sued on the day to be in flow. Being coached by you helped me to deliver the talk. I can laugh now about the run-throughs we did. I was waking like a wooden doll at one point! So, your coaching helped me to step into being myself.
So, there we are in Huddersfield on the 13th December, what was your experience when you walked through the door?
Well, I was on first and I felt the pressure of that – I had to set the tone for the day. But then I was so grateful to have been first as I could then just relax and enjoy the day and enjoy everyone else’s talk.
As soon as my name was called, I went into autopilot and just did it!
When you came off stage – what did you feel?
It was indescribably – I was so proud of myself, and I loved the fact that the message was out there. It also made me feel, if I can do that, I can do anything.
You were on first and there’s a reason for that – ( if you want to know why dear reader you will have to go watch Helens talk – the link is at the end of this interview). So, then it’s Christmas and around the 2nd or 3rd January, some of the talks began to be published. What were you feeling at that stage, when they all started popping up in the WhatsApp group?
Well, it hadn’t really occurred to me until then that the wider world was going to see this! I started the journey as doing this for me as something I wanted to achieve, and I had been so busy up till Christmas. And then there were all sorts of travel problems, and airstrikes and I thought at one point –
I’m not going to even get to do this
After that I think I just breathed, and it was only in January that I realised people were going to see it, and the self-doubt started – is it good enough/what if I forgot stuff.
And then you are approved you are up on the website and YouTube. And let’s be honest – there were some people who made comments. And this can stop a lot of people doing what you did. How did you cope?
The whole journey taught me a lot of lessons. When it first went live, I had such a lot of supportive and emotional messages. Then there was 1 person who was very negative and accusatory. I spent about 3 hours reading and re-reading the message and thinking about what I could or should have done differently. But then I had to have a big word with myself – and looked instead at the number of positive messages and realising that I had helped so many people and this was just ONE person. You can’t let stuff like that stop you. You will NEVER be able to please ALL the people and that person had obviously been triggered by something I had said or done. All I could do was send them love and light and focus on the positives.
I think it is fair for us to say it was a guy, who said – ‘well guys have guilt too’. And you had never said they didn’t! It was nothing to do with you – he clearly (like everyone) had his own shit to deal with. And It is understandable that you were upset because it hurts, even though it was only one person. It’s a good lesson that you cannot please everyone. There is someone else who might be able to help the people you can’t.
So, what effect has the talk had for you?
Well, it is a great signpost and a connector. I can send people to the talk to help people, and I have had people approach me to help them having seen the talk.
You have done a lot since the talk – including winning WHYs Woman of the Year. What else have you been doing since then?
So, I finished a degree in a global pandemic and got a first. I have become a property investor. I have set up a new business – Holistic Academy Networks, for people who feel lost or stuck on their spiritual or personal development journey and to promote awareness for holistic approaches.
I’m putting together a mental health program for children that will launch on August 1st 2020. Lots of exciting things. And I think working with and bring coached by you, has given me the confidence to put my ideas into action.
Also, I went to America and previously the Mum guilt would have kicked in, I would have come up with a million reasons why staying home would have been a better idea. But now leading by example, chasing your dreams and bringing back new tools and techniques that I can pass on to them is something that I am embracing. It’s been a transformational year.
So, if there is someone out there who is thinking of doing a TEDx talk – online as it is now – or otherwise, what would you say to them?
I would say – there is someone out there who needs to hear your message. And it takes vulnerability and courage but with that, you can help others.
On that note, I am going to say thanks for sharing your vulnerability and for having courage, and of course, for sharing your message with us. Thank you, Helen.
You can watch Helen’s TEDx Talk here.