Helen Packham, Storytelling and Speaker Coach

Helping entrepreneurs become sought-after speakers through the power of storytelling

Four years ago, I was a hiding housewife who had lost all of her self-confidence and the belief she could do anything. Diagnosed with an anxiety disorder after having my first child, I went back to work but things started to fall apart. Although I’d been successful in my leadership development role for 15 years, where standing up in front of people and inspiring them to seize the day was par for the course, I felt like a fraud and my performance began to suffer. Following the worst PDR of my career, I’d had enough and left.

When I became a mum for the second time, my anxiety issues became heightened and I retreated into myself even further. My marriage broke down and I was at my absolute lowest – finding comfort in watching TV and eating lots of cake.

I soon had a rude awakening – realising that I hadn’t been observing my feelings; it was time to face my fears. I went into therapy, read self-help books and participated in a course – all of which helped me to become self-aware again. I understood that all those skills I had were still inside me and that they’d never left. I was becoming stronger, more determined to make that breakthrough…

Creating a vision board of all the things I wanted to achieve, in the middle of it I wrote ‘TEDx talk’. Eight months later, I was stood in front of 1,500 people in the Brighton Dome and shared my story: everything I’d been through and what I’d done to unlock my confidence.

That talk, which I had 24 hours’ notice to prepare for, changed everything. The feedback to it was hugely positive and I saw there was a need for what I was doing. I launched a speaker programme a few months later which sold out; then a virtual conference and a live story-sharing event followed (both successes).

My second annual conference, ‘The Big Idea’, was held in June and I’ve already got next year’s in the works, as well as plans to launch podcasts and publish a book before the end of this year.

If you’re crystal-clear on who you want to be, anything is possible.

Helen Packham