On being a fish out of water + finding the right pond


Do you feel like you are a fish out of water?  I know I do.  I have for the longest time.  A couple of days ago I wrote about how, even at the age of 13, I recognised that I didn’t haven’t have any confidence.

Today, I attended the Writing yourself into Motion run by Alexandra Franzen.

I have to admit that whilst I loved the content, I felt like a fish out of water.

You see, every woman on that course, all 23 of them either owned their own business, or were looking to start their own business.  They were doing the course to learn how to write better copy for their businesses.  And why wouldn’t they.  That is what Alex does – write amazing copy.  It is why we love her.  It is why we scrambled for a spot on her course.

As the day wore on, as we worked through the work sheets and Alex quizzed us on them, I started to feel more and more uncomfortable.

What was I doing here?  I didn’t own a business.  I had no products to sell.  I didn’t belong here.  What was I hoping to gain from this course?  This isn’t for me.

I focussed on the material and tried not dwell on being so uncomfortable.  It was hard.  I kept defaulting to “I’m not meant to be here, I’m just a mum, I don’t work, I have nothing to offer.”

At the end of the day, as everyone prepared to go out for dinner, I approached Alex to thank her for the lovely day and to let her know that I wouldn’t be attending.  I’m an introvert, I explained, and needed to go home to recharge.  What was really going through my head is that I need to get out of here as quickly as possible as I just didn’t belong.

She asked me how I was finding the course.  I was honest.  I told her that I was struggling, that I felt like I didn’t fit in.  I don’t have a business, I said.  My blog is personal.  I write about social justice, kindness, being depressed, being bald.  I just want to write to make sense of my world.

And then she said this:

“You know, when I talk about pinpointing what your real work is, what I mean is pinpointing your contribution to the world.  It doesn’t have to be about money or producing something to sell.  It just has to be something that you want to contribute.  You contribute, Sarah.  You write to help highlight the injustices of the world, and then you write about kindness and how to make the world a better place to live in.  That is your real work.”

A warmth crept over me.  In that moment, I no longer felt like I didn’t belong.

We spoke a little bit more about my writing and I laughed when I told her I wore a wig and was bald and that I had even put a photo of me and my bald head on my blog.

And then in a very uncharacteristic move, I asked her if she would like to see my wig as she commented on how amazingly real it looked.

And right then, right there, in front of about 4 other women – complete strangers – I removed my wig.

Alex was gorgeous, in awe of the amazing construction of my wig.  “You are such an interesting person, Sarah.”  No-one had ever told me was interesting.  I had always felt like the dowdy wife and mother.

I couldn’t wait to get back home to get online to tell my blogging besties of my day.  I told them about the amazing content, my fish out of water crisis and the amazing Alex, who I truly adored.

They all wrote back, frantically encouraging me, telling me that I write beautifully, that I make a difference, that I am enough.

And there it was.  My pond.  My beautiful tiny pond.  And I jumped right in.

I hope you know that if you are feeling like a fish out of water, there is a pond for you out there.  It may not be where you expect to find it, but it is out there.  I am 46 years old and I have been searching for all of my life to find a pond.  If I can find it, so can you.  Have faith in that.

Much love,

SHW Signature



17 thoughts on “On being a fish out of water + finding the right pond

  1. What a beautiful post Sarah. What an amazing woman Alexandra is. You really did belong in that course and I love being in your pond.


  2. Lovely post Sarah, so glad you found your pond. I think it can be hard for us introverts to find our space in the world and feel comfortable. I really enjoy your blog and for what it is worth this isn’t the sort of blog I normally follow but you keep hooking me back in. Keep it up.


  3. A great post Sarah and love that by speaking to Alexandra about how you felt on the first day of the course you were able to realise just how much of an amazing contribution you make everyday with the words from your heart and how you did and do belong. Honoured to be part of the same ‘beautiful tiny pond’ xxx


  4. Sarah: this is a brave, honest and beautiful piece of writing… and I’m so glad you shared it.

    It’s true… your “work” doesn’t always have to do with making money. Your “work” is whatever you do to make the world a better, safer and kinder place.

    You do your “work” in so many ways… as a mom, wife and friend. And by writing pieces like this one.

    Thank you.

    And thank you for being in the room at my workshop. You’re a fish that I very much enjoyed meeting. 🙂


    1. Hi Alex, and thank you for coming onto my blog. Thank you for your lovely workshop. I so very much enjoyed meeting you too and learning ways that we can add to our world through our writing. What I also enjoyed though, is the unexpected growth as a person that I encountered. That was a beautiful surprise. Thank you. xx


  5. I admire your bravery too Sarah, thanks for your inspiration and generously sharing resources…I have just signed up for the next Blog with Pip course xx


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