good challenges

Exactly two years ago today I started my first day of rehearsals with a theatre company called Deafinitely Theatre. It was my biggest ever acting job and it was with a Deaf led theatre company who I had always admired. I'm not gonna lie, when I went to the audition I was bricking it. I could have a basic conversation in BSL but I stood there amongst both Deaf and hearing auditionees who were fluently signing away through the improvisations and felt completely out of my depth.. I don't know how I did it but somehow I got the job. I remember sat on the steps to our rehearsal rooms on that first morning thinking how hard it was going to be and, once again, how out of my depth I felt and I began to smile. It was a good challenge.
The job was amazing beyond anything I could have imagined. We performed at the Soho Theatre in London, we went on a National tour... but my biggest achievement by far was my signing skills. I literally soaked up everything.. watched everyone.. practised everyday and most importantly.. wasn't afraid to make a mistake... and slowly I found myself with two languages and a bunch of new and amazing friends.
At the same time I got a camera for Christmas and I started taking pictures. I loved it and would take my camera everywhere, taking pictures of friends and their kids, taking pictures of my feet, my reflection and lots of my cat! Then some friends of ours asked if I would take some pictures of their wedding.... we had a meeting and before I knew it we were driving up to Yorkshire to take a couple's wedding photos. I'm not gonna lie, I was bricking it. I knew the basics but shot everything on Auto and watched as the day sped past me without any warning and I felt, once again, out of my depth... but I enjoyed it. It was a good challenge. By then I was hooked... I spent hours on the internet soaking up everything... asking questions... practised everyday.. and most importantly... wasn't afraid to make a mistake.. and slowly I found myself with more wedding bookings and a bunch of new and amazing friends.
Looking back now, I know that I thrive when faced with good challenges. I need to put myself in situations where I feel out of my depth and I've proven to myself what I can achieve if I invest time and energy into it and when I'm not afraid to make mistakes along the way. So, I say to anyone... go set yourself some good challenges, feel out of your depth, make some mistakes... you never know what will happen and how many amazing friends you'll make :)


  1. such an inspiring post ♥ love it emma :)

  2. I loved this post. Given that the first commenter has already used "inspirational" I'll have to plump for "thought provoking".

    I really admire people like you; people who just throw themselves in at the deep end. I wish the deep end didn't frighten me so much, but it does. I don't think I'd ever knowingly step outside of my comfort zone. I could well step outside of it by accident, but then I'd panic that it would just be a matter of time before I’m rumbled as a charlatan.

    Weirdly, I'm terrified of failure. But then I guess that's all that awaits us if we don't put ourselves 'out there', just like you've done with such great success.

  3. Great post Emma!
    challenging yourself is the key to moving forward and developing...I'm an nervously ready to throw myself in at the deep end.

  4. This post is coming at such a good time for me - I really need to just throw myself into the deep end instead of falling back on excuses. It's good to know that people as gorgeous and talented as you have been unsure and felt challenged and come out the other end going strong - you are a huge inspiration to me. xx

  5. Honestly guys... the amount of times you feel inferior, like a fraud, or like a swan (looking perfect above the water but thrashing about wildly with your legs underneath)... it's all normal and everyone is in the same boat... it's just what you do with those feelings that count :)

  6. Great advice, and something I intend to do (as in take up new challenges, not necessarily learn sign language although it has always intrigued me). In fact, it's for that very reason - learning to seize the day and stop being a glass half empty individual that my and my htb got CARPE DIEM tattooed on our wrists as wedding gifts to each other - as a reminder to seize each and every day of our married lives together.

  7. Honestly u want know what I think? Its amazing to tell anyone your challenge with the theatre & signing skills & photography.

    I wish I'm here with you all time because its what my dream is photography & signing skills.

    Well done for hard work...you should be proud of yourself!

  8. What a beautiful blog post Emma - so warmly written as usual. You really are a lovely person!

    You are so right in everything you say too - I thrive when my back is up against the wall and I have to do something that makes me nervous. I've been asked to speak at the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners conference in London next March - EEEK! I know i'll be a bag of nerves but I LOVE blogging with a passion and want to share that passion with others, so am going to go and do my very best. Even if I'll be bricking it too ;)

    Thanks for pushing me that little further along ...

    Much love,

  9. Great post, Emma. As someone else who fell into this job by accident rather than design, I'm thankful every day that I've found something I love so much - and appear to be good at. Always worth taking a risk, always worth following a dream.

  10. Being out of your depth is the only way you can truly push your boundaries and realize what you can achieve. There is a rare quality in your pictures which makes me feel I am 'invited' in to them.
    Would the 'Yorkshire Wedding' be that of Helene? I cried over her gown because I had to push my boundaries. The experience and knowledge it gave was enormous and I don't worry about failure so much now. I embrace the challenge and push myself to rise to it. It's knowing there is always room to grow not thinking you know it all!
    Good on you you lovely lady x

  11. Wow Emma - you were an actress too! That's what I used to do and have stumbled from 'treading the boards' to interior design and now blogging too...I always wonder when I'll be 'found out' - but that treading water feeling is so invigorating, like getting up on stage every night - I love it!
    Keep pushing those boundries, challenging yourself and the skies the limit...happy 2011! x