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Jackie Gunner | Self-Confidence | Believe in yourself

Self-confidence disappeared and shyness took over until three magic words transformed her life.

I am the 63 year old wife of Frank, mother of David and Michelle and doting grandmother of Demi and Chas.

I am still enjoying my working life and feel a little bit nervous about only having a year left before I retire. Although I have many things planned e.g. travelling, my hobbies, getting my house and garden organised, I still feel apprehensive.

I work in three industries, all customer service related. My first job involves working for Rachel Green. I am her products and sales assistant and pack for her workshops and seminars. My second job is in sales in the alternative health industry and my third job involves volunteering. I volunteer at the Armadale Visitor Centre. Tourism and hospitality are one of my many passions, but due to an industrial accident many years ago I cannot work in it full time anymore. I just love meeting people from all over the world.

I was born in Dagenham, Essex, England in 1946 just after the 2nd world war. Dad was a returned sailor. He was a very quiet and gentle man. Mum was from the east end of London. She was a very feisty and aggressive little lady. Mum was very strict. She would clout me around the ear first and then ask questions later.

I believe that was the start of my lack of confidence. Mum had a very negative attitude to life and would never let me or my younger brother and sister have friends in to play so we grew up never learning how to mix with or talk to people.

I am of short stature and when my gym teacher told me that I was short and stuggy it really did not do my confidence any good. That little remark has been with me for a long time. Yes the word was stuggy. I had never heard the word before, and I have never heard it since. Only in my head.

I also had very curly hair as a young person and I absolutely hated it.

I came to Australia in 1970. I was so shy I did not have my hair cut for a year. I just could not go into a hairdressers. I could not talk to anyone.

I went out to the Wheatbelt in W.A. with Frank in 1972. We ran a country garage. I don't know how I coped as I was always very shy and tongue tied. We had a very successful business for six years. I dearly loved being in the Wheatbelt and it was a shame that I was so shy.

We came back to Perth and ran another very successful business for another six years. I always had my moments of self-doubt when I had to meet and talk to new people.

In 1983 I went back to my cooking. That suited me very well as 50% of the time I was shut away cooking and only had minor contact with the general public.

In 1998 I was employed by the Wentworth Plaza Hotel as the cook for the Moon and Sixpence Pub. Shock! Horror! I had to front it. I had to meet people, talk to people, announce over the microphone when meals were ready. I really did not like it.

I was really doubting myself when the executive chef said to me, "Just believe in yourself". Do you know what? I did and still do.

When I was at the Wentworth I won an award for the employee of the quarter. Every three months an award was given for the best employee. I won $250 and a weekend away at the Atrium Hotel in Mandurah.

In 2008 I won another award at the Kelmscott Show. One of my hobbies is wine making. I won the award for the best home made wine in the show. Winning the award and the blue rosette gave me such a glowing feeling inside.

I no longer cook due to an accident, but I have gone and done other things. I have recently had a complete hip replacement. Nothing or nobody is going to stop me being positive and confident. I am still short and stuggy and the hair is silver now. I just don't care.

I stay confident just by being me.

Read more about negative concept and stereotypes.

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Reader Comments (5)

Self-confidence you certainly have these days Jackie, it is great to see. What a dynamo you are. It is wonderful to have you in the office and such a delight to see how far you've come. I am sure your story will inspire other women who feel shy or lack confidence and show them that their future can be different.

You are a star - keep on shining.
Sun 29 Nov, 09 at 7:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterRachel Green
This is a great story.

It is easy and common for things we're told as children to stay with us right into adulthood. Congratulations and well done on finding yourself and letting your life know that you're the boss :-)
Mon 30 Nov, 09 at 7:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterReeta Luthra
You go Mum! We are very proud of you and your achievments. You are a beautiful blend of your Mum and Dad. You got Nana's inner strength combined with Grandad's kindness and gentleness. Congratulations on overcoming your shyness and self doubt.

Love and hugs

Michelle, Dave, Steve, Demi and Chas.

PS: You are not Stuggy!!!!!!!!
Mon 30 Nov, 09 at 8:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichelle Marriott

Love you so much nan! You are an amazing person and you've been through so much but as long as you always hope and are always smiling you'll have the outer and inner strength to do anything. I love you with everything I have and I can't wait to put your Xmas tree up with you! Love Always, Demz xx
Tue 1 Dec, 09 at 9:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterDemi
Hi Jackie - Wow - looking back over your years in Australia, what a lot you have achieved, You may be petite but gosh you have mountains of inner strength and your children and grandchildren are a great testiment to your balanced and happy attitude to life - don't hide all your other talents too like your fine crotchet doilies, your art and that as a friend you are a very valued person.

Keep growing

Love Yvonne
ps Stuggy is just a word - some people have trouble with words and often use the wrong ones - isn't it amazing how the good words get lost in our mind and the wrong words stick like glue.
Mon 7 Dec, 09 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterYvonne

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