That Lady From Table 23

Jan 13, 2023
Emily Chadbourne Blog

A few weeks before my 33rd birthday, I was standing in a walk-in fridge, crying. I was meant to be bottling up (hospo speak for grabbing beers from the stock room and filling the service fridges so they'd be full for the next day). But as I was pulling 26 Peroni's, 14 Cornona's and 8 VB's from the shelf, I began to feel tears well up in my eyes, so I jumped into the walk-in to hide before anyone could see me.

I was at my wits end. I'd been shouted at by table 23 because I forgot her side salad and when it came, it was covered in the dressing she'd asked for it to be free from.

Table 23's overreaction served as evidence to me that I was indeed incapable. I took her anger personally and it was all I needed to trigger my internal narrative of "I'm not good enough and I can't get anything right."

I felt so lost and inconsequential.

In London I had excelled in the hospo industry, working my way into Ops Management. But when I arrived in Australia, it became apparent that no one cared for my experience with companies they'd never heard of, from a country that had different HR and OHS policies. All they cared about was if I could make coffee. Turns out that by Melbourne standards, I couldn't even do that.

I was living week to week and thousands of dollars in debt.
My soul felt tired.
I was uninspired, stuck and stagnant.
I felt out of place and lacked direction.
I felt alone, even when I was around my friends.
I was drinking too much, bitching a lot and zoning out in front of the TV every night.
I was in a thankless job with no other qualifications.
I was, in short, at a very low point in my life and I couldn't see how it would ever change.

A friend told me I should see a coach and I scoffed. It sounded Rah-Rah and wanky and who did she think she was, couldn't she see I was fine! (I was also embarrassed to admit that I was struggling).

But a couple of weeks later, I found myself in a training room, attending a free weekend workshop about coaching.

In that room, I heard hope.

I saw frameworks that wouldn't necessarily instantly solve all of my problems, but would give me the belief, self trust and mindset to change my life around.

I felt better than I had in years and I so desperately wanted to do the course, not to become a coach but to learn how to love myself enough to live the life of my dreams.

And then came the cost.
It was a $14,977 course.
I had MINUS $10,750 in my bank account and was earning $20 an hour.

So I told the head facilitator I'd think about it and went back to waiting tables.

Fast forward a few months, and here I was, crying in a walk in fridge and nothing about my life had changed but somehow everything about my life had gotten worse.

That night I went home and told myself that something had to shift. I made a decision that I would speak to my credit card company and work out a payment plan instead of racking up late payment charges month after month. I took extra shifts at work and began to save some money.

Eventually, I had enough for the deposit for the course, but I kept finding reasons not to enrol.

It's not the right time.
What if it doesn't work for me?
I can't justify spending that much on myself.
What if I need these savings for something that hasn't even happened yet?
What if other people judge me for doing something like this?
What if I change and the people around me don't?
Maybe I'll wait to see if something shifts without me having to do anything.

Then I woke up on the morning of my 33rd birthday and realised I literally could not continue living my life in the same way. In front of me was another year of living the same old shit and all this time I'd been telling myself there was no way out when there was.
I was the way out.

Not a different job or a different relationship or a lottery win.

It was me.

So that very day I walked into the coaching school, paid the deposit and set up a payment plan that I didn't think I could afford.
I never missed a payment and I never looked back.

In the 2 years I spent as a student there, I leant how to take full responsibility for my own manifestations.
I learnt how to identify patterns and the stories that created my results. I learnt how to coach myself through the fear that had been holding me back.

In the years since then, I have learnt how to have strong boundaries, how to let go of my perfectionism, how to forgive myself and others, how to care less about what other people think of me, how to live free from imposter syndrome and how to consciously create the life of my dreams.

Along the way I have built a multiple 6 figure business, manifested my dream home, impacted hundreds of lives and travelled my arse off. But most importantly, I have learnt how to love myself, how to cherish myself and how to back myself in ways I never thought possible.

If I met that lady from table 23 again today, I would see her pain, fear and frustration as her's and not make it mine. Seriously, if you get that upset by a salad, there's something bigger going on. Imagine the anxiety she must have been living in, if a bowl of lettuce made her so upset that she shouted at a stranger. If you're sweating the small stuff, it's because you've got big stuff going on that you're not dealing with.

I learnt how to deal with the big stuff.
And it changed every aspect of my life for the better.





(please make sure you check your SPAM once you've signed up)

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.