5 minutes.


My right arm was in the air. ‘Pick me, pick me’ it would have cried out if it had its own voice. As if Georgia could hear it speaking, she turned, made eye contact, and pointed at me saying ‘YOU!…yeah… let’s do it.’

I got up out of my theatre seat and quickly made my way to the side of the stage to be met by the stage manager, Vince Averill (aka Mr Georgia Hardstark). He asked me ‘are you ok?’ and I kept re-iterating that yes, I was fine.

And strangely, I was.

It was a now or never moment, and little old introverted, shy, stay away from the limelight me was going to do it. I was stepping well and truly out of my comfort zone.

I was oddly calm. It felt right.

I climbed up the steps and made my way into wings of the stage. I was handed a microphone, which was heavier than I had expected, and strode out onto the stage of the Eventim Apollo to stand with my true crime comedy podcasting idols, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, in front of a sell-out crowd. I hugged them both, said hi, introduced myself, chanted a mantra inside my head over and over again ‘BEGINNING, MIDDLE, END, LINK IT BACK TO YOU, BEGINNING, MIDDLE, END, LINK IT BACK TO YOU’, and with that, I told my hometown murder story.

It was incredible. You could hear a pin drop as everyone in the auditorium listened to me, hanging on my every word.

They laughed at bits where I was trying to be funny. The exclaimed in shock at the horror of the tale. I had audience participation even though it was my first time ever being on stage speaking!

I even made Karen, a fully-fledged stand-up comic and comedy writer, laugh!

It felt electric.

5 minutes later I walked off that stage to applause, and I knew that something had changed in me forever. I felt different. I had found part of my identify that I never knew existed.

I walked taller, I had a new-found confidence and I wanted more.

I wanted to feel that buzz again.

I wanted to connect with people on a bigger scale.

I wanted to know more about me. What I could do. What I could achieve.

For years I hadn’t known who I was or what I liked. I had been a police officer. And then I had been a police officer on long-term sick leave. And then I was a medically retired police officer. A PTSD sufferer. An anxiety ridden woman just muddling her way through life without real ambition or direction. I was shy. I didn’t like being centre of attention. Happy to fade into the background and be forgotten.

But I was wrong! That wasn’t me! I just hadn’t taken the time to meet me yet.

The real me was unleashed that night.

So, I will keep saying yes to new opportunities.

I will keep growing and finding out more and more about who I really am.

I am finally ready to meet me.

Who are you?

But who are you really?

How could stepping out of your comfort zone for 5 minutes change your life forever?

On stage with Karen and Georgia in London, November 2019


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Olivia Standbridge | The Police Coach

Olivia is The Police Coach and is passionate about helping police officers leave the service and transition to a fulfilling life outside of the police service.