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Courage to change, retrain your brain..

We can all overcome fears and change habits that no longer serve us. Tass Smith, a graduate from the Empowering Women programme shares a part of her personal journey:

Tass Smith telling her story at the Empowering Women Inspiration Day

Just put your head down in the water and swim!

You'll like it Mum. It's fun…..


Except, my feet are rooted to the spot.

The smell of chlorine is overpowering, childrens’ shouting deafens me. My eyes sting.

And then I'm thrashing around, my arms flailing in the water but I can't stay afloat.

I'm struggling to breath and the bright lights are dimming and I'm sinking, sinking.

I break the surface and I see my teacher jumping into the pool. As she jumps, her skirt flies up and I see her big knickers. Everyone sees her big knickers.

She's dragging me to the pool's edge and heaving me out onto the side. Her first words seared into my memory: “Now look what you've done; all my clothes are wet!”. She escorts me, shivering, to the changing rooms, wraps a towel round my shoulders and heads back to the poolside. I'm alone with my thoughts…...

How often do you stop and think about your brain? Not often enough I suspect.

Did you know, for example, that your brain is a meaning seeking, pattern-

making, prediction organ? To keep you safe, your brain makes snap decisions, in a fraction of a second, based on your past experiences.

This can be a good thing. It's the reason you don't keep grabbing stinging nettles!

But it can also hold you back.

I nearly drowned in a school swimming lesson. That memory haunted me for over 40 years.

The good news is that you can make new patterns.

Just put your head down in the water and swim!

You'll like it Mum. It's fun…..

I take a deep breath, drop my head into the water and swim down to touch the pool's floor. And he's right. It is fun!

Tass Smith

Application Support Manager at Warwick District Council

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