Which, by extension, made me hate my entire face.
I refused to be photographed. I'd put my hand in front of my mouth when I talked. And when I started my own business, I hated hated hated being on video, because all I could see was my ugly crooked teeth.
The kids at school used to tease me about having "bad" teeth because they were crooked and discoloured. I used to blame it on the cheesy wotsits I was eating, but I wasn't fooling anyone.
Never mind the fact that I'd never needed to have a filling (and I am still filling-free aged 40) – I was bullied for my "bad" teeth.
That kind of shit sticks, and I hadn't realised how much it bothered me until last year when I decided to fork out £2,500 to fix my gnashers.
I didn't mind the money; it was well worth it, to me – my 40th birthday present to myself, which was also an investment in my own self-worth and self-esteem.
(And before you start telling me my self-worth and self-esteem shouldn't be tied to my teeth, button it. You're right, of course, but you know as well as I do that these things have a massive impact on us, and if we can fix them, then fixing the rest of our confidence issues becomes easier.)
Anyway: the money was just the start of it.
I wasn't quite so prepared for the 10 months of painful aligners I had to wear for 22 hours a day. Remembering to take a case for them, and finding somewhere to slip them out if I was in public and wanted to eat (or just going hungry).
It was totally worth it.
Then, last week, taking off my final set of aligners to hear my fabulous dentist tell me how pleased he is with the results – and start me on the next stage: whitening.
Before the whitening trays, though, came the waterboarding.
Don't get me wrong – he and the dental technician did a brilliant job, but when you're on your back with your head lower than your shoulders, and your mouth's filling with water they can't quite suck out fast enough, you do begin to panic and splutter.
And your pride doesn't allow you to stick a hand up and mumble, "Actually I need a break please!" so you endure.
What are you willing to endure to get what you want?
All the time, I hear people asking, "What are you willing to do to achieve what you want to achieve?" I never hear anyone (except for James Clear in his marvellous book Atomic Habits) ask, "What are you willing to endure?"
Because it's effortless to do the easy stuff. It's easy to do the stuff that doesn't hurt or make us uncomfortable. But the easy stuff won't let us achieve the big hairy goals that truly matter.
How much do you want to write a book?
(Or learn a language or play an instrument or compete in the Olympics or play at Carnegie Hall?)
What are you willing to endure to get there?
p.s. I'm officially launching my new book next week. That's a big prickly scary thing to do. Keep your eyes peeled, order it on launch day, and grab yourself some fabulous swag...
p.p.s. If you don't want to wait to read my book, or you know you'll need more help to write your book, I have three personal coaching slots available. If you want to get started right away, comment below and ask for more info.
If you want to learn more about how to write, self-publish, and market a book for your business, snaffle yourself a copy of How The Hell Do You Write A Book? Then check out the blog and podcast for more articles and guides. If you want a little (or a lot) more help, find out how you can work with me.
Vicky Fraser is the founder of Moxie Books and author of How The Hell Do You Write A Book and Business For Superheroes. She helps business owners write life-changing books, connect with readers and new customers, and grow their businesses. When she's not doing that, she's hanging from a trapeze by her feet.
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