Letter to My Younger Self - Deborah Armstrong, Strong & Co

Deborah Armstrong, founder of event design company Strong & Co and number three in the Event 100 Club 2016, shares the advice she'd give her younger self if she could.

Armstrong featured in the number three spot in the Event 100 Club 2016
Armstrong featured in the number three spot in the Event 100 Club 2016

Hello me,

You’ve now reached the ripe old age of 40 and are generally considered quite a brave person, but the truth is that it is a hard won accolade and you’ve got a fair old amount of fear and anxiety to conquer, so I want to help you with that.

When it comes to work and relationships, you can spare yourself years of needless anxiety by learning to meditate.

Rather than feel overwhelmed by worries about this or that, objectify it. Stop and analyse if you have a real reason to be fearful and if so take actions to correct it. If no actions can be taken then put it to bed. Most of the stuff you worry about will never happen so spare yourself.

Sounds simple, however, you will find yourself particularly challenged on the fear front as you are due to be diagnosed with MS at the tender age of 23. The anvil of life will well and truly drop on your head, you lucky person you. 

I say lucky because it is indeed a blessing to be shown that life and health as you know it is precarious and precious and must be lived to the full. Lucky because otherwise you may have been tempted to fall into a comfort trap workwise, but this will ensure that you always do what you love and are fascinated by. Lucky because it forces you to confront issues and to learn and change.  

Annoyingly, that is going to include some failures, so take a deep breath and appreciate them for what they teach you. Ain’t no lesson like a painful lesson.    

Trust your instincts for people in situations, I know you like to like them but if something feels off then it probably is. Sometimes it's awkward to address it, but it really is best to trust yourself and deal with it early.

Time, and the lack of it, will be a recurring theme, especially once you have all the friends and colleagues, kids and pets you do. You eventually discover that you can create more time through meditation. Strange but true, for you at least. So get on top of that particular discipline nice and early and prioritise yourself!  

Workwise it's simple – do stuff you love with people you love and then, whatever happens, things will be okay and even occasionally brilliant.

Armstrong is a practicing installation artist and event producer specialising in experiential. She founded Lost Vagueness in 2002, bespoke experiential events company Strong & Co. in 2005 and most famously, Shangri-La Glastonbury in 2008.

More: Event 100 Club 2016: No.3 - Deborah Armstrong

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