4 Secrets of People Who Do
How to re-write the myth - ‘It Could Never Happen to Me’
A strange thing happened to me last week. I found myself in a smart London house with a rail of clothes, which had been picked out for me with the request to try them on and choose. There was also a stylist to advise, a make-up artist, hair-stylist and a photographer to record the evidence.
A few months ago I might have found myself thinking, ‘I’m not the kind of person who could ever be chosen to take part in a photo shoot for a popular women’s magazine.’ Yet here I was. Chosen! And in a couple of months, the 2-page spread will be shared with the world.
Appearing in a national magazine might not be your ambition – and indeed I can honestly say it hasn’t ever been a burning desire of mine to try-out as a model, and neither is this going to help attain world peace – but the principles of thinking bigger and that more is possible remain the same for this example as for any grander ways of changing the world.
There is one undeniable truth:
I’m going to tell you the 4 secrets that led me to this surprising event – and how you could also find yourself in the middle of an experience you hadn’t previously imagined possible, whatever shape that might take. It can happen!
4 Secrets of People Who Do
1. dare to believe it can be so.
Ask why not? Then listen to the answer with an open heart and mind.
You may also have to acknowledge a less helpful voice that likes to say, ‘you’re not good enough, young enough, clever enough, experienced enough… not enough!’
Hear that inner critic, maybe say thank you for the safety warning (saboteurs are part of our self-preservation system) but challenge it. Refuse to be limited by the habits of being small, staying invisible, not drawing attention to yourself.. break those habits in favour of just saying, ‘Why ever not?’
And more often than not there is NO good reason. Believe you can, and the door to possibilities opens wide. Believe you can’t and those doors will stay firmly shut. Doors don’t generally come looking for us!
2. getting out of your comfort zone.
This takes some effort, conviction, and yes, some courage. It builds on secret number 1 and gets easier with practice – honestly!
And getting uncomfortable – the stretch – is where the magic happens, where we grow, learn and add something new to our skills and mindset. We get stronger, more confident and learn that actually we CAN do something we were afraid of and thought was beyond our capacity. When did you last stretch this muscle?
When I’ve changed direction in my career - and there have been three major shifts – each time I’ve had to dig deep and be prepared to go back to ‘beginners’ mind’. But I know it’s always been worth it and I’ve discovered that going back to the beginning is something I can do, and that rich rewards will follow if you have the motivating factors (your WHY-fuel) driving you forward.
When we’re asked to step out of our comfort zone – or take ourselves to that scary edge – it’s disarming and it's frightening. This is where saboteurs have a riot and fuel self-doubt. Don’t listen, learn from past experience – you survived, you grew, you became more experienced, braver and you survived!
Think back to a time when you have crossed that scary edge, remember it, and use it to power your self-belief.
And on that positive tide, be a little cheeky. The photo-shoot this week was actually a call-out for women in a younger age group. I put my hand up – and was chosen. Don’t rule yourself out, and dare to flout those ‘rules’ a little. Throw your hat in the ring and you’ll surprise yourself.
3. the WHY in this whole dare–to-do-it scenario.
If you have a motivation that matters to you, that means you are standing tall in your highest values, working towards your deeper purpose and have a clear vision of how this fits into your life and work, that really does makes daring a whole lot easier!
So why did I think a photo-shoot was a stretch worth making? Well, to be completely honest, this is a time when I’m pushing myself to walk my talk! As a career-change coach who is also in the process of shifting 100% into supporting myself through the successes of my Freestyle Careers practice, it was a no-brainer.
If I’m encouraging my career-changing clients to try new experiences, flex the edges of their comfort zone, work to deny power to inner critics, and really go for work that allows them to express their values, purpose and make the contribution to the world that they really want to – well, I have to do the same!
But not just this – I know it works. By experimenting, we learn what fits, what doesn’t, and in the process we become stronger and stand more chance of consciously designing the life we want and that will bring us fulfillment.
By embracing a new experience, I’m stretching myself. By standing up and being seen in a new environment, I hope I’m helping others do the same. As a 60+ woman, I’m also giving a shout-out for a group who are often invisible in the media. These things matter to me. Being authentic, expressing freedom to choose how I live and by helping others do the same for themselves, I have the best fuel – tap into your own values and you’ll find exactly the same.
4. a reality check - it won’t work every time!
Or it may not be clear immediately how this stretch has benefited you. In life, we don’t expect every gambit to work out, but to talk yourself out of even trying because it MIGHT not work, is the worst kind of playing it safe there is.
If you have a powerful reason for taking that scary step, don’t give up. The opportunity with YOUR name on it could be the very next one that comes along. Don’t turn around now, give it another shot. Because when it does work, that’s when life really gets its dazzle on!
When I followed #journorequest on twitter, there were loads of opportunities that weren’t for me. But then there was this one – which was pretty close. I could see the potential for illustrating the mindsets and behaviours that are central to my career-change philosophy, so it was easier to leave a comment in the very public thread for the journalist who was arranging the event. There was plenty of interest!
I’d forgotten about it by the time an email popped into my inbox last week. It was lovely surprise that from the many volunteers, my profile fitted the opportunity. Wonderful. There was a nano-second’s hesitation, but actually I could imagine the fun and novelty of the experience and that really inspired me to accept. I also remembered times when I’d been scared (briefing Jeremy Paxman for one!) but had got over it, and ultimately had got so much from the experience. So YES it was!
At the same time, I’m running a challenge for summer, inspiring new experiences, so how could I play it safe? This is one of my #freestylesummer experiences. Perfect!
Curiosity, openness, experimenting, these are central to changing direction in my design-thinking approach to creating a wholehearted life.
I had so many reasons to say yes, I felt the universe was manoeuvring things for my benefit. Sometimes things just line up. So why not nourish your own ability to try new things, dare to dream and believe you are capable of so much more!
For more about how to re-design your life and career: Quickstep Career Change Programme or The Career Clarity Call.
If you want to connect with your values and design work and life that allows you to live them: Discover Your Values
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