It was my birthday last week and I decided to take some time off and get out in my van. I had a gig at the O2 on the Thursday and was doing some volunteer coaching on the Friday so thought I’d combine it with a visit to Kent. I was born in Kent and lived there until I was almost 11 so have a soft spot for the area. I haven’t been there for a while and wanted to check out how much things have changed.
It was really interesting and some of the things I had in my head weren’t quite the way I remembered but there were some things that produced a physical memory I hadn’t expected. One of my favourites was driving into Dover. I don’t really know or remember Dover but we must have driven into the town a few times because when you come in on one of the main roads, you’re quite high up and sweep in round the port so can see what’s going on. It made me smile and feel quite emotional.
Folkestone was also interesting. I was older when we lived there (I actually lived a couple of miles outside) but remember a fair amount, although there were ferries there when I left and no Channel Tunnel! While I was there, I thought about what was going on while I was there which led on to how much has happened in my life.
The last year has been incredible. I’ve met so many people and done so many things that I didn’t really think I’d do at some point in my life. My life now looks entirely different to what it did this time last year. I mean, the people who are part of my life now weren’t all there last year. The things that I’ve done are numerous and quite frankly I’m amazed that I’ve fitted them all into one year.
I’ve managed to walk 500 miles across Spain. I actually trained to do that too (somewhat). I met people there who I’ve kept in touch with. I finally had my second tattoo and got my nipples pierced. I walked over the O2 last week. I not only found something I really wanted to do with my life, I started my own business and left my safe NHS job. I bought a camper van, I travelled on my own in it and enjoyed it. I realised it’s ok to change your mind about what you’re doing and adapt to the situation around you.
I realised I’m so much better at being adaptable in situations now. Although I still prefer to have a plan, I can deal without having one, or make an impromptu decision without worrying too much about the consequences.
If I look back a couple of years, I wouldn’t have done many of these things, or at leat I wouldn’t have done them without a long, drawn out plan and investigating all the ins and outs of each situation a lot. I’ve always been pretty good at making decisions and evaluating a situation fairly quickly but have usually found that after I made a decision I’ve found another angle that made me waver a little. I wouldn’t change my mind though because I’d made my decision and it couldn’t be changed!
Now, I understand that decisions can be reversed, or altered slightly, or changed a lot. I mean, I’m not saying that I’m now happy with everything that I do but I do realise that if something doesn’t go the way I’d planned, I can learn from that situation.
I attribute having done all of these things by making one brave decision about 18 months ago. That was to do the career coaching webinar that allowed me to find coaching as a career. It took me about a year from signing up to the career coaching service to actually doing anything about it but once I did, things seem to have moved pretty quickly.
I look back now and think that simply looking at a webinar isn’t that scary – it’s not actually making a move after all. But it took a lot for me to do that because all I could think about was the potential consequences of changing career. Once I realised that it was a small step and not a permanent commitment, things changed. And everything I’ve learned over the last 18 months has strengthened that commitment to trying new things.
What I always try to remember now is that all the horrible things you think might happen as a consequence of what you want to do, won’t happen. Most of them aren’t even likely to happen and 99% of the time, the worry is what ruins a situation, not any bad things that may or may not happen.
There’s a great quote from the Game of Thrones books about being brave:
“Bran thought about it. 'Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?'
'That is the only time a man can be brave,' his father told him.”
If you can be brave just once, doing it again is slightly easier. If you keep doing it and realise that it’s not the end of the world if something doesn’t go the way you’d planned, you build up resilience. Building up resilience builds your confidence. And all of a sudden, you’re doing all the things you always wanted too!