I love asking kids what they want to be when grow up. They come out with the best answers. No holds barred. Nothing off limits. They have a dream and they believe they can achieve it. And as adults what do we do? We encourage them. Tell them they can be whatever they want to be. We often lovingly guide them in ways that we have been raised to see as “right” or “normal”, but regardless we encourage.
I myself as a child was very fond of the idea of being a teacher. I had a make believe class of which I can still rattle off the names; and I would make up worksheets that my mother would photocopy at the school for me when she was on the P&C to ensure all my “students” got them. Quite a reserved dream career I guess in the grand scheme of things, but my mother always went above and beyond to encourage my goals. So why as an adult, did I stop encouraging myself to follow my dreams? Well if you could answer that for me, I would be forever grateful.
The lady holding me in the picture above is my grandmother. Or Nan as we called her. She was a huge part of my life and despite being almost 8 years on, I still think about her every day. She was a wedding dress maker. I mean what a skill. What a talent and honour to design and create the dress a woman will wear down the aisle on one of the biggest days of her life. I idolised Nan for this and I loved how passionate she would get when she spoke about her craft. She knew she was good and she was stoically confident in her ability to deliver.
For some people the choice seems to come easy. I would hear them say they fell into their job and it turned out they were good at it. Or they always knew what they wanted to do and they followed their gut. I would never take away from that. I think hat off to you. I understand this type of career success takes time, diligence and a strong self belief. Whatever you choose to do, that is the truth. You earned your spot, wherever you are right now. I guess for me, I just never felt like I knew where that place was or what role that should be. I know I have done things; some well, some not so well; but regardless I never felt I knew it was the right career path for me.
I would go back and forth between thinking that I didn’t even want a career persay and I would be happy to be a stay at home mum. Not at all taking away from that role. It’s the hardest job in the world! But I know for me I have always felt like there was something else out there for me that I haven’t yet discovered. Something missing from my life. Something that would help me to see myself as useful. As successful. As whole. But the more emphasis I put on trying to figure out what it was, the further away the possibility of working it out seemed to get.
One of my all time most feared scenarios in life is when you come into a new group or you’re meeting new people and inevitably one of the first things they ask is “So what do you do?” I always freak out. I jump into defense mode. Self preservation. My answer will depend on the audience at hand and I imagine it is quite clear I am uncomfortable with the topic. I usually spin it back on them and show deep interest in whatever it is they do to deflect my discomfort. I am an old hat at sayings like, “I don’t care what people do. If you’re nice I want to talk to you” and “what you do shouldn’t define who you are.” Both very true statements in my book, but both are also used to combat my feelings of not succeeding in this area of life.
I honestly believe it all comes back to that key thing that career success needs. Self belief. I believe to find my right path, I need to get back to that mindset where I simply wanted to be something, so I decided that’s what I would be. Just like when I was a kid. I mean I do this in other areas of my life daily. Why not this one? I believe I want to be fit and healthy. What do I do? I eat well and I workout. I believe I want to be a good kind person. So what do I do? I try to be kind and caring and compliment people on a daily basis. I believe I want to be a good mother to my children. So what do I do? I reflect on my parenting choices, collaborate with their father and always give them love and cuddles. So if I can do these things, why do I get blockages when it comes to career success?
Well it’s simple really isn’t it. Fear. That big old word that we all have in us to some degree, in some, or many areas of our lives. For me, it’s fear of failing. Fear of confirming to myself that I might not actually be capable of accomplishing what I want to do in this life time. And all the time and energy I have put into listening to this fear and allowing it to control me, has ironically taken from the energy I could have been channelling into success.
That is why this blog was such a big step for me. I wanted to do it, so I did. I floated the idea to a few key people in my life last year and the feedback was lukewarm. I went quiet on the idea for a few months after that, but it was always in my mind. Until one day I thought you know what, what harm can come from it? From putting myself out there? From having a go? From practicing until I make it perfect? All those things we say to children. Why shouldn’t I put those philosophies into play as an adult. And I tell you what, I’m so glad I did. Where it will take me I do not know, but what I have gained so far is priceless. I’m gaining self belief.
I wanted to do something and I did it. And I feel it’s been well recieved. Well recieved as it is real, honest and authentic. I will attract to my life those like minded people that will appreciate the gifts I have to offer. And to all of you who have supported me and given me your kind words of encouragement, I am truely grateful.
So yes. My self belief is building. Just the other day I was driving along and an idea came into my mind. A vision for my future. And this time instead of squashing it down, I got excited. I am allowing myself to believe. As soon as I got home I wrote it down. I now know I am capable and I have the right people around me to work out the steps I will need to take to make my dream happen. I know the road won’t be easy. I know I am not cured of my fear completely. But I also know that my want and belief I can succeed is growing and the fear is lessening every day.
I want my kids to know they can do whatever they put their mind to. And what better way, than to lead by example. The fear will always be there but I want to rise above it. For them. For my family and friends. But for the first time I can honestly say, it’s mainly for myself. And that is so exciting.
Believe in you. I do.
Much love, Michelle xxx