This post comes to you from 32,000 feet somewhere over Africa. I’m returning from Morocco after a three-day press trip adventure. I have my green tea, M&S flapjack (yes, I’m a bit of a journalist cliche) and have had a surreal moment of clarity – this is exactly what I dreamed of. Travelling all over the world with VIP check-in’s, blacked out SUV transfers and 5* luxury resorts is an extreme privilege not lost on me and it’s because I chose to lead a more positive life.
I left my job 18 months ago for a life and career of total uncertainty. But when I envisioned the kind of life and career I wanted behind my old office computer in a building with no air con and an over-stuffed employee fridge, this was exactly it and I feel incredibly grateful. Not only to the unfortunate series of events that led me here (you can read about that HERE) but also to myself for getting me to this very place. It’s not been easy and it’s taken a long time to get me on this BA flight but I’ve made a couple of simple yet vital changes to my outlook that I believe have been the driving force behind where I’m at.
LETTING GO OF FEAR
Fear is the number one culprit in stopping us from leading a more positive life. Whether it’s leaving a job or relationship you’re unhappy in, doubting the next step or exploring new possibilities, the fear of the unknown can completely render us helpless. But the great thing about fear is that it’s temporary and, in hindsight, can’t believe it held us back for so long.
There’s two ways to overcome fear and it’s either making the leap and trusting that a net will appear or making a plan of action. The latter involves making a list of every possible outcome and coming up with a contingency plan for each to give you more control over the consequences. I prefer the former option because there’s nothing like a little adrenaline to test your abilities and believe me, you’ll be surprised at how capable you are at making it work.
I was terrified to leave my full-time job for a life of the unknown, working for myself and finding an income every month. But in hindsight (see what I mean?!), it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve made my own path where I have the luxury of designing my own day, month, year and entire future. Scary? Of course. Liberating? 100%.
One thing I’ve found as I’ve got older is that I say ‘no’ to alot. Too much, in fact. Whether it’s an invitation to a movie premiere or a press trip, over the last year, I’ve had some incredible opportunities find their way into my inbox and I was starting to turn them down out of fear and, well, laziness! I started to look at each one with worry and before I knew it, that imposter syndrome would creep in – why are they inviting me? Maybe it’s a mistake. I have nothing to wear – this was the type of internal dialogue that was happening every time and it had to stop.
I started make a conscious effort to say ‘yes’ to more with the intention to lead a more positive life, broaden my horizons, push myself out of my comfort zone and see what came back from it. As a result, I’ve travelled more this year already than I have the previous year, met some amazing people which has led to more work, seen the world, experienced new cultures and find myself in a more positive headspace than ever before.
Saying ‘yes’ can be uncomfortable, scary and requires more effort than perhaps you’ve been willing to explore. Although I’m not suggesting you burn yourself out with a 7-day schedule of parties, dinners and seminars, if there’s n opportunity that presents itself that you’d love to go to but let fear hold you back – say ‘yes’ before you have time to doubt or second guess the outcome. You’ll be surprised where it leads you.
STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a fast-paced kinda girl. I love to multi-task, smash my to-do list (well, try to!) and move at a million miles an hour. I do HIIT workouts, walk fast and eat quicker (that one’s not so good for me!). But over the last few months I’ve been learning to slow down the pace and do things thoughtfully and with more purpose. I’m well aware of how woo-woo this sounds and I’m not one to start preaching about #wellbeing but, in a time where we work more than ever and have everything at our finger tips, just a click away, we’re bypassing the details of our day.
Travelling to far-flung places for work is one of the greatest perks of my job. The duration is short and there’s a lot to do in that time but I found myself rushing, trying to cram everything in to just a few days without actually appreciating where I was. The easiest way to lead a more positive life is to stop. Just stop for a second and breathe, look around and take a minute to just be grateful for everything that you have and for being exactly where you are.
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