Scared to go back, scared to go forward.

When I started this blog a question I was often asked was “how often are you going to blog?” The answer (with confidence) was always “every week”. Somewhat ambitious? Perhaps, but I gave it a pretty good run and as we find ourselves two weeks into April I’ve been trying my best not to give myself a hard time for this slip in regularity. What can I say, I had other stuff going on, my 33rd year started busy and I just didn’t get my blog on. But, as all good bloggers know you can’t rush a good blog post, the fingers and keyboard can only do their thing when the time is right. I’ve actually no idea whether that’s a ‘thing’ “all good bloggers know” I’m just attempting to sound like a blogger-pro to lessen the impact of the two week interlude in my blogging. However, I like to think said interlude has reinvigorated the audience desire to read what’s been happening so let’s get stuck in…

Post birthday week was a bit icky. You know, just one of those weeks where you feel a bit down. I was choosing to feel miserable. Stuff happened. Easter made me homesick. Holidays always do, because it’s when family get together and when yours are 10,000 miles away that can be tough. I managed the eating chocolate part solo just fine though. I also got a call back on a job I’d applied for to say I hadn’t got it. If you’re wondering why I need a job when I’m setting up my own business, allow me to explain. The job I’d applied for was a maternity cover role as Social Media Manager. A 5 month gig which would allow for flexible hours and sounded like what I had started to call a good ‘buffer’ job. Money worries were creeping in (again) and I’d somehow managed to convince myself it was the best thing for me; a short-term in-between job to keep me going. And from the first couple of interviews, I knew it was a job I could do and do well. I imagined myself getting it. I’d pay off my credit cards, work on the business one day a week (and weekends) and all would be well with the world. Yep. Good. Sorted.

Rewind a little bit to the first few weeks of this adventure into self employment. I had a couple of job opportunities come up after leaving my full time job back in February and went through the interview process with a few of them despite knowing from the offset that I didn’t want them. For some I might as well have gone in to the interview wearing a t-shirt which read “I DO NOT WANT THIS JOB” – unsurprisingly, even without the t-shirt, I didn’t get the jobs. My energy said it all. I was sort of just playing at it. I wasn’t going in there as me, I was going in there as someone I thought I should be. The person who plays it safe. I would hear stuff come out of my mouth and wonder if it was really me who was saying it. It sounded like nonsense. I didn’t really feel like that person anymore and no passion comes from that. My heart simply wasn’t in it and to be honest, when the call back didn’t come or the ‘thanks, but no thanks’ did, I really wasn’t bothered. I took it as a sign the universe was telling me to keep pushing on with the business. Again, I shrugged my shoulders, I accepted, I moved on.

But, as other opportunities arose, the part of me which was trying to hang on with one finger to the safety and security of the corporate world (while the brave me tried to pull in the opposite direction) would pipe up with ‘Go on, apply…just go to the interview at least…find out more…this might be just the ‘buffer’ job you need’. My inner critic was running the show. That same voice would often direct me towards the SEEK careers website ‘Let’s just check what jobs are out there shall we…”. In blog #1 I spoke about that feeling of looking for jobs, knowing you could do them but knowing doing them (even exceptionally well) wouldn’t make you happy. It was the same feeling. Pretty uninspired but driven by the need to make money. 

It’s like a kid when the stabilizers (I think they’re called training wheels in ‘straya) come off the bike. I remember my Nephew begging my Mum to put the stabilizers back on his bike. He’d already learnt to cycle but apparently he “needed them”. I asked him why and he said “I might fall off” and what happens when you fall off I asked? “I might get hurt”. Might. Might not. But either way, you still get back on the bike and give it another go and eventually you forget all about the training wheels because you just trust that you know how to cycle. But he was at that early stage, scared to let himself go incase he fell off and hurt himself in the process, not quite yet trusting in his own ability. He wanted to play it safe.

I found myself scared to go back but scared to move forward. I’d taken the leap, but I was still allowing the fear of business failure and money worries to cloud my judgement. My instinct told me from the off that these opportunities weren’t right for me and that my focus was already where it needed to be. I know and still know that everything will work out as it is meant to on the business side of things because I feel so strongly that I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing, in some form or another. But this most recent corporate opportunity felt different, it felt more aligned with what I was looking for. It might have been that I knew it had an end date, or perhaps a gradually depleting bank account, or maybe just a time factor, but with this one, convincing myself it was right, was easier. That said, I definitely still yo-yo’d with it. One minute it was ‘this job will be perfect’ the next it was ‘I don’t think this job is right, I won’t have enough time for the business..’ and so on. And really I think that level of doubt probably told me everything I needed to know. When you’re not sure about something it’s important to stop, or at least slow down and ask yourself why you feel like that, what’s the root cause of the doubt? And I knew, it was just a way for me to avoid taking the next step forward. I was using it to press pause. In the same way as I was using not having a website as a way to procrastinate from getting clients (remember?) I was using this potential job as a way to hold back too. I’ll just wait and see what happens with this job… And, as we all do occasionally when we are waiting for the outcome of something, I also played out all the what ifs of every possible scenario while I waited, which is not an entirely useful way to pass the day.

And when the call came, at the surface level I really still wasn’t sure what I wanted it to be, Yes? or no? But either way I felt sure I’d be ok with the outcome. Something I’ve learnt from coaching and which has been really influential in the way I’ve started to live my life, is to be as though everything is rigged in your favour. EVERYTHING.  Don’t be disheartened by a job rejection, know instead that it’s allowing space for something greater to come your way. I’ve always been a fan of ‘what’s for you won’t go by you’ but the difference is in saying it (we can all say it) and in truly believing it and living it. There is a difference.

“Live life as if everything is rigged in your favour.” – Rumi

It’s such a great way to be with everything that comes your way. The good, the bad, the indifferent, it’s all there in some way to serve you. So, the feedback was good but my overseas holidays sealed the deal with the judges – in a not-getting-it-kind-of-way-of-sealing-a-deal – it was a no. And unlike an xfactor contestant who only wants to hear yes I was ok with the no. It wasn’t what was for me. And ok, I might have dwelled on it for a day or two because I was already feeling a tad sorry for myself that week but then came the relief and the knowing that it was absolutely for the best. I dusted myself down and got stuck back in to doing what I’d already been doing with the business (back on my bike) but with more confidence, more certainty I was where I was meant to be and from there amazing stuff started to happen. New contacts popped up, new jobs came through and people I was waiting to hear back from started to get in touch, some wanting to progress with paid business.

I used the ‘no’ to motivate me. It gave me the kick up the a$$ to put more energy into my business. In some ways it was a relief, it allowed me to move on. The whole process had been ongoing for nearly 4 weeks and there was probably a part of me holding back because I still thought maybe I would return, albeit temporarily, to a full-time(ish) job. And all those scenarios I was playing out were taking my attention away from focussing on what was really important. The real stuff. When I knew that job was a no go – I pushed forward and I was rewarded by things happening to help progress my business.

And this week, I’ve been proper busy! Quite how I thought I was going to be able to do my business one day a week I do not know. I completed my first official job as Studio 1 Interiors! A styling job in a Bondi penthouse apartment. I loved it. I learnt heaps. It’s probably a post in its own right. But, this is what I’m meant to be doing, not sat at a desk in an office creating outcomes for other people. When you know, you know. Trust yourself. Push forwards. Believe in the end result.

It reminded me that when you want something, you have to put in the hard work. It might not happen straight away but if you want it enough and believe in it enough you can make it happen. I remember when I first went to see a visa agent in Edinburgh about getting a visa to Australia. It was pretty much a no. Australia didn’t need marketers, had I thought about New Zealand? No, it had to be Australia, it HAD to be Sydney. So, rather than take that first no as a definite no. I used it to motivate me. I stayed in touch with (read: stalked) the Visa consultant. I couldn’t shake the desire and calling to live in Australia. So I would email him every couple of months or so and check in. Any opportunities? No? Ok. Any opportunities now? Still no? Ok. And then one day, came the email. An opportunity had opened up for state sponsorship was I interested? Um, yes, yes, yes! 8 months of stalking had paid off. I could have stopped after that first meeting but after each rejection and each no, I still kept going and asking again and again. 

When there is something you feel that passionately about and you go after it with a true belief you can make it happen, I don’t think you can’t not succeed. And for me running my own business feels very similar to the way I felt about living in Australia. It’s something I know I want to do.  And I will. In fact, I guess I am! And of course, it’s natural to get worried along the way and worry about falling off your bike but giving up isn’t a consideration. I recognise now these jobs were just an avoidance tactic and I needed to go for them to know they weren’t right. To feel the contrast about how I felt about them versus how I feel about following my passion.

And there is no contest. It’s completely different. I’m on the right track, I don’t need to look back. The training wheels are officially off.

Blogs every two weeks are OK too.
Blogs every two weeks are OK too.

2 thoughts on “Scared to go back, scared to go forward.

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