A lot of people have at least a rough idea of where they want to be even if they haven’t arrived at a specific measureable goal. It can be difficult achieving the latter in the noise of every day life.
Saying that, before signing up to work with me, clients will probably have tried some things and seen mixed results or, if they haven’t taken action, they’ve done a hell of a lot of thinking about getting round to it… and talked themselves out of it too.
A big part of my role as a life coach, that I take very seriously, is understanding the obstacles, physical and otherwise, that stand in the way of my clients and where they want to be. Part of the process sees us unpack and interrogate what’s worked and what hasn’t worked and, as diverse as my client base is, I hear some common themes play back to me when I ask, “What’s getting in the way?”
With these themes in mind I wanted to address and clear up some of the things that can hold people back from being happy, and draw a few comparisons to a few people in the public eye that are proof that we can create second chances for ourselves, no matter what’s happened before:
1. Give. Yourself. A. Break. (Literally)
You’re human and you may have effed up. Be sure that you will eff up again before your time on earth is through. You have that in common with all of us on two legs – welcome to the party!
But you need to give yourself a break with the intention of doing your best based on what you know and how you feel. It’s time to stop chewing over what you did or didn’t do in the past and make a declaration of independence and acknowledge that ‘when you know better you do better.’
To truly inhabit a new chapter of thinking I advise you go one step further to put a line in the sand between ‘then’ and now. Make a gesture to ensure you feel like that chapter’s over. For my clients this has meant de-friending people on Facebook, binning pictures of ex-partners that cheated on them, changing phone numbers, writing a note on the fridge, drafting their resignation letter or painting a picture of how they want things to be.
Cut the chord in your own way and then stay awake - this is a no sleepwalking zone!
2. Trying one thing to get the result you want is great, but it mustn’t end there.
If Plan A doesn’t work out there are 25 other alphabet letters to go at, so what’s next? If you stop after dabbling with ‘having a go’ you rob yourself of the chance of success – it might be necessary to go ‘off road’? What’s a less obvious step to take to get the results you want? So what if you emailed that expert once but they didn’t reply? – Email them again, find another expert… put one foot in front of the other and keep to your compass.
You still have time and more importantly, you have time now. You have as many hours in the day as Beyoncé so let’s change the choices on how you spend it.
Let’s look at the late, great Man in Black, Johnny Cash, who in the nineties and noughties had seen his popularity nose dive.
Cue some Creative ‘off roading’. In 2002 he recorded, "Hurt," originally recorded by Nine Inch Nails. It became one of his biggest successes, buoyed by a video that appeared to be a reckoning with his own hell-raising past.
By trying something ‘off road’ and unexpected he generated a renaissance for himself and introduced himself to a whole new audience.
3. Just because others don’t get you, or what you’re trying to do, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it (n.b. prepare for a long game.)
Have you ever faced blank expressions from family or friends when you’re describing a step you’re going to take or a decision you’ve made? Have you had sharp inhalations of breath and comments such as “Are you sure that’s a good idea?”, “Have you thought this through” or “…But that’s not the way we do things – that won’t work.”
It’s horrible when people don’t ‘get’ you, isn’t it? It’s also the cue to brush off their doubt and stay focused on your desires or ideas. A great example of this approach working out is Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-A-Porter the online fashion retailer established in 2000 described as "The World's Premier Online Luxury Fashion Destination."
They said that selling super premium fashion online couldn’t be done and investors and designers alike struggled to understand the idea of online shopping in 1999. "They'd listen and they'd nod and then afterwards they'd say, 'Just tell me one more thing: where is your store?'" says Massenet.
Fast forward to 2013 and she has been voted one of the most powerful 100 women in the UK by Woman's Hour having been awarded the MBE in 2009 and in 2010 selling Net-a-Porter for £50m to a luxury goods conglomerate.
Them not ‘getting it’ is their problem. Not yours, babe.
4. You may be embarrassed, ashamed and disappointed with past behaviour, but that doesn’t define you now.
It's embarrassing to go through any rebellious stage or have any witnesses to poor choices you may have made in front of people that you love and respect but we all do it and have the scars to prove it. See item 1 of this blog!
Drew Barrymore managed to overcome her tumultuous child star beginnings (drug addiction, two stints in rehab before she was 16) to become one of Hollywood's most beloved actresses.
In an interview with Allure magazine last year Drew Barrymore said, "My first goal is to show [daughter Olive] E.T.—I cannot wait until she's old enough—and then Ever After, because I want her to see that you can rescue yourself".
Today is an opportunity to get clean, experience a fresh start and create the second chance you deserve to live anew.
In the words of Drew – “You can rescue yourself”. So what are you waiting for?
I’d love to hear what you think? What did you try that got you closer to the results you wanted? What have you done to cut the chord with things that aren’t working for you? Post below or over at our FB wall :)
Love Lucy xoxo
(Image credits: Drew Barrymore, by Daniel Jackson for Harper’s Bazaar, US, March 2013. Johnny Cash: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/302937512405343376/ . Natalie Massenet, Chicago Tribune)