Thursday, 17 September 2015

White knuckles and gritted teeth...

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So in the spirit of my post earlier today, I am flying by the seat of my pants and writing a piece without using my 'structure'.

Back in August, I shared my dream of writing a book. I have to say that I was completely overwhelmed by the response that piece got. I had so many encouraging pieces of advice, people cheering me on and someone is even designing a special notebook for me to write the book in!

In my original post I said the first step was to dig out the notebook where I had written my title and chapter outlines. It's funny, even as I wrote that, I could see the specific notebook in my mind's eye. Clearly I'm not going to be able to wriggle off the hook by saying I can't find the notebook. 

The second step was to check if what I had was still authentic to me. Even as I looked at the chapter headings, I could feel the structure coming together. I could envision the size of the book. But most importantly, the things that I wanted to write about then are still the things I want to write about now (I'm kind of stubborn like that).

The last step is to be courageous and bold enough to step out with my offering. Will everyone like it? Probably not. Should that stop me from writing it? Absolutely not! This is about knowing my truth, owning my truth and speaking my truth. Honestly, I'm petrified and elated in about equal measure, but that's a good thing. It's a good thing because stepping out, to do something about your dream is always going to freak you out!

I'll keep you posted about how it's going and I hope you'll stick around for the journey.  More importantly, I hope my stepping out inspires you to take a step towards your dreams too.

Until next time, go well.

Enough! I'm getting off this carousel now.

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I am an avid fan of the tv programme Grey's Anatomy. I have loved it from the beginning and continue to do so (even though it seems like sometimes the writers have well and truly lost the plot!). One of the recurring lines in the programme is "the carousel never stops, it keeps on turning". This week's post is about saying "enough" and getting off the carousel; whatever your carousel of choice might be. I have a couple, but the most persistent one is perfection or more accurately the pursuit of perfection.

I have been on this particular one for the vast majority of my life. The desire to attain perfection and the the fear of failure are two particularly painful whips that I flog myself with on a regular basis. For example, writing this blog. I have a structure for writing my posts and I seldom depart from it. What's wrong with structure? I hear some of you ask. Structure is good. That's true. Structure is good, but not at the expense of creativity or the occasional need to just 'go with the flow'. Sometimes I want to send you all just a little 'note' rather than my more customary long missive. What usually happens is that I think of my note, think of my structure and start to panic because the two don't match. And in that panic, something that should have been shared from the heart ends up being left unsaid.

What I have come to appreciate in my own life is that the drive for perfection paralyses me and saps my creativity. The drive for perfection can silence us more effectively than anyone or anything else. I'm not saying don't strive for excellence or to do your best. Far from it. What I am saying though is that whilst excellence and doing your best are attainable and can motivate you to reach your goals, the pursuit of perfection can keep you stuck in a place where you achieve nothing.  I don't know about you but I have to work constantly to overcome that little voice in my head in my head that says "if it's not perfect then what's the use of trying?"  No matter what I achieve, I rarely focus on what went well. I'm too busy obsessing over the flaws- the things that made it imperfect.

The thing is though that the pursuit of perfection is exhausting. It is frustrating, it is debilitating and it seriously gets in the way of living a life full of learning and joy and experiencing new things. When perfection is your carousel you can end up missing a whole load of things. My daughter was learning to ride a scooter a few weeks ago. She fell off a couple of times and I was ready to give up already. She on the other hand was much wiser. She kept picking herself up and saying "mummy, I'll try one more time, I'm sure I'll get it". And she did. Is she a perfect scoot-er? No, but she's a great try-er who kept going until she got the hang of it and who had a lot of fun learning. Not only did she learn to scoot, she also learned that when life knocks you down you get back up because that's how life works.

I'm embarrassed to say that even as I wrote this piece, I followed my structure. What I originally planned to write was much more organic! I confess that I'm very much a work in progress and it's probably going to take a while to break the habit. But I guess owning it is an important step. You can't change what you don't take responsibility for. 

In the meantime I have some questions for you. What carousel are you on? is it working for you or like me are doing what you can to get off? What's keeping you on there? What's preventing you from getting off? Find a quiet place, take some time to answer these questions honestly and then make your move. Not sure what to do? Got other questions? call on +234 706 335 0864 or contact us through the website and together we can get started.

Until next time, go well.