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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Life Lately | 'What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid?'


OOoo hold on to yer hats...Beth's getting motivational.  If you follow me on Twitter, or if you actually manage to get to the end of some of my blog ramblings (massive pat on the back to you there if you read through all of my dribble and live to tell the tale), then you might know that I'm currently going through a little 'stage' in my life. Everything seems to be changing rather quickly, opportunities I never thought I'd have are suddenly popping up left, right and centre and when I look back at how my life was 3 years ago, it's easy to feel quite overwhelmed. Anyone who knows me personally will know I'm the biggest home-bird ever. I like routine. I like to know what's going to happen and what's around the corner. I like to have my friends and family around me and I like familiarity...  I will hold my hands up and admit that I hate change. As someone who also has always suffered from panic attacks now and again (since the age of 5), it's no surprise that I have a tendency to stick to what I know. I'm quite a confident little person, really... I'm ambitious, bubbly and I enjoy seeing how far I can push myself so it's always seemed to me that my fear of change and unfamiliarity is a bit of an annoying hurdle I often find myself having to overcome. Sometimes I hate the fact that I'm so set in my ways and so homebird-ish for the simple fact it holds me back.  However, after one heck of a lot of thinking and actually taking steps to change this for good, my mind-set has completely shifted in the space of a few months.  I've totally started to embrace the idea that 'the world is my oyster'...I've accepted challenges and opportunities that I probably wouldn't have thought twice about in the past, all because I've been asking myself one question, 'What would you do if you weren't afraid?'

When it comes to making decisions, I'm often guilty of feeling drawn towards the path I feel more comfortable with as opposed to the one that's a little more adventurous. I envy those that can just grab the steering wheel and do a complete life 'u-turn' without so much of a check in their rear-view mirror!  But the past few months, I've forced myself to avoid the easy options. When one of my tutors suggested I look for jobs in the US, I almost spat my 50p-vending-machine tea in her face. After realising that she wasn't at all joking, and the more she spoke to me about why it would suit me, I started to think 'why the hell not?!'  I'd instantly written it off in my mind for the simple fact it didn't fit within my comfort zone and that's when I started to make some changes. It was the last little step in my university journey - to realise that I actually had potential to go beyond what I'd always imagined and what I'd already achieved. I'd always pictured myself finding a job within a few miles of home, settling in to my own place a few minutes from where I'd grown up and I struggled to genuinely consider other options.  After realising that the only things holding me back were fear and doubt, I started to branch out and open my eyes to what the future really could be.  If you're currently nodding along thinking 'that sounds like me' - then hopefully this post might become a little stepping stone towards changing your mind-set too.


Fear and doubt are pesky little things, aren't they? I'm guilty of thinking 'I can't do that because...' or 'What if this happens and it all goes wrong?' or 'What if things don't turn out the way I want them to?' (typical worrier asking 'what if' all the time!) I've really been trying to change my thought process with this sort of thing. As soon as the doubt creeps in, I try and shut it up with other thoughts...such as 'but it might turn out this way...' or 'so what if I fail?'. Because SO WHAT!? Even if you do completely mess up or fail at something, it's all experience to learn from. You just have to look at it in the right way - you'll know what you can maybe do differently for next time, or you'll know that something definitely isn't for you. As someone who's a bit of a perfectionist, I know exactly how it feels to be scared to fail at something... I almost feel as if I'm undoing all the good work I've done so far and I thrive off success but as the old saying goes... 'You'll never know if you never try'. You need to make mistakes and do things you don't want to do in order to grow as a person and I've been doing all of this without realising for the past 5 or 6 years of my life - i just needed to apply it to bigger things.  Of course, I'm not suggesting you simply jump right in to making a big life change or important decision without so much as a 'YOLO' (yep - I went there...) - that would be a little silly. I just think it's important not to over-think and rule something out simply because the thought of it scares you.  The moment I over-think things is the moment I'll back out so I'm trying to make sure I don't give myself chance to do so - and it's working. I'm being a little more laidback about things and making a concious effort not to over-analyse.   I actually came across a really good quote the other day. I can't for the life of me find it now but it went something along the lines of this: It's always best to think 'I can't believe I did that' instead of 'I wish I'd done that'. 


Throughout my time in work and at uni, I've realised that visualising the way you want things to be works wonders.  A positive mind-set is key to success.  I could write a whole separate post on this technique but it's something I've been doing for years and it has never failed me so far.  For example, there was a really important presentation for a live-brief I'd been doing at uni and I really wanted to win the pitch (call me competitive but I knew i wouldn't sleep that night if I didn't...)  I imagined exactly how I wanted the pitch to go - how I'd walk in, how I'd introduce myself, what I'd say, how I'd say it, and even how they'd react. I even imagined the 'Q&A' sesh afterwards and came up with a few quirky little answers to questions I didn't even know I'd get asked - and went in there with all of this fresh in my mind.  I ended up winning the pitch, bagging myself an internship and I've treated presentations and interviews this way ever since.  I truly believe that visualising something going well effects the outcome - again, another quote, 'Whether you think you can or you can't - you're absolutely right'.  I've taken this way of thinking and applied it to bigger things in my life.  Instead of thinking that I'd be an emotional wreck if I moved away from my home town and that I wouldn't be happy somewhere completely new, I've been imagining myself doing all of these new, scary things and succeeding at doing them. I've thought about what car I might buy next, who I might meet, what my office might look like, how I'd decorate the lounge when I move... you get the idea! I've tried to get myself excited about possible big changes instead of focusing on what might go wrong.  The only thing that's been holding me back is those silly little thoughts that I wouldn't be able to cope. That's the thing about thoughts - you get so used to having them that you begin to genuinely believe what they're telling you. It takes a bit of time and a few baby-steps to turn it around, but it's possible to get there.  Of course, I'm not saying that because I've visualised it all going swimmingly well that absolutely nothing will go wrong or that I'll 100% love it if I end up moving - but positive thinking is the first step to doing things outside of your comfort zone and it gives you the boost you need to actually give things a go. Again, back to the title of this post - you have to ask yourself 'what would I do if I weren't afraid?'

So it's all well and good saying that you're going to attempt to change things, but actually changing things is another story.  Personally, for me, it's all about keeping an open mind in order to spread my wings and find the job that I feel is right for me.  This post isn't me announcing that I'm hopping on a jet plane to the other side of the world  - so please don't ridicule me if I don't end up moving miles away ;) I might end up staying close to home if it's for the right job. My ultimate goal has always been to be happy, healthy, and living the life I've been imagining since I quit my job and started Uni 3 years ago. Whether that means staying where I am or moving away half way across the world to achieve this - Who knows - that's the beauty of it.  I don't know what's going to happen but for once in my life I'm actually considering other options, seeking things further afield and lifting that barrier I've always had in my head - that's exactly what I wanted to achieve when I started this whole process. I was approached by a company in Switzerland a few weeks back and immediately applied - whereas before, I'd have written it straight off without a second thought, I actually went for it.  I still don't know where I am in the application process but simply just applying was a step in the right direction for me. I've spoken to companies dotted around the UK... some in Europe... I even made steps to connect with a few over in the US.  I finally feel as if I've addressed that last little niggle that's been holding me back for years and after a lot of self-motivation and a bit of a reality-check, I'm excited to see what the future holds. I have no idea what's going to happen, and that's fine with me. It's good to feel a little bit 'thrown in at the deep end' at times, right?


Phew. Have you recovered from all the motivational cliches and cringe-worthy quotes being thrown at you yet?! I guess this post has been more of a 'diary' entry for me - I have no idea where on earth I was going with it but I just wanted to let you in on what's been happening in my life - it's also something I can look back at in years to come and remember this weird, awkward stage of my life by.  I like to think that if any of you can relate to this in any way that you'll take something from it - even if it's just something as simple as applying for a job you'd convinced yourself you weren't good enough to apply for...or accepting a university place you were scared to take... even something as silly as asking that stud-muffin with the nice stubble who you happen to work with out for a beverage or approaching your boss about something you've been worried about...publishing that blog post you've been umming and arring about sharing for months. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this can apply to anything in life - relationships, life goals, interviews, exams, blogging...the list is endless. Throw caution to the wind once in a while, ask yourself what you'd do if fear wasn't an issue and do it - you might just surprise yourself. If not, well, I hope you enjoyed my little ramble and at least had a good ol' giggle at how bloomin' reflective one person can be! And with that, I'm off to pin some more motivational life quotes on Pinterest... (if you fancy following me and share in my quote-obsession, feel free to hop on over to my profile here)

Lots of Love x

18 comments:

  1. Super post! You sound just like me tbh, I'm such a home-bird and often go for what is within my comfort zone rather than pushing myself out of it.
    Eilidh xo

    http://herprettystateofmind.blogspot.co.uk/

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  2. Brilliant post! Life would be so different if people weren't afraid, for the better and for the worse. It's an interesting thought. xx

    Beauty Soup || UK Beauty Blog

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  3. LOVE this post Beth as I'm exactly the same as you - I cannot stand stepping out of my comfort zone and even the thought of doing things a little more adventurous are enough to set off my panic attacks! Its an awful way to live and I hate that I feel like this - I'd love to be one of those people who just goes with the flow and thinks 'what the hell' rather than thinking of all the what ifs and worst case scenarios! At the end of the day, like you said, what's the worst that can happen? I'm really pleased to hear you've been doing better and have been pushing yourself - a job in Switzerland sounds SO exciting! I'm currently in the process of applying for new jobs too so I know exactly how you feel about change. I HATE change and the thought of going to interviews and starting a new job with new people is unbelievebly daunting! I just try and tell myself everything will work out how its supposed to in the end and that usually makes me feel better :) anyway after this huge ramble, I'll end it there - I could chatter about this topic for days!! Excellent post as always - your writing it fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed reading!! Lots of love xxxxxx

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  4. Such an inspirational post :D reading this made me realise how far I've come since my timid days. It also made me see that I still have a long way to go but for once I'm looking forward to the journey ahead of me! Xx

    Beautywithcharm.

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  5. This is such a fabulous post thank you so much for sharing, my depression and own self has turned down every opportunity I have been given as of late and you have made me feel really motivated to not keep saying no, thanks hun xxx

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  6. I love your 'life thoughts' posts. This is so well written and detailed. I totally appreciate what you're saying and I love that you have even given specific examples of what leaving a comfort zone means for different people. Its such a great thing that you're considering jobs abroad- that would be so exciting.

    Have you heard of the book/ the movie 'The Secret'? I feel like you have because your visualizing thing/ positive thinking is its essence, but if you haven't I think you'd love it.

    Its so weird- I am just after writing a post like this but taking a slightly different angle and focusing more on how to leave your comfort zone. It'll be published in the next week or two.

    Julz Obsessions xx

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  7. Loved this post! I am usually a risk taker but sometimes I retreat back and become a little scared but this has reminded me to carry on! I may write a similar post! Thanks for the motivation (i would insert the strong man arm emoji here)

    http://whatalookerbeauty.blogspot.co.uk/

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  8. Such a beautiful post Beth, and it came up at a time when I really needed the motivation (in a different aspect of my life) but this applies so well. Thank you for helping me and sharing.
    It is so inspiring to hear that you are taking risks, I really applaud you for that, I was in the same situation about a year ago- I didn't apply for my masters program simply in fear that I wouldn't get it. But with a little help from my family I got up the nerve and I am half way completed!
    I love these life posts Beth, I truly relate to them.

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  10. Lovely post.. well written, honest and true. And like you say, if anything, it's a logged entry that you can look back on and say 'that was the moment my life changed and I'm glad it did'.
    Sometimes it's best to write things down as it can help you process things better.
    Completely understand where you were coming from on this topic and where you wanted it to go. It's true that the only thing holding yourself back is yourself. Just need to learn to say 'yes' more instead of maybe. :)
    Good luck with everything! :)

    Caroline.x
    notesfromcaroline.com

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  12. this is such an inspiring and lovely post! thanks for sharing it makes us aware of what we could be missing out on!!

    This Girl Loves Chic 

    Facebook : ThisGirlLovesChic 


    xx

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  13. I am exactly like you, Beth! I feel as though my ties to my hometown and my family and friends always hold me back.. Especially in regards to my career. I would love to move to London and get a journalism job there but I know I simply could never do it. Good luck with your future, and with whatever you decide to do :) xx

    www.allthingsbeautful-x.blogspot.com

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  14. I love this post! Definitely one to bookmark :) I'm exactly like you, where I'm quite satisfied with my routine and can carry on going. But there's always a need for change! A few weeks ago I had a job interview in London and instead of worrying about it, I envisaged myself doing well and getting the job, in order to not put pressure on myself. And I got the job! It's all about the little steps which show you're improving in the end :) xx

    everythingbutthekitchen.blogspot.co.uk

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  15. I think that conquering my fears is so difficult because i´m so afraid of failure. I think that if i have everything under control nothing bad can happen. However, every now and then i push myself to leave the comfort zone and face my fears. That´s when i realise that it wasn´t so bad. By over thinking about it, i made it worse than it actually was.

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I always read all of my lovely comments. Make sure you check back as i often reply but if you do have a specific question and want a quicker response then please do email me over at birds.words@yahoo.co.uk or tweet me (@Beth_BirdsWords). Thank you for all your support! x