Trust yourself and you’ll see more of the colours of life

ProTect Paints, quoting Rachel Houston

Quote: Rachel Houston

This year, I’ve been consciously focusing on learning to trust myself more, trust others more, and trust more opportunities to try new things. I’ve been trying to let go of some ingrained habits of cautiousness. I’ve been looking to be more open to different views and not jump so quickly to judging myself, others, and circumstances as right and wrong for me, for instance, or interesting or boring, or something in which I am likely to be successful or too likely to fail. I am trying to be more open to the recognition that not everything in life is certain (in fact, there is a lot that is not).

Letting go of these habits is scary but important. While none of the ones I’ve listed are bad in themselves, their impact can be, if taken to extreme. I’m very security conscious. But sometimes security, if given too much importance, can move from being comforting to being stifling. My need for a risk-free life was starting to trap me into a life where I wasn’t prepared to try very much new at all.

It’s hard to change an habit, so this year’s involved a lot of digging around internally, understanding my motives and fears, and tentatively testing a couple of options. I don’t think there were many changes that would have been visible externally – I’ve mostly been focused on working on myself within. However – one thing has happened which has been quite exciting (for me – and I think, the family).

An opportunity came up to accept a contract role. Normally I wouldn’t consider this, because it has meant I’ve given up a permanent job. But this time, I thought – the contract role involves work what I love to do, it would stretch me, which I was looking for, I knew only good things of the organisation, and the opportunities within this sector do not occur (as far as I know) very often. So I took the offer. I’m now approaching the end of my first week in this job. And, although it’s early days, I’m so glad I did.

This is no reflection on my previous employer. It’s a reflection of where I am in my life, in what I hope to achieve and give back in my work, and how my working life flows on and impacts every other area of life. This current role is right for me, now.

Sometimes you have to take a step, even a small one, in order to find out that the opposite of certainty isn’t necessarily chaos and disaster *. Sometimes (especially when it’s been thought through – I haven’t completely changed tack overnight), it might even be a way to expand and grow. All of us have preferences, values and abilities and, if we are fortunate to find an opportunity to use these, we can find we blossom more. I am starting to unfurl, and it is a great (if slightly unnerving) feeling. I feel very fortunate.

I see this shift in my work situation playing out in other areas of life. I’m starting to see it in being less critical of my interactions with others, in the slow shift towards better balancing my priorities (still so far from perfectly – I’m not sure such a thing as ‘perfect’ exists anyway – but there’s an improvement, and that’s the main thing), and in terms of my attitude.

I’m also better recognising that my opinions on a range of things don’t need to be so definitive. I am seeing that, in almost all cases, absolutes don’t exist. There is generally something positive from most circumstances – it might be hard to find at times, but often positive outcomes exist. So many of the experiences I would previously judged as failures, for instance, I now see as ways of learning. So many awkward situations, which make me cringe, I am now recognising as a way to break through my barriers I’ve put in place to avoid being hurt (and, actually, sometimes it’s the most awkward experiences that allow breakthroughs).

And, more simply, I’m enjoying the more positive mindset I have. I’m noticing the positives. I’m aware of lots of negatives – in the broader world – but I’m not dwelling on them as much, except when I can do something to help (and as a result, I realise there are so many more opportunities to help).

Of course, it’s early days, and I’m aware there’ll be ups and downs. But at the moment, I’m enjoying the greater colour in my world.

 

 

Have you taken a risk in life?

How did it work for you, and what lessons would you love to share?

*although, maybe sometimes it might be. Nothing is risk free, but – if you don’t try, you’ll never know!

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20 thoughts on “Trust yourself and you’ll see more of the colours of life

  1. So interesting and thought-provoking! I took a big professional risk a few years ago. At the time I didn’t realise how big. Then circumstances beyond my control tipped my life over and I spent a lot of time blaming myself for taking that risk. But now I see that I got to where I am today only by taking that risk and going through all the messy bits.
    This is such a great post! Okay if I link to your blog in my next post? I’d like to explore this further.

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    1. Absolutely (I’m going to fix up a couple of typos, and the heading, tonight, but after that, I’d be delighted – I love this sort of feedback and I’d love to read what it promotes with you)!

      As for your situation, of course I don’t know the circumstances, but I feel like I’ve been similar. So for the past few years, I’ve stayed in a job that wasn’t a good fit for me, because of the way a previous job ended. But I’m coming to realise that they’ve all been beneficial in some ways (and not in others, but even that is learning). I know not everyone can say that – so I have been fortunate – but I wouldn’t have said that a year or so ago.

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  2. What a great quote to start this piece with! I’m such a ‘grey-area’ person and my husband is completely black and white like an old fashioned cowboy. It makes for some interesting discussions in our house! Good luck taking risks and stepping outside your comfort zone- that’s when the magic happens.

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    1. Thank you, and that’s true – I love Collette’s comment about the bigger space created by uncertainty. As for black and white – I can imagine the discussions at your home would be interesting!

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  3. Always to the scary or uncomfortable choice – that is my approach to life. From experience I’ve learnt that the easy options end up being the harder options because they leave little room for growth. Its when things are hard, messy or uncomfortable it provides the most potential for personal growth and learning. Good on you for taking a risk on yourself – I am certain you’ll reap the rewards. xx

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  4. Love this line – opposite of certainty isn’t necessarily chaos and disaster – that’s so worth keeping in mind. It’s good to push ourselves outside of comfort zones and realise that we can achieve big things.

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  5. It sounds like you’ve made a big leap, taking the contract role! So glad to hear it’s working out well.
    I’ve made a lot of big, bold changes in my life, but now that I have children, I find myself clinging to safety much more. I do always try to remember advice a friend gave me many years ago. He told me, “there are no right and wrong decisions in life, there is only what you do with the decisions you make.” I have found that to be true more often than not.

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  6. Glad to hear you are enjoying a contract role! I might not be taking big risks but I am putting myself out there a bit more in regards to making friends. To me this is a real risk as I am often scared that I don’t have anything to offer people. Creating new relationships is definitely helping to build my self esteem.

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    1. Ohh, that is so true – and actually, one of my big areas too (and part of the reason, actually, that changing jobs is scary – more new people). I can understand how brave that is of you to put yourself out there, and I’m so glad to hear it’s helping with your self esteem too!

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  7. I’m not s risk taker by nature but have been forced to by various circumstances over the years and while I’ve resisted change in the end it’s always been for the best and I’ve been happy for the change that I otherwise wouldn’t have made.

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  8. I was hooked as soon as I read the opening quote… and then fell in love with your post, such a great read. My hubby and I are risk/opportunity takers. It’s certainly part of our lifestyle. Sometimes things work out for the best other times they don’t and we learn from them. It’s all part of our journey. I am a big believer of going to my grave saying “I can’t believe I did that” not “I wish I…”

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  9. Reflection is so important for self improvement. I love the lessons you’ve learned about yourself. Sometimes change is as good as a holiday! It certainly sounds that way for you 🙂

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