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!