I think it’s fair to say that most people are enticed by new things. A new habit, a new opportunity even a new person. As much as we can fear the new there are many instances when it actually excites us.
Yet, in many cases instead of going towards the new thing, we look back.
We look back with this cosy feeling of nostalgia for what once was or what it’s time to move on from and all of a sudden we begin to hesitate.
That’s when the fear and ‘what ifs’ kicks in.
What if things don’t work out?
What if this new thing isn’t better than what I’ve left behind?
What if I have to start over again?
The what if questions we ask are rarely framed in a helpful way and only serve to amplify the fear.
The alternative to looking back is to focus on the possibilities that will come from embracing the new and learning to trust that you’ll be fine.
When leading a movement or if you put yourself in a position to be a voice for change, a question to regularly ask is, what next?
What next, when things don’t go to plan?
What next, when people lose motivation?
What next, when you complete one of the things you were working towards?
The road to your destination will be paved with what next over and over again.
If you’re not ready to ask yourself (or be asked) that question and start figuring out an answer, then perhaps you’re not ready to lead.
To lead takes innovation, a strong sense of self, dedication and commitment.
Not everybody is able to hold out their hand and say come this way.
In challenging times it can be difficult to look to the future and think about all the possibilities. Your mind will be going round in circles and you’ll be asking yourself questions like:
How can I get there when there is all this stuff going on right now?
When you’re caught up in a challenging situation it can be hard to see past it, especially when you have no idea how you’ll overcome it.
But, if you start with believing you can figure things out and then try and work towards a solution, you might find that you’re more capable than you thought.
Nobody is living their life exactly as they would like right now. But in this space of uncertainty, limited in person interaction and staying inside you’ll get a pretty good idea of how you want to live your life.
Ask yourself: What do I miss?
What do I want to do with my day?
And give yourself time to daydream.
Lie down maybe even sit outside in the sun if possible and just daydream. Daydream about your job, how do you earn a living, what is your working life like.
Daydream about how you spend your free time, the people in your life, how you dress and any other bit of your life that’s on your mind.
Then come back to your reality and think about how different the daydream is to your current life.
It’s not bad if they greatly differ but it might serve as a reminder that you’re not living the life you truly want.
The plans you made a year ago, 6 months ago or even a few weeks ago may now be obsolete. You can time planning far in advance but when it comes to putting those plans into action, you never really know how things will go until you see the results.
Sometimes the results are as expected or better and other times the results are a learning curve, a growth point an opportunity to go back to the drawing board.
It can be disappointing when things don’t turn out as well as you’d hoped, you might feel like the time and effort you put in was wasted. In times like this it’s so important to not to dwell on what went wrong but instead to think about how you can move forward.
How can you improve?
How can you do things better?
What can you do differently?
Of course, going back to the drawing board is never part of the plan but if you use it as an opportunity to grow, experiment and explore, suddenly it might not seem so bad.
A question I’m learning to ask myself without judgement?
It’s easy to judge yourself and in doing so you’re not likely to answer the question in a way that is helpful.
You’ll be likely to find yourself caught up in a woe is me story-line. Your answer will be something like: ‘Well, I’m trying and it’s just not working out the way I want and I wish it could be better but maybe I’m just not good enough…’.
That sort of mentality isn’t helpful and it won’t result in growth, development or progress.
When it comes to improving on something you can’t attach emotions to your critique because it isn’t personal.
When asking the question Can I do better? it isn’t even really about a yes or no answer because one could argue that you can always do better. Instead it’s about whether you are happy to put out the thing you’ve created or the work that you’ve done.
Sometimes you might find yourself saying yes to much more than you can handle. It’s often for one of 2 reasons.
The first reason is because you want to push yourself, test your limits and see what you’re capable of.
The other reason is for other people, you want to help and be seen as valuable or hardworking.
It’s all good and well saying yes in the moment. However before you make a decision, ask yourself if you have the capacity to do it well.
You’ll be much better off saying no than saying yes and producing poor results.
If you go on social media you’ll find an abundant amount of people policing ‘perfect’. They’ll criticise, comment and assume as though people aren’t human beings.
But the thing is, you can never please everyone and you will make mistakes.
And as great as the internet is, nobody needs 4658 strangers criticising them for something they said or did, even if it was wrong. Ganging up on someone is never a good way to get them to change their ways.
The internet and social media in particular is a great place to practice ‘just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’. Just because you can send a comment telling someone off for doing something that you don’t think they should have done, doesn’t mean you should.
Better yet ask yourself ‘is this useful or helpful?’, ‘what will I achieve by doing this?’.
Chances are you might find it’s actually better to say nothing at all.
When it comes to race related comments, what’s worth commenting on?
Is it worth the energy it takes to call someone out and explain to them why what they said is slightly (or maybe even highly) concerning?
If it goes well it would probably be worth it but if the other person is adamant that there was nothing wrong with what they said, where do you go from there?
Furthermore, it’s almost as if your race becomes a burden when in certain spaces you realise that people might just be tolerating you but after a drink or two they’ll make a race related comment.
And so let’s take it full circle and ask the question of what comments are worth commenting on?
Turns out there is no set answer.
If you have an idea of what could be done or what is possible, would you be willing to put it into practice?
It’s really easy to talk the talk full of excitement and enthusiasm. But actually doing the things you talk about is a whole other story.
It’s easy to give advice when things are going well or tell other people what to do.
But what about taking your advice first?
Why not actually do the thing before you talk about it?
It’ll add some validation when you later recommend it to others and that might be what they need in order to listen.