I always told my daughter you can be anything that you want to be. At three years old she said, ‘I want to be a king and an acrobat.’ Of course, if you could be anything why wish to be a queen, when you could be king? Anyway, this was the explanation she gave me when she was older and I questioned, why a king?
My beautiful daughter is now thirty-one and as you can see from the photo below, she is an accomplished acrobat and much more. She is both King and Queen of her world, and of my heart.
To make the most of our time on this earth we first need to discover our life purpose. When we find this, it is like unleashing a powerful energy- our life force. Some people call it a passion. It drives us to achieve and can fill us with an unbearable longing – a heartfelt wish, as we strive to fulfil our potential and become our authentic self.
It is a challenging journey. The vision that we have – to become a King, may feel impossible at first and there will be times when we wonder if we should just give up. That it is too hard. It is hard. My mother always told me that nothing worthwhile is ever easy. When we find the thing that brings us joy – our purpose, then we must honour ourself and our creator by pursuing our dream.
The biggest barrier to success is self-doubt. Before we even get started the thought goblins will be telling us that there is no point, that there is too much competition, we can’t afford the specialist equipment, we are too old. Thought goblins will come up with one reason after another. It is their job, they are trying to keep us safe, and avoid the risk of disappointment or failure. Another voice – our heart, will tell us not to give up, that this is our dream. We must follow our heart. Listen to our inner voice.
Creatives will know the power of self-doubt. The fear of failure that can kill an idea before it has a chance to take root.
Above all else believe in yourself. Practice daily affirmations if that helps. I save my best reviews and emails from editors and publishers that tell me I can write, and I read these when I feel my confidence ebb.
Our family and friends might love us dearly, however, when we discover a new passion, and start to realise our potential we change. This can have an effect on our relationships. Partners and close friends might feel uncomfortable with a shift in the status quo and try to hold us back, by feeding our self-doubt or discouraging us. Listen. Be kind and understanding. Reassure. But do not let this deter you from your goal. Your loved ones will adjust in time and if they do not then it is their problem to resolve not yours.
There will always be some people who are more and some who are less accomplished than we are. Learn from those who are more skilled and offer assistance to those who are not. When we start looking around to size up the competition, we lose our stride and fall back. Do not compare yourself with others or with other versions of yourself. Keep present. Focus on what you are doing now and strive to make it the best it can be.
I recognise these. Twice in my life I have experienced what I perceived to be the way ahead closed to me. These events were of such significance that on both occasions I had dreams portending the need for me to change direction. The first time it was a career change. I was applying for jobs as the Chief Executive of a health trust. I had prepared well and was being championed by influential players. The night before my first interview I dreamt that I could not exit a roundabout as I had intended. I didn’t get the job. The dream recurred each time I went for a similar job. When I re-evaluated what I wanted from my career and looked more widely at the options available to me I found a much better fit.
The second time I experienced this was a couple of decades later. I was represented by a respected literary agent and my novel was on submission to publishers. Everything was looking rosy and yet I had that same dream again. You guessed it. I did not get a contract. Several months later I self-published my debut and have not looked back.
When it feels as though the way ahead is blocked, we are being led in another direction. Listen to your intuition. New pathways reveal themselves when we are open to new possibilities.
Never, ever give up. During the most challenging periods of my journey to publication I found inspiration in a couple of films: Eddie the Eagle and Walt before Mickey.
Michael Edwards, AKA Eddie the Eagle represented Great Britain in the 1988 Winter Olympics Ski Jumping, fulfilling his life long ambition to compete in the Olympics. Edwards was disadvantaged in every way and yet overcame adversity through determination.
Similarly, Walt Disney in the film Walt before Disney, experienced one knockback after another. He hit an all-time low that would have anyone else throwing in the towel. But not the hero of this film. Walt Disney had absolute faith in his talent and refused to give up no matter what. Like Eddie the Eagle, he finds another way.
These are exceptions you might say. Their stories have been dramatized for film. This is true but I took from these films the inspiration and motivation to persevere.
Disney may have experienced extreme lows but look at the highs that came after. When you get a set- back look forward to the time when this will be reversed in equal measure!
You can be anything that you want to be. Believe in yourself and follow that dream.