Soul Searching

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been having some very uncomfortable conversations with people whose opinion I value and trust. These are people who have known me a long time and who have watched my business career over many, many years.

I have been thinking about the reasons that my career to date does not match up with my aspirations and decided that I was unable to answer this question on my own. I believe there may be a mismatch between my self-perception and my reality which is stopping me from reaching my goals.

I’m beginning to think the primary roadblock is not some lack of skills, knowledge or work ethic but instead is me and my patterns of behaviour. It’s not an easy or comfortable conclusion to draw.

I started by explaining to these trusted confidants that I wanted them to be brutally honest. There is no point in doing this kind of soul searching and having them sugarcoat their answers. I asked them to give their opinion on why I wasn’t reaching my goals, what patterns of behaviour did I exhibit that stood in my way, how did I need to change to fulfil my dreams?

As each of them opened up and gave their heartfelt opinions, I began to see myself from the outside. Their words peeled away much of the protective narrative I tell myself. It was uncomfortable and hard to listen. I fought not to reply, not to try and justify myself and my actions. It wasn’t easy. My character and many of its flaws were laid bare in front of me.

I felt vulnerable and distinctly aware of how much people don’t say in the ordinary course of things. I understood how easy it is for others to see us and how hard it is for us to see ourselves. I came away with a list of things to think about, to reflect on and hopefully learn from.

I think it’s a process I’m going to need to revisit, despite how uncomfortable it was. The patterns of behaviour it identified are incredibly deep-seated, and I suspect it will be tough to change. But I remain optimistic and incredibly excited for the future.

There has been something profoundly liberating about blogging since starting in January. I recommend daily writing regardless of whether you choose to make it public.  Previously, I don’t think I would have understood that hard work wasn’t all that was required to be successful. Today I can see that to fulfil our dreams; we need to unpick our “bad-patterns” of behaviour just as much as we need to create positive habits.

It is never too late to make changes in your life. You alone control your destiny. You alone decide the pathway and set the goals. Having dreams is not the preserve of the young. Dreaming big and living the life you have always imagined is open to us all. Long before others believe, you must believe it’s possible.

Remember, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.

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