What would you do if you were being courageous? The question that’s inspired my last 10 years
I realized this morning that I cannot let this month slip by without acknowledging the milestone that it represents. You see it was ten years ago, in August 2003, while I was living in Coppell (Dallas) Texas, when I officially began my second career. I say officially because the day www.margiewarrell.com went live was the equivalent for me of hanging a shingle on my front door saying “Executive life coach. Walk-ins welcome!”
Again and again, I’ve had to step back and ask myself the question I love to ask others: “What would I do right now if I were being courageous?”
It was a month before the phone rang. Two months before I had my first client. Needless to say, it was a time of learning, of figuring out what does work, what doesn’t work, and what I needed to do to get work in my new career and build a business that actually made money!
I remember it was an exciting time (I was fulfilling a big dream to help empower people to get unstuck and live more rewarding lives.) It was a scary time (what if I really didn’t have any value to add and was just deluding myself?) And it was a very busy time (think one travelling husband and four kids under the age of six!)
Needless to say, now on looking back it’s been one amazing, full and extraordinary ten years.
I could never have predicted back then what the following ten years would have looked like (writing books, Forbes columns, media and speaking had yet to enter my world of possibility). I have lived in five homes since August 2003, and moved from Texas to Virginia and back to Australia. I’ve worked hard to master my working mother juggling act but, as my children will tell gladly tell anyone who asks, I’ve also become highly proficient in dropping balls too.
What I’ve learnt most of all during that times is that what matters more than anything else when it comes to pursuing a dream is not how quickly we start getting rungs on the board, or whether our efforts always produce the results we want, but that we are open to learning from our mistakes, ready to work hard, and clear about the bigger purpose we are trying to serve in the world by doing what we’re doing.
Lots of times I’ve tried things and failed. Many times exciting opportunities have fallen through. Countless times I’ve found myself wondering if I’m on the right track. A few times I’ve thought about just giving up. It’s during the times when it’s been the hardest (and the kids are fighting and dinner needs cooking) that I’ve had to step back and ask myself the question I love to ask others:
“What would I do right now if I were being courageous?”
The answers have been varied. Sometimes it is:
- to stop comparing myself with anyone else, and just trust I’m diong what I’m supposed to be doing
- to simply sit in the ‘not knowing’ about where I’m headed next and to be open to new opportunities rather than having to have every step mapped out.
- not to take a rejection from a publisher or person too personally and to reconnect with the passion that pulled me onto this path in the first place.
- to trust I’m exactly where I need to be, and that whatever happens, I can handle it!
- to try something I’ve never done before (like writing my first book Find Your Courage, or step up on stage to speak the first time), and risk not having what it takes, looking like a fool and failing.
- to go to an event where I didn’t know anyone and risk feeling like an idiot. While that hasn’t always worked out well, many of those relationships, born from a step outside my comfort zone, have led to best opportunities I’ve ever had.
Certainly having needed to re-establish my business a few times after relocating with my husband’s career I’ve had to be more outgoing than I always felt like being in order to connect with new people. That hasn’t always been easy and sometimes it’s been REALLY hard. However as I write this today, now eighteen months back living back in Australia (and nearly six months since releasing my latest book Stop Playing Safe), it’s been a powerful testament to just what’s possible when we’re willing to step out of our comfort zone, roll up our sleeves and share who we are through the lens of the value we have to share.
As I think about what I want to be doing ten years from now, I can honestly say I don’t know where I will be living, or specifically what I will be doing. My sense is that I will be doing more in the media. But I am almost certain that while my juggling act may be less challenging (my youngest child will be 20 by then) my days will be just as full… hopefully just a bit less hectic.
Which brings me to two questions for you:
What life do you want to be living ten years from now and what brave actions do you need to take today to move in you in that direction?
As I’ve learnt from the unexpected changed and unpredictable opportunities that have come my way, it’s not about setting your sights on a specific end point as much as getting clear about how you want to fill your days, who you want to share them with, and what it is you’d like to be doing that will allow you to feel like you’re living a life that matters. And then doing whatever is needed to make that happen.
#findyourcourage #stopplayingsafe #forgetperfect #bebrave #justdoit
Drop me a comment. I’d love to hear from you! Better still, connect with me on Facebook or Twitter. Building a global community of people committed to living their lives with more courage is ultimately what inspires me above all else!