Ever have a brilliant idea pop into your head that is super inspiring and exciting, and maybe even a bit scary? But you know it is something you really want to do?
You start playing out all of the tasks that lay ahead of you to achieve the goal, and before you know it you have talked yourself out of it…telling yourself it was a silly idea anyway?
The thing is, anything worth having in this life normally takes a bit of work, requiring time, effort, resources, information…it is never straightforward, and for that reason, big life changing plans can feel overwhelming, scary…complex.
It is no wonder we stay in our comfort zone.
But what if we made a deal with our self to just take the very first step, with no pressure, no expectation, no concern about the steps after that? What if we just took action of the very first thing on the list and dealt with the rest of it at a later date?
Would that be super scary?
When I signed up for the London Marathon back in 2011 I could barely run to the top of my road. If I had worried about a training plan, the right trainers to wear, how to fuel, the fact I’d have to train with other people, the chaffing, the pain, the fatigue…well I would never have got round to running that race…and my life would be so much different to where I am now,
When I look back at all of the significant achievements in my life, I can trace each and every one of them back to some kind of mundane reasonably pedestrian step…and action that often required something as simple as saying yes to an opportunity, typing my details into a website or handing over my credit card.
Don’t for a moment think I am minimalising the effort it requires to take the first step.
It is scary, it takes courage…it requires a massive leap of faith.
But god does it make you feel alive.
And most of the time it leads you to places you could never have expected.
Over the years I have got better and better at taking these first steps…I find it easier to identify them, to act on them more promptly, to appreciate their power.
It has helped me channel my fear and kick-start some incredible adventure and it could do exactly the same for you.
Next week I embark on a new adventure, again instigated by a first step.
I bought a book.
A book from a lady I look up to, a speaker and coach I aspire to be like in many ways.
She lives in the USA so the book was the closest I could get to her for the time being, but my intention even at the time of purchasing the book was to work more closely with her, to see her in action.
A few days after reading the book I found myself taking part in a FREE webinar she was hosting….and then I found myself taking out my credit card and buying her (reasonable I thought) online programme.
Then a few weeks into this programme I received an email stating as part of this course delegates got a free ticket to her conference in SAN DIEGO!!!!!!
I must admit at this point for a while my excitement was momentarily overtaken with my mind monkeys making me question how this could ever be possible. Childcare? Finances? Workload? Fear?
But then I found some cheap flights, arranged an air b&b apartment and childcare…and now on Thursday I fly to a part of the world I have always wanted to visit, to meet a woman I know will change my life.
Next week I go to see Lisa Nichols at her event called…wait for it….”How to speak and write to make millions” ha ha, I know its very American, a bit in your face…and not really on brand for me and my “No Bullshit” way of doing things.
But Lisa Nichols and I are not that dissimilar, we both come from quite humble beginnings and we both understand the power we have to change our lives and the lives of others through inspired action and self-belief.
Next week is a big week for me, in fact May is a massive month for me…as I launch the next round of my Living a Bigger Life group programme, a programme that helps women to be more decisive, to take inspired action, to have faith that things will unfold once you take the first step towards your goals.
60 women have gone through this programme so far, 60 women who were brave enough to take the first step…not knowing really what was to come, trusting that I would look after them, that I would help them move towards their goals and get enormous value from their investment.
Lucy from Brighton said,
This course changed my life!
I have realised that normal people can do extraordinary things, and now I’m really considering my purpose and myself-worth
She took just one simple step, and the rest is now unfolding. In the last 3 months she has committed to launching a new business, is writing a book…but also she reports back on smaller more intangible results around speaking up more at work and being more confident.
How would that feel for you?
How would it feel to just have to take one step and know all this other stuff is just round the corner?
The May cohort starts on the 28th May. You have until the 18th to sign up or until the available places have sold (Whichever comes first). There is also an earlybird price for anyone super ready to take the first step and sign up before the 11th May…in fact, I tell you what? Take the step right now, right this moment, before today is up and I will throw in a 121 intensive session with me…to really kick start and support your goal.
Click here to find out more about this transformational programme
It is just one step…not just with my course…but with anything you want from life but have been putting off, convincing yourself it’s not really for you… cos it’s too expensive, it’s not the right time, and of course you will do it at some other point in your life.
But if not now…then when?
Take the first step…see where it might take you.
40,000 runners took that step just over a year ago, and on Sunday 99% of them crossed the finish line of the London Marathon heroes. They covered 26.2 miles…a distance that started with just one step.
A decision which made each and every one of them a hero.
It took just one step….to sign up to something which they believed would change their life.
A few months ago I set myself the Big Fat Stupid Goal of becoming an International Speaker. I knew however that it’s a bit like chicken and egg, you have to start speaking internationally to start marketing yourself as the type of speaker who speaks overseas.
You have to start somewhere.
I had no idea how, but I did had a long list of WHY I wanted to do it.
- I love to travel
- I love to speak
- I have a message which needs to be heard globally
- It would be exciting
- I’d get to meet new people
- It would help grow my brand overseas
The very next day after setting this intention I saw a call for speakers for the PSA Southern Africa Convention and I nervously sent an email to the organisers almost immediately, offering my services. And guess what? My proposal was accepted!!!!
The problem was I wasn’t even sure if this trip was possible. The cost. The time away from my business. Leaving my daughter at home (obviously not alone duh)…and I guess the biggest worry…was I even ready for speaking at this level?
The thing is, the pursuit of the things you really, really want in life take a certain amount of faith. They require you to leave your fears behind and just move forward. You book your flights, you sort out childcare, you pack your bags and you go….simple right?
Yes and No.
It is easy to look at people who travel the world living their dream and think “Wow, what a life?” but the reality of it is often quite different, because remember you only get to see the edited highlights on social media. The champaign glasses, the sunsets, the all important stage shot…what you don’t see are the stresses about what to pack, the back and forth emails for months regarding logistics, and lets not forget about the hours and hours in transit.
Now I do love to travel, and I am a good traveller…I have endurance. I have travelled to the South America and the Caribbean, around South East Asia and to Australia…so I know all about long flights…I’m not sure I was completely ready for my epic trip to Cape Town via Dubai though.
I had booked the cheapest flight I could find (mistake number 1) and on reflection I realise that my time and wellbeing is far more important than the £700 or so that I saved…but in this case it was the only way I could make this trip happen.
So while sitting in the lounge in Dubai I started to reflect on the similarities between long distance travel and long distance running.
It’s all about preparation, mindset and clarity over why you are doing it in the first place.
So here are some of my top tips for staying healthy and sane during extended trips…especially if you are not at the point of being able to fly first class…YET!!!!
- Stay hydrated. So easy to indulge in all the free alcohol on board your flight and in airport lounges. I tend to have a glass of wine with dinner, and maybe a beer or two, but that’s it. Then it’s as much of the clear stuff as possible. It also encourages you not to sit down for extended periods as you will need to visit the loo frequently too.
- Think about nutrition. I was always told to eat what you are given…but you really don’t have to. So I only eat the stuff on the plane that I actually like and that is going to be beneficial to me. I bought I wonderful green smoothie during my 14 hour layover and a glorious sandwich stuffed full of avocado, sundried tomatoes and chicken. Carrying the type of snacks you enjoy is a good idea too…energy bars, nuts, dried fruit.
- Carry supplements with you. I take a general multivitamin and a joint support pill each day. But when travelling I also include a vitamin c tablet and an echinacea pill to support my immune system. I have one of those plastic pill separator things so I don’t forget to take them.
- Get some exercise. I did a whole heap of walking in Dubai…I’m not a shopper really, but the shopping malls provide an excellent walking circuit.
- Have something to do. I had a book proposal to write during the week I was away, and always kept a journal at hand to make notes about future talks and blog posts. I also carried a book but wasn’t in the mood for reading so opted for an audio book instead.
- Get a massage. Lots of airports now have mini spas or massage places. After about 8 hours in Dubai on the way out I felt awfully tense so paid for a 30 minute chair massage. I told the lady what time my flight was so she didn’t wake me once I dosed off…I slept undisturbed in that chair for almost 2 hours…it was glorious.
It has taken me 3 days to get over the jet lag, fatigue and excitement of my trip to South Africa…and so today I am finally taking some time to reflect on my travels and catch up on some of the action points from the convention.
It was a long old way to travel to give just a 30 minute talk, but it was never just about that talk.
These trips are life changing in ways you can’t describe. You create shared experiences with people who are now set to become acquaintances and maybe even friends for life.
The things you see and experience in these new places, the new person you are able to experiment with being while there, these things are truly transformational.
The standing ovation I received after my talk, the comments of support and the business cards exchanged, yes of course these things play to your ego and give you a thirst to do more…but this is not why we do it, well it is not why I do it.
I was only in South Africa for 5 days and 5 nights but in that time I managed to squeeze in a 5K parkrun, an 8 mile beach walk, a sightseeing bus tour, an evening out to a comedy night (where I was pulled up on the stage to do some of my own comedy set), lunch with a friend I know from an online group, a visit to a women’s empowerment programme in one of the townships, plus dinner at the home of a lovely lady I met called Huni, where we chatted for hours and I got to meet her wonderful family….and this is alongside the 3 day convention and all that entailed.
So I say it again…it wasn’t just about my talk.
As speakers we arrive home from these trips tired and energised in equal measure, and those memories drive us to reach for even bigger and more exciting goals, and to think about where next we would like to speak but we never forget the effort they require, the leaps of faith, the fears we have to overcome, and the endurance of both body and mind it takes us to actually get there.
You may think you are ready to start reaching for those Big Fat Stupid Goals, but you also need to start considering whether you are ready to go the distance in order to achieve them, ready to make sacrifices in order to reach your dreams.
Just like running the marathon…the going across the finish line and receiving your medal is the easy bit…it’s the months of preparation, the weeks of stress and worry, the days where you want to give up and the hours and hours of running you have behind you that make you the winner in the end.
For a long long time I was a bit of a NO person.
When friends suggested things to do, or opportunities arose through work, my initial reaction was quite often all the reasons why I couldn’t or shouldn’t do something. My default was often to think about the worst case scenario or to convince myself that it would all end in tears, so probably best to stick to what I know.
So I said NO…or found an excuse to not partake.
Paint balling, horse riding, learning a new skill, a weekend away…. all sound great in principle but what if they don’t turn out how I expect? Plus, isn’t this all a bit self indulgent, shouldn’t I be working hard, thinking sensibly and saving for a rainy day?
I think this all came from a deep seeded belief that I didn’t deserve nice things, or that amazing experiences didn’t happen to people like me.
There were also further blockages about being able to afford to pay for such treats, I’d assume things were more expensive than they actually were, or worry that if I spent a large sum of money on something like a holiday, knowing my luck a week later a massive unexpected bill would come through the door.
As a side note I also had this ridiculous notion that when I lost weight (my weight fluctuated a lot during my twenties and thirties, but I was always considered big) these things would be more suitable, so I would focus on that first.
You could say in my early twenties I had a bit of a lack mentality.
I wanted a more exciting life filled with adventure and excitement, but I was too scared to actually change some of my beliefs and just make it happen.
This changed in the most bazar ways one evening one year in my late twenties.
I had organised a house party to celebrate my birthday, and around twenty or so of my friends came over to my place for drinks and food, including a girl called Natalie who I had spent a bit of time with back in my clubbing days, I didn’t know her very well at all, she was more of a drinking pal than a friend I spent any real time with.
In the early hours of the morning when we were all under the influence and talking rubbish, she told me she was going to visit her half brother in Colombia in a few weeks time, so me in my drunken state said,
I want to come
A few days later she called me and said
Were you serious about coming to Colombia with me? I’d love for you to come with me
And despite not knowing her or her brother very well at all, and having enormous fears about travelling to South America I responded
I don’t know what came over me.
A month later I jumped on a plane and I spent 3 amazing weeks in Cali having all kinds of adventures, and I also made a real friend for life….all through the power of YES.
That was a huge turning point for me, and I become much better at seeing opportunities for what they are, instead of filling my head with all the negative stories like “I can’t afford it”, “But what about work”, “I won’t know anybody there”
I booked a holiday alone to St Lucia one Christmas because I didn’t face spending it alone in the UK, I decided to start renting out my spare room, I set up a business as a consultant, I started going to night school to learn Spanish, I took myself off travelling around South East Asia despite having not lost the weight I thought I needed to.
I just decided I had held myself back for too long.
Now I have a resounding belief that opportunities come to me at the exact right time they need to, and that they have come about to teach me something about myself or the world that we live in that I really need to learn, so I am much more relaxed about international travel, meeting new people, having new experiences than I used to be.
Fear of the unknown holds so many of us back. Fear of judgement from others about the choices we make too can be a big problem, especially for women, especially for mothers who have to juggle being the caregiver to their child and fulfilling their own wants and needs.
I have just spent the most incredible 5 days in Israel on a press trip to review the Jerusalem Half Marathon. I had never been to the middle east, and I was to be the only journalist out of a group of 40 from the UK…plus the race itself has some massive hills on the course…all things which might put me off.
But do you know what? Life is too short to be turning down potentially life changing opportunities.
However, there is absolutely a place in my life too for big fats NO’s…I quite easily turn opportunities away which don’t feel right for me, a few months ago for example I turned down a trip to Switzerland to take part in a 3 day race across the mountains, this wasn’t a good fit…it was a busy time for me at work, my fitness wasn’t where I needed it to be…and I didn’t fancy being lifted off the mountain via helicopter due to a twisted ankle…it was too much of a risk in this case.
Be open to good stuff coming in to your life
Have faith that it is meant for you and will work out fine (better than fine)
Try not to stress about the hows, and focus instead on the whys
Practice saying YES to some small stuff to get you into practice, say YES to the colleague who invites you out for lunch. Say YES to the man who offers you his seat on the tube. Say YES to the distant friends who has a spare ticket for a gig tonight.
Who knows what it might lead to.
And who knows how it might help you prepare for even bigger and better things in the story that is your life