Every ten years or so I have changed my career. I must have a low threshold for boredom, as I start getting itchy feet. I first wanted to be an Actor, I wanted to be ‘famous’. I started as an Extra, then built up to one-line speaking parts. I was in commercials and then landed Guest Roles in well known Aussie Soap Operas and series.
I almost landed the lead role in both a film and a new TV series, getting down to the last two girls each time. When I lost out, I felt that this was too fickle an industry for me. So, I switched it up and went to University to get a degree. I decided I wanted to be a news and current affairs journalist. Within a few years I was Producing and Reporting on a high profile prime time television show.
My husband got offered a job in Hong Kong. Great, I thought. I had always secretly dreamed of becoming a Foreign Correspondent, based in Asia. Within 6 months, that is exactly what I was doing. Reporting on earthquakes in Japan, the Pope in Manila, drug smugglers in Thailand. One day travelling with Bill Clinton across China, another interviewing Bill Gates.
Each time I started out I had no idea what I was doing and felt the Imposter, fearing: ‘When are they going to work out I’m really a fraud’?
But fear is good. Fear can be a powerful driver. Fear is a sign you are going for something you are passionate about, something that excites you. I’ve learnt that fear is nothing but fear itself. The fear of the unknown is more scary than actually doing what it is that you’re afraid of. So once you lean into fear and embrace it, it goes away.
I do this by breaking things down: If the big idea is scary, then what are the small steps I can take towards it? When I was a smoker, the thought of never having a cigarette again was too much. I liked smoking. Wine and cigarettes are delicious together. So I thought, I won’t have a cigarette just for this one day and went day by day. Until I looked back and there was no way I was repeating that horrendous month of withdrawal ever again. I haven’t smoked in decades.
When I was a Couch Potato, I signed up for a women’s-only 5km race. I was way too embarrassed to have men see my wobbly bits jiggling around the course. So I followed a plan: walk; then walk/jog; run. I made it to the finish line about four months later and was so bloody proud of myself. I have never stopped running since.
If it’s a new career goal, I write down the baby steps I can take each day that gets me closer to it. Who is someone already doing it that inspires me? How did they get there? Who can I call to ask advice or approach to work with? As you take each step you gain knowledge and knowledge eradicates that fear of the unknown.
Before you know it you are on your way. Hey look at me now, I’m onto the next thing that terrifies, yet excites me. I’m in the process of having my first book published, the one I’ve always wanted to write. And I have now started this Blog! Wish me luck!
I can’t guarantee that, once you master that thing you are passionate about, you won’t get itchy feet again though. I once said to my husband: ‘The next time I want to jump off another cliff, please stop me’. To which he replied: ‘Ah, but then you’ll get bored darling’! He knows me too well.
What are you afraid of that you’re going to lean in and embrace today? Let me know in the Comments below.