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Escaping The Decade That Stole My Soul

The lessons I've learned about the dangers of playing way too small and letting your ego lead the way

Carol Evans, Escaping the Decade That Stole My Soul

I’ve had an amazing life.

I’ve truly enjoyed a great career, doing lots of things many people will never get to do. I’ve been acknowledged and well-rewarded.

I’ve taken advantage of many opportunities that came my way and when I think back, I realise just how very lucky I am.

Don’t get me wrong now. Life has not always been a bed of roses. I’ve always worked exceptionally hard. Always focused on giving maximum value and over exceeding results for whomever I have worked for.

In my “younger” days, I made quick progress. I was courageous, action oriented and highly creative. I am genuinely interested in people and like most people I meet – and that has certainly helped me.

I got to the stage where I was absolutely flying as high as I could. I left the corporate world to set up the most incredible business. I experienced the most awesome synchronicities and put together a dream team to die for. I received a funding offer from the States for the mind blowing sum of €18m, and I set up other complimentary businesses along the way, as well as working with some pretty brilliant entrepreneurs to help them grow and expand their businesses across different countries.

I was in flow, and if you’ve been in flow, you’ll know just how euphoric that feels. The absolute conviction that you know you are doing precisely what you are meant to do for the highest good.

I was confident. Anything that phased me I overcame, because the vision was so strong and purpose driven.

Then, a couple of crazy things happened to me.

I met a woman who managed to sneak in to the tiniest chink in my mind with a negative comment that would soon flood my very being.

I also shared my plans openly and thoroughly with what I thought was a complimentary business, but who was really an aggressive competitor hungry for ideas on how to expand their own business.

The planning permission I was advised that was in the bag, was refused and the “competitor in disguise” got it instead.

My world literally fell apart.

I had never really failed at anything. Yes, I had never won anything either – everything I had achieved, was simply down to real hard work, but I just didn’t know what to do. How to deal with it.

I felt shame.

I had let people down.

I didn’t have anyone I felt comfortable enough with to talk it through. I bottled it up and jumped with vigour on to the downward spiral. Crashing to lows I’d never encountered before.

The lesson to me was that I had played out of my depth. Who was I to think that I could do something so big? so amazing?

It was time for me to re-asses my ambitions and crawl back to the cosy delights of my comfort zone.

This was how I started the last decade.

I never lost the desire to help people achieve results. I continued to work in my own businesses, but I never allowed myself to dream big. I focused all my attention on doing amazing work for my clients. Always over-delivering. Staying busy to get them the best results. Only really taking on clients that had been referred to me, or knew of me.

Basically I stayed small.

Kept myself invisible.

The shame of failure haunted me. Always there in the back of my mind. Every time I dreamed a dream, it would pop up and remind me to stay low, stay out of sight, stay doing what came easy. Avoid any risk of humiliation and of course further failure.

In many respects I was still fulfilled. I was still doing what I loved and getting immense feelings of satisfaction seeing clients get results and exceed their targets. I realised that I had taken for granted all my years of incredible business experience. I always assumed everyone knew what I knew, and it never seized to amaze me just how wrong I was.

I also really had the time to focus on my very sporty son, who had us driving all over the country for football and cricket matches. I was also able to help out the organisations that he was part of – introducing websites, social media and email marketing in to them all and more efficient systems for liaising with players and parents as well as introducing more revenue which allowed them to become more sustainable. Doing this work as a volunteer gave me masses of satisfaction.

As my son became older, and started to talk about his own plans, I realised that I was going to start having to think about my own ambitions once again. His growing independence would leave a gap in my life that I was responsible for filling.

I developed a great business plan that gave me the buzz of excitement I was craving.

But, those thoughts were still there.

I just couldn’t bear to become as visible as I knew I needed to be. I kept trying to think of ways around it, but the one thing for sure is, in the online world we do need to be visible. We have to stand out.

So, what did I do?

Well, I filled my time creating and adapting new services. Re-building my websites. Helping others. Anything in fact, other than doing what I knew I should be doing!

So much of my client work had become sitting in front of the computer. I had lost so much confidence, even in going out, meeting new people, and the thought of networking terrified me.

However, the work I did face to face with clients was also most rewarding.

I was getting to that stage where sitting on my own, working in isolation, was eating me up. I’m a people person. I love the company of others. But had gotten in to the habit of thinking so low about myself that I couldn’t bare to put myself out there for fear of rejection, being dis-liked.

I knew I had to get a grip. I had never previously felt like this.

I am well-read and understood what was happening to me. I was allowing circumstance to lead and control my life. As I had before, only this time it was doing me no favours.

I started work with a coach and could finally get over myself and accept things for what they were. The learning I have experienced has been immense. Rather than seeing all of this negatively I am now in the position where I am filled with gratitude for what I have gone through. It’s just been one mind blowing experience after another.

In what has really been the last few “hours” of this decade, I have become re-acquainted with my soul. I know I’m not destined to play small. None of us are. I have a purpose. I have a passion. I have skills, experiences, dreams, ambitions, room for growth. I want to push any limits to the very edge.

Am I scared?

Yes of course I am. But, I will not let that stop me. Nothing amazing is found in our comfort zones. The challenges never disappear. We just have to learn how to deal with them, find ways to act with courage and conviction.

When we truly understand our purpose and acknowledge the role we are destined to play. We provide so much more to the world in general. Helping others as we fulfil our own ambitions and realise the deeper meaning of what we are here to do.

We know life is short. Way too many people have disappeared from my life way too soon.

I have learned my lessons, and will no doubt continue to learn them, But I am thrilled to be back in touch with my soul purpose. I sit here knowing that every single day ahead of me, I am going to be having to take action that may frighten the life out of me – but I know I am going to do it.

My plans include speaking at events, running inspiring transformational business retreats, producing videos – all things I never would have had the confidence 6 months ago to even consider for a second… I’ll also be focused on helping others achieve their big beautiful dreams as much as possible.

It’s time to get in the driving seat and take control to choose the journey that lights you up and makes your heart sing.

Don’t settle for less. The world needs you to be the you, you are meant to be.

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