It is not in the culture of education to ask you what you know. In Ireland, we were brought up to go to school, do as you’re told, pull up your socks, get your work done, don’t talk back, and study the job you would be in for the rest of your life. Those were the rules of school and of life in general. What you know had nothing to do with it.
When I think back to when I was young, I remember the carefree part of me. I was a dreamer; everything was possible. There was joy in my world that really didn’t fit with getting on in life—well, the life I was told I was to have.
In the 80’s, Ireland was re-emerging from yet another recession and the general attitude was to get by in life and do whatever it takes, not from the point of view of a dreamer, but as a pragmatist. A good sensible job was the way to go. Life and business were ruled by mediocrity.
With years of educational conditioning to eventually face the big bad world, I always just fell short of getting it “right.” I was a bright and smart kid, but very shy. I tried so hard to do it the right way—that was the only way we knew! I lost that place where everything was possible.
It took me over 30 years to realize I was a walking, talking possibility and the impact that I, as just one person, can be to create change in so many ways. Once I broke that mould of mediocrity, a whole different world opened for me and I thrived.
Discovering how to apply possibility to life and business again hasn’t always been comfortable. Fortunately, I learned some great tools along the way.
Here is some of what I discovered as I moved from mediocrity into a life of possibility:
Decisions Limit You
The decisions you have about business limit what you can create. What have you decided business looks like? What kind of person does business? What do they wear, say, or talk about? How educated are they?
I had so many definitions and decisions about business that I ruled myself out of that category of being in business. I thought my introverted personality would surely fail, purely because I had decided and defined what business was.
Trust what you know
We put a lot of emphasis on what other people think, but who are you asking? Everyone sees the world differently, including you. We can doubt ourselves so much that we act on advice of others instead of trusting what we know.
When I left a secure government job for a life of greater possibility, a lot of people thought I was crazy. If I had listened to them, would I be living the life I am now? I had to ask myself, “What do I know here?” When we take a shot on what we know and are willing to fail, there’s a whole world of possibilities available.
It’s not wrong to ask other people questions about what they know, but the key component in creating is tapping into what you know is possible.
Life doesn’t happen, you create it
Every choice that you make has gotten you to where you are right now, the good, the bad, and the ugly. So what would you like to choose now?
My best tip is to be grateful for it all—every moment, every choice, everything is just information. You get to choose what to do with it. I recommend be grateful. Today is a new day; what grand and glorious adventures can you have?
When you’re living through choice and gratitude, life doesn’t happen, you create it.
Business—just as all of life—is an adventure you get to go on. Once I put myself in the driver seat and stopped letting the rules rule me, I created a business I love that has changed the way I live my life. It’s opened me up to more adventure and more of me.
Being willing to go beyond mediocrity is definitely outside the comfort zone, but you will survive! It’s an exhilarating place to create from, full of possibilities you could have never imagined. Breaking the rules means having a life filled with so many choices—and it’s you that gets to choose.