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Straight Talk… Overcoming Life’s Hurdles

Straight Talk… Overcoming Life’s Hurdles

Taking a risk to do something I really love, career-wise has normally been the point at which I turned my back on my dream and chosen the safer route; afraid of failing. Having recently been made redundant for the third time in my life has made me question those choices.  

American author, Tony Robbins, says that life is not a straight line, rather it’s a circular and winding path that we tread on our way up (or down depending on which way we are circling at that moment).

A lot of failures that we face are beyond our control – the media company that I had been working for, were downsizing, reducing headcount.

‘Hopefully, that means body count too?’ I thought wryly to myself, trying to squash the visions of headless apparitions; my imagination has always been a little ‘out there’. Seriously though, my first instinct, on hearing the news, was to panic, scream and then break down and cry, ‘Why me?.….again.’

Once I had slept on the fact that I needed to find a new job, my thoughts cleared; it’s amazing how the mind sorts all the ducks into a row, once a decent night’s sleep has been had.  After having an honest moment with myself to reflect on the situation, I started putting a plan together.

Bit by bit, I mapped out how I would manage for the next few months on less of an income, and thought about what I really wanted to do. I began to breathe and feel slightly better.

Failure is a part of living, even the best-laid plans go awry, changes happen and yet life goes on.  There is no shame in failing, failure is a side effect of trying. To not try would be far worse, I realise, and I would rather get to the end of my life having had many failures, than not having really lived at all.

Perhaps it is how we deal with the disappointment that is key.  As Richard Branson says,

Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.

Failure is part of life’s process, it can be painful but inevitably is how we learn to get better.

It teaches us to persevere – to simply show up and put one foot in front of the other, walking forward, to keep going until that breakthrough point is reached.

When my husband and I decided to emigrate from South Africa to the UK, initially his visa was denied because of a small omission, he had not completed an English Test.  We had already booked the air tickets, so needed to keep moving forward with our plans, and so he sat the English test (funny because English is the only language he speaks).  We arrived at the airport to depart for the UK, still not having received his passport; it was on its way across country 400 miles away. I sat alone with our children at the departure gate, not knowing whether he was going to make it onto the flight. A ‘relay’ of amazing people were helping us, from the general manager of the courier company, who personally climbed into the aircraft’s hold to extract Llew’s visa, to Llew’s brother.  He was waiting at the bottom of the escalator for him to hand it over and as he grabbed the ‘baton’ and ran up the escalator, several people who had caught wind of the situation cheered. The visa, safely in hand, Llew finally made it through the boarding gate, which the airline had held open for an extra half an hour (the final leg of our relay). What a relief it was to see his tall frame appearing through the doorway of the airplane, the last passenger to board!  

As is evident of our ‘relay’ team, supportive people are important contributors in overcoming challenges too; I’ve learned to never be afraid to ask for help.

Finally, as my life had forced a change of direction onto me, I said to myself, ‘Why not try and do something that you love?’  My new role at Grow Exeter Magazine is the first step in following my dream.

Jim Carrey puts it so well:

‘I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love’.

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