Autumn is the season of change and new beginnings and boy can I attest to that! For some this may mean starting University, reevaluating New Years Resolutions or for me beginning a new job. Upon my return from a Summer in the sun to a not so green grassed England, (thanks to the heatwave), I was still figuring out which direction I wanted to take my life in next… Would it be more travel? A focus on working on my career (no pun intended)? Save money to move out? The answer ideally would be all of the above, but which first??? With an overwhelming decision to make, I reflected on what I had already achieved in the last five years since I first enrolled in University.
One thing that I feel I’ve really worked on over the last few years is specifically making time for myself to do what I want… but figuring out what that may be can be daunting at times. Case and point my earlier dilemma! I wanted to share with you something I call ” The Magic Statement” which has helped me so much over the last few years to begin solving such problems.
Between the ages of 16-18 years old, I was always very busy. I was Deputy Head Girl at school and seemed to stay behind nearly every day after my classes for one activity or another. My weekends would also be jam packed as I tried to balance my social life around concentrating on my studies and I also entered the world of dating… I didn’t have much time for my new (now long term) boyfriend. Luckily he was understanding and I’m so grateful he stuck around for me! I was constantly preoccupied and somewhat obsessed with people pleasing, for fear of admitting that “I am doing too much of the things I don’t really want to be doing, but I think I should be doing” and in admitting this would make me sound spoiled, ungrateful, let people down or worse, not fulfilling my potential and facing “disappointment” from those around me. I feel like this type of thinking is responsible for causing us to supposedly “not knowing” what we want to do. When in reality, we do know but we think that we can’t or shouldn’t try what we do want until we are pushed up into a corner or facing a mid life crisis… and guess what, everyone except yourself ends up winning in this scenario!
“If I had all the time in the world what would I do ?” The Magic Statement
Now don’t get me wrong, at this time I was mostly doing things I enjoyed, but the amount I took on was so tiring and I felt I missed out on some of the other things I loved.
I remember having a very honest conversation with one of my best friends, who knows me inside out, to whom I don’t ever have to justify, or feel guilty if we don’t see each other for long periods of time. I love genuine friendships like this. I confided in her how overwhelmed I was by the amount of activities and social groups I was involved in, on top of studying for my exams and more quality time with my boyfriend who I only saw for a few hours once a week. I felt overwhelmed and I lost touch with myself somewhat as I didn’t really know what my hobbies were anymore. I put so much pressure on myself and ultimately had become a people pleaser (with the only person not so pleased bring me!), feeling so overwhelmed all before even turning 18! How on earth would I cope when I one day got a job and had even more pressing responsibilities.
At the time, my friend turned to me and simply said, “If you had all the time in the world and could do anything that you wanted, what would you do?” I felt a bit emotional at this, because for a moment I didn’t know what my answer was. I felt sad as the first thing I thought, was that I just wanted a break- and that’s certainly not a hobby! Necessary perhaps but not a hobby. I sat in silence for a while as my friend waited patiently for me to answer. After some time I answered that I would want to read more, I would want to write creatively because as a child I used to enjoy this so much! I also wanted to run again- I was good at it as a kid, and it refreshed my mind. That conversation really stuck with me and if you asked me now what are some of my hobbies, you can guess what they are!
It’s strange looking back on this now as not only do I deal with stress better but I am able to say no to tasks or activities that overwhelm me or just don’t interest me. Of course the workplace may require you doing some of these things now and again within reason. However being able to identify these areas and speak up will actually lead you to the career that you’re suited to.
I have had an echo of this conversation many times with myself, my close friends and family since – reframing it slightly to fit my situation, “If I could go anywhere where would I go?”, “If I could have any job what job would I want?”, “If I could try anything I wanted, what would I try?”. It has allowed me to eliminate the barriers that I have put up for myself, to be more goal orientated, to find some direction and believe that all these things can be possible… at least one day and one dream at a time.
My advice to you would be, whatever it is you’re contemplating or whatever the situation is that is causing you to feel lost, confide in friends and as you grow as a person throughout the many stages of your life, don’t hold yourself back and finish the magic statement,
“If I could do anything, I would…” and dedicate the time and effort necessary to achieve it. Honestly your life is so worth this! Slowly you may find you’re making progress without you even realising it.
How can you use the Magic Statement in your life? Let me know I would love to hear from you!
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