What stories do you tell yourself that hold you back from achieving fulfilment?
Perhaps you want to achieve something at work or in your business but worry about what people will think of you for going for it. If you want a promotion, do you worry about being accepted at that next level? Will people think you’re out of your depth to even apply? Will you be seen as the skilled professional you are, or will you be dismissed out of hand?
Thoughts like this can hold you back from taking the next step.
We worry about how the people around us will perceive us – and when we do that, it holds us back from having the impact we can make through our professional services on the people who really need it.
Many moons ago it was suggested that I apply to become a Justice of the Peace. I was working within the juvenile justice and care systems at the time, as representative of the local authority, so was regularly in court and was involved in managing the impact of the court’s decisions.
My immediate reaction was to worry about the impact I would make during the selection procedure and of course, all my inner demons came up to tell me not to do it.
Who did I think I was that I could become a JP? That was for people who were nothing like me, people who were ‘pillars of the community,’ who had ‘standing’, who were older than me (I was about 30 at the time), who were successful and influential. Even though there was a fair balance of women, they moved in very different circles from me, wore different style of clothes, and so on.
But then, for a reason I can’t even remember now, I started to look at it differently.
Because many of the JP’s I encountered in the courtroom were different to me, they tended to make different decisions to the ones I would have made if I’d been presented with the same circumstances. They tended to treat the juvenile offenders more harshly than I would have done because they were more focused on the punishment aspect, or on ‘teaching them a lesson'. Their views seemed to be very fixed.
I, on the other hand, would have been favouring a more balanced and rehabilitative approach, which in my view would have been a more effective way or reducing recidivism and benefitting both offender and society as a whole.
Didn’t I then have a responsibility to get over myself and my fears and to get onto the Bench as a JP, so that I could have my say and have some impact on those who needed it? To have given my opinion on the evidence presented and to provide a balance to those more fixed views, and in some cases make a real difference?
So I applied. What I hadn’t realised was that my application was actually welcomed because I ticked some minority boxes – I was female, under 40 and my views were left of centre, so I was accepted and was an active member of the Bench for a number of years.
Of course, sometimes my view was outnumbered, but there were many times when I was able to gently persuade my colleagues to see things differently – a skill I pride myself on now with my clients.
So, who do you have a responsibility to, in the longer term? What’s the uncomfortable process you need to take yourself through in order to do that? What’s the bigger impact you want to make?
You’ll certainly make a difference to your clients or customers but what about your colleagues? Who would you be paving the way for? Who needs your more balanced approach to leadership? Who needs you to scale your business up?
Want some support to take you through this process? Let’s have a chat to see how I can help you. Get in touch today to start the ball rolling.