Ten years ago, nearly to the day I was outside on what was a balmy night, devoid of stars but completely lit up by the surreal Shanghai lights. Walking through the well heeled French Quarter of what must be one of China’s most magnificent cities arm in arm with my mum, looking through the window of a tailor’s shop I remember remarking to her that I couldn’t wait for the day when I could walk into such a beautiful store to get my clothing custom made. This may seem like quite a luxurious wish, but being a curvy young woman in China meant that I couldn’t buy clothes in 99% of the shops! I would buy fabric and go down to my local tailor, just outside the university compound I worked within to get clothes made. What wasn’t made for me was posted over from the UK.
I was full of enthusiasm and could only see great things in front of me. A life full of working hard, achieving my goals and being thankful for the rewards of my labour. There were so many ideas flooding my brain, businesses I could run, people I could help, companies I could join. Oh the confidence of youth!
I’ve had so many ideas that may have worked out if only I’d had the balls to see them through
Ten years on, I believe that I do work hard but, as is the case with life, my goals have shifted and the life I’d imagined for myself that night in front of the tailor’s shop never transpired. Not. Even. Close. Am I saddened by that? Yeah a bit, I won’t sugar coat it for you because I’m trying to be the most authentic me I can be and if I were to slap a fake smile on it and make out that the world is all peachy all of the time, you’d call me out on my BS real quick! I work hard but have lacked direction at times, been too easily swayed by the environment around me instead of owning my actions. I’ve had so many ideas that may have worked out if only I’d had the balls to see them through, no matter if it would have taken a year or two to see them into fruition. Instead, I gave up and moved on to the next.
Yesterday I spoke on the phone with a friend who has moved to the other side of the world and is really going places. She’s successful both in her personal life and financially. We both went to the same university, took the same Bachelor’s and for a few years, worked within the same company. Now, we are miles apart in terms of what we’ve achieved and I can’t be prouder of her if I tried. She knew something that I didn’t at the time. She knew that every single step counts. She went out of her way to use her spare time wisely, taking courses to better herself, to continuously learn new skills and give herself the knowledge that would one day become the factor that separated her from other candidates and allow her to rise and keep on rising. Whilst I was home sulking about what I hadn’t done and had yet to achieve she was busy getting things done and owning her life.
Let me just say this again – every single step counts. It might be an evening course in sign language, a part time masters degree, a dress making course or online creative writing sessions. It will make a difference, even if you don’t see it at the time, if it interests you then do it. It will become important to you at some point. Perhaps it provides you with the confidence you need to take the next step, perhaps it is the missing link on essential skills required to apply for your dream job, who knows? Just give it a go and take the step because in 10 years from now it could be the making of you. It could be what gives you the happiness you’ve dreamt of, the missing peice in the puzzle to the business idea you’ve been talking to your closest friends about for the goodness knows how long. Don’t knock those steps, no matter how small or how many sideways, backwards and spinning ones you may take. Your life may resemble the nae nae more than a regimented march and that’s fine, like how cool is the nae nae after all?
So what steps are you taking to make your dreams reality? What could you do to improve your world or to take steps to make sure you don’t lose the brilliant life you already lead? External influences might make us divert from our plans and have to take a few awkward steps but we still have the power to lead ourselves in the direction we want for our lives. I’m trying to learn some new skills, to read more and to take advantage of free courses and seminars in order to enhance my knowledge and widen my interests. A course in dress making might be the step that sets the dominos rolling and ignites a fire blazing career in dress making – or it might just allow me to take in my oddly fitting dresses by myself and save a few pounds, who knows, but I’m willing to take that step and find out. Are you?