In 2017 I decided it was time to start living more authentically. I didn’t have a plan about how to do this, but knew I needed to change things.
If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got
I began by writing a piece that expressed some of my feelings towards my parents. I knew this was risky, but I knew that by not doing it I would be continuing in the ‘what I’ve always done’ mode which meant not taking any action at all to confront the matter. In a way I secretly hoped they’d see it. Perhaps I was after some kind of deep-and-meaningful-conversation by stealth. The result of them reading it was an inevitable degree of hurt when they read it (we’re all hurting) followed by an invitation to talk from both of my parents.
Fear! Retreat! Run away!
These were my instinctual reactions and it took a number of bypassed opportunities before I plucked up the courage to actually chat with my Dad. It wasn’t easy as we’ve never spoken about feelings and emotions before, but it was one of the best things I could have done. I expressed many things that had sat on my chest for years. I spoke authentically; he listened, acknowledged and then we shared a proper hug. Result! Our relationship is already much more open and less tense because I no longer have unspoken issues simmering just below the surface. I now feel able to be more open and expressive with my Dad, all because I decided to start trying to live more authentically and do something about it.
Say Yes More
One sure fire way to tell if you’re ready to make changes to your life is when you spend a ridiculous amount of money on an array of self-help books. I have previously mentioned the books by Helen Russell which provided laughs as well as good life pointers, but the main takeaway for me as to ‘say yes more’ (I’m still trying to get round to the de-cluttering bit!).
I didn’t do much about this until recently, but the results have literally shocked me (no melodrama to be seen here!). A few weeks ago I saw that Inov8 were looking for runners to try out and review their new shoes (review coming soon). Not being the fastest or the ‘Instagrammest’ of runners, I didn’t think I’d get the nod, so I nearly didn’t bother applying. But then I did, just keeping it real, no big boasts or overplaying my running. Guess what… I got the nod! A snazzy Inov8 Wrag and a new pair of Trailroc shoes slid through the door one day and I’m now sporting trail shoes that are not yet available in the shops. All by just being authentic and saying yes.
A week later I noticed a post on social media that the self-made adventurer and inspiration that is Dave Cornthwaite was looking for some people to help him with his projects. Having applied for an inordinate number of jobs in the past two years with no success, could I be bothered to fill in yet another form when my time and energy levels were already pretty low? I put my phone down and didn’t apply.
The next day I thought about it again. What did I have to lose? He does some really cool and inspirational stuff and working in the sphere of adventure is where my authentic self needs to be. So I did apply. But I applied differently this time. Authentically. I wrote about me and my motivations without a second thought. The words came from my fingertips as an extension of me, my authentic self. In doing it this way I saved a huge amount of time and energy than I normally would because I was not second-guessing what I ‘should’ write. Needless to say I did not expect to hear anything from Dave. After all, applying for this had been so much easier than any job application.
But he replied. He asked more questions. I answered. The pattern continued for around a week. The he said:
Let’s do this!
The Good Stuff
By being authentic and saying yes, I had scored the most exciting work-related development in ages! I know not where this will lead nor what may come from it. I don’t need to. The journey will be authentic, the work interesting, engaging and meaningful and that will be where the Good Stuff will happen.
I have since written my first blog for Dave and been given the rather daunting title of ‘Family Adventure Editor’. But, as I know from past experience, and as I’m sure Dave would agree, if it doesn’t scare you, it probably won’t push your limits.
So, already, my aim to live more authentically and to say yes more is paying off. Not financially, -no, I’m broke – but the Real Stuff. The Good Stuff.
What all of this has taught me about the endless cycle of applying for and not getting other ‘corporate’ jobs is that they are not for me. By keeping on being rejected it is actually the world telling me I should be focussing elsewhere. My inauthenticity for those roles was shining through and all those potential employers could see it. By default, it has kept my attention on my own projects and responsibilities; TrailFest, writing, parenting. It is here I am being authentic and here that Good Things will come. Sure, I’ll have to endure a hand-to-mouth financial state for a while longer, but when we do endure for the sake of authenticity, the Good Stuff will surely come.
All images taken in Savoie/Haute Savoie, France ©ryanjohnscott