Fear. Lizard Brain. Hesitation. Retraction. Whatever the thing that makes you back your enthusiasm and brilliance into a corner and do things safely, under the radar and without turbulence, so as to not draw special attention, because in the end it seemed like it wasn’t the right time or you don’t want to ruffle people’s feathers? If we don’t disrupt and shift our thinking, we don’t progress – for ourselves, our communities and our world. We’ve been shown that with beautiful positive examples as we have atrocious ones throughout time.
We need to nurture our bright sparks, positive force and social ideas – the fires in our bellies. The passion projects we dream of making come true. Come against lots of negative feedback and putdowns and it’s tough to stick to your guns but in the age of transparency, the change-makers with ideas can resist the temptation to back down, as they find others so much more easily to share ideas and build strong community. With community and support, we’ve a better chance of continuing to propel ourselves forward. Those people trying to talk you down from your brilliance are acting from their own fears. They want you to be middle of the road and conservative, so that they feel better about being that way too.
Professor Fiona Wood spoke at a series of Business Chicks breakfasts in Australia over the past year, and I’ll never forget her saying ‘Don’t be less than your best, just to make others around you feel comfortable’. It is one of the most powerful things I’ve ever heard. Maybe it resonates with me so much because I know I’ve had a tendency to retract, pull back and not go for it. But now, I’m harnessing my inner 16 year old who wanted to change the world. I’m tapping back into the girl’s bedroom who had posters such as ‘prejudice is ignorance’ and ‘justice will prevail’ right along side my Michael Jackson and Lenny Kravitz posters that made me dance like a mad girl in the mirror. She’s the one with the fire in her belly. Lacking direction back in those days, I climbed a fair few mountains over the years that didn’t feel quite right – Impressing instead of expressing. Although I have had a fantastic time doing all sorts of amazing things, I know I’ve not yet done my best. Am I alone in thinking that? You tell me!
So now, using a fabulous phrase I got from a very wise friend Bernadette Jiwa, I make every effort to ‘turn the volume up’, re-ignite the spark, nurture the fire in the belly and hop to it, with some exciting change-making plans for things I’m crazily passionate about. I’m pretty sure I might seem like a lunatic activist to many people on this journey, and actually, I don’t mind at all. I’ve realised that we alone let others turn our volume down and that really, I’m a ‘blow the speakers’ type when I’ve got the right people around me – always was. In the past year, by golly I’ve found the right people to help me stay on track and play a bigger game. You know who you are!
Have you got a fire burning inside to do something amazing? For yourself? Your community? The world? Don’t worry about others and their apprehension. They’re just scared. You don’t have to be!