For many of us it can take almost a lifetime to understand that we are in control of our destiny for the most part.
It has taken me nearly fifty years to realize that the word ‘can’t’ is (as my mother warned me) often a feeble excuse provoked by fear.
We humans are at the mercy of our health, of course, and when you witness the tragic events of last week, it’s hard not to believe that fate can have a terrible hand in our destiny too.
But in terms of what we make of ourselves, that’s fundamentally down to us.
‘If your ship doesn’t come in, swim to it.’
‘Making your own luck’ is something I have always tried to instil in my kids and it’s why I lose the plot when I watch them waste half the day in bed; just like I did all those years ago. I try not to rant too much about the hard work involved in success because I don’t want to scare them off, but I go on and on about proactivity and self-belief.
I lacked confidence as a child. I was timid, and had no discernible talents with which to shine or make my mark. I was average academically, and preferred to be Baby and stand in the corner with my mousey hair and long fringe that I used as a veil to wilt behind. Yet, I don’t remember feeling unhappy with my lot – other than bemoaning the fact that I had to work harder than everyone else for less reward.
But ‘progress’ prizes suck – take it from me.
I don’t remember there being as much pressure on my generation to ‘succeed’ in terms of making lots of money. We didn’t have ‘success’ rammed down our throats on a daily basis via social media and reality television. Happy families depicted on television, like ‘The Waltons’ and ‘The Brady Bunch’, represented ‘success’ to us. The people I aspired to be weren’t millionaires; they were more organic craftsmen such as writers, painters and designers. Perhaps even a princess or two.
In my professional life, I have been a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. I have done what needs to be done and with the added confidence attained from motherhood and having to find work to fit in with the family, I have faked it as an Interior Designer, Furniture Painter, teacher and real estate agent. And I have learned and evolved as a result of all those eclectic experiences. But although I have blagged my way through my professional life over the last few years and never earned much beyond the minimum wage, each role has had a definitive influence on my confidence, growth and who I have become.
For the last couple of years, I have faked it as a writer in my free time, which has been easy because I am passionate about the craft. Am I a successful writer? No. Would I like to be paid to write? Of course! I still try to gain some justification for my writing when I can find a window between writing the book, doing the day job and being the UN at home.
But whether I am ever published or paid to write is irrelevant really, because I truly believe that if I initiated the changes to enable myself to write for a living, I could do it.
Because I have the self-belief in my ability to write.
Which is why I believe that if you have ‘belief’ and passion and work hard, the talent will emerge and you can do anything you want to do. There are so many examples out there of human success stories that have come from the gritty determination of normal people to follow their dreams.
I never believed that I would amount to very much when I was a child. To be honest, all I really wanted was to be happy. But as I approach middle-age, I want more than that now. It’s probably got something to do with that thing called ‘maturity’ everyone warned me about.
I want to succeed in my passion for ‘ME’ and I will make it happen.