My Mum used to tell me to go into the Catering business when I was a teenager thinking about options. She said, everyone will always need to eat and drink, you'll always make a living with that as an occupation. She had a point, and for a while I even considered it - I applied to the local University to do Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management (I had wild dreams of running a B&B in Newquay, Cornwall, a place where we spent holidays as children and for a time I truly thought this was my path in life to follow, I aimed to please). Sadly, my grades didn't quite meet the requirements of securing a place on this course and like most things in life, everything happens for a reason and as I grew older, I understood why.
I was never going to work with food and drink, at the very core of my being was a creative streak so deep and strong it eventually couldn't be ignored.
Upon realising I wasn't going to lark about at University for the next few years, I got a job working in the wages department of the NHS in Sheffield. This ticked the 'get a sensible and well paid job' box, I successfully ignored my true calling and spent the next six and a half years being a receptionist and a wages clerk, entering nurses hours into a big computer and filing things before deciding enough was enough.
What cracked? What made me decide to leave and go to the University of Plymouth to study Interior Design?
It got to the point whereby I couldn't stand going into that office. I felt stifled and miserable, my entire body told me on each weekday that I was doing the wrong thing, I lived for the weekend and suddenly I realised that was no way to live a life. I had a calling to be a designer, I wanted to live by the sea, and for the first time in my life I broke away from the Expectations of Others and chose to follow my dreams.
Why do we ignore our callings?
Because I did, for many years. I was in awe of authority figures and what my parents told me held a lot of weight. I believed the whole caboodle of studying hard at school and college, getting a sensible job (see above), finding a chap and settling down....I know (insert eye rolling)...but that's how things were back then.
Today, younger people seem so much more switched on than I was, they seem to be more sure and certain of what they want to achieve and do. Perhaps it's just me that sees it that way? Or perhaps we were casualties of being kids in the 70s (although I'm sure our folks just had our best interests at heart when they guided us to follow those old fashioned, traditional goals). I've learned that doing what you love involves confidence to make changes and challenge old belief systems, and I didn't have much in the way of confidence to be honest. It took me quite a few years before I even dared use the phrase Artist to describe what I did for a living!
Self belief is like a magic key, if you believe in your abilities and you can visualise where you want to be and what you want to be doing, life seems to send you the right sort of opportunities to make it happen. Sounds like woo-woo magic right? Well, maybe it is, who knows? The only thing is, I've learnt that when I'm thinking with this mindset, things happen, and when I feel waves of doubt and despair coming over me, it goes a bit...well...wrong.
It takes practice to grow confidence. Maybe you are already a superbly confident sort, and I must say I'm a little envious of you! I still have days where I struggle with what I believe I'm capable of but I'm learning that if I challenge those fears and get back on track by deciding how I want to feel, I can move more swiftly into a better feeling place instead of languishing about in fear and despair for days, feeling awful and depressed. We have to live like we already are that super confident person, even if we aren't! By doing this regularly, we eventually rewire the neural pathways in our brain, we start to believe what we were pretending to be and in essence, our lives change to reflect that.