She is the woman who won a Cosmopolitan competition to interview Chris Eubank… and ended up managing his PR. She took an unknown James Dyson and launched his global business. Now Shaa Wasmund MBE is urging us to take action and make our goals reality
Have you got an itch? To start your own business, go to the North Pole, retrain, lose weight, get promoted, learn to play the ukulele? Or do you just have a nagging sense that there must be more to life?
Life is short. If you’ve got something you want to do, now is a good time to start.
Maybe you will be forever restless until you write that novel, start that business, get that job, or work in that industry.
The first thing is to recognise the itch. Recognise it and you’re halfway there. Because then at least you know which way to focus your attention.
The first step is to know what you want. What is it you want to start changing? Is it about introducing something new into your life or is it something bigger? There is no universal right answer. Just a right answer for you.
So, grab a pen and paper, pull out your iPad or pick up a piece of chalk. Write down the one thing that you want to do most. The one thing that would make the most difference or bring the biggest happiness into your life.
All aboard the: Your Life Express
You can have a happy life choosing a job path that allows you to finish at 5pm, every day on the dot so that you can leave the job in the office and play the odd round of golf on long summer evenings.
But bear in mind that while such a lifestyle might seem like perfection to you, it might smack of claustrophobic routine for someone else.
On a more pragmatic note, it might be that you require a predictable and relatively undemanding job so that you can plough your real energy into another project – a business of your own, or maybe your passion for cooking. Once you recognise the virtues of your job you might find you’ve got less to be frustrated about.
And then there’s the brightly lit, hard-as-concrete realities of your personal situation.
Most people are limited by obligations to family or economic constraints. Others by physical infirmities. These are real and naturally you have to marry your sky-high ambitions with some smart navigation around such obstacles. Your options can be as wide open as the seven seas, if you want them to be – rejoice and make the most of it!
Create your own Life Express
Write down all the big events and experiences in your life so far. Think of achievements, successes and happy experiences. Think of difficult, challenging and unhappy experiences too.
- Think about the turning points in your life – starting school college or university. Moving home, making friends and other significant relationships, starting a new job, leaving a job, birth of your children, bereavements. Write down too, any special travel experiences and holidays, celebratory events, parties and festivals.
- Write down any opportunities you didn’t take up.
- Write down the year things happened, next to each event and experience.
Now take a very large piece of paper, the size of a flip chart piece of paper, (or create a large piece by sticking smaller pieces of paper together) and draw a faint line from one side of the paper to the other.
- Now write down each experience and event, in order of the year it happened, along the line. Write each experience and event as far above or below the line as you think best represents each experience. For example, if being fired from a job was the most difficult thing that has happened to you it might go far below the line. If the best thing that has happened so far was a period of travel, place that high above the line. Add symbols, emoticons and pictures to each experience and event.
- Draw a line to connect all the events – the line will of course, go up and down as it connects all the events across the years.
- Now look at your ‘Life Express’. Look at how far you’ve come and how many ups and downs, twists and turns have occurred in your life.
- Which of these events and experiences just happened to you? Which ones were deliberate decisions?
- Times when you’ve felt most energised and useful?
- What skills and abilities were you using? What environment? Which relationships? What are the common themes? These themes are often a good indication of what’s going to work well for you in future.
- If an event was your decision and it turned out well, how did you feel about it then?
- If a decision you made didn’t turn out so well, how did you feel then and how do you feel now?
- Despite the ups and downs in your life, you’ve got this far. Where are you going next? Do you think it will be a straight line?
Hopefully, this exercise will have shown you that there will be events, experiences, good times, difficult times, decisions to be made. They’re going to happen anyway. Don’t let them stop you. Start doing!
This is an edited extract from Stop Talking, Start Doing Action Book: Practical tools and exercises to give you a kick in the pants by Shaa Wasmund (published by Capstone)
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