William doesn’t really do breakfast food he never has; cereal doesn’t inspire him (me neither) toast he can take or leave.
When he asked if we could have pasta for breakfast recently my reaction was no. It came out without any thought. Then he asked, why?
I had no reasonable answer, certainly not one I could justify so there we sat at 8:45 eating tortellini!
This got me thinking and inspired by my friend Lucy who came on Facebook to talk about thinking outside the box I thought I would write it all down. Lucy shared her idea that if we don’t get in the box in the first place it makes it all so much easier. It was like a revelation. All these rules, things we ‘do’ or don’t ‘do’. Many of them are utterly pointless so why don’t we challenge them more. Why do we insist on popping our beautiful free thinking children in boxes as soon as we can?
I should explain I’m a coach and facilitator ,mostly, the posh title is consultant but in reality I listen, share stories and try to make whatever people need to do easier.
The big one we all seem to struggle with is this bloody box!
Smart supposedly well educated people are paralysed by the idea of breaking the rules, collaborating and doing something different; me included (tortellini conversation with four yer old, exhibit A).
This is really personal for me right now. I’ve been self employed for 13 years. Director of my own company to be more specific and it’s part of my identity I like how that sounds. The thing is I’m not very good at it. The consultancy and coaching yes I rock at that no doubt but all the other stuff that comes with it I pretty much suck at.
I’ve known this for some time but if I change it I’ve failed. I have to take off the entrepreneur badge (and it’s such a pretty, sparkly one). I have to accept it’s not serving me anymore and I’ve been fighting myself on this for months maybe even years.
I’m stuck in a box, I even taped myself in! I’m terrified of change, I have to be. If I wasn’t I’d have done something about it by now.
Well I have in fact done something about it. I got a job, well a contract that can turn into a job anytime I like.
Funny I couldn’t commit completely I had to hold on to my company for a bit longer.
As I sit writing this on my bedroom floor just before I pack for a trip to Belfast the irony smacked me in the face. Tomorrow’s workshop is about Leading Change. I couldn’t even get my head around my son having pasta for breakfast and I was going to stand in front of 30 people and preach about change. What a hypocrite!
The thing is winding up a company after 13 years is going to be tough for a while. There will be people judging me and people will see it is a failure.
And my response, it sure is but not in the way you might think.
I have learnt so much from the last 13 years and none of that goes away. I failed to act, I worried about other people’s opinion too much to do the right thing for me, that’s the failure. And from this failure comes new and exciting opportunities. A new chapter a fresh start.
I’m terrified and excited. As I started to write this I was feeling overwhelmed, now, I feel better. It feels doable. I can change the world anyway I like and being employed could even make that easier.
As for William the tortellini moment was a bit of a mummy light bulb. I will fight as hard as I can to help him keep out of that box as long as possible. Throwing away the lego instructions, encouraging him to challenge rather than accepting the rules (with respect of course). And fingers crossed he stays out of that box for a little longer…