At the minute, I’m listening to ‘Kick Ass with Mel Robbins’ on Audible, and I have to say it’s making for some fascinating commutes. One of the techniques she uses when coaching people towards change is to ask them to label the last chapter of their life and the new one. That way, if they find that they’re falling back into bad habits, thoughts, actions etc. then they can remind themselves that they’ve gone back a chapter, and re-commit to their new way of living.
So this is what I’ve done too, having come to the realisation recently that I’m not quite where I could be. Just to be awkward though, I went for three Acts instead. Here they are:
Act I: In Hiding
Act I, which lasted until I was about 25, was characterised by self-doubt, fear, fixed-mindset and avoidance. Oh… and self-loathing. Tons of self-loathing.
Life was all about pretending to be normal; of not letting my real ‘weird’ self be seen. Life was barely life at all.
Act II: Stepping out, cautiously
Act II runs from the age of 25 until now, pretty much (I’m 35 in March). The last Act ended when a mixture of boredom and ambition, drove me into a teaching qualification. In this time, I’ve become a successful teacher, battling my demons head-on with the help of a CBT therapist and an endless amount of self-help.
The girl from Act I would be blown away by the achievements of Act II, personally and professionally – the level of progress is unreal! In fact, she’s now in her second year of running a wellbeing teaching business… and it’s going great! This from a girl who, in Act I, could make mental warfare out of asking a waiter for a bill. Amazing!
And yet, this girl still doesn’t quite believe in herself; she still hears a barrage of can’ts whenever she ventures into new territory; and at times, she still holds herself back when she knows she needs to jump forward. She’s ‘out’, but not quite ‘out with pride’ just yet.
Act III: Guns Blazing!
Okay… maybe I do secretly wish to be Lara Croft when I grow up… but this title perfectly fits what I want for my next, new chapter.
In this Act, our girl Jo finally ‘gets’ it. She realises that all of the pain and misery, the can’ts, the limits, the worries and the problems… they were all in her head. She created them herself.
Fear and anxiety are not absent from Act III, in fact, they feature here more than in any other Act. Because this Act is about going for it, ‘guns blazing’ and taking every challenge and opportunity that comes our way. It’s not about shedding the vulnerability, but rather wearing it as a coat of armour. Of course, ‘can’ts’ still pop into her head (because – neural pathways) but she immediately puts her head up, shoulders back, says, “CAN!” and goes and does whatever it is she’s afraid of.
She stops half-arsing it, starts believing her own hype and finally, becomes the hero of her own movie.
Can you label the Acts or chapters of your life? Comment below: