By Mike Evans
Do you remember the National Lottery adverts with the big foam hand?
If you’re reading this and you’re not from the UK, we used to have weekly commercials for the Lotto. They used to show people going about their regular lives and a huge foam finger (like the ones from sports games) would come from the sky, break the clouds and point at them. The idea was that chance; luck; whichever noun you associate with winning, had chosen these people. This image, like a lot of images from advertising during our childhoods, is ingrained in my mind. There are lots of times in my life where the huge foam hand has pointed to things for me, and it’s just happened again!
Over the last year I ended a career that I had built over 15 years and started out in a new direction. I did this for a number of reasons. Some of the more compelling reasons were to have more control over my work, to have a better work/life balance and for life to be more comfortable. But starting something new has involved reaching out to new customers; proving that you are who they should trust and invest in. This doesn’t feel like I have control and it definitely doesn’t feel comfortable!
So, this past week, the big foam hand is back and it’s pointing at vulnerability.
Over the last few years my therapist and I have been discussing how I allow vulnerability to get in my way. It’s like a big barrier that almost shuts me down. Those who know me know that I normally have a lot of energy, but this is all stripped away from me when I feel vulnerable. I want to put my head in the sand and avoid putting myself out there.
Last week I launched new products and I had meetings with a business coach about taking my business to the next level. These new products further cement my decision to spend my life working as a coach. Exploring how I scale my business means that I will be making huge changes to my life going forward. I didn’t realise that I was starting to bury my head in the sand again, to protect myself, to avoid the vulnerability. I can tell you, honestly, at the age of 34, I have avoided vulnerability a lot of times and it never makes me feel better.
This week some of the signs that the big foam hand pointed at were; a friend asking me if I’ve seen Brené Brown’s The Call to Courage on Netflix; One of my closest friends telling me that she is struggling to know if running her business is worth it; Ferne Cotton on instagram talking about her new podcast with boxer Lawrence Okolie who journeyed from fast food worker to Olympic champion boxer in 4 years by just deciding to.
These moments are not epiphanies, they are reminders and I saw them because I had my eyes open.
I’ve been tempted to run away from the vulnerability of reaching out to new customers. Or rather to put my head in the sand and not try. The last few days have been a reminder. Putting yourself out there is exposing. We might fail. At some point though, you will try and succeed. We have to try.
Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Start to understand what scares you and ask it ‘why’? Today, I am asking myself, ‘What I am scared of and why…?’ It’s time to write those emails!
“The biggest gamble to should take is on yourself”- Lawrence Okolie