IF YOU OWNED a brand new, top of the range Ferrari, would you let your neighbour’s 17 year-old drive it, just because they asked nicely? I imagine you would want to know if they’d passed their driving test. You’d probably even want to assess what driving skills and experience they have. Would your insurance cover them? Chances are you would think long and hard before you handed over the keys to your pride and joy.
Similarly, imagine you’d taken that same car out for a run, and parked in a quiet street. Then, a bit later, you wander past and see that a builder is mixing concrete beside it, and some kids have made a skateboard run right next to it. Chances are you’d pop across and move it to a safer parking space, wouldn’t you?
All sounds like common sense? However, when it comes to making decisions about our own life, many of us behave as if we don’t have this degree of control. Many of us regularly agree to do things we don’t want to, and which we know aren’t good for us, then we stick with them as if we have no right to change what we’re doing.
There are two really important things to know about your own life:
1. You are in charge of who drives your Ferrari!
2. You can move your Ferrari anywhere and anytime you want to!
And we all know I’m not talking about cars here, right? It’s your life. Where you are right now, and where you are going to next is entirely up to you. Of course, there are external influences, and constraints, but people are good at overestimating these, and underestimating their own freedom.
You are in charge of who drives your Ferrari!
Most of us have people in our lives we want to please - parents, partners or friends, i.e., people who we know love us, and want what they think is best for us.
For some, the commitment to those people has provided the strength and impetus to go for and achieve great things. Sometimes their criticism works as our driving force becomes: ‘I’ll show them.’
The danger is when your wish to please others takes you down a path you don’t really want to go, or when what other people think is right for you, is really not what you want. Then, if you let it, you become constrained and divert your energies from what you want, to doing what you think everyone else wants.
Or to use my analogy, you polish your Ferrari every week, you pay the road tax, and keep it serviced, only to stand back and let everyone else take it out for a spin. Don’t you want a turn at the wheel?
You can move your Ferrari anywhere and anytime you want to!
I was working with a client recently, and he told me that he couldn’t move where he wanted to, because it would disrupt his family. He couldn’t change his job because that would mean he was committing to not moving. He couldn’t content himself where he was, because he desperately wanted something to change. Check mate! He had created a brilliant set of conditions to keep himself completely stuck and unhappy.
The truth is, he could do any of those things, but he chose not to. I’ll repeat that, HE chose not to. His Ferrari was stuck outside his house, getting old and weathered, and nobody was driving it. In fact, it was getting close to being pushed out into the nearest ocean, to take its chances with the tides. Inactivity is a choice. Bowing to what you think everyone else wants is a choice.
We all constrain ourselves at times with the thought, ‘I can’t’, when we actually can. There may be consequences, sometimes those may be traumatic and challenging, but you could do it. When you recognise that you have options, and realise that you are choosing to stay where you are, then it is easier to content yourself with what you have, or if this is not possible, to take the plunge and deal with the fall out.
Just think about it. If you have £700 in your bank right now, you could go on line and book yourself a ticket to fly to Australia next week. I’m not saying you should, I’m not saying you would even want to, but you could. If you did, you might lose your job, not have enough money left to pay your rent and confuse the heck out of your friends and family. Not to mention what you would have to do when you got there, with no place to stay. But the point is, if those funds are available, the choice is a possibility. You probably won’t exercise this option. But that’s a choice you are making.
How many much more minor options are you overlooking because you just haven’t defined them as plausible options?
It’s your Ferrari. As long as you’re not breaking the law, you can move it anywhere you like.
I’m not advocating that we all throw caution to the wind, and disrupt our lives without any good reason. I’m just saying that you only have one Ferrari, so make sure you have some fun with it before you lose sight of the multitude of places that you could go in it.
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