Once upon a time there was a little girl. She would play, skip and jump with her imaginary friends in the woods and sing and dance for any stranger who crossed her path. She spent hours saving tadpoles from evaporating steaming puddles, and ants from a watery death. Behind her bedroom door was the lift to fairyland and all the magical worlds that she could imagine. Her conviction and belief in the ability to make the world a better place, simply with a smile and a happy tale, was admirable, and she would sit cross-legged, chatting to her many dolls about all the wonderful things she was going to do when she grew up – And then she did…..
It wasn’t obvious at first and just like the way with someone you see every day, it is hard to see the changes happening. But they did. Life took its toll, and before she knew it, she was 36 and her childhood dreams had long since faded away.
She was a girl like any other.
Simply human, just like you or I.
That was five years ago. On a beautiful sunny Bank Holiday Monday in June 2009, I closed the doors of my third and last restaurant and sat on the floor and cried. After over fifteen years of working hard in this very volatile industry, I had seen and lived through it all. Starting a business from scratch, employing countless staff, dealing with suppliers and customers. I had experienced all the highs of the boom and good times in the Celtic Tiger and then ultimately, the lows with the recession.
Over those fifteen years, I had worked hard, slogging through twelve hour days all for the happiness, security and peace of mind that I longed for. But strangely, even when things had been at their best, it never came. I had become numb, brain washed by society, unaware – whatever term you want to use. I had never really, I mean REALLY analysed what I wanted. What would make me truly happy. And I did what I thought was expected of me, what I had learnt to expect, to value. I built a good, respectable business that any one would be proud of.
I’m by no means knocking this, my restaurants were superb and I loved them dearly, but it had never been what I had originally wanted to do. I had always wanted to help make people happy through the medium of creating, writing and art, but then – somehow – when in Art College I ended up down a different path and my young dreams started to fade away, as I tucked them out of sight and mind.
Until, when in 2009, with an awful lot of debt hanging over me and even more spare time, I tried to pull them out again. But guess what? Somehow over the years, I had lost the confidence and self belief in my abilities and strangely, I now cared what people thought. In fact I cared more about what they thought than what I DID. I had lost my confidence. Even after all the incredible things I had accomplished so far. I had always been a ‘doer’. My successful businesses, all the people I had employed and encouraged and mentored. My martial art journey, my black belt, my victories and my classes of students.
All of this was forgotten now.
I felt a total failure.
So, I became depressed and went to counselling and to the doctors for help. But it didn’t help. I realised I needed to help myself, so I started to read everything I could on this subject. I read all the self-help books I could get my hands on!
Soon I started to notice that a lot of the information and advice was the same, just explained, perceived and packaged differently. I started to note the similarities. Just like with Martial Arts or actual Art and painting, there are always some basic rules. The important thing is understanding these first and then, after that, you can change and play with it as you see fit. I am sure many of you can relate to this.
I realised that the same could be said about our minds and how we think.
What we think has a serious impact on how we live our lives and yes, this is the crunch line . . .
we CAN change how we think, and in so doing – how we feel.
When I accepted and took ownership of this fact, I knew immediately that change had already started to happen. I instantly began to feel differently!
Now, that ‘little girl’ is back and her dream of changing the world is in full techno-colour once again. Join me on this journey and re-discover your childhood imagination and self belief.
I promise it will be well worth it (-: