Why you should be your own biggest cheerleader

In my newsletter a few weeks ago, I opened up about juggling all the balls, letting some drop and struggling with “adulting”.

It can be really tough doing everything you HAVE to do and leaving any time for the things you WANT to do. Especially without those want-tos starting to feeling like just another item on your neverending to-do list.

If you’re nodding along right now, I feel you. After my 9-to-5, looking after my 3-year-old and keeping all the essential plates spinning, I struggle to prioritise anything that brings me joy or is good for me (workout? Ugh, I don’t have the energy. Reading? I wish I had the time! Eating healthily? I don’t have time to cook a delicious, nutritious meal from scratch, it’ll have to be beige food from the freezer again).

But the thing is, if we don’t make time for the things we enjoy or that will move us towards a personal goal, then we’ll end up burnt out and miserable, and we’ll still be a mile away from the life we dream of in five, or ten, or twenty years’ time.

Be your own cheerleader

You know how we’re told not to worry about what others think of us, because they rarely do? They’re too busy focusing on themselves. Well, it’s absolutely true (wear the dress, eat the donut, dance like no one’s watching! Life is too short, people). And you know what else? Nobody is going to give you the life you dream of or the opportunity you’re waiting for if you don’t put in the work.

I said what I said.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Doesn’t it sound liberating to know you’re the only one responsible for your own success, and there’s no one out there who can keep you away from it if you’re willing to work hard and persevere? OK, a little scary, but also liberating!

The thing is, no one cares about your life, your career, your goals and dreams and hopes for the future as much as you do. I’m sure your friends and family are really supportive and would do anything for you, but at the end of the day kids, it’s down to you.

Carve your own path

So, no gatekeeper is letting you into your chosen career or industry by the front door? Use the back door. Find a tiny, second-story window. Take a sledgehammer and smash your way in. (OK, that last one was a bit aggressive, be kind while also smashing your way in).

The best thing about the internet, social media, and the way we live our lives online nowadays is that it’s created so many options and so many ways to get ourselves and our work out there in front of the world. No matter what you want to do, there’s a way to do it yourself using the internet and a bit of brass neck. (Probably. I mean, if you’re trying to become a glaziologist studying icebergs in the Arctic, you might need a biology degree. But you get my meaning.)

Start a blog, launch a podcast, self publish your book, build an online following and sell your handmade crafts, study remotely and take classes by experts the whole world over. Find your community, make a name for yourself, support a cause that’s close to your heart, pay it forward and help the next person up the ladder behind you.

But most of all, be your own biggest cheerleader. And when it feels tough, let me do it for you.

You’re filled with unlimited potential, you can do anything you dream of, I believe in you!



Why it’s OK to be bad at something new

I hate the term “overnight success”, don’t you? It’s never accurate, in fact statistically speaking, it takes around ten years for most of those people we deem “successful” to reach the point in their careers of being touted as an overnight success in the media.

That’s crazy, right? To have worked your arse off for a decade, grown your skills, built your brand and earned your success – only for it to be immediately reduced and belittled by the press who call it “overnight”, as though you hadn’t been killing it for years before you became a household name.

It not only completely disparages all the hard work of the successful individual, it also gives a completely false impression of achieving goals and getting recognition to those of us still reaching for that unreachable star. The concept of an overnight success can cause us to give up before we make it, because we start to believe that if it was meant for us – or worse, if we were “good enough” – then surely we would have made it by now?

But that just isn’t the case. If you want something, and you’re willing to work HARD for it, then there’s every chance you can achieve it. I’m obviously speaking from a place of privilege (as a white woman from a nuclear family with a parent who went to university before me), and I know that my experience isn’t everyone’s, but I want to believe that anyone can be who they want to be and do what they want to do. I want to live in a world where that is true, and I will fight alongside anyone who is working towards their big goal, whatever that may be.

How to be OK with sucking at something new

  1. Remember, there’s no such thing as an “overnight success”. Keep trying, keep aiming for your goal and don’t give up.
  2. Read more biographies and autobiographies about people you admire – you’ll soon realise they faced many of the same struggles as you on their journey towards success.
  3. Find your tribe – look for the people and groups online who are also working towards your same goal, open up to them and they’ll reassure you that the process is the same for every newbie (and hopefully they’ll encourage you to keep trying!).
  4. Get OK with being vulnerable. Share your attempts, admit when you fail – somebody somewhere is so inspired by you and your progress. Do it for the old you, the one who dared to dream and didn’t quite believe they could do it. You’re doing it!
  5. Remind yourself that you might fail one hundred times, but it only takes one time for you to succeed. Every single person who ever succeeded started as a beginner, overcame challenges, learned from failures, and eventually achieved their goal. One day, that person will be you.

Try, fail, try again, fail better

I have failed many, many times in my life. I’ve never hit 50k words during NaNoWriMo, I entered Pitch Wars with my first manuscript and didn’t get in, I queried around 40 agents and got some pleasant responses but not even a single full request. I kept writing, kept rewriting, kept sharing my journey here on my blog and on Instagram with the incredible writing and reading community over there, and just over a year ago I made the bold decision to self publish. And I haven’t looked back.

I certainly haven’t achieved my version of overnight success yet, but that’s all part of the thrill. Where do you go once you’re considered “successful”? I guess it becomes a game of maintaining it and living to everyone else’s expectations of you, and that’s just not as much fun to me.

Keep trying, dear reader. Never stop trying.