The importance of reflection

The importance of reflection
empty london tube carriage


When we think about life and achievements, it seems that we remember the milestones rather than milepebbles (can we call a mini-milestone a milepebble? Can that be a thing?). When I think about my life, it seems to be childhood – teenager – university – my dad passing away – graduation – year in York – moved to Leeds – moved jobs. Nearly 27 years and my life phases are summed up into eight key points.

But if you only look back and think about the chunky life phases, which is so easy to do, you don’t think about the little things you achieved within them and how far you’ve come since. For example, university blurs three years into one time period, but the person I was when I graduated was a million miles away from the fresh-faced 18 year old I was when I started.

It was only recently that I actually stopped to think about how much I’ve personally changed even in the last few years. I remember when I was growing up that I thought that once you left university, that’s it, you’re a grown up and that’s the person you are forever. It turns out that you’re very much still working out who you are throughout your 20s. As much as I scoff that people go ‘find themselves’ on a beach in Thailand, it definitely took moving to a new city, starting a new job and living entirely independently for me to work out who I was. Maybe all it takes is a change of scenery after all?

The point where I sat and thought to myself ‘shit, things have changed’ was when I was on a train to Surrey to go deliver a client training session. This involved a train to London (a fixed ticket so I couldn’t miss it), travelling across London (one tube, one overground) and then a fourth train out to where my client is based, a walk to their office and then two hours of delivering a training session.

Even as little as three years ago, that would have sent me into a panicky spiral of sleepless nights. I spent a long time fearing the unknown and working in a world where this kind of thing is expected as part and parcel of a job meant that I had to boot myself out of my comfort zone. This fear never stopped me simply because it wasn’t an option, but the ride to getting there was challenging and exhausting. I realised that I couldn’t work in an agency without travelling to meet clients. I couldn’t be an expert and a consultant if I’m unwilling to teach people.

It was quite simply fight or flight, and if I wanted to continue doing a job I love, I had to fight to make the situations I feared into a new normal. I may have lost count of the number of times I’ve delivered a presentation on zero hours sleep, but I’ve never not done it.

When I was on the train to Surrey, I realised that I hadn’t been phased by the whole experience. I went to bed the night before and slept through. I got on the train, I went to the meeting to deliver my training and then went home again. And I did that without freaking out, without anxiously triple checking the tube map (LOL probably should have as I stayed on one of them for an extra two stops and had to go back), without feeling nervous when I stood at the front of the room and ran my session.

This may seem like nothing to some people (as y’know, I’m literally just doing my job), but compared to where I was at a few years ago, this is a big victory. I don’t know if it’s because it’s come from experience, more confidence in myself and my abilities (both professionally and on working out which tube to get on), or the realisation that we’re all human and mistakes happen, but it’s a big chunk of worry that I no longer have to worry about.

Normally at the end of my posts, I tend to ask a question and say ‘let me know in the comments’ but for this post, all I ask is that you think about what you were doing a few years ago that scared you that doesn’t scare you now. Or maybe what now scares you and didn’t used to, and maybe thinking about what changed and how you can change it back.

And then, let me know in the comments!

2 comments

  1. So much love for this post, topic and you. ❤️

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  2. Love this post! I know that exact feeling and am still a bit worried about presenting, but am forcing myself to get better and more relaxed as I'm going to need it.

    It's good to sit back and think about these things, imagine where we'll be a few years from now xx

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