Despite my engineering degree and my lifetime encouraging people to do something different, I’m constantly surprised by the sheer power of inertia.
Once you have a body in motion, (actual, physical, or meta-physical), then it will continue in that same motion unless subjected to an opposing force sufficiently great to have a measurable effect. Recall that comment in Armageddon all those years ago, in the NASA debate about wild and wacky ways to deal with the impending end of days meteor strike: ‘…like firing a BB gun at a freight train’. Whilst the effort would have a measurable effect, assuming that measuring instruments sufficiently sensitive could be brought to bear on that life extinguishing lump of rock only six miles wide, (or was that the one that killed the dinosaurs – I forget), then the effect of those Mylar sails of BB gun analogical fame would be so negligible that unless we’re back in the time-scales of that mythical super-sperm then it would have no practical effect whatsoever. What’s needed is an effect akin to that other propositional analogy of ‘having your wife open your ketchup bottles the rest of your life’.
There’s a difference between a measurable change and an effective one.
Which brings me to my dilemma.
It’s all very well embarking on a future career change which is inspiring, meaningful and utilises much, if not all, of your previous life experience. It’s even better when there’s the opportunity to get that change to coincide with a reduction in current career, whether voluntary or imposed. The fundamental issue for me boils down to the difference between natural procrastination, (my ability and preference to work under deadline pressure), and a simple refusal to act based on a lack of self-confidence. Now I realise that my having any such thing as lack of self-confidence may come as a surprise but along with most of the human race it is something I find myself hampered by on fairly frequent occasion.
Now, I know that I’ll be successful in my direction changing intentions and that I’ll find enough work to be able to earn a sufficiently good living at it. I am, as you know, proficient in age-progressing future-me style optimism. Whilst this sits somewhat at odds with lacking in confidence, the difference is in time scale.
I’ve always been pretty sure that things will work out in the end, no matter how bad they may feel in the present. In part at least, that’s down to something in my upbringing that leads me to the conclusion that wherever you are in life if you are actually alive then you will in some measure at least be coping with it and if you’re not, then at some point in the future you will be, so all you have to do is get through the crappy bit you find yourself mired in now.
So I’m doing the things I set out to do. I’ve written the words for a website and even re-drafted them after feedback. The website itself is under construction thanks to Katherine, (thanks Katherine). I’ve bought domain names. I have a logo. I have an existing company into which I can roll this new direction. There was a photographer who I’ve used for new photos which might make it to the website albeit that in most of them I’m sporting that traditional photo-smile favoured by those who find it hard to deliver a genuine smile on demand. There’s even one which would look the part on the inside cover of the book that I haven’t written and don’t have planned but you never know, so I may just store that one away just in case.
I even have clients. I’ve used my businessy skills to work out that if I were able to generate at least one new client every week, then when combined the anticipated reduction in my alter-ego’s career, I should still be able to meet all of our bills and possibly even fund a couple of weekends away. Finding two new clients every week starts to slide me onto the path of proper success with choices as to how I navigate the future. Nice.
Those last two paragraphs were written in the manner of that part of me that knows all will be well. The future’s here. The future’s now. The future may even turn out to be Orange, although judging by the internet connection and lack of mobile coverage round our way, I suspect there’ll be further amalgamations beyond their control and we may regain control of the colour of time.
Let’s suppose for a moment that I let that less self-assured part out to play as I have done in previous posts, (all of which seem to have done better than I expected, so perhaps there is merit in allowing a shade of vulnerability out into the world). I’m fully aware that there is more to providing a way for those in need for whom I’d like to provide a service to find out about me than the simple lobbing out into the inter-web of a site promoting said services in manner designed to appeal to them.
Anyway, I find myself at that point where it might just become necessary to put myself about a bit. Go and stand in those places where opportunity might come a rumbling by. Where I can grab on and promote myself to those who might actually be interested in listening. I know that I can do these things. I’ve done them before. I just find it really hard to take that first step on the road which leads there. At this precise moment in time, I’d be much happier hiding under a rock.
Inertia, contrary to popular opinion isn’t the state of not moving. It’s almost the exact opposite. It’s the state held by objects which move, (it could of course be that the state of motion the object currently holds is one of not moving), and the propensity of that object to resist a change in that state of motion. The more mass the object has and the higher its velocity, the more inertia it has and the higher its resistance to change. I have a lot of it. Resistance to change.
For someone who is constantly trying to do better this year than last, to find out new ideas, look for new ways of being, I hate putting myself out there in order to achieve. I think it’s the same as whatever it was that made me not very good at prospecting when I was selling. I was great in front of customers when I’d found them. I just didn’t enjoy the process of finding them. It felt way too exposed. I don’t know why, although I do now know a whole variety of individuals fully qualified to help me discover that very thing should I wish to do so. Thanks but at the moment, no thanks.
You see, if I did indeed find out why, then I’d have no excuse for not doing it. I’d have go out there and face those very things that I’ve spent a lifetime telling myself that if I am the sort of boy/adolescent/man that I believe myself to be, then this is not the sort of thing that I would do. You see, digging into this past would involve changing a lot of what I believe about myself. And that’s scary.
I thought it would be the thought of changing my beliefs about myself that was scary. Oddly enough it isn’t. It’s that were I to change, then I’d have to do those things that my current belief system doesn’t accommodate well. And that, I think is the problem. If I look to change, then I have to acknowledge that the things I have spent a lifetime telling myself are not the things that people like me do, then in order to consider changing, I have to allow the possible future in which I end up doing things that I currently don’t believe in. This, of course, is the basis of the fear that a lot of clients arrive with.
Sitting in front of someone like me usually involves feelings of ‘what the hell am I doing here anyway’. The unconscious sits up and shouts like hell. It does everything it can reasonably think of to discourage. After all, it sees what you are trying to do as a threat to its ability to keep you safe. If you disrupt that, then your perceived safety is compromised. This is something that your unconscious does not like, not one little bit, eh Dr Seuss?
However, by the time therapy reaches the point where the unconscious can see beneficial light at the end of the reality tunnel, it stops trying to get you the hell out of there in a Private Ryan style, and you actually begin to look forward to the sessions. Once your unconscious is on board, pretty much nothing will get in your way. You can start to live in the world that suits you.
Have you ever come across someone who just seems to have it just right? You know you’d love to have their attitude but you know somehow you could just never do it even if you wanted to? Gill and I watched Searching for Sugarman yesterday. Rodriguez was a huge success in South Africa in the 70’s and 80s, bigger than Elvis and the Stones but he never knew. He was hired labour in the U.S. construction industry and continued to do so for the rest of his life. The docu-film found him again and he has since performed in over 30 sell-out stadium gigs in S.A. He’s still a construction worker, living in the same house he has lived in for 40 years. He gives away most of the money he gets from these gigs. And he seems really happy. If only, eh? Or is that just me?
If you find a way of getting even close to this sense of just being, all of a sudden, those things you were frightened of look like opportunities. Your new world is welcoming in ways you hadn’t really thought of. Now I’m only starting out on this journey, nowhere near the destination, so I still find loads of scary stuff along the way. I spend a lot of time anticipating this very thing and begin to lay down paths into the future before the scary things jumps out and, well, scare me. I take on work that I know intellectually that I can do and once done will enjoy but which will be way too off-putting in the interim period so that if I waited too long to commit I’d never begin. I set myself traps for the future so I end up committed to something ahead of time when it isn’t close enough to scare. By the time it jumps out and says Boo! it’s too late to back out.
This is why I found a way to see volunteer clients before I qualified. People with genuine needs who I’d never met and who had no vested interest in responding well to my therapy at all. This means that at the point of going live, as it were, I have already begun that vital change of inertia. I am already moving off in that new direction. Not quite on the right course yet, not yet moving fast enough to be self-sustaining. But, nevertheless the change is now noticeable if not inevitable. We’re not talking ketchup bottles yet, but we’re way past Mylar sails, BB guns and freight trains.
I’ve taken another step forward in my learning. I’ve found out more about SEO, Search Engine Optimisation, as I’m sure many of you know. Now I have to admit to a certain scepticism here. If it were all about SEO, then surely all anyone would have to do is set up the SEO correctly and then hey presto, everyone would have a successful website. But that’s the point isn’t it. If everyone did it, then all websites would be just as well optimised and so no-one would have an advantage. Just take a look at meta-tags and the way they no longer feature with any weight in search engine searches. And isn’t it odd that all the information that tells you how serious SEO is are all in some way offering you advice at a price? Anyway, when does marketing become manipulation?
However, I do agree that a site needs some sort of labelling which tells search engines what it does. And it would make sense to use tags that are relevant to both your site topics and the people who you would like to find it, yes? Absolutely.
I took steps two weeks ago to be more conscious of the tags I use, many thanks to Rachael for the advice. I now think up tags based on what people might be looking for who would enjoy reading what I’ve written. I then use a search tool to find the most searched-for tag based on the ones I thought up. Oh, and I’m trying to be more provocative in my titles. It seems to be working,although for the life of me I’ve no idea what I’m going to call this one at the moment although by the time you get here, hopefully it’ll all have come together as planned.
Since I started doing this I’ve had my best viewing day, two consecutive best weeks ever, 30 new followers and the blog is less than 30 views off its best ever month with 12 days still to go. The sceptic in me is shouting that this is just natural progression for a new blog. Coincidence. Not Cause and Effect. Maybe. Maybe not. Ah well.
That said, I’ve still got to get out there. Find out who to talk to. Access the people who are communication hubs. People who understand and who will talk about me, spread the word to people who know people who might want to talk to me.
Funnily enough you’re one of them.
And here I am talking to you!
making tracks that last…
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013