Bravery and Courage

After reading the blog by Ummi Fulani, Transition, Patience and Gratitude. I’m beginning to appreciate why it is good to talk. Be brave and have courage.

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What an interesting few months the first quarter of 2019 is turning into:

Firstly, a massive congratulations to Ummi on your triumph. As Ummi mentions in her own blog on the life leap: Transition, Patience and Gratitude. It is essential to find your own space and to have patience. I agree.  Patience with the process, patience with others and patience with - in my own case – patience with judgemental minds.

If someone had said a year ago, that I was going to be doing what I am doing in April 2019, I would have spat out my tea and said, “No Way!”

And it all began with learning how to say no.   

As I have shared on many occasions over the past year, I’ve always been quite the people pleaser. I admit, I liked the energy in being the people pleaser when I was without responsibility. However, as time goes by and life evolves, the busier our lives become the more complex the role of people pleaser can be.

Being the people pleaser, it was sending me in directions that I didn’t really want to go, but it was okay, because I was making others happy. I told myself.  

But. . . was I? Making others happy?

Since mindfully exploring and journalling life’s events with the Psychologies Worksheets, I began to realise, I was growing more and more frustrated with my peers and my community and my personal work because even when I was helping others, people all around me, they seemed to be moaning. The more I listened, the more moaning I heard. I had to really focus on my own mindset. I must remain positive I told myself, and maybe, just maybe it was time to start saying ‘No’.

As I worked through the worksheets I have chatted with friends and family about situations

  • What would you do if there were no limits? 
  • How do you feel if you say no to someone? 

I am certainly not alone in subjectively considering these questions and considering alternate approaches to life. Little had I realised that I had been a people pleaser thriving in the belief that I was always putting other hearts and minds first and caring and sharing etc etc. It was going to take a lot of bravery and courage to learn how to say No. How do I say no assertively? Rather than portraying as disinterested. I discussed the Psychologies worksheets and the topic: how to say No, with my partner. I noted that he said No and didn’t question his response or the reaction to it because he said no with a valid reason attached. I said, “I have valid reasons, but I still feel terrible because I want to help even when my help often takes me away from what I want to do”. [That word feel was the revelation!]

The practise and experience in learning how to say No, has been a fascinating journey.

As I mentioned on the last blog, I have recently changed my focus and segments on the wheel of life back into ‘Career’ and ‘Income’. These were my own empty two segments in 2019, and I was ready to make the change.  I too, alike Ummi I had been applying for a number of roles that I thought I had self-developed enough to attain, and I was continually faced with rejection, often silence, because some companies don’t even respond to applications unless you are chosen to be interviewed. Interestingly, on reviewing my list of applications and rejections. I was often applying for full-time roles, when realistically I wanted a part-time career. I still have dependants, and I love being mum. I knew it was time for me to be earning a living again. I had the free time. I had the knowledge. What did I need to be doing to get the right role for me?

It was time to have a rethink, and I reflected on my attempt in 2018 at going it alone in becoming a Creative Writing Mentor and Coach. On reflection and in truth the whole experience was awkward. I struggled to P.R. myself and ask for the exchange of income for my knowledge. Then in February 2019, enough was enough. It was time to start putting the word No into practice, and become aware of how I was feeling:

As a practising Creative Writing Mentor (no fee):

I met with a wonderful gentleman to discuss his writing, he said he wanted to be a published author. I gave him my advice and support and set him a deadline. The deadline came and went. I was thankful I wasn’t asking for a mentor income, because he had failed to meet his deadline, and that would surely mean I wasn’t a good enough mentor. My motto is, if at first you don’t succeed… I set him a new deadline.

This new deadline has been and gone, and still, the wonderful gentleman writes and writes and writes, and helps edit a newspaper and wrote a script. On observation, he’s tied up in retirement and his own voluntary busyness.

Kindly, he was spreading the word that I was very helpful, and a great motivator. I was asked to help another friend.

The other friend said they needed help with motivation and editing. I said I can help. If this is something he wants, what did he need specifically from me? He said, “Just to talk and motivate. I can’t pay you!”

I looked at him and sighed, and normally I would have said, “Okay, absolutely fine.” With a smile.

This time I didn’t. I said, “I’m sorry, if it’s tea and chat you want, great. But, I have so much else going on in my own career progress. I can’t keep supporting and mentoring for free. Let me know how you get on.”  

I felt bad, but also quite relieved. For the first time in my Creative Writing Progress I had finally stopped saying yes just to meet like minded people. I wanted my Creative Writing angle to be a professional process. I always have.  My people pleasing approach was too gullible/naive for this profession.

In my newly assertive state of mind, I took a relook at what I wanted. I reviewed my own career interests. Already, at the back of my mind I knew I loved the radio, tv and tech. Maybe presenting might be something I could do? I’ve never done it before, but maybe this was because my people pleasing deviated from my own goals.

I searched through some archived research and paperwork and noted I had a blank volunteer application for the local RSPCA; I had written a prompt to myself that a Cover Supervisor Role in schools would be scary, yet a stepping stone to presenting to the masses. Last, but not least, I had also put a note in my diary that I should visit The Local BBC House in Hull, so that I could investigate: How I could take my writing into the entertainment industry?

It felt random, but I started saying no to my usual routine. I was going to have to be brave, I have never been fond of public speaking, but I write online like this weekly. My self-esteem to public-speak needed encouragement. I decided I had applied for so many positions I was over-qualified for, I thought, let me try to apply for positions that make my heart leap and I would’ve normally avoided putting myself forward for. It was time to be brave and have courage.

This week in reading Ummi’s blog, I know I am not alone in this process of transition and magically it has been an exciting few weeks.

I have some amazing news. Conditional offers pending, .

I started this blog talking about having:

Patience with the process, patience with others and patience with - in my own case – patience with judgemental minds, and I mentioned that how I ‘feel’ was quite the revelation.

I will leave you with this, until the next time.

My dearest friend of 40 years said to me this week. “There is something about you that is different, you seem a little full of yourself. No. That sounds wrong. I mean, you seem to be more self-assured.”

I replied, “I don’t mind that you suggest I’m a little full of myself, it’s been a crazy few weeks, some days have been quite nerve-racking and nail-biting, but I am finally doing a few things that I want to do, for me. And it feels great.”

Be brave and have courage, face the fear and. . . best of luck with all of your own adventures - You can do it.

Julie Spencer

Ambassador and Learning Support Assistant, Psychologies Magazine

Proud Ambassador for Psychologies Magazine. The magazine encapsulates many of my core values: being kind, have compassion, look after your health and wellbeing, be professional and be supportive of others. A little self belief can go a long way. I have studied as a mature student. I went into a writing frenzy and spent 3 years writing in solitude. I was a stay at home mum, too. What I learned: being alone for long periods of time is bad for your health and wellbeing. Thanks to a little nudge from Psychologies Magazine I am reconnecting and rebuilding my C.V. I'm a creative. I have lots of ideas and I need to constantly realign my focus onto one project at a time. Until recently I had a real fear for public speaking, but after reading a book that suggested I acknowledge my fears and challenge them anyway; with the support of the Psychologies community and more I'm working through my fears one blog at a time.


Go to the profile of Ummi Fulani
about 1 year ago

Oh Julie❤️ I have no idea how I missed this post here. It came up when I searched my name and my jaw dropped in surprised. Thanks for writing and I'm glad you resonated with my experience enough to share yours. I'm following you here so I'm not going to miss anything you post now, 😉 xoxo