Have you ever had that moment where something you said comes back to smack you in the mouth? That time when a quote gets played back to you and you have to listen to the ‘informed and sound advice’ that you gave someone way back when, and maybe have to herald the words in it for your own self evaluation and contemplation.
Irony is a bitch.
I actually had that little ‘moment’ this week when I was sent a link to a press release done by the Arts Unit of NSW Education. My niece is now the performer and creative dance person, but it was with a very humble gesture that when she sent me the link to a new promo, which I was very emotionally proud to see she was featured in, I was a little dumbstruck when I saw myself in the clip, sprouting words like a doyen of dance?
It’s all very positive and complimentary but as I was sitting there marvelling at the lovely presentation of a group that I was associated with way back when I was a burgeoning and naïve 16 year old, I heard my own words as a 41 year old man resounding in my head as all of a sudden, there I was on the screen. It was talking about the luck involved with being a part of something exciting and ‘fun’ that led to a 14 year career in the arts and took me around the world on all manner of adventures and experiences.
Having now moved on to other interests and passions, I was forced to sit up and take note of myself. I guess when you are in that moment of redefining your projections and targets, and something like this happens, you can realise that sometimes the best ideas actually do come from within you – if you can manage to identify them and listen to yourself.
It also comes down to having had the amazing chance to invest in something as a teenager, that was part of the reason I was drawn to being a performer, and how the interaction of those chances and opportunities led to something much bigger and informative. How something that is a ‘hobby’ has the ability to turn into a passion that drives a career that lasts for years.
So what does this mean to us if we are over 40 and contemplating some changes in directions, career, targets, physicality? Are we still just waiting for that ‘fairy godmother’ figure to pop out and wave the magic wand around and tell us all the answers? Unfortunately that dream is becoming more fanciful and less of a reality. Believe me I’ve been believing in that Disney moment for years and I still haven’t had the Genie pop out of that lamp no matter how hard I rub it. Perhaps not, but it does beg to wonder that how genuine are we with our dreams as we get older? Do we now dismiss something as being too decadent or too ridiculous to contemplate because in actual fact we may be too scared of achieving it in the first place? Are we going with the safe route? Do we dare to challenge ourselves and try for something a little larger than what we may deem is possible?
And it doesn’t even have to be an over 40’s! I know of a good friend who is 24 and having been a successful professional athlete and sought after model, is at this tender age, already looking at moving onto the next challenge. Even to the point of giving up current opportunities and offers in sports and PR to pursue the real passion that he feels he wants. So he is ditching the glamour and the touring to enrol in basic courses to harness new talents and starting anew because he is certain that this is where his direction lies.
What it comes down to is belief. Believing in yourself and in what you ‘really want’ for your life choices. Making sure you know precisely what it is that you do want so that when opportunity does come to knock, you can easily say yes or no, depending on what your primary choice is. Defining those moments are perhaps somewhat easier said than done, but important work to be regarded and invested in.
Of course the idea that opportunity just pops up and is a result of ‘luck’ and chance’ more than good planning is perhaps not as ‘random’ as it may appear. I have always preferred the opinion that opportunity has nothing to do with luck. Knowing when to identify that an opportunity is knocking on your door and having the skills, the tenacity, the commitment and the sheer balls to say “yep, I’m good enough for this and I deserve this” means that chance has very little role to play. If you believe in the self enough.
· Put yourself in the way of opportunity
· Recognise it when it comes along
· Open yourself to everything that comes along as an opportunity to learn
· Dream big and never let the ‘naysayers’ pull you back from your goals.
That opportunity and results come from a ‘can do’ attitude is an easy connection to create. It needs to be combined with a belief in the self that is at times unbridled and certainly impassioned! But if you can harness that ability to mix that unbridled passion together with commitment and hard work, you have the makings of something that can end up being pretty incredible. Nothing significant comes from being handed achievement on a plate.
There is always the ‘iceberg’ effect of seeing the hard work under the surface that results in the crowning glory of a singular moment or significant accolade being awarded that makes dedication and commitment the impetus and necessary ‘friends and confidantes’ of being a success.