By July 13, 2016 Read More →

Never ignore an 8 year old!

by Liz Proctor

8 year old - Liz Proctor, getting muddyWhen you were an 8 year old, if someone had asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, what would you have told them?

How close are you to having that thing in your life and business now?

OK, so being an astronaut, professional Lego builder or the World’s Strongest Woman perhaps doesn’t have quite the same appeal as it once did.

But I bet there’s something in that dream that’s fundamental to your happiness.

Does your home-based business reflect that?

And when 8 year old you wasn’t planning the future, what were you doing? Reading, drawing, roller-skating, collecting bubblegum wrappers, climbing trees? How much of those things do you do now?

When I was 8, when I wasn’t reading piles of books, I was writing stories or getting dirty climbing trees and poking in ditches. When people asked me what I was going to do when I grew up, I’d inform them I was going to write a book and be an English teacher.

I’m quite a lot older than 8 now. After years of working for charities, not writing a book or teaching anything much, I discovered coaching, first as a client and now as a coach.

8 year old - Liz ProctorNow I’m writing every day, teaching when I can, and have discovered that coaching offers the same satisfaction that teaching does. I also spend a lot of time outside in the garden getting muddy.

My 8 year old self was very wise. She knew I loved people and words, and being outdoors in nature. Coaching helped me to remember that, and to map out a present and a future that includes all of those things.

But I had to be brave, and give myself permission to change direction. I’d been running a charity consultancy for years, and declaring that I was going to become a writer and life coach seemed a little unrealistic.

Here’s what I did:

1. Wrestled with myself for weeks about how childish and idealistic I was being, and panicked that I had to do everything, all at once, without losing any income or clients. This step may or may not be compulsory, but I suspect that everyone who makes a change goes through this or a version of it!

2. Realised that I could do new things just by doing a little less of the ‘old’ things – I didn’t have to throw the baby (established business) out with the bathwater.

3. Followed my nose. If something looked interesting, or sounded exciting, I went for it. That’s how I had ended up doing a coaching course in the first place – not because it was a great career move (although it was!) but because it sounded fun.

4. Reminded myself that a decision almost never has to be either/or. I didn’t have to choose between writing, coaching or charity consulting. I could (and now do) enjoy an ever-evolving mixture of all three.

8 year old - Liz proctor, notebook5. Realised that almost everything I’ve enjoyed in my working life has involved one or more of those things that 8 year old me enjoyed: writing, words, being outside, groups of people.

What did your 8 year old self know that you’ve forgotten?

If you’ve any experience with children you’ll know that they don’t like to be ignored (!), so if there was something you loved when you were 8 (or 9, or 5, or 12) that you’re no longer doing, think about what you loved about it.

Maybe going into space isn’t quite the thing for you any more, but learning all about it might be. I’m not suggesting a career change like mine, unless that’s what you decide you need, but bringing more of what we love into our lives, whether at home or at work, can bring a whole lot of contentment.

So dig out the rollerskates, give yourself a whole day to do nothing but read (oh, those were the days), or start a new stamp collection. If it made you happy then, chances are some part of it will make you happy now.

Your inner 8 year old will thank you, and your business might just find a whole new lease of life too!

work from home secrets

Enjoyed this? Liz’s very popular post How to change direction and love it explored another aspect of getting more enjoyment into your work.

2 Comments on "Never ignore an 8 year old!"

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  1. Jane Minton says:

    Whoop, whoop! I absolutely agree and am currently working hard on this myself – when I was 8 I spent hours drawing and I don’t do nearly enough anymore (until I was 20 I wanted to be an illustrator). It’s so important to do more of what we love (even if it’s not how we earn our money).