With sheer determination, change can occur quickly

Last week I confirmed my _SocialStarters place for February 2016. I am so excited. I can’t believe that in 6 months time I will be starting a new phase of my life.

Looking back to when I started to get this ball rolling, I was surprised to find it wasn’t really that long ago. It was early June that I thought a career change was an option and totally possible. Going to the The Escape the City taster session turned my internal light back on.  Thanks to the talk by Matt Trinetti and The Escape Manifesto I am on course for major lifestyle changes. All of this happened only a mere 7 weeks ago.

This isn’t to say that I have made spur of the moment decisions. I haven’t. The last 6 weeks have allowed me to take practical small steps in the right direction and thus provide me with the confidence to aspire for something much bigger, yet unknown. More importantly for me, I am okay with the idea of not knowing.  This is a massive step change for me as I am someone who has previously been more comfortable with black and white.

I have done a hell of a lot of research and planning to get me to where I am, and I am feeling the benefits of the effort I have already put in.  I feel more confident in my own ability and I am optimistic about what the future may bring.

My biggest concern revolves around not having the right people around me, so I have actively been taking steps to connect with different people.  I have signed up for events and talks but the biggest benefit to date has been offering my skills on a pro bono basis. People are approaching me.

I have engaged with really interesting and inspiring people who have set up and run organisations I would never have come across.  It’s been a fantastic opportunity and a great learning experience and I’m really excited about a project I have just been discussing with a potential new client.

Right now, the opportunities appear endless.  For me, anything is possible.  No problem is unsolvable, you just have to work out how to approach it and be determined to make change happen.

Expanding the mind to expand the social circle

One of the items in my escape plan is to widen my networks and to attend some Meetups. Expand my mind whilst meeting like minded individuals – expand my social circle – that’s the goal.

Yesterday evening I attended my first Meetup which was organised by Interesting Talks. The talk was by Robert Kelsey, author of various self help type books, most recently The Outside Edge: How Outsiders can Succeed in a World Made by Insiders.

Having never been to a Meetup  before I didn’t know what to expect or who would be there. Nor did I really research the author or the book beforehand. The title seemed relevant and I needed to force myself to take that step. This was really the primary objective – to book and attend.

As someone who isn’t keen on networking or being forced to talk to new people, doing this is pushing me out of my comfort zone. I mean, I can go and talk to people, I just don’t particularly enjoy ‘networking’. I have not really developed or excelled in that skill as yet but it is one I need to develop and fast.

Today I spoke to one person, the guy sitting next to me, as we were given tasks throughout the talk. It was fine because we were given a topic to discuss. This immediately removed the usual awkwardness I may have felt when making small talk.

I felt Robert Kelsey’s talk was a bit mediocre, particularly as I’ve listened to a far more engaging and inspirational talk on career change  recently by The Escape School. More about Esc later.

Robert described the traits of an Outsider and we were asked to score ourselves based on his list of outsider traits.  The list is debatable. I felt that I was able to relate to some aspects more than others. I tried to score more objectively as opposed to score against how my job makes me currently feel as I’d get quite extreme results.

For example I can be a cynic and quite negative however that is situation and circumstance dependent. I can be extremely positive when the environment is right.

Overall I would  class myself as an outsider because I genuinely don’t feel that I belong in a corporate environment. I have a desire to be different and I oppose convention.

My desire to seek and provide solutions means I often operate outside any given boxes, purely because often that is where the solution may lie. I feel constrained by people who aren’t able to look outside of what’s provided. He said that outsiders are entrepreneurs.

The rest of the session revolved around making plans to help get you to where you want to be. Visualize where you’d like to be in 10 years. I struggled with this resulting  in me losing interest.

Providing me with a picture of a house and a car doesn’t appeal to my senses. That’s not what I aspire to. I can just about work out where I’d like to be in 8 months and am working on my plan to get me there, 10 years was beyond me. I could be dead before then!

As someone who focuses on innovation, I am also aware that technology changes rapidly. What I plan for 10 years may actually completely redundant by then. It might be redundant in 5 years.

I believe in flexibility. Having an awareness about transferable skills will be more beneficial as is managing change and creating direction in your life. By having a 10 year plan, there is a feeling that you are tied into the plan. This doesn’t allow for other avenues to be traversed.

I agree I need a plan but I believe there are more effective ways to plan which weren’t covered.

The talk may not have been to my benefit but I attended an event. This is the first small step into the murky waters of networking.  Next action point is to book another event. The idea is I get used to meeting and talking to new people. Do it enough it so it becomes natural.