Spoken by The Tribe: When Fear Meets Determination
Only a week to go, and I can see both concern and happiness across the faces of those in the room. While there is hope, there is also an expectation that we must have things ‘sorted’ and ‘figured out’ by the time we graduate. I’ve found that self created pressure helpful at times, but also a source of worry and frustration. I’m trying to move things forward but I still don’t really know what direction I’m headed in.
I’ve definitely had my fair share of ‘wobbles’ as we refer to them on this journey. I, like Sinéad who wrote an earlier guest post on our progress, have found it extremely difficult to answer seemingly simple questions like ‘what is my why?’, and ‘what is my big agenda?’. I’ve also been grappling with my own outward identity, and how I feel I am being perceived by others. The context for this comes from being made redundant (after 10 years of working in the city) halfway through the Tribes experience. Whilst it wasn’t totally unexpected, it felt like my escape was almost starting all over again. The first thing I noticed was that I felt initial freedom from an environment that was suffocating me. But I’ve also since experienced a multitude of other emotions, both happy and saddening.
The same day my employers handed me that letter and showed me the door, I was due to stand up on the stage that evening at The Escape School and talk about who I was and what I was hoping to get out of the Tribes experience. This is something that each and every person on the course has to do; it’s all a part of the process of getting outside of your comfort zone. When I opened up in front of all my fellow Tribers, it was one of the most raw and genuine moments I’ve had throughout this entire experience. It meant a lot to me to be able to share all the emotions that were going through my mind as significant change was unfolding in my life. I can still remember so clearly the happiness and support of the room. I left that night with the message, ‘I just have to embrace it because it opens up so much new opportunity’.
Writing this guest blog post is also a part of that process. I’m embracing my freedom and trying out some new things. ‘Taking action’ is a message that has been repeated many times over throughout the Tribe, but is particularly important in these final weeks.
Don’t worry about not having it all figured out, just start testing out some interests and see where it goes.
We all know this as sound advice and that some experiments will work and others won’t. Implementing this advice, however, can be a bit of a struggle. Am I really capable of writing a blog post? Why would anyone care what I have to write? It is so easy to find excuses not to do things when there is fear involved. But you have to push through that and in this case trust that there are people out there who will benefit.
Last week we were lucky enough to hear from Roman Krznaric, author of the excellent book How to Find Fulfilling Work. Roman was another guest speaker who had really valuable things to say and who was leading a life on his own terms. Like that of so many others we have heard from, his message was that there is nothing better than being authentic and having autonomy over what you do, even though it can be quite tough at times.
In How to Find Fulfilling Work, Roman discusses the concept of negative bias, experiments showing that we ‘hate losing, twice as much as we love winning, whether at the gaming table, or when considering career change’. I can remember myself thinking (wrongly of course) at the start of Tribes that there were all these people out there doing their own thing, seemingly having it all figured out, and convincing myself that I wasn’t one of them. They were superhuman; their parents or friends had those special connections I didn’t, or they were single and didn’t have a mortgage to pay. Whatever it was, it was total rubbish and my negative bias trying to tell me that this wasn’t something that I could do; that it was either beyond my capabilities or just not a life I could lead.
As Will Smith famously said, ‘the first step is that you have to say that you can’. These successful people all had to start from somewhere. Many, I’m sure, did not have their shit together, just like me. Even though they didn’t have it all figured out, they followed something authentic to them and lived with their fears every day, anyway. And through the highs and lows of their hard work they crept closer to blurring the lines between their dreams and their reality.
So this weekend, when I’m on stage as part of our graduation from Tribes and I have to say what I’ve learnt, my message will be this:
Yes life continues after the Tribe, but this is now a life where I do truly believe I can be my authentic self. I can sit with the fear of not having it all figured out and I can ask for help and get support from a fantastic bunch of people who instinctively understand this process. For that I’m extremely grateful.
This is a guest blog post by Nick Peal, a member of our April-June Escape Tribe. Nick escaped investment banking and is now looking for opportunities in freelancing, as well as trying new things in the areas that interest him; disruptive tech and property renovation.
Doing something different with your life and career is hard… but you don’t have to do it alone. If you need help with your Escape and if you are ready to re-take control over your life, join our Tribe.
“No one can tell you what to do with your life and there is no “one-size-fits-all” escape that will lead you to happiness. What does work, however, is exposure to new ideas, likeminded people and a safe environment for you to figure out what it is you really want.”
– Rob Symington, Escape the City co-founder.