How To Grow Some @#$%ing Balls
Another year gone and a New Year upon us but this time around I feel no need to make any resolutions. Do I not care about progressing and the fresh hope that a new year brings? Truthfully, I'm not sold on that stop-start mentality that comes with making resolutions and the idea of wiping the slate clean to start over again. The only feeling I have about 2018 is simply to keep on going, a continuation of the hard work from last year into this year.
That being said, I did ponder over some of the ways I could be more efficient this year. Looking back, I felt like 2017 was a practice round. For a lot of us, it was the year of ‘realising stuff’, of getting/staying ‘woke’, of laying down foundations or planting seeds for the future. We should all be so proud of everything we achieved last year and I'm personally astounded by my own personal progression. January 2017 Elvira wouldn’t recognise January 2018 Elvira. However, it's time to up the ante - I'm not out here getting any younger - and for me, that means growing a pair.
Now, to be clear (clarity being one of my focuses for 2018), I’m not the biggest fan of the saying ‘grow some balls’ because when you think about it, balls are rather sensitive and vaginas are the real brutes of the genital world, thus that saying doesn’t logically add up. Regardless, for ease of general lingo and SEO purposes, we’ll stick with it. What I really mean when I say grow some balls is a stepping up to the plate and doing the shit that needs to get done in order to get another step closer to our goals.
Everything we do in lives could use a bit more fearlessness (aka balls), whether our sense of fashion or our work ethic. Here are some of the bad habits I’m leaving behind in 2017 and the ballsy actions I’m replacing them with in 2018. Cheers to getting a fucking grip on life and bossing this year:
1. STOP HESITATING, START DECISION MAKING.
I’m generally quite hesitant. I failed my driving test because of hesitation. Picking what I want to eat for dinner can take hours. I even postponed this post for 2 weeks because I wasn’t entirely sure how to structure it. The general gist is that I take too long to make decisions. I deliberate over every and all possible outcomes of a situation before I can make an final decision. I flit from idea to idea, never settling on one avenue and waiting for some divine inspiration to take the wheel.
It’s partly a psychology thing, having been trained at uni to see both sides of an argument and develop an analytical mind. It’s also a perfectionist thing, whereby the fear of failure, FOMO or just general anxiety encourages further procrastination. I’m all for strategy and research but successful business people know how to make a decision, make ‘em fast and stick to them. As Tony Robbins said, “ stay committed to your decisions but stay flexible in your approach”. I’m on it, Tony!
2. STOP COMPLAINING, START DOING.
To quote the genius that is Gary Vee, “the universe does not give a fuck”. Brutal, but he’s right. I spent so many days at the start of 2017 worrying, sulking, giving up. I hoped someone would rescue me from my problems but no one did (they were all probably too busy handling their own shit). So eventually, I had to pick myself up and get on with life. Self-pity parties are pretty lonely and as much as misery loves company, no one is looking to join that soiree. We’ll all save ourselves so much time and effort by developing a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset, and learning how to self-motivate. No one else is going to do it for you and even if they do, it will only have a lasting effect when you take control. Not one peep of a complaint better come out my mouth this 2018, I’m so over it.
3. STOP COMPLACENCY, START CHALLENGING YOURSELF.
Life is hard. You know, I know it, we all know it. There is no such thing as an easy ride to success and even if there is, I don’t want it. Nothing worth having in life comes free and the easy stuff make you bored, complacent and soft. There’s a saying that the Chinese word for crisis can also be understood as opportunity - incorrectly translated by Americans for motivational speeches but I like the sentiment behind it. Ultimately challenges help us stronger, wiser, faster so instead of avoiding them, I embrace them.
Also, don’t expect quick and easy results for hard work either. Chasing dreams will be hard and will suck for a long time before you see the fruits of your labour but patience is key. Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all, so suck it up and last the long run!
4. STOP AVOIDING CONFRONTATION, START COMMUNICATING CLEARLY.
Not everyone is going to be your biggest fan. Over time, you’ll naturally piss people off. Sometimes energies don’t click, colleagues step on one another’s toes and things feel awkward. Resist the temptation to run from problems. I know it’s uncomfortable to have uncomfortable conversations with people about issues and upsets, women being especially prone to placing too much value on meeting the expectations of others, but that stops now.
Remember, you’re not here to please everyone so ensure that issues are dealt with head on like a boss. If you fluffed up, take action and apologise. If someone else is at fault, remain humble. It’s normal for things to get lost in translation when working with people (oftentimes, more so with friends) but always strive to seek solutions, never stoop to low levels of pettiness and be as direct and clear in your communications as you can be. It’s not personal, it’s just business.
5. STOP HERD MENTALITY, START INNOVATING.
Albert Einstein is said to have described insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We’re all guilty of that from time to time. I like to think of myself as someone who aims to push the boundaries a bit but lately, I’ve felt frustrated that things aren’t growing at a fast enough pace for me. Then again, am I really doing anything different? Posting cool pics on Instagram isn’t really changing the game because everyone - and I mean everyone - is doing similar. I imagine myself as the exception but really if I’m doing what everyone else is doing, I’m the rule, so how can I honestly expect different results?
Staying stuck and doing what you always do will only give you what you always get.
6. STOP FEELING SHY, START SELF-PROMOTING.
It is deemed impolite to toot your own horn, particularly within British society and for women more so than men. Yet, while it might be seen as self-centred to praise your own strengths or push your own work, if no one is aware of all your efforts, regardless how amazing your work is, does it even count? Being bashful isn't cute anymore, you've got to put your name out there to avoid getting left behind. That whole mumbling what you do when people ask you about your profession needs to disappear along with 2017. It's time to own your destiny (sounds cliche I know but it's true)! Your work deserves to be seen, so do what you need to do to promote it. Because if you don’t, at least in the beginning, who else will?
7. STOP REACTING, START BEING PROACTIVE.
Somewhere over my 27 years, I picked up a wait and see habit. I hated letting people down so would avoid answering questions or invitations I didn't know how to answer, hoping the issue would go away on its own. Now, I’m so frustrated by vagueness and lack of clarity because a waiting and/or avoiding attitude does not put me in the driving seat but places me firmly on the passenger side. If you're waiting for someone else to make a decision for you, you're already behind! There's no more time for small girl games in 2018, I'm marching straight to the front of the winning queue ;)