Warning: Small thoughts can snowball into life-changing decisions. That’s just the experience I had recently and it saw me move my whole life from London’s Soho to Ibiza Town.
It started with me sitting in Green Park (a little oasis in the British capital) with my friend Shannon. I told her I was at a bit of a crossroads. I’d moved back to Covent Garden after breaking up with a boyfriend and my lease was up in two weeks. My heart has always been in central London but I couldn’t seem to find anywhere quite right. Either the flats were massively out of my budget or a complete dive. We’ve all been there, viewing places that just leave you feeling slightly dirty, and not in a good way.
For ages I’d been feeling that something was about to happen. I knew I needed a change of scenery. I hated to admit it but I had fallen out of love with London, the ‘exciting buzz’ that I loved for the first few years had become noisy traffic. I wanted out, but I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go.
Then it hit me – Ibiza. I’ve always had a love affair with the island, I’m a hippy really and my family used to live there, so it’s full of happy memories. I can remember being about eight or nine years old sitting on the beach and telling my mum I was going to live here one day.
The last year had been a tough one, both personally and professionally. All I knew was that I wanted things to change. And fast.
In November I met Fiona Harrold, who proved to be a hugely influential figure in my life. I’d read one of her books about life coaching and emailed her to ask for an interview for a website I had just set up called Mung Beans and Champagne. After our chat I felt so inspired by her energy and the way she spoke, something inside me lit up, the way it does right before something big happens.
Her coaching sessions blew me away. Through her I learned about goal setting and following your dreams in a practical way. She introduced me to authors whose work changed the way I thought about myself and about my life. Suddenly, after months of feeling stuck, I felt clearer. What she taught me was to take action in spite of your fears – don’t let it stop you. And don’t wait until you feel confident to start things. Start and the confidence comes! No one is going to do it for you. She was right.
Because of Fiona’s coaching I changed jobs. I had been working as a publicist for a few years but always wanted to do something like personal coaching and helping people build their business up online. Working with Fiona I decided to move towards creating a business out of what I loved and was good at. I started reading everything I could find about making a business work, using social media, marketing, coaching techniques and goal setting. Things took off from there. I landed a few big projects and started to feel like myself again. If I was going to do this, then I would have to prove it worked first. Can we really change our lives?
When I wanted to work in PR but didn’t have enough experience, I started a small business (I’ve never been very good at having a boss) and learnt the ropes myself. When I wanted to write, I started Mung Beans and Champagne, which was originally a tongue in cheek blog about the juxtaposition of luxury and holistic living (think having a glass of wine after yoga).
Over the next few months I wrote a few articles about what I was learning and what was working for me, the first was about changing your life by being your own publicist (which first appeared on Gay Star News in March) and landed me a few more clients. Things were moving.
As soon as I decided to take action and create a plan about what I really wanted all the usual mental bullshit started: ‘What will people think?’ ‘What if it all goes wrong?’ ‘Am I being silly?’ ‘What if people think I’m too young?’
At first I listened to those voices and freaked out. But the interesting part was I was coaching my clients on doing this exact thing, working towards your goals and applying a positive attitude towards the process. I had to walk the talk and make it happen for myself. One of the things I had been saying to clients was ‘You can worry about things going wrong, or what people think, or you can get things done and you need to take focused, persistent action.’ It was time for me to follow my own advice.
Once I made the decision to move forward, I spent a day creating a plan. Who did I need to speak to? What did I need to make happen between now and my move date? I’ve always been fairly impulsive but this time I wanted to slow down and be more strategic.
Within a week I found an apartment in the north of Ibiza right by the beach (and for half of what I was paying in London) I got rid of about eight bags of stuff I didn’t need and booked my ticket.
I moved to Ibiza in early July. As soon as I arrived on the island I felt like myself again. There is a term in self-development called ‘being in the flow’ where things just seem to happen in the right way and my move to Ibiza proved just that. Instead of business slowing down because I was ‘out of the loop’ it picked up massively and I signed my first client here last week.
One of the reasons I decided to make the move was to work on my book: ‘Be your own publicist: Everything you need to know to market yourself, build your business and achieve your goals.’
It’s really good to be writing for Gay Star News again, since this was where it all started.
As I write this, I am sat on the balcony overlooking the beach, I have written about half of my book and am about to start a marketing campaign for Mung Beans and Champagne. I have set myself five goals for the next two months, and will check in with GSN again to tell you where I am at.
I am proof that if you want to achieve something, you can. You just need to plan, take action and get some really good help. As I say – things snowball.
Here’s some tips to help you change your life:
Back to the taxi analogy, it’s important to know where you want to be, what you want to have and what you want to do. Sit down and really think about exactly what it is that you want. If it’s a new job, where would it be? Are you self-employed or working for someone else? How will you know when you have achieved your goal? Identify it. Write it down. Be specific.
Now you know what you want, be clear what you will need to do and become to achieve it. What extra skills will let you earn more money? How will you have to change your diet to lose weight or tone up? If it’s a promotion at work, how many extra hours do will you have to put in and what skills can you learn to upgrade your market value? Start putting a plan together.
Attiude is everything. If you start a project thinking you can’t do it, its unlikely to be a success. Talk yourself up, get in a good mood. Read inspirational, motivational books relating to your goal. Spend time with people who embody what you want. Do whatever you need to do to get in, and maintain, a success mindset.
In her book ‘The 10 minute life coach’ Fiona Harrold says you should stop talking about things you are going to do and just get on and do them. Stop talking and start taking action now.
The journey can and will get tough. The important thing to remember is why you are doing it and what you are working towards. Start with the end in mind and when things get tough, take a break and imagine how good it’s going to feel once it’s done.
The reason palm trees are so strong is because they can bend with the wind. The important thing is how you react to change. Don’t be rigid in your thinking, its ok to change your approach as a situation changes.
Think of working towards your goal like going to the gym. It takes consistent, committed action. It took you a while to get where you are now, and it will take a while to change things. But the most important thing is to start. There’s no point getting in a good mood if you then spend hours dragging yourself down by dwelling on the negatives – that’s like going to the gym and then eating junk food. Be persistent by taking daily action towards your goals and make sure that your lifestyle supports what you are working towards.
Successful people have a great team around them. Top athletes have personal trainers. Entrepreneurs have business mentors. There are so many people who know more than you and have what you want. Seek them out to help you on your journey either personally or professionally. It’s arrogant to think we can do it all ourselves. If it’s your dream to set up your own business, find someone who has already done that and take them to lunch, if you want to get in better shape hire a trainer. You don’t have to struggle. Build a great team around you. Identify who can help you and then approach them.
Ryan Lock is the founder of The Ryan James Consultancy, a personal coaching and brand strategy business, and of mungbeansandchampagne.com. His work features regularly on websites around the world. Find out about getting personal or business coaching from him here. You can follow him on Twitter here.