No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself


Marianne Cantwell with her laptopLast summer I left a prestigious job at a large media company, where I’ve been working for 3 years.

 It did not happen on a whim: approximately 6 months earlier I came across Marianne Cantwell (see photo) and Free Range Humans, a lifestyle blog, which grew into a community, and helped many souls escape corporate cages, pursue their passions and still pay the bills. Just a month after I ‘discovered’ Marianne, she published a book, Be a Free Range Human, which has undoubtedly helped me to reassess my life and jump ship.

Marianne’s blog and book made me question the conventional wisdom at school and at work where we’ve been taught to focus on our weaknesses. Remember your last review at work where your boss spent a minute to tell you how brilliant you are before spending the rest of the meeting talking about things you could improve. Perhaps your flaw is that you don’t delegate well or that you carry your heart in your sleeve. Whatever it is, in corporate environment we seem to be obsessed with things we aren’t naturally good at, but we are never encouraged to play to our strengths and make the most of our talents.

Marianne made me think about my priorities. For the first time I contemplated the relative importance of such things as income, flexible working hours, location, freedom and fulfilment. When thinking about how I want to make a living, she advised to think about the sort of clients I’d like to deal with and the environment I’d like to be in. Previously, I never gave myself permission to think in those terms.

In words of Seth Godin, bestselling author and inspiring entrepreneur:

“It’s a cultural instinct to wait to get picked. To seek out the permission and authority that comes from a publisher or talk show host or even s blogger saying, “I pick you.” Once you reject that impulse and realise that no one is going to select you – that Prince Charming has chosen another house – then you can actually get to work.

Once you understand that there are problems just waiting to be solved, once you realise that you have all the tools and all the permission you need, then opportunities to contribute abound.

No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself.”

After I left my ‘proper job’, I left behind stability and security, and my life now is more akin to a roller-coaster or a small sailing boat in a choppy sea than to Piccadilly line, more or less predictably getting its passengers to their destinations. I’m not even sure of where my sails are ultimately taking me, but so far I’ve been loving the journey: its challenges, its small victories, new opportunities and possibilities.

It had been my dream to interview Marianne Cantwell at a Ladies Who Impress event – Leap of Faith was a very special celebration indeed.



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