2nd Jun, 21

Living outside of your comfort zones

I cannot remember how old I was. I think I was 19 or 20 when I applied to join the Fire Service at Chester where I grew up. I passed the entrance exam and was offered the position as a trainee fireman subject to a medical. To say I was happy would be an understatement, the job fitted me like a glove. I already played football for the Fire Service and had lots of friends there. I had a really big social circle in Chester and the job would have given me the self-esteem and self-worth I was looking for.

Doing something you love that fits your personality. What more could you ask?

At the medical it was explained to me that I was partially colour blind; reds and greens and that I had failed the medical. The sport mad fitness fanatic had failed the medical. Needless to say, the offer was withdrawn. Within two years, in an effort to get my life going I had moved to London.

Even today, I am convinced that had I got that job, I would never have left Chester. As it happened, I had a brilliant time in London and the South East, I got my career going, enjoyed success, built my self-esteem and made some brilliant lifelong friends. Completely debunking the myth that people in the South East are unfriendly.

I’ve had and continue to have a really interesting and positive career, I’ve been to places I never thought I would go and done things I never thought I would do. I have spent most of my life outside of my comfort zone and in many respects have gotten used to it. I have succeeded doing things that don’t really fit my personality and that has been a huge lesson and it still surprises me. The downside has been, that being outside of my comfort zone for so long, made me difficult to be around.

When you have to summon the energy to do something, it is not the same energy you get when you want to do it. It’s a sort of exaggeration of the energy that comes naturally. It is more intense version of it; you get more adrenalin, more focus and more drive. Which of course can be hugely beneficial and valued especially in business and at times of difficulty.

When I look back I can see that pushing myself came at a cost. I can see that it brought many good things into my life but it brought difficulty perhaps in equal measure.

I have and continue to make the best of things and cut myself the slack of self-awareness not really being available to the young. It takes time to develop.

We each must play the cards we are dealt. Sometimes we have no choice. We just need to be mindful that those closest to us get caught in the backdraft as much as they enjoy the benefits.

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