For as long as I can remember I have always enjoyed trying new things although, when I was a child, I was a notoriously picky eater. I wouldn’t swallow the ‘bits’ in yoghurts because I didn’t like the texture.
I chose not to eat meat for my love of animals and I must have been the only kid to prefer fruit to chocolate. It wasn’t that I didn’t like to try new things nor that I never had but instead- in trying new things – I learnt to know what I love and indeed, hate.
I discovered variety and through that, my beliefs, and so I developed a strong sense of self from a very early age, knowing that every decision I make in life is based on my belief system.
The only way to really get to know yourself better is to continually learn new things, to push yourself even if it’s only a little, to be open-minded to new experiences and to look for the opportunities that allow you to try new things.
I have taken large leaps in my life thus far. One of the most significant was starting my own PR Agency at the age of 23. I left a comfortable job working for the press office of a large corporate firm to ‘go it alone’ and had plenty of initial skeptics asking me ‘are you ready?’, ‘are you sure?’, ‘can you do it?’ My reply was simple, ‘Well, I’m going to give it a dam good try’. You see, I didn’t fear failure.
Fear can prevent you from opening your heart and mind to possibilities. Many of us are afraid of the things we don’t understand and can’t control, so the key here is to experiment and discover what works and does not work for you. How else are you going to find out?
Yes, I made mistakes along the way and no, it wasn’t easy but I learned to laugh at myself when I screwed up and saw mistakes as lessons learnt. You can’t take these things too seriously. A sense of humour is key.
The next move for me was to turn the dream of writing a book into a reality. This was a dream I have held since I was seven. Yes, really. Whilst my friends dreamed of being ballerinas, pop stars and astronauts, I wanted to be a ‘book writer’.
This was considered very unusual but I knew I would have to fulfil that challenge some day. When I moved to the North of England I moved into freelance PR consulting and writing in order to give me more freedom to write my book. The Modern Girl’s Guide to Fabulousness was born and a year of incredible research unfolded.
Since The Modern Girl’s Guide to Fabulousness is a compendium of all that a modern woman needs to know or ‘a little black book’ as Elle Macpherson calls it – it was vital that I visited every venue, tried every product and divulged in every experience that the guide recommended. After all, only the most fabulous made the grade. A tough job but someone had to do it.
That years research saw me become a burlesque dancer for six weeks jiggling my curves in front of a room full of other women (just call me DDelores DDeluxe). Yep, the DDs are there for a reason. I also flew a gyrocopter over York; deemed the motorbike of the sky and experience the thrill of indoor sky diving.
I even tried permanent make-up – a non-surgical procedure used to infuse a coloured pigment into the skin creating a cosmetic tattoo. Plus the most potent of cocktails, colonic irrigation and air-sphering. This is where you sit inside an inflatable ball and are then thundered into the air at great force as you spin, fall and rise with nothing to hold onto but a rope for a handle!
I admit some of this felt frightening or risky to try at first but it was only the initial build up that I found the most daunting. I tend to give myself a little pep talk, telling myself to ‘just do it and think about it later’. I take a deep breath, think of the positives for trying it, and jump in whole heartedly. This is always challenging but accepting challenges allows us to evolve as beings.
Many friends and colleagues often say to me, ‘you’ve achieved so much. I wish I could write a book / work for myself / travel somewhere new/ be more daring with fashion’. I tell them they can!
They often fight back exclaiming ‘but it’s not that easy’! But who said it was easy? If it was easy, we’d be bored and we’d all be doing it. Differentiating ourselves by trying something for our own reasons and in our own way is what makes us individual.
I encourage you to think about what you would like to do that’s new. In my experience pushing your boundaries, facing your fears and simply giving it a go is brilliantly empowering.
Knowing that you’ve simply tried it even if you don’t succeed will make you feel proud and awaken the feeling that you can do anything.
Try new things in small intervals if you find it easier. Start with eating new foods or try a new restaurant, or just add a new sauce to your usual meal. Anything to enliven your senses.
Try visiting new places, be spontaneous and pick a country to visit by pulling one of a selection of choices randomly from a hat. Or take up a new hobbie that engages your passion. You may even meet new people.
Simply booking a day off work, going to bed when you like and waking up when you naturally do so (all achieved only with a babysitter or a willing partner if you’re a mum like me!), and then letting your day gently unfold will provide exciting variety.
What is the alternative? Staying in a rut or boring routine that never opens up choices or inquisition?
Doing original, random, different and even ridiculous things is a good way to exercise the mind and promote new ways of thinking about the world around us.
Remember when you were a child? What didn’t you like to eat? How did you look at things? Remember how confident you felt about your thoughts?
Be inquisitive like a child, look at things with new eyes and keep looking up as you walk around your home town. You’ll be amazed at what you discover and never realised was there before. New stimuli can make you smarter, increase your energy and creativity and make you more sociable.
You’ll have plenty to share and talk about and feeling open to new experiences will broaden your horizons; your world.
What have you got to lose?