My husband is one of those bloody annoying people who always seem to be a high achiever, you know those gits who just do well in everything they try? When we met he was working in the music industry as a sound engineer, he went on to work for some amazing bands and then to be the tour manager for Arctic Monkeys, he won Tour Manager of the Year before having a change of career. He then became a photographer and now is renowned for his amazing talent and runs (with his pretty awesome wife) The Picture Foundry.
He wanted to ‘keep his hand in’ the music industry and so years ago became involved with Tramlines, he is now the production director and helps to run Sheffield’s biggest festival.
One night he went to the pub with his mate James and together they came up with an idea for an arts group that was about nature, play and upcycled fun… Five years later, their company Responsible Fishing UK just got their SECOND year’s contract at the UK’s biggest holiday camp taking the brilliant project Camp Cardboard to inspire young people to be creative and families to spend time together and play.
Do you hate him yet? Only kidding!
The reality is that he deserves every triumph he gets. He does all this with a kind hearted energy, fun and a great attitude. He does all this because he sets goals, aims high and goes for it. He is without doubt, the hardest working person I know and has the most self belief I have ever seen in a person!
My lighthearted dig at Timm is a joke, but it does show the side of humanity that seem to want to hate on the people who achieve in life and that’s what todays post is about.
When I got really ill in 2013 and had the surgery to remove my colon, I felt like my life was over. I couldn’t see how the path I thought I was going to take could be an option to me now. I was scared, anxious and fed up. After having a massive cry and slowly learning to adapt, I did what we Cleasbys do best. I sat down, thought of what I wanted and set my mind to making it happen.
We are by nature ‘doers’, Timm calls me itchy feet as I am always looking for the next move, the next adventure. We always have a plan for the next year and then a long term plan, sometimes these change and move, but it makes me feel better to have an idea of where we want to go and also keeps us, as a couple, on the same page.
Because of my illness, I have been better with the planning than the action for the past few years, and before that my plans were raising three young children whilst Timm was away on tour. We had three kids in four and a half years and he was touring for nine months of the year and so you can probably imagine that my planning revolved around the whirlwind of semi single parenting!
But now things are starting to look up for me health wise (let’s not talk about my surgery on Saturday, eh?!) and my bambinos are getting that little bit older. I know they still need us an awful lot but at 10, 12 and 14 they are so much more independent. This is giving me more time to think about what I want.
I know what I want. But voicing it is where I falter. I worry that people will mock me, laugh at me or think I am too big for my boots. We British love an underdog and don’t tend to like the confident, outspoken extroverts that shout about their goals, which is funny as Americans sometimes seem to be the opposite. The american dream makes it ok to say ‘I want to be the best’ whilst the Brits look you up and down and wonder who you think you are!
But I am going to take a leaf out of my husband’s book. He believes in setting goals and aiming high, then getting that shit done. This isn’t about being a bitch or a hard faced business man, it isn’t about The Apprentice who show high achievers as being pretty much the worst people on Earth. It is about remembering that life is short and we are only here once.
Not everyone wants to be a CEO, a brain surgeon, a millionaire… success isn’t about money. But we should all be thinking about what do we really, really want in life. Whether that is to spend more quality time with family, to travel the world, to go back to university, to learn to tango, to speak another language…
Or to write a book…
Since I was a child, I have loved to write. I always wanted to be a writer but not going to college or University felt like a huge barrier to me becoming a writer. Having babies at 19, 21 and 23 didn’t help my confidence either. I’m always scared some super clever academic type will laugh me down if I speak the words ‘I want to write’, yet here I am writing this blog that is read all over the world.
And so I am aiming high. I am writing a book, it is a continuation of this blog with parts of my story, the lessons I have learnt and a self help element for people to conquer their difficulties and be happier, more confident and more fulfilled.
I feel like a bit of a dick writing this down but sod it. I want to write a best seller, I want to travel the world and maybe live for a while in Sydney near by big sis, I want to earn enough money to support Timm for a while, as his goals include playing more in the woods with James and sexing up motorbikes, I want to make a difference to people worldwide, I want to leave a legacy that will outlive my rotten bowels and chronic illness. I want to be on Oprah FFS!
Are these goals too high? Yeah, probably. But my retched colon nearly took my life and so why shouldn’t I aim for the stars? What is the worst that can happen? Timm and I have a motto that we would rather regret the things we have done, than the things we have not. I would rather put myself out there and try to write a book and it fail miserably than to spend my life thinking ‘what if’.
Aiming low and expecting little is a terrible option. If you never strive for more, how will you achieve? Again, this isn’t about money, it is about assessing your priorities and thinking about what you want. We all have to work and so shouldn’t we aim to work in a job that makes us happy? We all want to spend more time with the great people in our lives, yet often end up putting it off due to other commitments. But if you make that a priority and voice it as your aim, you are more likely to do it.
I’d like to ask you a question… If I was your fairy godmother and could wave a magic wand right now and you could have one personal wish granted, what would it be? I’m not talking about world peace, end to hunger or those things that we all would like to happen. But if I could put you in a different situation, what would that look like?
Would it be a change of career, a change of destination, a better relationship with someone in your life?
Whatever that something is, ask yourself, what is stopping you from striving for that?
Make lists, set goals, aim high, think big.
You have one life and only you can make it what you want it to be.
Five years ago Timm and I set a goal for him to stop touring and to start a photography business, it was terrifying walking away from a good wage packet but we knew that his touring was making us all unhappy. We made plans, worked hard, had some EPIC struggles but we managed it and we are now happier than ever. Eighteen months ago, after a chat with the marvellous Faye at Keep Your Fork, I set a goal to start writing a blog about my experiences, it was a great way for me to start writing, today I sit here with a worldwide audience and well over 2 million views.
Some days, my illness and fatigue means that my plans are much smaller, I plan to shower, to do a couple of hours work, to watch a film with my kids. These days aren’t failures, they are my tiny triumphs on a longer path to what I want in the future.
I am right at the start of my journey with this book and want to thank everyone who has sent their love and support. It is pretty scary but knowing how much good I have done with my blog pushes me forward and makes me want to write something amazing that can make a real difference.
So this week, think about want you want from life.
Think big, aim high and be happy.