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Some months ago I was mooching around a shop when I overheard a conversation between two women. They appeared to be in their early 70s and they were looking for jewellery to wear to a party they had both been invited to. One woman picked up a pair of drop earrings, elegant gold tone with a little subtle sparkle.  “Ooo.. these are beautiful but I can’t buy them”. “Why ever not?” said her friend. “I’ve never worn dangly earrings before and people will notice. No, they’re too different for me”.

Well, I had to step in to say they would look lovely on her. Her face lit up at the compliment “Do you really think so?”.” Yes, and you should buy them” I said.  She dithered for another couple of minutes, admiring them, clearly thinking they were gorgeous………and then put them back as “not for someone like her”. I should point out they cost just £9.99 (about $13).

Now, I don’t want you to think I make a habit of listening in on conversations but on another occasion I saw a woman in her 50s admiring a dress, loving the colour and the print, her friend agreeing. Then, the clincher. “Buy it” said her friend. “Oh, I’d love to. I love it. But my boyfriend won’t like it”. What the…….?!

What does it say that these women, with a few decades under their belt, still don’t have the confidence to do what they want and are worried what people will think of them? Can’t bear the thought of standing out, of being looked at and perhaps being judged. Why, after all these years, does it still bother them?

I’m obviously making some assumptions here, but I think it’s a fairly safe bet that this attitude has affected other areas of their lives. What opportunities, experiences and wondrous things have they missed out on?

So my questions to you are –

In what ways are you handing your power over to other people (who probably don’t even know they have it!)? Are you grasping life by the scuff of the neck? Have you got to the stage when your rarely care what others think, or, does it still hold you back?

And, honestly, do you really have more time to waste on these feelings?

So, how can we tackle this?

1Challenge yourself a little every day. What scares you? Speaking up in a meeting? Being assertive with someone who is taking advantage of you. Wearing bright clothes when all around you are in greige? Do it. What’s the worst that can happen?

2Write it down. What thing or things would you really love to do ?It doesn’t matter how small or large it is. How would you feel if you did it? What sensations within your body would you feel ? Energy, relaxation, calm. What effects would it have on you within your life?Would you feel more fulfilled, happy, motivated? At this stage I don’t want you to even spare a minute on how it might affect others around you or why you haven’t done it yet. Revel in the feelings.

3Choose one thing and break it down in to 4 or 5 smaller tasks. For example, you love singing but have never done it in public. How can that dream come alive? Maybe you could join a local choir, find a singing teacher, offer to sing at a friend’s birthday party, record a video on You tube?

4Commit to doing one thing from the list, however small, TODAY.

And buy those metaphorical earrings!