It’s a nice word. I quite like it. New. New! (see how you changed the way you “read” that then?).
Haha, that last one made me giggle.
New is little. It’s not ostentatious or arrogant. It’s unoffensive, unobtrusive, and has lots of promise. New is bright and shiny, possibly a little bit shy and maybe the sort of thing that doesn’t like direct address or eye contact at first. But it has that sparkle all the same.
From little acorns, mighty oaks do grow.
I’m hoping to grow a new oak or two now. I’ve already got one in the pipeline, having germinated for a while. It makes me think of the oaks I’ve already grown. It’s far too easy to think of the things that haven’t quite worked out: the early flowers that succumbed to late frost. Let’s think of the successful things. And yes, success doesn’t have to mean completion. It could be learning, or a benefit.
My oaks stay in the background but they’re there if I’m willing to acknowledge them. I used to think that it was boastful to be aware of your triumphs but actually, we need to be our own biggest fans. I’m going to acknowledge some now – not for your benefit, but for mine, to give me courage to grow another oak if I can. I’d like you to do the same – grab a paper and pen, or even just mind-map it (literally visualise it in your mind).
- QMUL Dance – now in its 11th year. I had a little idea to start a dance sport club at my university, breaking away from ULU, and I did it. Now, eight years after I graduated, the club is still going. I haven’t had anything to do with it for the last seven years so that’s pretty good.
- M (one of my students) applying to college. That might not seem a big deal to most of you but for her it was.
- A teaching career.
A humble list, but one that reminds me that I have achieved things and have the potential to achieve more. Your list will look different to mine. Maybe you’ve got six things on your list. Maybe you’ve got one. But that’s not what’s important. What’s important is that you’re only competing with yourself. Success and achievement looks different for different people. For M, success is actually believing in herself enough to apply for college. For R, success is getting straight As. For K, success is getting a D. For me, success right now is accepting my faults and being prepared to acknowledge my strengths. Whose yardstick are you using to measure yourself against? Be better than you were yesterday, just a tiny bit. Don’t worry about those people around you who are dripping in figurative medals. Vasos Alexander is running 100 miles this weekend. That’s great for him, and inspiring, but rather than it making me feel less excited about my 5k run I did in 2011, I’m reminded of it, and allow myself to relive the feeling of accomplishment when I pushed through that finish line.
What acorns have you got at the moment? What is your potential? Do you have any saplings starting to show without even realising it? Take a moment and think about it; try to answer it.
I have a sapling called Nursery Knits UK – a little fledgling business (apologies for the mixed metaphors), inspired by my friends who believed I had something special to offer. As a result of that sapling, I have another little acorn of an idea that I’m toying with tendering: a blog. And yes, I know this is a blog, but this would be a blog to go alongside my little business and to potentially enhance it.
Other acorns are ready and waiting too. The two I want to pay attention to are:
I’ve talked about both of these things before, and I’ve written about them. I’ve started “projects” and not completed them but rather than seeing this as a failure, I’m seeing them as necessary steps towards my ultimate success. After all, you don’t just go from acorn to 100-ring oak overnight, do you? It takes 100 years!
So why not start now?
To quote Emma Watson (who may have been quoting someone else in her UN speech): If not you, who? If not now when?
What are you waiting for? Take responsibility for your acorns and make them grow. What are we waiting for is an interesting question actually. Why is it that people traditionally feel the need to start at a specific calendar moment? We make resolutions at New Year. We start diets on Mondays. We give up on our bikini diet when it’s almost summer and wait until April the following year to start again. What are we waiting for? Why do we as humans seem to set so much store by having official start moments?
I reckon, if we want something enough, we should just start it. Turn over a new leaf. It’s a new day. Well, I’ve got news for you. A day is a period of 24 hours so if we’re being really pedantic, It’s 22.35 and at 22.36 it’s a new day. Oh, look, there it goes! My new day which will end at 22.35 tomorrow night. You don’t have to wait to start. If you want to start, if you’re inspired, then go for it. Right now.
So here goes. I’m going to be new again this new day and I’m going to start my new acorns off.
I may even write a blog about it!
What are you waiting for?