I started working from home because I had no other alternative after moving to Spain and buying a house on the outskirts of a small village, in an area with little tourism and development. There were few ´real´ jobs and I wasted years on startups and real estate because it still gave me the flexibility to be with my children. Lack of confidence to try new things meant I took longer to move on, struggled for longer and earnt less money.
What do I classify as a ´real´ job? One that pays a regular salary every month, where you work regular hours and you get more than slave wages. For me there was only a glut of long hours for earnings that barely covered travel and food for the day, or commission only jobs that cost you money to work because you had to pay for your own petrol and phone calls. I spent YEARS trying to make these work while filling in the gaps with freelance jobs I found online.
The super confident gurus say they can sell in any market, in any location under any conditions. However, not all of us have unlimited confidence. When you are rejected and lack skills to apply for better paid jobs, you feel the weight of your responsibilities and bills you can not pay. Any confidence you might have had gets trapped under the mountain of overwhelm.
As an English teacher I knew who would struggle the most from the first day of class. The young ones in nursery between the ages of 3-7 would fidget and get up and go around the room, do something else, or look out of the window. No, it wasn´t just hyperactive kids, or ADHD, or any other label you want to put on it. Sometimes they were bored with the class and didn´t want to sit and pay attention to what didn´t interest them (I can relate to that). Other times you almost felt them squirming because they didn´t know the answer and didn´t want to look stupid in front of their friends. Instead, they would play the clown or move away so they wouldn´t have to give the wrong answer.
With the adults, they acted defeated from day one, saying how bad they were, how they didn´t understand anything, that it was too hard. Over and over again. The thing is, it was difficult for everyone, but some people only focused on their mistakes and completely overlooked the things they did well.
That is in a classroom setting where I, as the teacher, could boost their confidence, praise them when they did well, help them to overcome their doubts and fear of failure. Someone stuck at home, on their own, often does not have that support. It was hard work for me but I tried so many different things I started to completely bypass the shame of failure and move on to looking for the next opportunity!
In case you think I was born with tons of confidence and I am just writing this to make you feel better, let me tell you a story. When I was a toddler I was one of those children that would hide behind their mother, terrified of new people and refusing to interact with others. When I was a young teenager I was painfully shy. I couldn´t even walk past a group of women without going red as a beetroot thinking maybe they were looking at me. If it was a group of boys then I would do a detour round the block even if it took me 3 times as long. If I couldn´t avoid them, I would speed walk as fast as i could almost passing out from the shame that they ´might´ be looking at me, talking about me, laughing at me.
The snowball effect of having that kind of personality was that I didn´t go for the things I really wanted to do. I wouldn´t apply for part-time jobs in the town center because I thought they would never pick someone like me and how the hell would I talk to the customers! Instead I went along with whatever was thrown in my way, for example, I always swore I would never be a waitress because my parents both worked in catering and it was long hours and little pay. Except that when I was 15 my mother turned up at the door with her boss and told me I was going to waitress because they were short staffed. I tried to refuse but it was like looking at the end of a loaded gun with her there standing over me and the boss waiting in the car. I almost had a panic attack when I saw the dining room full of people waiting for me, ME, to go and serve them. This wasn´t just ordinary waitressing, this was for events like weddings where you had to carry three plates at a time, and big trays piled with meat and vegetables.
I don´t remember details of the first day. I just remember the feeling of wanting an alien spaceship to teleport me out of there before I made a fool of myself. However, getting paid at the end of the event, seeing that cash in my hands changed something. I still wanted to run screaming out of the hotel never to return, but for someone in our situation where we were really struggling financially, it shifted something in me, just a fraction. So I ended up waitressing even more at the weekends and over the summer. I was forced to poke my head out of my shell.
When my mother went to work at a factory, she also got me work there. I was studying for my A´Levels (16-18) and working Saturdays and Sundays. It was good money for someone my age and again, shifted the dial on the terror meter about being able to do different kinds of jobs. I would never have gone for them on my own, so the push from my mother was what I needed - not that I thought like that at the time and cursed her for dragging me into that world of menial work. Now she is amazed at how I manage to find things. She thinks I am ´so lucky´ to have found the jobs and opportunities I did. What she did not see and does not fully appreciate are the thousands of jobs listings I looked at over the years. The hundreds of hours I spent trying out new money making schemes online.
We miss out on so many opportunities because we think we are not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not talented enough etc. However, in my experience, there are people out there willing to give you a chance even if you don´t have years of experience or all the skills they are looking for. Sometimes they prefer people who need a break, who are willing to work because they really want to and are open to learning new skills.
You can be your biggest enemy when it comes to trying new things and you might be missing out on something that could change your life. Of course you have to sort through a lot of sh*t to find the right thing for you, but if you have exhausted all other options, what have you go to lose? I can guarantee you that the more you try, the easier it will get.
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