Somewhere in the Stone age, a family lived in a cave. Because all of their neighbours and friends were eaten by monsters, the family survived by father’s wisdom only: “NEVER leave the cave!” and “Always be afraid!”. It’s the story of The Croods, a wonderful Dreamworks movie.
But they are also guiding principles for many of us. Each one of us has this caveman inside of your minds that tells us not to go for what we want because it’s way to dangerous. Unless we’re really hungry, so we have no choice. In all other cases, our choices are limited by fear and the way we learned to deal with it.
What did you learn about risk?
Every parent only wants what’s best for his or her children. So we give them loads of great advice on what to study, how to live, things to avoid. Study, work hard, get a good jobs, don’t use drugs, an apple a day, build a house, save for later,… For the last couple of years I’ve been working with employees at banks and insurance companies. Apart from exception their main drive is not passion for what they do. It’s security. And though the world is changing and some of them are truly unhappy, they still think it’s better not to leave the cave. Until the cave comes down.
What did you learn about life outside the cave?
What’s most appealing to you? A secure life in the darkness of the cave or a colourful yet far more dangerous life outside? And what if life in the cave just doesn’t suit you? For years I tried to adjust to life in the cave myself and tried to live by the cave rules: work hard, listen to the boss, be nice. The first one was no issue, the other part was unsuccessful. So even if I would have stayed in the cave, I did not have any perspective to a brilliant future.
What did you learn about taking action?
Leaving the cave takes courage and very good reason. What good reason could you have to leave your cave? Because you want something else from life and the way you create that life. Or because you just can’t stand cave life any longer. Or because the cave comes down… But what if we find out life outside is too dangerous? Well, there’s always the option to go back to the cave. Or another cave. When I started my own business 4 years ago, I always kept my wild card in my pocket that if it would fail, I could always look for a job. It helped me getting out of the cave. If staying makes you unhappy, the risk of being eaten may be worth it.
What did you learn about your opportunities outside the cave?
A strong future vision helps me and the people I coach and mentor to make our choices, every day. Isn’t that incredibly selfish? Well, if we are happy and feel great, our give back to the world and our loved ones exceeds all expectations. Only when you are happy, you are open to helping others to be happy too. Dreaming wild will not make you live irresponsibly, not dreaming at all will make you stay even when you’re unhappy.
Are you stuck in your cave? Take action! You’re not the only factor determining your future but it’s a good start.
Guest writer-Els Deboutte
I’m Els Deboutte, coach, trainer, author and creator of Make me Fly!, Throughout over 20 years of experience as a psychologist, trainer, HR Manager and consultant I learned to easily spot and strengthen people’s talents. Through Make me Fly! I help active professionals to rediscover what they love and like, what they are good at and how they can find the job and create the life they desire. (www.makemefly.be)