My ten year old daughter has just started walking to and from school by herself. This is a real nail-biter for me but, two weeks in, I’m getting much better at not rehearsing all potential disaster in my head as she’s en route, and I feel proud that I can trust her to handle this responsibility.
The decision to let her go was mostly based on my faith in her generally being sensible and trustworthy. But it was a decision I was unlikely to have taken without her having petitioned for it, persuading me that she was ready and equipped to go out into the world without a chaperone (gulp!)
We marked the occasion by getting her her own key cut, and it struck me that not only can she open our front door now, but also her new-found independence will be the key that opens metaphorical doors for her too.
But what about her feelings on this? After the success of her campaign for freedom, she needed to believe her own hype and actually walk to school by herself. She knew she could do it, as I knew she could do it, but those first few days were pretty scary for the both of us. Now that she’s done it several times, her confidence has grown considerably (and I’m much less jittery around 3 o’clock!)
And isn’t this the case in our lives as adults too? So often, we see a next step – maybe a promotion we want to apply for or a big client we want to work with – and, after a deep breath, we set about selling our talents and doing a pretty neat PR job on ourselves. What we are saying is true, of course, but often there is doubt and fear there too which we conveniently edit out when faced with a panel of interviewers. When we have succeeded in convincing our audience of our positive qualities, we have to start convincing ourselves too. And that starts with proving it by getting on with the job in hand. Then we grow into our new roles and prove ourselves worthy of our ‘new keys’.
Seeing an opportunity outside of our comfort zones and going for it is how growth happens. Sure, it’s sometimes scary having the responsibility of ‘new keys’, but stepping out into a bigger role is great for self-esteem and the esteem that others hold us in. Not only that, but our ‘new keys’ open up a myriad doors that can take us further.
Speaking of which, my daughter is now pushing for further freedom. We’ll have to see about that, but one thing is certain – she’s proved herself worthy of this new responsibility, both to herself and to us as her parents, and that has been a real shift for all of us. She has the key now, and she can open the front door. But her new independence will be the key that will open doors of opportunity for her future.
What’s your next challenge? Want some help in going for it? What keys will it give you and what doors might they unlock? Contact me and let’s plan your next move.
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