Feb 082012

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As human beings we have a natural tendency to put a lot of pressure on ourselves. Whenever we come up with a new idea or a dream we expect ourselves to execute it to perfection, first time round without any glitches.

We only have to look around us to see how false that assumption is. Do you remember the first computer you bought? I bet it wasn’t as small or as fast as the one you own now. And what about your TV? In 10 years time our kids will laugh at the bulky boxes we used to have in our living room.

The point is, we can always improve on something…AS LONG AS WE START IT.

If we dream of opening up our own business, we could start with a little side project while still keeping the day job, if we want to travel the world we could start by putting our first £100 in a savings account, and if we want to write a book we could start by writing the first page.

The trouble is that sometimes when we look at where we are, and compare it to where we’d love to be the gap seems so huge that it’s enough to stop us dead in our tracks, making us give up before we’ve even started.

Here’s a strategy that helped me overcome this paralysis when I decided to leave Malta and go and study for my Master’s degree in London. I call it ‘The Magical Blinkers’.

But before I introduce this wonderful strategy let me list all the challenges I had to face to be able to follow my dream (you don’t necessarily need to read the list, just be impressed by how long it is)

  1. Get my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Malta to be accepted by the British Psychological Society. (This step actually took a whole year and 9 letters to the society to happen, but that’s another story).
  2. Find a British University that accepted me on their course, without an acceptance certificate from the British Psychological Society (oh I make it sound so simple).
  3. Raise £15000 in cash to pay for my tuition and lodging (yep that’s 15 with 3 zeroes!)
  4. Find somewhere to live.
  5. Find a part-time job so I could actually eat.
  6. Understand how the British Education system worked to make sure I passed my courses.
  7. Find a job in London after graduating even though I didn’t have a work permit
  8. Deal with the fact that I’d left my partner and my family back in Malta for a whole year.
  9. Give up a great job that offered me security and even a company car!

For years I’d dreamed of studying in London, and for years I assumed that that dream was way out of reach for me. Until one day, Rachel (my manager at the time) asked me a question “Why don’t you do it?” As I went through my list of reasons, something inside me shifted and a voice screamed “You silly moo, just go for it already” (or something along those lines). There and then, I decided that I was going to do it and lo and behold the “The Magical Blinkers” strategy was born.

Here’s how it works:

STEP 1: I listed all the reasons why I couldn’t go

STEP 2: I put on my magical blinkers and focused on 1 hurdle at a time. I didn’t think of the 9 other hurdles waiting for me, I just focused on the 1. I brainstormed and asked around until I found a way to jump over that hurdle and then moved on to the next one.

That’s it.

It took 1 question, 1 strategy and my life was transformed forever.

What strategies have you used to help you achieve the impossible? I’d love it if you shared your ideas in the comments below.

Much love



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  3 Responses to “Could this strategy change your life?”

  1. Hi Karen,

    I love this post. Especially the part about not having to read the list, “just be impressed by how long it is”;)! I’ve found that making time in my life for small steps toward my big goal keeps me focused. I’ll be using your strategy as I work toward growing my business and my blog! Thank you!

  2. I have always thought you were the brave one in our family and we were so opposite, but after reading this – I have just “for the first time” relalised that I too have done something quite remarkable in my life – like you! I have been emetophobic my whole life and lived in total fear of sickness and illness – shying away from germs and so many other things – yet here I am with 2 children an daily living with not knowing what the day brings…. I went through 2 pregnancies and 2 births…… Without the prescribed anti emetics and lived day by day to get to where I am now – countless hospital appts for baby no1 and still I did have another (who made me feel sick every day) and here I am….. Actually I want to thank you – I have never been proud of myself or even thought of it, yet after reading your words I have amazed myself and am now thinking of what else I want!!! X

    • Lovely Lisa

      I am incredibly touched by your comments. And so so so happy that something I wrote could have this effect on you. Most importantly of all, I am ecstatic that you’ve realised what a huge achievement it was for you to have 2 kids.

      Bravery comes in all shapes and forms. The common denominator in every act of bravery is that what we’re about to do scares us silly. To choose to have 2 kids while living in fear of being sick and germs is downright heroic.

      I am so thrilled that this realisation has made you start thinking about what you want next. The moment the penny drops that ‘hey I can do what I want with my life!’ it sets us free to follow our dreams. And that’s the best feeling in the world.

      Love you loads cuzzie. I’m proud of you too!


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