Sometimes in life, there are certain responsibilities that you can’t prepare much for. It’s not really about whether you’re interested in planning for them or not, it’s more about when they land on your shoulders, you need to rise to the challenge of whatever is required.
This article is part of a series based on a conversation with Nick Tooth. Have a read of the first article here if you missed it.
Nick found out that he was going to be a father, this was massive news for him to digest and cope with, but he felt he’d be fine and simply took an even more confident approach to everything. In hindsight, this was compensation for being so far outside his comfort zone. To make things even more challenging, he also took an approach in his work placements which he thought would help, but actually just sped up his burn out. He thought that if he put huge amounts of time and energy in, this would make up for the quality he was far from delivering in the work placement environment.
Eventually he was kicked out of placements and school because of his performance. At the time there is no way he would have admitted it, but this caused him an enormous amount of pain and discomfort. He explained that “unfortunately I’ve got to stuff it up myself before I could realise I was doing it wrong” he also admitted that at times “I wouldn’t have even listened to myself” Nick reflected that this was all because he was not ready, and a lot of his behaviour was an effort to hide the pain from the fact that he’d failed.
Step up, trip up, keep going
For Nick, the responsibilities of becoming a father accelerated some of his personal growth, but it was not all smooth sailing. After he got kicked out of university, he became heavily disengaged from life and developed “a chip on his shoulder”. Like all newborns, his screaming child needed to be fed and cared for whenever she needed food and care. For Nick, there was a new person in the world who was simply not interested in his desire to party and have fun, she needed food and all the rest of what babies need.
Accepting ongoing change is a notion that many of us like to avoid, but is something we all must accept will happen for the rest of our lives. Nick might have liked to have been able to avoid change just as much as anyone else. Ironically, the decisions he made through his lifestyle as a young adult greatly accelerated the changes in his life even though many of these were efforts to avoid facing change. He doesn’t look back at any of what he did as negative contributor, but instead he’s chosen to see the unique and valuable life experiences that are there.
Wake up and smell the coffee
After the ongoing pressure from this new life as a father, Nick slowly realised a range of important things about his life which helped him identify the ability to focus on these study and professional goals he was originally unable to service.
If Nick had a chance to sit down and have a chat with his younger self, he’d explain that “sometimes other people can’t help you, sometimes you have to help yourself”. Current Nick recalled back to how young Nick didn’t understand what the world was about and how to life according to personal responsibility. Young Nick assumed there was always someone who would bail him out of any situation he got himself into. Nick now knows that the younger version of him had to fall down and hurt himself enough times to realise “maybe I need to slow down and be more careful”.
Fortunately for Nick he was able to avoid drugs and other self destructive activities. In response to this Nick explained how important it was to always have a focus. “Always have a focus, in my case it was school, then girls, then fun, then I’m going to be a dad”. Even though his focus was random, it kept him away from the wrong path. For Nick there wasn’t a right path, but it was more about avoiding the wrong path.
To be continued…
- If you’re being challenged beyond the capabilities you thought you had, what do you do?
- How do you know when it’s time to consider a new perspective on ideas you have held?
In the next article, Nick shares some important reflections he had on these life events and how they have shaped his mindset about his career.
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