First of all, let’s explain the name change. I have for many years worked under my previous married name of Elaine Copeland but got divorced some time ago. Because my qualifications were achieved under that name it seemed easier to carry on trading under that name. Practicalities just made it easier. If you have ever changed your name you will know what a laborious challenge it is to ensure that all of your documents are changed – from your driving licence, doctors registration, passport, bank account right down to your supermarket loyalty card. I just couldn’t face changing it all back again when I got divorced. So why the name change now?
One of the things I am passionate about is self-development and personal growth, that is the basis of my work with clients but it is also something which I commit to in my own life. One of the things I identified is that I needed to move on from the past.
Over the last six months, I have been looking at the blocks which hold me back from doing what I really want to do. I knew a couple of years ago that I wanted to diversify and to include more creativity into my work – the things which interest me in my life – clothes, make-up, cars and aeroplanes. I’m still working on how to include cars and aeroplanes but clothes and make-up seems to be a good place to start.
Alongside the desire to include my interests in my work came the fear of being visible. This is a fear which has been around for me for most of my life. Over the years my personal work has removed the layers and given me the courage to gradually show more of who I am.
Why would I be scared of showing more of who I am? Fear of judgement, ridicule, seeming to show off. These are all fears which I know I have created and whilst I may be judged, ridiculed or be seen to be showing off, it’s not something I can control. The fear of it is, however, something I can create to keep myself from being vulnerable. To keep small. To hide. To not risk.
Changing my name back to my family name is symbolic. Partly it symbolises the reclaiming of who I really am. Whilst I am more than my name, it does represent the memory of being a child, playful, positive, mischievous, free and happy.
So I’m pleased to introduce Elaine Flook.
A couple of weeks ago I watched ‘I’m Not Your Guru.’ A film about Tony Robbins which documents his amazing work but also his personal preparation and the backstage workings of his workshops. At the end of the film, Tony Robbins was asked ‘What do you want people to think about you after seeing this film’ – he replied with a huge grin and said ‘I don’t think anybody gives a shit.’
It made me laugh at myself.
We can get ourselves tied up in our fear about what people will think when we do something different or put ourselves forward. It becomes a huge worry and concern inside us, we procrastinate, make excuses. But actually, probably at the end of the day, no one gives a shit.
A couple of days later I was driving to my regular networking meeting and listening to the radio. A reporter was talking about a boy he had met, Hamsah. Hamsah is a child in Syria whose whole family have been murdered, he was completely on his own and waiting to find out which camp he would be sent to next, with no knowledge of where or with whom he would end up. As if that wasn’t bad enough he had lost a leg when he stood on an IED.
So that brought me to think about perspective and context. Our own fears can seem big, or even insurmountable but when we hear of someone in a worse position than ourselves it puts our fear into perspective, not to negate our feelings but to give us context.
Actually, the fears created by me are not life-threatening or critical.
What have I got to be scared about? Relatively it is nothing. To change my name, diversify my business, do what I feel I have been destined to do all my life and to put my head over the parapet – has no comparison to what Hamsah has been through or how fearful he must have been already in his 12-year life.
So it’s time to be brave. How about it? What are you scared to do?