I’m George Mcfly. The moment I realised this was the moment I knew something had to change. There was not going to be a flux capacitor, no time machine, no means of going back and my kids weren’t going to save me. The time I had wasted was gone and the value of the time I have left is rising inexorably.
As many of you will know, in the Back to the Future trilogy, George Mcfly is the the father of Marty Mcfly. George is a man paralysed by his own fears and inhibitions, afraid to take even the smallest of risks or stand up for himself, he lives an uninspired fearful existence. Fortunately for him, his son befriends an eccentric scientist who invents a time machine that enables them to travel back in time and ultimately create an alternative timeline for George that sees him pursue his dreams and live a a happy existence.
Like I said, on the balance of probability, I considered the possibility of my kids coming to rescue me in a time machine to be lower down the scale. So that left me with no choice – Action.
I had long had dreams of being a creative in some way but I was unclear on exactly what I wanted to do and was terrified of being found to be inadequate or not up to the job. I papered over these fears by disguising them with practical reasons not to do act.
Until Back to the Future appeared on my television and I saw George Mcfly looking back at me and recognised him as a cinematic reflection. What action did I take?
I started with a massive dose of honesty, then started building a bridge to a new life. I was not interested in a leap of faith, I wanted something more practical. Change would therefore not come as quickly as I might have liked but I had started and the wheels were in motion. Most people don’t even get that far. Just starting feels like a triumph and I can’t help but wonder how far I can actually go. Where will the road take me?
The dizzying reality of this process is now beginning to sink in, as this week I had the task of notifying colleagues of my intentions. This was difficult because I consider them friends and not just work colleagues. I also feel a sense of loyalty to them that my actions are about to betray.
I elected to speak to them individually rather than as a group because I had slightly different things that I wanted to say to each of them. I was perhaps a little surprised to find that the reactions I received ranged from disappointment and sadness to bewilderment and shock.
The range of reactions is driven by the fact that I work within a family business and have done so for around twenty years. Consequently, I’m sure people expected me to be there until the end; a lifer as they say. The truth is I expected to be that person myself and on the face of it I look happy in my work. However, I have long denied a sense that something was not quite right and as I said in my earlier posts, acknowledging this has been the key to making a change.
Having let people know, it’s a strange feeling to think that I am part of the companies past and present but I am no longer part of the future. That shift in tense represents a huge step into my new reality.
Its been a tough week. Self doubt has enveloped me on several occasions, leaving me convinced that I cannot be successful in my career change ambitions. I have found myself thinking – “I wish I was 25 again”, “how can I have the audacity to think that I can compete with people younger than me?”.
As these thoughts rattle, destructively through my brain, I am immediately convinced of the need to abort my plans. That voice in my head is so pursuasive, so utterly convincing that I cannot mount the counter argument. I am subservient to the superiority of its thesis.
Then I pause, walk away from myself, because I know my feelings will change.
Thankfully, it doesn’t take too long. And the catalyst? This weekends Wimbledon singles finals. A 37 year old in Venus Williams and a 35 year old Roger Federer. In the context of professional sport they are well into their twilight, yet there they are at the peak of their sport. What could be greater inspiration than that?