“Never limit what you can achieve and always have fun.” Alumni Melanie Loizou, Founder of Fish Climb Trees

Mel is a speaker, consultant, facilitator and coach. As an Alumna of Hull, she has a Masters’ in Marketing as well as a degree in Hospitality Management. She has an eclectic mix of qualifications which are reflective of her views about life, “Never limit what you can achieve and always have fun.”

Mel has managed large and small teams throughout her career and for the past twenty years much of this work has been at director level. Nothing gives her greater pleasure than seeing people fulfil their potential.  In 2015 she set up her own business and recently published her first book When Fish Climb Trees which helps individuals, teams and organisations transform from those who can’t to those who can.

Below she has taken the philosophy from her book and created a blog about her own journey striving to achieve more.

Could Your Fishnets be Holding You Back from Achieving Your Dreams?

What were your dreams when you finished University?

Did you want to be recognised as a world leader in your chosen field or hit the ground running so you could generate your first million before you hit thirty?

I have to admit when I finished my first degree my aims were a little more modest.  It was the early nineties, the country was in the midst of recession and my dream was that somebody, well anybody, would employ me. 

I didn’t care what the job was I just needed some cash.  After four years of watching every penny, I was desperate for money, so my staple diet could include more than just pot noodles and I could drive anywhere I liked without worrying whether I had enough petrol or money to buy some more!

Fortunately, my dream came true quite quickly and I was able to wave goodbye to pot noodles forever.  However, alongside this very practical goal I had another secret desire.  I wanted to run my own business.  I didn’t share my thinking with anyone because deep down I didn’t believe I could do it.  And if l told anyone else, they would surely laugh at my crazy idea…

And here’s the interesting paradox.

What holds us back from achieving our dreams?

Not life with its ups and downs, not the boss who doesn’t value what we do, or the partner who doesn’t appear to support our ambitions – but us.  More often than not it is our self that holds us back from achieving what we want.

Think about it for a moment. 

When you make a mistake, who is the person that gives you the hardest time? Your boss? Maybe. Your partner? Mmm, unlikely. Yourself? Most definitely.

And when we do, we don’t do it in the conciliatory way a loved one might.  We don’t choose to see the error as an opportunity for growth.  Nope we see it as an excuse to beat ourselves up in the most awful way, probably using labels we would never use for other people: stupid, inadequate, useless, a waste of space.

In the slightly bizarre and bonkers world I inhabit now, one where fish climb trees, these beliefs are our Fishnets.  And they can hold us back in so many ways.  They can stop us from stepping outside our comfort zone; something we often need to do if we are going to achieve our dreams.

I am yet to meet anyone who doesn’t have Fishnets.  They come in a myriad of forms:

I am not good enough
Everyone else is much cleverer than me
I could NEVER do that
I am an imposter and someone’s going to find out soon

The list of Fishnets is endless, and they typically come to the fore whenever we are finding something challenging or difficult.  That voice in our head, which I fondly refer to as my inner critic (although if truth be told I would like to strangle it) just loves to use our Fishnets against us, convincing us they really are true.  Consequently, we remain rooted where we are, never moving forward or achieving our dreams.

The good news is the inner critic can be silenced and our Fishnets torn apart.  It isn’t easy and the adventure to do this never really ends but it is achievable.

There are many ways to do this. My journey began with some 1-2-1 coaching.  Then ensued a period of personal development.  The result – twenty years after harbouring an ambition that I never shared with anyone because I was too scared they would laugh at me, I realised my inaction had nothing to do with anyone else, it was just my own Fishnets at play.  In 2015, ignoring my inner critic and determined not to let my Fishnets hold me back, I threw caution to the wind and started my own business.

Four years on I have a business doing what I love. The journey hasn’t been easy, but it has been incredibly worthwhile.  At times sheer determination has kept me from allowing my inner critic to claim victory.  My Fishnets are still there but no longer do I allow them to hold me back.

How about you?

Are you going to allow your inner critic and those pesky Fishnets to limit your potential or is it time to cast them aside so you can achieve your dreams?


Find out more about Melanie Loizou, her work and her book by going to her website: http://www.fishclimbtrees.co.uk/

Alumni Mel Loizou’s first published book.

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