Face your fears to shift the paradigm

“Talk back to the voices in your head that stop you doing heart and soul what you know you want to do next,” advised motivational speaker Jim Lawless at the CIPS Middle East Conference.

In the closing keynote of the event in Dubai, Lawless, who was once a frustrated lawyer, said we must all overcome the fears that prevent us from taking action. 

Following a £1 bet, the author agreed to test the 10 principles outlined in his book Taming Tigers and take up the challenge to become a jockey within 12 months.

“I went from the boy in school who was labelled ‘rubbish at sport’ to the only one in my class to appear on TV doing sport.”

He now also holds the British freediving record, having gone to a depth of 101m on a single breath.

“We all like to think change takes a long time but what takes the time is deciding what the change will be and committing to it. If you want to do something different, change the calendar – make the time and commitment. There’s a lot of speaking about what needs to be done, the question is, will you do it? It’s simple but we make it complicated. It’s just decision, action, result.”

He quoted the words of audience member Jitse Munten, a contract engineer for Shell in Qatar, who said in an earlier session: “It’s not for anyone else to change the paradigm. If we succeed and contribute to the business, we will automatically get a seat at the table.”

Lawless said he was “excited by the procurement world” referring to the profession’s ever-growing remit and advised delegates to “give the CEO what it is they need – you know what it is”.

He said: “We all wait until the current situation is more scary than the new thing before we act. Elite performers, like Olympic athletes, are aware of this trait and they work to move past it.”

Lawless said before he appeared on the racecourse that day he had wanted to turn and run. “The voice in my head said ‘you do not have the right to be here and do this’. But the truth is I earned the right to be there. You can’t just believe it will be okay, you have to be prepared, then talk back to that voice.”

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