When we were young, my sister and I wrote down a load of ‘mottos’ on post-it notes and stuck them to our wardrobe. I think they were meant to be ‘affirmations’ but, seeing as they included gems such as ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it’ I don’t think we quite got the gist. Since then, though, I have always had a penchant for a motto. I believe they serve me well as simple guides to light my path, particularly when the world feels dark, and show me the way time and time again.
Feel the fear and do it anyway
This one was firmly taped to my door. I am not a naturally adventurous person. Everything scares me: I catastrophise, I doubt myself on every level, I suffer from imposter syndrome. And yet, my life has been full of adventure. I have: performed on stage and screen; travelled solo around the world, won a game show; snowboarded down icy peaks; climbed a volcano; become a CEO; launched my own consultancy. I feel the fear, I think of the worst that can happen (i.e. I’ll get drugged and someone will steal my kidneys or I’ll fail spectacularly and get sacked;) and then I think – meh, ‘YOLO’ (I’m 37 so not sure I can really get away with saying this), might as well give it a bash and see what happens. Turns out, a lot of good stuff.
Don’t compare someone else’s show reel with your behind-the-scenes
In this Insta-age of sepia-tinted smoke and mirrors, it’s easy to be sucked into being the Little Match Girl; looking through that window into the perfect lives of your nearest, dearest – and that lithe girl you danced the night away with once whilst backpacking many moons ago. This motto says it all. It’s not true. None of it. Life is messy and sometimes boring. And any ‘family idyll’ picture is categorically bare-faced bumwash.
There but for the grace of God go I
I’m not even faintly religious, but this mantra speaks to me. It makes me count my blessings. It makes me feel grateful for what I’ve got and determined to cling to it. Social media now bombards us, not only with filtered perfection, but also with tragedy – on a sliding scale from your friend in hospital, to Grenfell Tower, to refugee children being washed up on beaches. As an emotional person, this 24 hour barrage can feel overwhelming. So, I look around, I thank my lucky stars, I do what I can for those less fortunate and I try to be that little bit kinder because…
Everyone you meet is fighting a battle
That mardy lady that pushed in front of you at Co-op? Just got divorced, her hip’s gone and her only daughter is being bullied. Loud kid on the bus? He has autism and his mum wishes you would understand. Call centre operator? Not their dream job, I bet. Okay, hands up, pretty much nothing makes my blood boil like a call centre chat descending in to a spat about ‘company policy’ (often a delightful mix of ineptitude and sheer bastardry) but, with all the darkness in the world at the moment, I am trying to reign in my hot headedness, trying to walk a few steps in another’s shoes and see what the world looks like from there.
Have courage and be kind
My motto for the future – and one I hope to instil in to my son. For what more could you need? Courage of your convictions and choices; feeling the fear and doing it anyway; and treading carefully with people’s hearts and dreams.
About L C Nicholl
LC Nicholl lives on the East Kent coast with her husband and young son. Currently working as a freelance consultant for a number of charities, LC has had a colourful and varied life which includes treading the boards, travelling and working abroad, being a ski/beach bum and then, latterly, creating a successful career in the not-for-profit sector. She is passionate about feminism and women’s rights (in particular around pregnancy and birth), worker’s rights, environmental issues and the theatre. She is a lover of chocolate, dodgy dance moves and the Blaze of Glory soundtrack. Words that have been used to describe LC include ‘free-spirit’ ‘passionate’ and ‘feisty’.