Our Claire has been expanding her horizons…

This week I went to Manchester to see Grayson’s Art Club exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery. I’d been looking forward to it for ages but recent news about the Delta variant of COVID-19 taking hold in the city had made me very anxious. So, to try and help me reframe things, I looked at the statistics and worked out the odds of meeting anyone with the virus. Reassuringly, they were overwhelmingly in my favour. So I went with a friend and we had a wonderful day out.

It’s odd to think now that since February last year, with few exceptions, I’ve restricted myself to only as far as I could walk. Indeed, in my darkest moments during the first wave, I struggled to believe I could get outside my front door let alone to another city. But, bit by bit, I’ve reclaimed much of the life I had before the pandemic snatched it away. To do so I’ve had to literally step outside my comfort zone.

That is not to say comfort zones aren’t of any benefit to us – especially during a time of crisis – but they can also hold us back. Lifehack lists how:

  1. Without Risks, You Won’t Discover Your True Self
  2. You Can’t Learn Much in Your Comfort Zone
  3. You May Postpone Your Goals
  4. Routines Make You Lazy
  5. You May Lose What Makes You Unique
  6. You’ll Never Discover New Dreams

Looking back on my life, I can see how true this is. For example, I think back to when I worked at a newspaper company which I really didn’t find rewarding but stuck with because I thought it was a job for life. Then the 2008 recession came along and by 2011, I was made redundant. It wasn’t until 2015 – several temporary jobs later – that I began to find my feet again. It wasn’t in employment, however, but in education: I went back to college and got a BA (Hons) in Fine Art.

I’d been putting off a Degree for the previous two decades as I didn’t believe I could afford it or, honestly, that I was good enough. Yet, one thing had lead to another and eventually I felt it was my best opportunity to becoming the Artist I truly wanted to be. Once at college, I excelled and got a First.

This achievement in itself has given me a great deal of confidence and now I can claim with pride that I am indeed an Artist. Sometimes I have to pinch myself that I’ve achieved an ambition I’ve had since I was a teenager. Sometimes, though, I wonder how I could think I was anything other than an Artist. Why did it take me so long to step into who I really am? The answer, of course, was fear.

So, no matter what your ambition is, I hope you will find it within you to go for it. Yes, it will be scary, you will make mistakes, you might even occasionally look ridiculous, but none of it even begins to compete with the rewards of making the effort. Also never ever forget that WHISC will be there to cheer you on every step of the way!

WHISC also offer several courses that can help you find your confidence and a new way through life. They can even offer a new focus with one of their groups or classes. Take a look at the What’s On page of this website to find out more. Don’t forget either that, no matter what you’re going through, WHISC’s Listening Ear service is waiting to hear from you. Just call 0151 707 1826 or leave a message on their Facebook page with your phone number and they’ll ring you back.

Whatever you want to achieve in life, support will always make us stronger.