If I had a pound for every time somebody told me I make reckless, impulsive decisions, I’d have a lot more money for reckless, impulsive flights to countries that require you take injections to visit them.
All my life, people have told me that I am reckless, that I am impulsive and that I don’t plan. I am repeatedly told that I pick things up and drop them. People will laugh and smile as they affectionately comment on how “bloody mental” I am when I tell them about my new idea or that I have just started another business or I am writing another book or whatever happens to be my flavour of the week. (As I sit in my pyjamas in my living room writing this, that flavour it is mainly chow mein).
I had a school teacher when I was about 7 called Miss Kapper who I adored. If I was Mathilda she was my Miss Honey. I used to pride myself on always finishing everything first. I would race up to class and proudly present my work to her before anyone else, believing there to be an inherent value in my ability to squeeze as much from everyday as possible. If I was fast, I could do more.
She took me to one side once and told me that I should take my time more, that whilst my work was OK, I didn’t have to rush and it may be even better if I went slowly. I remember being mortified that my plan for excellence was misguided. I stared at her, unsure as to whether I really understood, a streak of stubborn misbelief questioning her rationale.
Fast was more and more was better was what I thought. And I think I still do think that.
I think that my fundamental principles have remained largely the same since I was in Miss Kappers class. Is that normal? I guess not.
WHERE IS MY ICE CREAM.
Over the years, I have acquired nicknames such as Kirsty Chaos (a personal favourite), The Tornado and Half Job Hulse and whilst these names are not at all unfounded, I am starting to dislike the connotation that it is all I am. I have, over the course of the past few years, really internalised this belief that I am somehow genetically predisposed to wreaking havoc at my own expense.
I have began to say things like “Sorry I am so chaotic!” “Oh I am just so impulsive I can’t do anything!” in the context of this just being another string to my bow of things I feel I need to change about myself. I have gone through a process of actively trying to be less chaotic in my day to day life, (shout out to Tom Capper who, when I told him this, said “Why? It’s your brand”) but I struggle to understand what being less chaotic that really means, beyond better managing my personal Trello board and not taking quite so much on.
So, in an ongoing effort to be kinder to myself and to try and inspire those around me to allow a little chaos amongst the order, I have a story.
Last December, I was speaking at a conference. There I met a woman who I basically developed a raging girl crush on. She was cool and funny and smart and had great hair and had written a book and was being paid to speak at the same event I was also speaking at for free. She told me that after she had written a book, she had been signed by a “speaking agent” (the same as an agent for actors or comedians, but less “Saturday Night Live” and more “Monday Morning Just Conscious”).
I love speaking at conferences and the thought that I could carve a career out of being on the stage, and be able to travel the world in the process, became a dream I would pursue with the rigour of a show off that was never quite good enough in stage school.
I got home the next day and immediately began writing my book.
“I am writing a book!”, I said to Connor. “I want to get paid to speak and travel the world so I’ll write a book!”.
“I don’t know! I only just started!”
I announced at the Manyminds end of year review that writing my book would be my focus for Q1 and it would be finished in 3 months. Looking back at me were the blank faces of people who think you are saying something a little far fetched. (FYI if somebody looks at you in that way, you are on the right track). Then, just 10 months after I went to that conference, I wrote my book, published my book and today confirmed my deal with my shiny new speaking agent. Who knows where this will lead, if anywhere, but here I am, executing on a plan. A quick plan. An ambitious plan. A plan that came out of nowhere. But a plan non the less. Take that! Half Job Hulse.
I am chaotic, I do move quickly, I make fast, impulsive decisions. Most of the time, I lead with gut instinct and trust myself to see something through if it’s right and let it slide if it’s not. I pick things up and drop them more often than I change my knickers.
I am Kirsty Chaos. But you know what? I think Kirsty Chaos is brave and enthusiastic and ridiculous and has some pretty good plans.
I have a belief that if I try enough things and give priority to the things that make me feel energised and excited to exist, I will craft for myself the exact life that I want to live, without any regrets. A friend said to me recently, “I have done pretty much everything I want to do so I am ready to settle down. Well, not everything. I have not done everything I want to do, but that would be impossible wouldn’t it?” My brain screamed NO NO NO DO EVERYTHING but I just smiled and nodded.
I concede that I can, and in certain areas of my life, I need to be more organised. I concede that I can do a better job of prioritising my areas of focus. It’s something I will get better at, with time, maybe.
I do not, however, want to write my impulsive nature off as unhelpful. I favour action over analysis, I like to learn as I go, I don’t like to spend a lot of time agonising over the decisions I make, I’d prefer to just test them in real time. I do not think I am bloody mental for constantly wanting to try new things and for continuing to explore and experiment with what brings me joy.
Whilst I know I can slow down, plan a little more, focus a little more and pick where I chose to put my time a lot better, I am writing this to ask you to meet me in the middle.
Come and make fast, impulsive decisions with me. Do something rash. Throw yourself in to a new hobby with gusto and don’t worry if you realise it wasn’t for you a few weeks later.
Listen to where your daydreams take you, and don’t plan them away from becoming your reality.