A few years ago I was creating a video to promote the book I had just written about hitchhiking and travelling around the world on an extreme budget. Ideas were thrown around and we came up with the idea to do it by the road while I was hitchhiking, and then have a convertable sportscar pull over and pick me up.
Unfortunately I didn’t have a sports car, and seeming as I was in the small country town of Ulladulla, I didn’t know anyone with a sports car either.
So I knew what I wanted, but had no realistic idea of how I would get what I wanted.
That’s like so many of us, we often know what we want, or worse – we know only what we don’t want – but we have no idea how we are going to get what we want. And this is the issue, first off people either haven’t invested the thought into exactly what they want, or they know what it is but they don’t believe it can happen. That basically kills the creativity which is within us all.
I was driving through Ulladulla the day after deciding on what I wanted the promo video to look like, and I happened to drive past a Holden car dealership. Right there sitting all shiny was a silver Porsche convertable! Of all the places for it to be, a Holden dealership was not one I was expecting.
There was my answer, and it only took a day.
Now the hard part came. I had to somehow shut up the immediate objections which sprung into my mind, listing off all the reasons why I shouldn’t go in and ask for the car, and all the reasons why they would say no. It would be embarrassing, they’re not going to give a Porsche to a stranger, why should they help me? What is the benefit to them? They will never do it, what if theres a cute girl there and you get humiliated in front of her, what if, what if, what if…
Why our mind immediately fills with this sort of rubbish I’m not sure. It holds us back from so much, in fact I’m certain it holds us back from having everything we want. Whether it’s the cute girl in the bar, the high profile client we want to do business with, or submitting our work for judging…it’s all the same scared voice echoing in our head. My good friend and mentor Karen Millers calls these voices the ‘Itty bitty shitty committee’.
I had just returned from the beach, the shorts and thongs I was wearing wouldn’t do. I went home to shower, shave and put on my best clothes. When you take care of your appearance it can be a source of confidence, it adds to your presence. I paced outside the car yard for five minutes before pushing myself inside and speaking to the young car salesman. I pitched him on my vision – I’m an aspiring local author, doing the promo video for my book launch, picture me hitchhiking by the side of the road when that gorgeous Porsche pulls over with a beautiful woman driving, and jump in, driving off into the sunset.
He caught the vision. He took the boss aside for a huddle and I could see him sharing the story, the boss was nodding his head enthusiastically. They both returned with big grins. We organised the time I would take the Porsche and shook hands.
I learnt something crucial in that moment: when you share your vision, people live it in their mind. It’s real to them, and they share it. I could have just said ‘Hi my name is Kurt Provost, could I borrow your Porsche to make a video please?’ but that didn’t paint the picture of the vision I had, that didn’t show them why I was doing it. The other thing I learnt is that if I listened to the ‘shitty committee’ in my head, it would have automatically been a ‘NO’. Give yourself a chance by firing those voices in your head, tell them to have the day off. And the final thing I realised is that life favours the bold.
I showed up on the day with a bottle of scotch for the dealership. I signed some forms and then they gave me the keys to the Porsche. I jumped in and started the ignition. The radio blared to life with dubstep booming at full volume as I eased the car out into congested traffic…and stalled it. The staff stood laughing and clapping as I revved the Porsche back into life, this time making it out of the dealership without an embarrassing stall. It was my first time in a sportscar and boy was it a ride!
The filming turned out just how I wanted, and everyone had fun taking the Porsche for a spin on the quiet back roads of our country town.
None of which would have happened if I had of listened to those negative voices in my head.
So the question I leave you with is: are you stopping yourself from getting what you want?
And how are you doing that?
By not knowing exactly what you want?
By not believing you can have it?
Or by listening to the ‘shitty committee’ in your head?
Here’s the video we ended up creating: