Don’t put limits on yourself (buy a pineapple)

Pineapple

I’m not a writer. I could never make it as a freelance editor/designer/PA. I’m not the sort of person who gets what they want. Ever had thoughts like this? Where do they come from?

We all put limits on ourselves. Every day, a thought will go through our heads similar to those mentioned. When was the last time you thought something like, ‘I can’t do that as well as John/Jane,’ or, ‘I’ve always wanted to try that, but I’m not the sort of person who does it.’

I do this too, but far less frequently than I used to.

Why less frequently?

Pineapple in my trolley

I used to have a picture of the sort of person I was, or thought I was, and subconsciously didn’t think I could change that. Not necessarily even big-picture stuff, but micro-level things.

A few (long) years ago, I had a moment of clarity. It was in a supermarket, in the fruit aisle. Uninspired by my usual blinkered choice of grapes, apples and bananas, my eye skimmed over the whole, fresh pineapples, lying there looking scary.

I realised I had automatically discounted them with the thought, “I’d love to buy one but I’m not the sort of person who puts a pineapple in their trolley.” (trolley = shopping cart for US readers!)

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t always go for the safe options. But fruit-wise, it seems, I did. Fresh pineapples were too much trouble to prepare. They were too complicated. Too exotic.

Becoming conscious of my thought, I pulled myself up.

Why was I not the sort of person who would put a pineapple in my trolley? Where had that view come from? Who had decided that? Who had told me that?

The answer was clear: me.

And the same person could change that.

I picked up the biggest, spikiest, most formidable-looking pineapple and put that baby in my trolley.

And it was delicious.

I picked up the biggest, spikiest, most formidable-looking pineapple and put that baby in my trolley. Don't put limits on yourself. Buy a pineapple. Share on X

Employed to freelance

A similar mental process took place when I was considering going full-time freelance. I’d been working as a part-time editor and proofreader for a while, alongside my day job, but was reluctant to take the plunge into the full-time freelance world.

I wasn’t the kind of person to not have a regular, dependable income from an employer. Who can make it as their own boss. Who can do the job they love. Was I?

I remembered the pineapple and, after making sure I had a couple of months’ worth of buffer in my bank account, in case it took me a while to drum up enough editing and proofreading work to pay the bills, I jumped from the salaried ship at the start of October 2020.

I haven’t looked back since. I’m turning work away, and picking projects that I’m passionate about.

Because it turns out I am the sort of person who can make a success of being a freelance editor. Who knew?

Mini plug: If you want to see what I can do for your book, website or business copy, get in touch!

Becoming a writer

One more example.

I’ve wanted to write a book for most of my adult life. I didn’t know what it would be about or when I would write it, but I felt it inside me. However, apart from having to wait for inspiration to strike, there was a deeper niggle.

Was I really the kind of person who wrote books? Was I a writer? Probably not.

In 2016, the kernel of an idea formed and I tentatively wrote a couple of scenes. I had no idea if I could write – I still don’t – but five years later I have a solid finished draft that I’m about to send to my beta readers.

It’s been a long journey but I’m just about ready to state that I am the kind of person who writes a book.

What kind of person are you?

There is no definition of yourself except the one you invent. And if that is limiting your opportunities, change it.

There is no definition of yourself except the one you invent. And if that is limiting your opportunities, change it. Share on X

Go put that pineapple in your trolley!

What is your ‘pineapple’? Let me know in the comments!

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4 Responses

    • Debbie Emmitt

      I didn’t know a shopping cart is called a “buggy” in Texas, thanks for the tip. In the UK, we call a “stroller” a “buggy”. So confusing!

  1. Suzanne

    “There is no definition of yourself except the one you invent. And if that is limiting your opportunities, change it.”
    I love that quote, Debbie, and sometimes it takes a long time to dismantle! Especially when we include the definitions others use about us, in the mix, as well! But just starting to play with new definitions of ourselves can be a way forward. Thank you for your inspiration! (I know this comment is a long time coming, but I got there!)

    • Debbie Emmitt

      Hi Suze, thanks for commenting! Yes, we’re complex beings and don’t always do ourselves favours. Glad that you found it inspiring. Go and buy a pineapple!

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