What do we do now?

This morning when I woke up, rather than jumping straight out of bed and getting started, I procrastinated. I lay in bed a while longer than usual and scrolled through Facebook. While mindlessly scrolling I came across this video with Reese Witherspoon.

I love Reese for so many reasons!! This speech is my absolute favourite. 💕

Posted by Ciara Sexton on Wednesday, March 31, 2021

It isn’t a new video, but it had an impact at the time. In 2015 Witherspoon was named one of Glamour magazine’s 2015 Women of the Year. This video was her acceptance speech. She spoke of her reason for starting her own production company, Hello Sunshine, and she had me hooked.

As an actress, in the majority of the scripts she read, at a point of crisis, the female lead turns to the male lead and says, ‘What are we going to do now?’ And in Witherspoon’s words, ‘What woman has ever turned to anyone in a middle of a crisis and helplessly pleaded, ‘What are we going to do now?’ The answer is none. I found myself nodding along to her speech.

At the same time, Witherspoon continued, she was frustrated with the industry she knew and loved. As she aged, she found there were fewer and fewer roles for a wide range of talent – for example, female actors, older actors, actors from diverse backgrounds. This wasn’t a problem for Hollywood alone, it was a systemic issue across many industries and professions.

Witherspoon spoke of her mother’s reaction to her complaining about the state of the system. A strong Southern woman, her mother simply told her, ‘Stop complaining and fix it yourself.’

As I heard her say this, I reflected on so many of the conversations I have had over the years, but especially over the last two years. Times are unpredictable, to say the least, with many situations out of our control, including when we can work, where we can work, where we can go, when we can travel and so on. So always, but especially during times like this, it is important to take charge of the things you can control. We can’t just wait for someone else to fix our problems for us – we need to be proactive in our own lives.

So how do you do this? Where do you start?

Begin by asking yourself a few questions:

  • What are your obstacles in 2022? 
  • What are the areas of frustration, concern or disappointment that need to be changed?
  • Why are you feeling like this?
  • How can you change the situation?

By laying out exactly what your concerns and obstacles are, you can clearly see what you must overcome and start planning a path out of it, instead of waiting for it to be remedied for you. Do what Witherspoon’s mother told her to do and ‘fix it yourself!’ The biggest thing we can do to change how we approach difficulties in our working lives, wherever we might be in terms of our career or business, is to stop asking, ‘What are we going to do now?’ or ‘What are they going to do now?’ and start asking yourself, ‘What am Igoing to do now?’