Full text of Programming your mind for success by Carrie Green at TEDxManchester conference
Listen to the Audio MP3 here: Programming your mind for success by Carrie Green at TEDxManchester
So, I want to get you all involved to my talk today. And we’re going to test out a little experiment. But in order for me to do that, I need somebody to come up here, and join me on this stage. So, please can I have a volunteer?
Don’t all at a once. You can come join me up here with Ted, we’re going to have a little couple of tea together. Anyone? Come on! You can come up just straight up to the front, whoever wants, I’m not going to pick anyone. Someone has to come up, and there’s volunteers down here and bring you up onto this stage. Oh, here is somebody.
It’s a bit of an obstacle course I think. But I promise it’s worth it.
Poor person. Oooh, thank you. What’s your name? Ian?
Thank you so much, Ian. I have something for you. You’ve just won 20 pounds. There you go, there you go. Thank you so much. So, you can go down by now.
Big round of applause.
So, my question to you is this: Why didn’t you volunteer? What stopped you from coming up here? My guess is that it was probably one of these reasons.
FEAR. Fear of coming up here in front of nearly 1000 people is pretty damn scary. Or maybe it was fear of the unknown, because you had no idea what I was going to get you to do. Or maybe you thought, “Oh, gosh, she’s going to ask me to do something, I’m not going to be able to do –
Or maybe, it was because of OBSTACLES. There were quite a lot of obstacles in this room, maybe you’re so far at the back, and you just thought, “Oh, my goodness. I am so far away, it’s dark, there are lots of tables in my way up, if I fall over, I might look like a fool, and I just can’t do it, it’s too difficult, someone else has to volunteer for me.”
Or maybe, it’s just the lack of MOTIVATION. Maybe you just couldn’t be bothered to move and come up here. But, no matter what your reason was, your decision started up here. In your mind. Because the moment I said, “Please, can I have a volunteer?”, thoughts would have started putting into your mind, that little voice inside your head would have started talking to you. And maybe for some of you, it was saying, “Oh, God, what is this girl going to get us to do? I don’t want to go up there. Please don’t make us do anything really stupid.”
And then, maybe for some other people, you were thinking, maybe down in the front you were like, “Oh, gosh. I don’t want to do this. Look away, avoid eye contact, avoid eye contact. Then she won’t pick me.”
And then, maybe for some of you the moment I said, “Please can I have a volunteer?”, maybe fear and doubt and worries had flooded through you at the prospect of actually coming up here, of coming up here in front of so many people.
And then, for those of you that did volunteer, you were thinking something entirely different. You were thinking things maybe like, “Woo! She wants a volunteer. I wonder what she is going to get us to do. How exciting! I’m going to do it!” Or maybe some of you thought, “Oh, my gosh. This is really awkward. No one is volunteering. So I’m going to have to step up and do it.”
But those of you that didn’t volunteer, you missed out on the chance to win 20 pounds. But this experiment isn’t about the money. This experiment demonstrates the power of your mind. The fact that what is going on up in your head has such a huge impact on the actions that you take, on the decisions you make, and the things that you experience. And it’s not just in silly situation like this where people miss out on amazing opportunities. People are missing out on incredible opportunities all of the time, because of what’s going on in the head. Because they are making bad decisions, based off a really bad frame of mind. Those kind of self-limiting thoughts, like, “I can’t do that.” “I’m not good enough.” “I don’t have the time or the money.”
Or maybe you think, “I can’t be bothered. I’ll just do it tomorrow”
But then, you never do it. And so these wonderful ideas, and these incredible potentials, stay locked up inside, and you never do anything with them. And that is exactly what was happening to me a few years ago.
It was the summer of 2005 and I just finished studying my first year of law at the University of Birmingham. And I had completely run out of money. And I was like. “What am I going to do!” And so I started to look around for jobs, and I was looking around and found absolutely nothing appealing. So I was looking around for more opportunities, and eventually found this opportunity.
It was to start my very own mobile phone unlocking business, which basically meant that if you had a mobile phone, and it was locked to a certain network, and say you wanted to go travelling to Australia, and use an Australian SIM card, then you could come to the website and unlock your phone. There was just a few massive problems with this.
First off, I didn’t really know much about mobile phones, beyond the fact that made calls and sent texts, let alone mobile phone unlocking, and I had no idea how to build an online business. But the only other opportunity was [indiscernible], start my own business, so obviously went with the idea of starting my own business, and found it way more adventurous.
So I got started and I realized really quickly that when you don’t have a clue what to do, the only thing you can do is ask for help, and that is what I did.
So, I asked for help and within a few short weeks I put together probably the world worst website. And I discovered Google Adwords as the way to drive traffic to the website. And with the credit card, and a spending limit 30 pounds a day, my business was officially up and running.
Then over the next couple of years, when I was studying my law degree, I was learning how to build this business. I was reading books, I was listening to audio programs and in my final year, I went to night school to learn more about web development. I graduated in 2007 with an amazing degree and a business that was flying. And I decided that being an entrepreneur was going to be way more fun than being a lawyer.
So, I set my sights high and I decided to build — to take the business global, to build a successful global business. So we got a new supplier based in America who could unlock practically every phone under the sun. We redid the website, we expanded the team, we got really good online marketing. And within a few years, we were receiving over 100,000 hits to the website every month. And we were selling thousands and thousands of codes every single month. And I had reached my goal to build a successful global business.
But there was one massive problem. I was miserable.
I was running this business predominantly from my home office, where I lived in an apartment, my second bedroom was turned into an office. And I felt completely lonely, totally isolated and lost. Something that I think so many people experience, but not very many of us talk about. And I crumbled. I started to question everything. And I started to think questions like, “What am I doing?” “What is the point of all of this?” And more I thought about those questions the more confused I felt, and then the more confused I felt, the more these negative thoughts would cloud my mind, the more I began to doubt everything, and worry about everything, and just question everything.