“Whatever it is that pulls the pin, that hurls you past the boundaries of your own life into a brief and total beauty, even for a moment, it is enough.” – Jeannette Winterson
The first time I came across the above quote I was in college and still naïve enough to have no idea what it really meant. I saw it on a poster behind a curtain onstage in a dance class. No one had pointed it out to me, it wasn’t prominently on display, but somehow it had me transfixed. I read it over and over again. The more I read it, I could not figure out what it meant. But somehow I knew it was the most profound sentence I had ever seen and that it would be significant in my life. So I copied it down on the cover of my notebook. I lost that notebook, but years later I thought about that quote more and more. Only now, do I feel like I finally have some understanding of what it means. I have a feeling I will look back at this writing 20 years from now and have so much more understanding of this sentence and I will think that the me that wrote this didn’t have a clue.
Personal growth is hard! Becoming more conscious, more self-aware is painful, and aggravating, and frustrating, and totally freaking worth it! I’ve been on a self-directed journey of personal growth over the past several months. By self-directed I mean purposeful and strategically inspired growth – not the growth that comes from hard knocks and traumatic experience. I questioned the value of my personal growth as compared to the growth that many experience by way of trauma with a fellow coach and she said that becoming more conscious is valuable no matter what path you take. I decided to believe her.
Many of the coaches and mentors whose content I’ve consumed in my journey have emphasized a common theme of letting go. In order to be truly free to be who we want to be, we have to let go of what is holding us back; of who we were before. I had an experience that was so revealing about who I am, who I was, and who I want to be. This experience was a pin; the pin that once pulled, hurled me into the beauty I was born to live and create…
There is a person in my life (we’ll call him Tim) who, while well-meaning, has found it necessary to make comments about my dreams that served to inspire doubt in my mind and fear in my heart. Tim has many, many wonderful qualities that have served to be a great example to me of excellence in many areas of life. I perceived his negative comments to be a lack of belief in my ability to do hard things. In my desire to have validation from this person, I have allowed his personal story of negative beliefs about risk-taking and success to become my own story; and therefore doubt my own ability to achieve hard things. Until I decided that the only validation I need comes from within myself, I allowed the thoughts and intuitions Tim shared about me and my decisions to be my validation.
I am in the middle of embarking on a BIG business venture. I am so excited about this project that I have trouble sleeping. Not because my mind is filled with worry; my mind is filled with strategy, with dreams, with inspired creativity. Over the past two years of my inspired personal growth, I have come to realize that Tim’s advice in the past are a reflection of the limitations he puts on himself. These perceived limitations are his problem, not mine. I have learned that it isn’t necessary for me to have his approval for me to have a dream and shoot for it. So I have consciously not shared my dreams with him. I share my good news, and my achievements, and he expresses sincere congratulations when I do so.
So this BIG dream of mine is really BIG! This is an opportunity for me to make a huge positive impact in the world; to serve humanity and live more abundantly at the same time. The old me would have been totally scared of the risk and the responsibility. The old me would have been more doubtful than hopeful; thinking of all the ways I could fail instead of all the beautiful ways I could be successful. But I’m not the old me anymore. I am so totally stoked about this BIG dream. Recently, it became necessary recently for me to share my dream with Tim for reasons that aren’t necessary to share here. So I did shared my intentions with Tim and he thanked me for sharing.
The next time I spoke with him he said that he had been feeling intuition about what I shared. I knew what was coming and I probably should have just stopped him and asked if he truly thinks what he’s about to say will be helpful. But I didn’t. So I mentally prepared myself. He said that I shouldn’t put all my eggs in one basket. He said for whatever reason, he felt like it wouldn’t work out. He said, “But, I’ve been wrong before.”
I could have responded to him like the old me would have by saying it’s unwise to take advice from someone who has no experience about which they are advising. I could have talked about how I am fully aware that my dream may not work out in the end. I could have pointed out how successful people view risk in the opposite way than poor people do. Tai Lopez calls it risk inversion. But I didn’t. The new me knows there is no point in leading a horse to water that then refuses to drink. I’ve been down that road with Tim plenty of times. So I just smiled and changed the subject to the weather.
I’d like to say that his comments had no effect on me. But even though I have planted new thought programs in my mind, that doesn’t mean that they have fully taken root. The roots of my new thought programs are still competing for territory with my old programs; programs that have unfortunately been nurtured for a lot longer. So as I became increasingly uncomfortable while I stewed in my feelings of self-doubt, unworthiness, rage, betrayal, fear, and anger I suddenly remembered something: a technique that I teach my coaching clients to work through these emotions. I stopped what I was doing and went through the motions of the Peace Process.
And holy shit it really works! I was able to embrace instead of fight my feelings, acknowlege their need to exist, and let them burn out until they were no longer holding my mind and spirit hostage. After doing so, I went about my day until the feelings came up again. I went through the Peace Process again until I felt peaceful and now I feel so much better. I finally feel free from those old programs of self-worth dependency. I can now have compassion for Tim and forgive his need to act the way he does; and love him where he is on his own journey. I don’t have to allow my journey to be intertwined with his.
The new me knows that the possibility of things not working out the way you hope is never a good enough reason not to go for a dream with all your might, mind, and passion. Reframing the meaning of my past professional ventures has taught me that each experience was vital to my personal and professional growth; that the knowledge and skills I acquired were well worth the “failure” they might be perceived as by someone like Tim. I am still bursting in excitement for my new venture whatever it may bring. I am excited for the journey, not the end goal. I am excited for the knowledge and skills I will gain that can never be taken from me no matter what “loss” I may experience.