If there is one thing that is making a big turnaround today, it is the thought of how you influence and inspire others. For years in social media many have had this misconception that you can create a perfect life online. That somehow this “perfect” version of yourself would inspire others. All of the posts were about these “perfect” moments that were happening in a persons life. Nothing was posted that didn’t fit into this perception of perfection.
Like the years of photoshopping models into this idea of what a perfect body should look like, instead of inspiring others to reach towards perfection, it created the opposite. It fed into the lie, that some how you are not good enough. Not rich enough, not skinny enough, not smart enough – that your breasts were too small, your stomach not flat enough, your thighs were too large, you had the wrong kind of hair, the wrong color skin, etc…, this idea of perfection (which shifts with the seasons and years) is not how we inspire others.
The problem is that perfection isn’t how life is. It’s messy. It’s imperfect. Most of the time it feels like a disaster. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, not the advertising agency or the social media influencer.
“Seek the approval of no one. Never change who you are. Don’t fit the mold that others have created for you.” – Adverstu.com
I worked fulltime when my kids were growing up. I tried bribery, threatened grounding and created punishments. Nothing convinced my kids that they should walk into the house and put their things in their bedrooms when they got home from school. Nothing I tried convinced them that when they finished raiding the refrigerator because they were starving, that they were capable of putting those dirty dishes in the sink – let alone the dishwasher.
Instead, this was our pattern. On Mondays the house looked presentable, because I had spent the whole weekend cleaning. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday our house slid downhill in a mountain of toys, discarded clothing, schoolwork that fell out of bookbags, whatever the dogs and cats had played with or destroyed, and of course dirty dishes. By Friday I would collapse under the mountain and pray that no one would come knocking at my door expecting entry. My house never looked like the perfectly organized home I always dreamed of.
You don’t inspire others by being perfect. You inspire them by how you deal with your imperfections.
“When you are living the best version of yourself, you inspire others to live the best version of themselves” – Steve Maraboli
For me the inspiration came not from working myself into exhaustion. It didn’t come from yelling and screaming at my kids in frustration. It came from doing the things that I knew were the most important. Those things changed as my kids grew older, but it all started from the same place – spending time with my kids. Sometimes that was just relaxing and watching T.V. Sometimes it was watching them play in the back yard. Sometimes it was taking them to the movies and watching something that I never would have chosen to watch, but that they did. We went roller skating, to bonfires on the beach, to backyard bar-b-ques with friends and families. As they grew older, it was transporting them to outings with their cousins and friends. Then it was the terrifying years of being in the car with a student driver.
It was different activities, but the inspiration was the same. Supporting my kids in whatever way I could to grow up happy and healthy. Now that they are all grown up and having families of their own. Now I get to laugh at them going through the same states of imperfection in raising their children. And I get a lot closer to that imagined state of a perfectly organized home 🙂
What is being inspirational to others about?
Simone Biles demonstrated what being inspirational is all about in the 2020 Olympics, when she pulled out of some events to focus on her mental health. There is greatness in listening to yourself and advocating for your needs. She identified within herself where she was. She drew her own boundaries in order to keep herself safe and healthy. Like Naomi Osaka, she recognized the interconnectedness of mental and phsyical well-being. When Simone decided she couldn’t compete in several of her events, she stayed and supported her team.
She took a different path than expected and it took tremendous courage to stand up before literally the whole world and do this. She demonstrated the courage to protect her heart, soul, mind, body and spirit.
I love the thought, that each decision we make to walk our own path, is a comma, not a period. The path didn’t end. It is continuing onward. There are times when we need to stop and refuel. It isn’t a period, it is a comma – a pause to take a breath. You refuel so that you can have the energy to finish – it’s the finish which is a period.
And at the end of each finish, you get to choose what new adventure awaits. You get to start down a new path of self discovery.
You might think that when I chose to create this quote and graphic that I was thinking of judging and forgiving others. It is very true that when you seek to understand others, that judgment goes by the wayside and patience comes in for the struggles that they are having. However, when I was thinking about what to write about this morning, it was in connection to self judgment.
“Self awareness is not self judgment. It is looking, and seeing, and discovering who you really are. So check your judgment at the door.” – Trans4mind
You set goals, dreams, ideas of how your day is going to go. You are plan your life out. You will grow up, graduate college, get a job, marry and have a family, climb the corporate ladder, live in a nice home with the white picket fence, and live happy ever after. And then it happens. Self sabotage enters into the picture and you do it wrong. You destroy what you’ve built. You crush someone else. Self judgment burns you like a fire that is raging out of control.
Negative self talk enters your head:
“What upsets people is not things themselves, but their judgments about these things.” – Epictetus
You are not perfect. Nobody is. So you will make mistakes. Some of those mistakes will be disasters. Some of life’s disasters happen from things not in your control. Your mom dies from cancer; your nephew is murdered; your grandson is hit and killed by a delivery truck. Life just happens.
You can’t go back and change what happened. But you can in any moment create a new beginning. Starting over. Let it go. Done is done. Stop carrying the emotional baggage of your past. Take responsibility for your actions. Rectify whatever can be shifted into a better place. Then free it from your mind.
As part of your self awareness journey, you have to discover the courage to ask the difficult questions, both of yourself and others. You need to learn to communicate clearly. It is one of the hardest lessons.
Sometimes you are so scared of what the other one might say, that you don’t ask the question that you know in your soul needs to be asked. Or, you lie to yourself that you can make something happen that you know is not really in anyone’s best interest.
Self awareness takes a lot of courage. It is the only way to avoid the misunderstandings, drama and sadness that happens when we ignore the signs and continue walking down the wrong road.
“We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are, or the way they should be. And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of those assumptions.” – Stephen Covey
It might be time to start examining all of your assumptions. Get curious as to what you things in life you think that you understand. Years ago there was an aquaintance in the church I attended. Someone had seen her having dinner in a restaurant with a strange man. When they left the restaurant they were holding hands and the man kissed her goodbye. That person went around telling everyone that she had a boyfriend. The gossip took off like a wildfire. What really happened was that her brother was traveling and stopped off to see her for dinner on his way to another location for business. The person who saw her made an assumption and they thought what they saw was the right interpretation of facts. It wasn’t.
How many assumptions about yourself, others, and life itself do you have that could have another interpretation?
I love the writing of Joseph Campbell. He talks about the cave you fear to enter. There was a demonstration of this in the original group of Star Wars movies. When Luke is being taught by Yoda and he enters into the cave. He asks Yoda what he will find inside and Yoda tells him, only what you take in with you. Per Joseph Campbell, “The cave you fear to enter has the treasure you seek.” You need to find your own cave. Own the fear(s) you have and enter it. Like Luke you will learn something powerful about yourself.
“Own the fear, find the cave, and write a new ending for yourself, for the people who you’re meant to serve and support, and for your own culture. Choose courage over comfort. Choose whole hearts over armor. And choose the great adventure of being brave and afraid. At the same exact time.” – Brene Brown
So set your intention to keep moving forward.
Create the space and intention to remove the armor that keeps you feeling like you’re stuck. You’re not really stuck. You just need to check the thinking that created the circumstances you find yourself in.
Right from the moment you are born, you are taught to pay more attention to what others expect of you, and to ignore your own wants and needs. You are taught to be “unselfish” and put the needs and wants of others before your own. As a child were you constantly being compared to others?
Or maybe it was the opposite and you were really talented, got good grades, outshined others. Did you feel peer pressure to be less than you were capable of being? Did your friends or siblings make you feel bad because they couldn’t or just didn’t want to put in the effort to excel – and they wanted you to be the same way?
Most schools have the cliques – and the “nerds” were never treated the same as the “jocks”. Comparisons start at an early age and seem to follow us throughout our lives. If you spend all of your time trying to live up to, or down to others expectations, it can feel like you’re in an ocean surrounded by sharks. They surround you just waiting until you can no longer keep your head above water.
“In therapy I have learned the importance of keeping spiritual life and professional life balanced. I need to regain my balance” – Tiger Woods
I thought that these quotes by Tiger Woods really revealed how from a young age he had spent most of his life, first living up to his fathers expectations, later coaches expectations, and then the expectations of his fan base. It can cause you to become extremely imbalanced between your career and the rest of your life (relationships with spouse, children, your health, your spiritual life…, etc).
Part of what you have to do is to back off from living up to others expectations, and take the time to consider who you really are or what you really need. Especially when you are in sports or some other field of entertainment, you can get so caught up in thinking that you are only the “golfer” or the “basketball player”. Christopher Reeves became known as superman, a sterotype that became his public and private persona. The truth is, that you are more than just whatever talent you might posses. If the ability to play golf, or basketball, or play the part of a superhero goes away, you are still the same person.
You need to stop ignoring the calls of your soul/spirit or heart. You do not have to stop being who you really are inside, in order to fit into the expectations of the world. Choose to listen to your soul. Listen to the deepest needs of your heart. Choose to be free of the shackles of others expectations.
“To being trustworthy? To being successful? How committed are you to being a good father, a good teammate, a good role model? There’s that moment every morning when you look in the mirror: Are You Committed, or are you not?” – Lebron James
As a mom, you can feel incredible pressure to be “super woman”. To hold down a fulltime job, and be a fulltime mom, and the sexy wife. To have the perfect children who are the best at whatever they do. To drive the kids to sports, to music lessons, to every extraculricular activity. To have a spotless house with nothing out of place. You create the weight of mountains on your shoulders and push yourself to always be doing, doing, doing. Until that day you drop dead of exhaustion.
“20 things that women should stop wearing after the age of 30: #1-20: The weight of other people’s expectations and judgments.” – Maura Quint
As a dad, you can feel incredible pressure to work 80 hours a week to meet the ever upward constantly changing goals. To convince your boss, that you are ready to take on more responsibility, you feel that you have to work longer and longer hours. To be the last person to leave at night and the first person into the office in the morning. They may even joke that you must sleep at work. I always remember this line in the movie “Baby Boom” where the boss says something like “he doesn’t remember how many grandkids he has, but he knows to the cent how much money the company makes on a daily basis”. So many men fall into the trap of working so many hours to get ahead in their career, that their family suffers from them never being around.
“Expectation feeds frustration. It is an unhealthy attachment to people, things, and outcomes we wish we could control; but don’t” – Dr. Steve Maraboli
You are not supposed to live your life meeting the expectations of others. You are supposed to define your own individuality. To be your own unique person. To follow your own path. To choose your own adventure and strike out on the road less traveled. Be extraordinary instead of the rat in the maze trying to find the same piece of cheese. You are the person who gets to choose what matters and what doesn’t. The meaning of your life is whatever you want it to mean. It’s the meaning that you give to it that makes it your life.
“The secret to happiness and peace is letting every situation be what it is, instead of what you think it should be, and making the best of it.” – Marcandangel
As you leave behind the expectations of others to discover who you are and what’s important to you – remember to allow the same for others that you love. When you live your life according to who you are, and don’t put the weight of expectations on others on how they should live their lives, you create the space to be happy. You no longer feel disappointed because you “failed” to live up to the expectations of others – and, you are not disappointed by the actions of others not meeting your own expectations. You learn to live in the world of “what is” instead of “what it should be”.
“No more expectations. Just gonna go with the flow and whatever happens, happens”.
Going back to what Tiger Woods said, achieving some kind of “balance” in your life is what is important. Living according to who you are, and not putting pressure on others to meet your expectations doesn’t mean “whatever happens, happens”. It doesn’t mean that you don’t try to do better, and be better. It doesn’t mean that you stop trying to rise to your full potential in your life. It means that you have a good working balance between taking care of your family, and yourself – which includes your emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual good health.
I thought that this quote from Stephen Hawking was so spot on. He said, “When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one, really appreciates everything one does have.” Sometimes you have something happen in your life that changes everything. Maybe you get a medical diagnosis of ALS like Stephen. What you thought was important suddenly isn’t. You are just happy that you are still alive. You experience a freedom, that sort of says – ok, I am in the basement, the bottom of what’s possible. Anything I achieve from now on is good, great, and better than anyone thought it could be. Just think of everything that Stephen Hawkins accomplished from that space of “zero”.
So free yourself from the expectations of what others expect from you. Get still and start from zero –
“She was a true fighter, you could see it in her eyes. She was not born strong, she was made strong. She was sculpted to be her own hero when the world let her down, she kept picking herself back up.” – Unknown
Your power comes from:
Letting go of what you can’t control – you can’t calm the storm
Letting go of what doesn’t serve you – stop trying to calm the storm
Appreciating all the good in your life
Bringing good to other people’s lives
Treating your soul like a soulmate and honoring what it tells you
This is temporary, Breathe through it, the storm always passes
Breathe in the strength, power and courage you need to move on
Breathe out all the pains, frustrations and sorrows that are weighing down your heart
Trust the storm to bring in something better than what it has taken away.
You are where you need to be. Just Breathe.
The power of the breath cannot be overstated. When you are stressed out, overwhelmed – when you are in emotional turmoil – your breathing becomes quick and shallow which causes a number of reactions in your body. Your adrenals are impacted as they release cortisol and start the “fight, flight or freeze” reaction in your body. Breathing deeply and slowly instantly calms you down mentally so that your body can stop being triggered and relax physically.
Strength is not found in perfection,
That is real strength.
“The world needs strong women . Women who will lift and build others. Who will love and be loved. Women who live bravely, both tender and fierce. Women of indomitable will.” – Amy Tenney
“She remembered who she was and the game changed.” – Lalah Deliah
So much of what you worry about in your life, the things causing you to have anxiety are in reality “the small stuff” of your life. Many of the deadlines that you push yourself to meet, are self created. Will the world end if dinner is at 6:30 instead of 6:00? Does it really matter if your child goes to school wearing a stripped shirt and polka dot pants? Did the PTA call you to say that you have been condemned as the worst parent in the school because you brought store bought cookies instead of baking home made cookies? All of these things are “the small stuff”.
“When she finally learned how to let go of the things that didn’t matter, she discovered all the things that really did. Just breathe.” – Unknown
When the “small things” in life get you down. When life trips you up. When life sends you on an emotional roller coaster, don’t forget “you are only human“. You’re still learning. It’s okay to have a meltdown. What is important is that you don’t pack your bags and move into the zone of constant emotional turmoil. Take some deep breaths, re-center and ground your emotions. Refocus on what is important. Let go of what isn’t. Remember what Cristen Rodgers said, “It’s the risk of falling that makes life a grand adventure rather than a guided tour.”
“And one day she discovered that she was fierce, and strong and full of fire, and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than the stars.” – Mark Anthony
“What I know for sure is that we are a resilient people, in spite of the difficulties and challenges of life. We can look deep within ourselves to resolve our own issues so that our light will be our guide. And we should reach out and extend to others the lessons we have learned so that they too can be empowered. I’m reminded of a quote by Maya Angelou: “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.”” – Ramona A. Gray
I sure that everyone has seen the classic photo of a lone wolf howling at the Full Moon. But the truth is that a lone wolf is a dead wolf. The wolf needs a pack to survive. When something goes wrong in your life, the first instinct is to hunker down by yourself – to isolate yourself. But like the wolf you were created to be part of a community, you must have connection to thrive.
Isolation simply creates more issues for you in the long run. There is nothing that stops your mind from catastrophizing, in an endless loops as it pokes and pricks at the pain, thereby increasing the suffering. I read an interesting quote today that was talking about suicide. It said that there is an Arabic saying that goes this way:
“You want to die? Then throw yourself into the sea and you’ll see yourself fighting to survive. You do not want to kill yourself, rather you want to kill something inside of you”.
I found this so interesting. It’s not that you truly want to die, even though your mind is trying to convince you that you do. You just want to end something that you can’t see ending any other way. It’s the isolation of those feelings that creates the harm. When you are in this place you need to be reminded and believe that you are a beautiful soul, that is going through temporary suffering. Let me repeat that “Suffering is Temporary”. That you are worthy of having a better life. If you want to change your life, you must open up yourself like the Lodgepole Pine cone and let the fires of what you are suffering release the seeds to create growth and change.
You need to open up to friends about what is happening. You need to seek counseling. You need to reach out and reach up and keep reaching until you have transitioned from being in pain and suffering into a positive outlook for your future. To see the open doors waiting for you to walk through them. To grow in the new rich ash filled soil, to flourish once again in the sun.
“Let go of what you expect to embrace what’s there” – Chloe Jones
The Lodgepole pine cone is a squat egg shaped pine cone that embeds its seeds inside with a sticky resin. The seeds are basically locked into a botanical safe. You would think that it would not be a wide ranging tree – yet it grows from Alaska all the way down to Baja, California in all different kinds of weather zones. The secret to their seeds being released is extreme heat, such as in a wildfire. The seeds don’t just survive a catastrophe, they thrive in its aftermath. This is the definition of resilience.
Resilience is being endlessly inventive, unrelenting, and forever evolving through the chaos of life’s changes. It is having the flexibility to adapt to what is happening in the current moment without regard to what happened in the past. You can’t prevent upheavals from happening in your life, but you can be more adaptable to changing conditions. By putting yourself in the present moment, taking deep breaths and releasing the emotional charge, you can reset yourself. You can discard the anxiety that is ripping through you, and put your troubles into perspective.
It is in a fire racing through an area that the opportunity to drop the seeds and grow a new tree emerges. Change opens as many doors and it closes. Change is going to happen. You can’t stop things from ending, but you can reach out to the new beginnings that the change brings. Be courageous and creative enough to embrace whatever happens.
“What I have learned over the past 15 months – and the only thing I know for sure – is that everything is temporary. Happiness, sadness, control, chaos, highs, lows: They all come and go. It’s both unsettling and reassuring to rest in the notion that nothing is permanent.” – Kristen Bell
In the aftermath of a wildfire, the Lodgepole pine seeds can become like a thick lime-green carpet across the ground. The ash-infused soil is prime with rich nutrients to help the seeds grow. Unlike prior to the fire when the ground was shaded, now the sunlight shines on the seeds as they shoot forth their new life in the aftermath of the destruction of the wildfires. When a tragedy strikes like a wildfire, such as a death, divorce, loss of a job or illness – resilience is what will help you to see the future as a period of renewal and growth.
Life’s transitions could mean a relocating to a new area to live or working in a completely different field. It could mean a new opportunity for growth where you are. How many stories have you heard from friends or relatives who look back on a divorce or a job loss as the best thing that ever happened to them? It took a catastrophic loss to wake them up. To acknowledge to themselves that they were merely surviving their old life.
We all need at least one friend that understands what is not being said. That calls “bullshit” when you say you are fine. That won’t leave until you open up and say what’s really happening. That goes down deep into the conversation, until you release the damn you created to hide all of the pain behind. When you finally start really feeling it, and let out the pain – that’s when you can begin to heal.
I am blessed with both friends and sisters who are the image of this quote: “Having a sister is like having a best friend you can’t get rid of. You know whatever you do, they’ll still be there.” When I was going through the pain of losing my dad they were there. When I am going through the pain of my husband illnesses and worrying that he’s about to go through deaths door, they are there. When I have a tough night of grief striking my heart with the realization that I’ll never see my grandson again, they are there.
They are there because I reach out and say I need it. As the sayings goes: “Friends are like bras, close to the heart and there for support.” The bra gives no support if you don’t put it on. So when life sends you into the emotional roller coaster of chaos and change, reach out and let the heat of their love release the seeds hidden deep inside of you for growth.
Watching my grandkids grow up, I have seen things about my own life, that I never thought about before. In my own childhood I came into adult responsibilities at grade school. I stepped in trying to be the perfect little girl that picked up all of the pieces of motherhood that my mom was dropping or abandoning in living her life. I got breakfast for everyone, made sure they got to school, helped with homework, cleaning the house, and so on. I missed so much of the “fun playtime” of being a little girl, but of course I didn’t know that at the time. I thought how I was being raised was normal.
There were a lot of things I did different in raising my own children, but at the same time my mom still peaked out in what I said and did. I think that for most of us, that is a true statement. There were a lot of great things in how my mom raised us. Almost ahead of her time she had no filters or judgments based on a persons race or sexual preference. For her, it was all about who you were at a soul level.
“The wild woman NEVER FADES, she is constantly shaking loose everything that is not pure soul…,” – Shikoba
When I look at my grandkids I see the “wild soul” in its pure existence. Like my mom and even myself, I see my own children try to tame that spirit in my grandkids. They try to break it up into things you don’t say, how you don’t act in a certain way. I don’t think that the “children should be seen and not heard” way of raising kids is very prevalent today, but I do think that the practice of filters is still hammered into our children.
It teaches them to filter out their inner truth, their honesty about how they are feeling, and instead speak about a filtered, watered down truth so that they don’t go against the rules. Then as adults you have to awaken once again to those truths. To be honest in what you think. To shake off the shackles, the masks, and become once again fully alive.
Most of the time you are not awakened gently. You are awakened by the betrayal of a friend or loved one. You are awakened by loss. You lose a job, a significant other, a divorce, a death of someone close to you. Sometimes it comes from the violence of someone who is supposed to love and take care of you. Sometimes it comes from finally admitting you have an addiction that is destroying your life.
With each challenge to awaken, you grow. You get stronger mentally. Your emotional turmoil, from floundering to find your way, creates a muscle of resilience that helps you bounce back again and again. You learn to give a voice to everything inside of you. You grab hold of that wild spirit that has been trounced on and beaten into submission. You free it, letting it breathe in the freedom of expression in your own unique voice.
“They are scared of women like you. Women with hearts big enough to house a suitcase full of pain, women with laughs so therapeutic they can heal wounds, women with a passion fierce enough to start wildfires. They are scared of what they can’t tame or understand” – The Inner Voice
Each awakening starts a new journey of self discovery. You go back to the beginning and start releasing everything that no longer serves who you are becoming. You let go of the pain. You let go of the victimhood. You let go of the judgments against those who failed you when you needed them most. All of the feelings of abandonment, betrayal, hurts both physical and emotional. You let it all go. It no longer matters to the new person you are becoming. It’s all “water under the bridge”, gone and never to return.
Waking up is not for the faint hearted. Self Awareness is like picking at the scabs and scars to dig down beneath and dig out all of the roots of feelings and emotions that never served you. You begin to see a new life path forward. A path of freedom from the past. The chaos never leaves, because it is within that chaos that growth happens.
The chaos becomes the road sign for a new adventure. For a new journey to uncover more of your “wild soul”. The chaos is the preview of “coming attractions”. It makes your heart beat faster. It slips in the joy of showing the world another piece of your magic. It is the process of learning to know and accept yourself on all levels.
“Within her soul a seed of resilience was planted. Even in the darkness she knew that as long as she kept reaching up towards the light she would grow.” muses from a mystic
When you focus on personal growth and self awareness, you experience life on a whole new level. Your life becomes filled with peace, love, joy, passion and fun – all within the chaos container you have built. You see how to structure your life, design your life – all on your own rules. You have the potential to make your life be anything you want.
It’s time to step out from the stories of who you are. To grow instead that “wild soul”, and start creating the story of how you want your life to be. Acknowledge and free yourself from the past. Heal the present. Listen to your inner voice. Refuse to surrender who you are, to what others want you to be. Love yourself, your body, mind, and spirit -celebrate it. Surround yourself with other “wild souls”. Write out your own story and dance it into life.
Listening to internal guidance can be very hard to do when life is stressing you out. The noise of the chaos around you drowns out that inner voice. Everyone will have an opinion on what needs to be done. People will freely tell you how to live your life, what choices you should be making. They will show up, try to convince you, dazzle you, and intimidate you.
The first thing to do is to drop resistance to what is happening. “It is what it is”. When you stop fighting against it, you find the ability to cope with what is. You lose a loved one, it can’t be changed. Your employer lets you go, it is what it is. Coping can only begin after acceptance of what is. Since you can’t change it, stop pushing back.
Glennon Doyle in her book Love Warrior said: “I have met myself, and I am going to care for her fiercely.” She outlines phases that we go through in life. The typical hero journey where life is good, then tragedy happens, and then we find our way out. In the process we make discoveries about who we are, and we make changes in how we show up in life.
At this moment in time the whole world is in a unique place. The whole world has been going through a massive hero’s journey. It began at the beginning of 2020.
STAGE ONE: LATE STATUS QUO (pre Covid)
You are living in your comfort zone and life is rolling along. You might be hitting a few speed bumps once in awhile, but on the whole, life is good.
STAGE TWO: FOREIGN ELEMENT (Covid)
…Bam! An unexpected event occurs. The foreign element of Covid instantly and urgently, changes everything. Your entire life is turned upside down. And it’s not just you. It is happening to everyone around you too. From normal minor things such as getting groceries, to something more major such as the kids being home-schooled. If you’re lucky you’re working from home, if not you may have been furloughed or laid off from work. You’re required to wear a mask everywhere. You’re told to shelter at home.
STAGE THREE: CHAOS
You may have thought at first that this would be a very temporary situation. Maybe a couple of months. But instead those couple of months go past a year, and you find yourself entering into a weird “new normal”. Then just when you have adjusted to this new normal, it happens again. Your kids are going back to school – but what does that look like? Is it safe? Your job is calling you back to fulltime in the office, but you like working from home fulltime. You feel like you get a lot more done each day, and who needs that commute? Plus now you can be home when the kids get home from school. Just the thought of going back to that old daily commute puts your stomach in a meat grinder. Or maybe you want to have the ability to do both, having one or two days in the office and 3 or 4 days at home.
The world has changed and what you thought you knew cries out for reexamination. What you’d hoped for, planned for, or predicted before Covid has changed. It may no longer be possible or even desired. You need to figure out what really matters to you. This is not a pleasant process because it is filled with so much uncertainty, both for you, your family, and your employer. But if you just take the time to do the work, it will get you somewhere important. The feeling of being in this chaos phase can be likened to taking a car engine apart – there can be confusion as to what is wrong, what needs to be replaced. But if you work through the process of clearing up the confusion, you can make some really important and life changing discoveries.
STAGE FOUR: TRANSFORMING IDEA
STAGE FIVE: INTEGRATION AND PRACTICE
This is the stage where you try out those new ideas from your epiphany. Your employer insists on everyone coming back to the office fulltime. You suggest a hybrid workplace. You have done the research and have the data to support your idea. Maybe it just starts out with coming back to work in the office every other day; two days a week or three days a week. Suggest that in 30 or 60 days you both reexamine how it is working out. You follow other companies and what they are doing. You discover some best practices to implement. You generate and discard several ways of transforming the workplace until you find the one that fits your workplace culture.
This same concept works for any new ideas you want to implement in your life.
STAGE SIX: NEW STATUS QUO
This happens when your breaking outside of the comfort zone shifts into the new comfort zone, the “new normal”.
STAGE SEVEN: START DESIGNING YOUR LIFE
Pick a regular time several times a year, in which you can take out those kaleidoscope “eyes” and start to DESIGN and prepare for A NEW ADVENTURE.
You can be pro-active. You can choose how the stage resets. Your washing machine has more than just one cycle. Instead of waiting for the foreign elements to bring in chaos, you can choose to start the process of enlarging your comfort zone now. Be pro-active. Instead of just imagining what you want to do someday, “I’ll finally write that book” or “I’ll finally travel to a foreign land” or whatever you always say your going to do someday. You still won’t have the time, the money, or whatever you think that you are lacking in this moment when someday comes. You just have to go within and shift to stage four and start transforming your idea to make it happen today.
While it is always good to know your limits – it is never good to accept them at face value.
Your current limit is just that – a current limit. There are so many ways to exceed those limits. It may mean leaning a new skill. It may mean using leverage to get around it. When the Apollo mission had to figure out a way back home, the scientists took an inventory of everything they had and figured out a way to make something they didn’t have.
Water is another great analogy. In order to get around obstacles, it can use the power of a rushing flood to break apart an obstacle. It can freeze up and expand thereby crushing an obstacle. It can flow deep within the surrounding area to get under an obstacle. It can be fog, rain, hail, sleet and snow. It can work with the wind in a hurricane. Knowing your limits means thinking outside of the box to discover a way around or through the limitation and still be able to achieve the desired results.
Be like water. Be magical. Design something new and wonderful.
“You can’t tame the spirit of someone who has magic in their veins.” – SageGoddess.com
The Oregon Trail was 2,170 miles, beginning in Independence, Missouri and ending in Willamette Valley, Oregon. The ruts in the trail grew as high as 5 feet deep in some places. When your life has been completely shaken up, one of the first things to do is to look at the ruts in your own life. Where are the places that you have created a rut so deep that you can’t see the possibilities that are all around you?
“Put blinders on to those things that conspire to hold you back, especially the ones in your own head” – Meryl Streep
The pasts two years I think that a lot of people are just like me. Their lives have been shaken up completely. Working from home, my dad’s passing, and now we have sold our home and are have to moved to another state to build a home. We stayed with relatives for a year as everything with Covid has taken months to do instead of weeks. Now we are renting short term as construction is finally starting. Some changes you may have started, some changes might be the result of others decisions, or life just happening.
Moving to a city where you don’t know anyone will certainly get you out of a few ruts. The voices in your head will tell you a lot of stories about things to be afraid of. If you are moving to a new city and state like us, the voices might talk about how hard it will be to make new friends, to get used to a small town. All of which is nonsense.
“We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea” – C. Joybell C.
Covid-19 is a change, an event. Losing your job is a change, an event – even if it was your choice to leave. Having a loved one cross over to their next great adventure is a change, an event. Having your life partner leave you, is a change, an event.
It is hard to think of being open to these kinds of changes. They shift and change everything in your life. They demand you look at areas in your life that you haven’t examined in a while. That you see where you were so comfortable that you resisted growth in your life. They push you into a transition period. These events require you to grow and adapt to what being without someone or something in your life means. That you look past your fears and create a vision as to who you are now becoming.
“It isn’t the changes that you do you in, it’s the transitions. Change is not the same as transition. Change is situational; the new site, the new boss, the new team roles, the new policy. Transition is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation. Change is external, transition is internal – William Bridges
With Covid-19 you are going through social transitions. It might be that habits such as shaking everyone’s hands are gone forever. I’m a hugger. If I liked you, I hugged you. If feels so restrictive not to do so. However, now I hesitate because I can no longer judge if it is appropriate, or will be received by someone. I feel called to ask if I can hug you first. There is a psychological transition that Covid-19 is forcing on the entire world, to come to terms with what all of the changes being required by this event are doing to us.
“We resist transition not because we can’t accept the change, but because we can’t accept letting go of that piece of ourselves that we have to give up because the situation has changed” – William Bridges
The easiest example that comes to my mind is when work changes a software program or simply changes how a certain part of your job is done. You are resistant to unlearning to do something that has become ingrained in you. To learn to do your job in a different way.
Someone decides that a part of your job actually should be done by a different department as it makes more sense to do so in their eyes. You might not not agree and resist the change. You might resist learning a new software program. You might resist training someone who is to take over that part of your job.
“Change comes more from managing the journey than from announcing the destination” – William Bridges
Same thing happens when Facebook changes how your page looks. When Apple updates your phone and changes how your phone looks. When your banking app updates and changes how you access your accounts.
Almost daily you are faced with some upgrade, some update that requires you to do something different. When you look at these kinds of small events, changes and transitions don’t look so scary.
Embrace change, no matter what kind of change it is. When my dad passed a year ago, it created a space in my life. I have been taking care of him for 15 years. I’d pass by his room and miss seeing him. The tendency we all have is to fill up this space with something. Instead on the advice of a dear friend, I am just letting this space be. I am ignoring this frantic message in my head telling me to fill it up.
“The moment in between what you once were, and who you are now becoming, is where the dance of life really takes place” – Barbara De Angelis
I want to let life show me instead – what is it bringing into my life as possibilities? What is that part of my life is transitioning into?
With the passing of my dad, and moving to a new city and state, I wanted to learn what this new world can be. I wanted to take advantage the possibilities. I wanted to honor the space between “no longer” and “not yet”. The space of no longer living with the “caretaker” label. The space of “??”, the space of living comfortably with the unknown and “yet to be”.
This process had me taking a break from writing this blog for about a year. I needed to that space to process what had ended, and what’s next. It’s still a place of transition. The caretaking has shifted from my dad to my husband, who has metastasized cancer. Sometimes living life is a dance between fast and slow; between heart lifting and heart breaking – all at the same time.
The important thing is to slow down and breathe. To let what’s happening wash over you, through you and out of you. To realize that the waves come and go. They kiss the shore and then retreat, only to come back again. Each time they bring something and they take something. The shoreline changes over time. Expansion and retraction both happen in their appointed times. You are in control only of how you choose to react to the changes.
“The most powerful times in our lives can be the time between times, or life’s transitions that give us the opportunity to choose” – Bill Crawford
You may have experienced some sort of event in your life recently, or may be you are experiencing it right now this moment. Take time to have the space between what was, and what is now coming into your life. Realize that you have a multitude of choices. If you have lost a loved one, take the time you need to grieve, to let go, and to open up. If you have lost your job or business, you still need some space to grieve what you lost. Be open to transition from a title or position that you once had and see the possibilities of learning something new. Of a new career or business, a new beginning.
“She understood that the hardest times in life to go through were when you were transitioning from one version of yourself to another”– Sarah Addison Allen
When you allow that space to create the vision of where you want to go, it is the space of growth. It is messy. It is uncomfortable. You will experience feelings you didn’t know you had in you to feel. It is welcoming change and loss, because that is where the growth happens. That is where you learn something new about yourself and what you are capable of. Where you can see the opportunity to evolve. To transition into new beginnings.
“Strong women aren’t simply born. We are forged through the challenges of life. With each challenge we grow mentally and emotionally. We move forward with our head held high and a strength that cannot be denied. A woman who’s been through the storm and survived. We are Warriors!” – Unknown
There are moments in everyone’s life where their knees hit the floor. Moments when you are in the middle of a devastating experience. When you feel like you’re sinking beneath the waves for the last time, and you aren’t going to be able to reach the surface again. That moment when you feel that death is a welcome experience, just to get away from the pain. That is the moment when you discover that place deep inside your soul that is indestructible.
“Within every woman there is a healer, a lioness, a wild warrioress, a priestess, a goddess. Never forget that. Give yourself wings” – Unknown
When you are in that place of –
At those moments it is necessary to reinvent who you are – at the basic core of your soul. Nietzsche said that when you are in the place where your entire life is lying all around in the wreckage, it is critical that you look at that as a time of opportunity. It made me think of Steve Austin in the Six Million Dollar Man. They rebuilt his right arm, both legs and one eye and made him bionic and better than he was before.
“We fall. We break. We fail. But then, We Rise, We Heal, We Overcome” – Unknown
What Nietzsche came to call this was the moment of loving your fate. Where you would say that whatever is happening here is what I need to happen. You look at it as an opportunity, a challenge. A place to find your inner strength or resilience to bounce back not just back to where you were. But better than before. The belief here is that nothing can happen to you that is not positive.
I have read several article’s and just bought both the book and the movie for “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson. In his book he talks about how everyone shares the condition of brokenness. There are different levels of brokenness, but it is the brokenness that serves as a connection. It’s part of the human condition.
There is a difference between brokenness and breakable. Brokenness can be healed. You gain comfort and meaning from the fact of being healed. Storm Warriors can be broken but they are not breakable.
Being breakable means that there are too many pieces that are missing, and it can’t be fixed. Take a teacup for example. If it is broken, the pieces can be glued back together and it is still a tea cup. But if the tea cup is shattered into a million pieces, the magic of healing can’t happen.
When my nephew was murdered our family faced a choice of being broken or being breakable. Being broken meant that we worked through our grief, anger and pain. Working through those emotions would lead us back to love and forgiveness for the person who took his life.
Being breakable still leads to grief, anger and pain. It doesn’t stop there. It continues down the track of becoming a victim, of being vengeful to point of cheering when the death penalty takes their life. Of taking that victimization even further down the track into denying any compassion and as a result denying our own humanity.
“I expect to pass through this world but once; if, therefore, there can be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again” – A Quaker
LemonadeMakers was our choice. We chose to take resilience to a whole new level. We chose to heal our brokenness. We chose to become Storm Warriors.
When my 3 year old grandson was killed last year, it was another choice of being broken or being breakable. There was a person behind the wheel of the truck that ran him over. We could choose to go down the road of vengeance once again.
We could choose to drown in the grief that struck us.
Or we could choose to embrace our fate. To ask, what is here for me, what is the opportunity and the challenge? For my husband and I, it was embracing our son and daughter in-law. It was supporting them in their time of need and being there not just the day or week of the accident, but every single day since in whatever way they allowed us to be. And sometimes it was being there when they really didn’t want us there, but did in fact need us to be there.
Until the late 1700’s there were no life boats. So when sailors had a shipwreck almost all would be lost at sea. When the life boat was invented, at first they remained on land and would be used to go out to sinking ships to rescue those on board. Storm Warriors was what they used to call the men that would go out in the storm to rescue those in shipwrecks. Many of these Storm Warriors lost their lives trying to save others.
When you become a Storm Warrior, there is no possibility of being breakable. Breakable isn’t a word in your dictionary. A Storm warrior leaves resilience behind in the basement, as you race up to the penthouse. It is that place where there is no comfort zone. There are no boundaries. No limitations.
It is the place you arrive when you have blown past “the zone”, the runners high, the world records. You have not only exceeded all expectations, you put yourself in a whole new zip code, a new dictionary definition of what can be accomplished.
Resilience is a skillset you use daily in your life. Being a Storm Warrior is a part of you that emerges when it is needed. It is sort of like driving a normal car with gas for everyday, and having a dragster with nitro for when you are a Storm Warrior. Most days when you don’t need a nitro super power to live your life. But when those really bad days happen and tragedy strikes, you need to be able to pull out all the stops with your dragster and put some power into your life.
“People who have it tend to also have three underlying advantages: a belief that they can influence life events; a tendency to find meaningful purpose in life’s turmoil; and a conviction that they can learn from both positive and negative experiences” – Amanda Ripley
Resilience is the strength of spirit to recover from everyday adversities. When you experience disappointment, you find the hope and courage to carry on. Humor lightens the load when it seems to heavy. You overcome life’s obstacles by tapping into a deep well of faith and endurance.
At times of loss, you seek out others for comfort. You grieve and then move on. You create new memories. You discern the learning that can come from hardship. You don’t cower in the face of challenge. You engage fully in the dance of life.
If you feel like your resilience balloon has taken one too many hits and is losing air, contact us. We have lots of ideas on how you can refuel your balloon and make it like the Six Million Dollar Man – even better than before.
There is a funny thing about how time works in fairy tales. At the end of the adventure, they say “and they lived happily ever after”.
The reality of time is that it takes your whole lifetime to live through the happily ever after part. You don’t get to your star with a one and done journey. A life purpose isn’t a one and done. The journey will last your entire lifetime.
Your life purpose might be experienced in different ways in different times in your life, but it is always the same life purpose.
“At the end of life, what really matters is not what we bought, but what we built; not what we got, but what we shared; not our competence, but our character; and not our success, but our significance. Live a life that matters. Live a life of love” – Unknown
The story you are living in this moment is just a chapter in one of those books where there are over 1,000 pages and this one is the 4th one in the 12-book series. There are a lot of hills, valleys, lakes and oceans to walk. It is a lot of walking to follow your star.
There are multiple ways in which your life purpose will be lived from the moment you are born, to the moment when this body dies, and you go on to the next adventure. So, while you’re not who you used to be in this moment, you also still have time to become who you came here to be.
“Fear comes from not knowing what to expect and not feeling you have any control over what’s about to happen. When you feel helpless, you’re far more afraid than you would be if you knew the facts” – Chris Hadfield
There are times in your life journey when you:
The actual danger you perceive versus what danger you are in usually don’t match up. Danger is a thing, and fear is your reaction to it. It’s not the thing that will stop you.
It is your imagined fear about the thing. This is because what fear tells you is happening, is entirely different than reality.
Think about when you were learning to ride a bicycle. There were some fears involved with learning to ride, as everyone crashes. Some people just skin their knees or elbows. Some people break an arm or leg.
When I was a kid, there were no helmets, so some people when the crashed had a head injury. Riding a bike can be dangerous, but you determined the risk was worth it, because everyone else was riding a bike. So, you overcame your fear, and learned to ride despite the risk.
“A mistake should be your teacher, not your attacker. A mistake is a lesson, not a loss. It is a temporary, necessary detour, not a dead end” – curiano.com
Most fears originate from a lack of understanding about what is happening or could happen. It is a lack of knowledge and experience.
You know from watching everyone who learned to ride a bicycle before you – those crashes are going to happen. You will make a mistake:
Each crash teaches you something. Going back to your bicycle – when you got personal knowledge of your bicycle, the fears you had in the beginning went away. No one is afraid of the bicycle itself, but rather the fears of being hurt from crashing that the imagination produces.
Here is the interesting point – did the bicycle change or did you change to eliminate those fears?
It was you.
In his book, “An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth”, Astronaut Chris Hadfield talks about how he realized what his life purpose was as a 10 yr. old child watching men walk on the moon. He shaped his entire life to support that dream of being an astronaut.
From 10 years old forward everything was focused on what he perceived as his life purpose. I am sure that he had times when he questioned what he was doing. I am sure that he had friends and relatives that said his chances of actually going into space were limited, especially in the years where NASA had to downsize the space program.
This got me to think of other life long goals such as professional sports. Say you decide that you want to be an Olympic Athlete – you would choose the sport that you have the most natural talent, passion and drive for. Then you would eat, sleep, and drink that sport everyday for years.
It’s really different from what Chris did – he had stages of accomplishment he went through based on the above list.
It wasn’t enough to just learn to fly a plane. You also had to acquire a needed job skill in addition to being a pilot. He had to develop a certain mental headspace that a test pilot has – being able to run towards risk instead of avoiding it.
Unlike the Olympic Games in which you have many competing, only a couple of pilots go with each flight. So your second profession has to be what else is needed on the Space Station and you have better be a master of it too.
He had vertigo – a fear of heights. He trained his mind that it was ok to be up high, if there isn’t the possibility of falling. The best thing about space flight, was that he really couldn’t fall. He took that fear, recognized his fear and the facts around his fear, and realized he doesn’t have to live in fear.
He talked about how when they strap him into his seat preparing to lift off how it is hot and cramped. Behind his back is a parachute/survival kit and it makes for an uncomfortable position, which you have to deal with for a few hours’ minimum – even so, he couldn’t imagine any place else he would rather be.
Those words to me perfectly describe a person who is in the zone, on course to completing a life dream. A person who at that moment is totally on purpose. The hyper-focus is so clear, that nothing distracts or impedes you.
He describes that moment when you switch from hoping something is going to happen, to knowing it will. That moment of lift off, when you know it is a sure thing.
The closest feeling, I could come to is when you step up on the stage for graduation and walk across to get your diploma. At that moment you know that nothing can take away your sense of accomplishment in putting a period to a lifetime goal. It feels like magic, winning, and that feeling of knowing all of your hard work paid off.
You can listen to his 2014 Ted Talk here where he talks about his experience of going blind while out on a space walk. It was all of the years of preparation which enabled him to stop the panic that anyone would have and creatively figure out how to fix the issue. As he stated in the quote above, the best answer to stop fear is competence.
As always, we are here to help in any way we can.
Lately there haven’t been any adventures in my life. Between working from home all day and working on LemonadeMakers, I’ve been spending all of my time in front of the computer. I am starting to itch to just go for a drive, anything to get out of the house. So, I started thinking about adventures – what are they all about?
Surprisingly, I’ve been on adventures during the entire lockdown, I just didn’t know it. I’ve read books, listened to podcasts and Ted Talks. All ways to go on an adventure. Have you learned anything new in the past few months? That is going on an adventure. So come on an adventure with me now –
“In order to realize the worth of the anchor, we need to feel the stress of the storm” – Corrie Ten Boom
Change is a scary word. It has a heavy weight to it, like an anchor. When your anchor is hooked in the rocks on the sea floor, it prevents the uncertainties of life from casting you adrift. When life’s chaos erupts in your life, change is the anchor that helps you cast off for a new adventure.
Change challenges you to look honestly at your life. You can’t spell challenge without change. To rise up to life’s challenges, you have to be prepared for change. Every challenge is an opportunity for self-transformation. The change in the challenge is what grows you. Change becomes something to look forward to, instead of something to resist.
“Don’t be afraid to take on big challenges. They give the best rewards” – Spencer Christensen
When the anchor is pitched into the sandy seashore unattached to the ship, it serves no purpose.
The anchors in the photo below are not doing what they were designed to do, which is to hold you steady in life’s storms.
This year you have risen to a few challenges. You never know with supply chain shortages what you will find missing at the store; first you’re required to wear a face mask outside your home, then not – but maybe still depending on where you live or where you go; maybe you decided when schools began again to continue home schooling your children; and remote working from home or hybrid or fulltime back at the office; all have been challenges to both you and your household.
Failing to reach your goals, another year of watching your dreams slip through your hands, struggling to make ends meet—all that is far harder than rising to the challenge of going on a new adventure. This pandemic is a wake-up call to focus on your personal growth.
“Often what feels like the end of the world is really a pathway to a far better place” – Karen Salmansohn
What’s funny is realizing that every single challenge is an adventure. Adventure’s not only challenge you to change your normal routine, they teach you new things. For example working from home – now you know if you like working from home. You’ve got a whole new respect for the teachers that teach your children nine months of the year. Your company has discovered that they may not even need an office.
“Focus on what only you can do. Give the rest of it away.” —Elise Mitchell
You don’t have to be the bravest or smartest person. You don’t have to know how to do everything. You just have to be courageous enough to realize that every decision you make has some risk attached to it. You can’t face a challenge without change happening.
So go for the challenge that makes you smile instead of anchoring in around your limitations in life. Sitting in an empty field with your anchor raised up, is anchoring in to those limitations. You are not looking ahead. You are anchoring to your past.
If you think that you can’t sing, get singing lessons. It’s not the mountain you conquer when you take action. It is your past beliefs and limitations that are being conquered. It is you refusing to buy into “I can’t do that”.
Taking on challenges you’ll see that you are capable of doing more than you thought. You see that it wasn’t as hard as you thought. It will strengthen your mind, gaining self-confidence. How you handle what happens to you, determines how far you go. Challenges can take you apart, refine you, and change who you thought you were.
Hope is not a growth strategy. Action is the only answer to a challenge. You are in a time of disruption. Life is ripe for opportunity, as well as full of danger. Both action or inaction create risk, meaning it impossible to avoid risk. So take the risk of action – go on an adventure!
Learning is an adventure. Learning will challenge your habits, your beliefs and stretch your comfort zone. Travel the universe while sitting in your living room. It is the perfect time to challenge yourself to climb a new mountain.
Every minute of attention that you focus on events outside of your influence, is a wasted minute. Focus on what you can control, ignore the rest. To thrive, you need to adapt yourself to a changing world. Focus on what you love doing. Choose a goal that you’ll enjoy chasing for the next five years, minimum, to ensure you’ll follow through.
“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. Strength comes from overcoming the things you thought you couldn’t” – Unknown
Play to your strengths. A hedgehog is great at rolling up into a ball to protect itself. Decide on your hedgehog concept to be really good at ONE thing. Focus on what you can be the best in the world at.
The synergy that happens with a group that takes action is beyond amazing. Multiple solutions abound when you’re open to all suggestions from your tribe.
LemonadeMakers is a tribe of people who get together to talk, share, and help each other through life’s changes and transformations.
Finding a mentor doesn’t just mean finding a person who has done what you’re trying to do. It doesn’t have to be a real live person. There are great mentors from historical biographies. YouTube, Ted Talks, or watching a video by personal development experts, are all great examples of finding a mentor. There are great inspirational movies out there too.
From the movie Peaceful Warrior:
“Socrates: Everyone wants to tell you what to do and what’s good for you. They don’t want you to find your own answers, they want you to believe theirs.
Dan Millman: Let me guess, and you want me to believe yours.
Socrates: No, I want you to stop gathering information from the outside and start gathering it from the inside.”
What’s important in your life? Write down in your journal how you currently spend your day, minute by minute, then create your ideal daily schedule. As you work to close the gap between the two lifestyles, you’ll find time you didn’t know you had. You’ll discover you are more productive than you thought.
Do not schedule every minute of your day. Many of the activities and obligations that you thought were important, have turned out to not be necessary. Taking action requires blank spaces in your calendar—for solitude, room to breathe, creative space—so protect this freedom.
Personal growth means knowing there’s always more to learn. Start now by learning about ways to have a happier life:
There’s at least one person in history, in your social circle, in a podcast, in a TedTalk – who has faced a situation almost exactly like yours and wrote about it. There are 1,000 of YouTube videos that can teach you how to do anything from applying makeup, to changing your cars oil, to building a shed, to programing a software program. Challenge yourself to learn something new.
Fear makes almost everyone uncomfortable. Fear is an integral part of risk; of going down the road less traveled; of even thinking of putting yourself into a situation where you would need to dive deep within to bring up some of that untapped potential.
But – if you are brave enough to get your friends to open up to the dreams they have, you will see some of their untapped potential being exposed to the light.
If you are brave enough to open up and share your own dreams, you will learn things about yourself that you didn’t know.
Risk is like a barometer to show you much courage you have allowed yourself to have. You have extraordinary dreams that you would do in a heartbeat, if you could be guaranteed that you wouldn’t fail.
I currently subscribe to an online newsletter called “The Profile” and it features Polina Marinova. She is doing things a little differently. She is doing deep dives on prominent figures and it is really interesting.
I wanted to share some of the things that one her profiles had to say about failure. While this article pertained to pursuing a business, the lessons contained can be applied to any kind of change or transformation you are thinking about making in your life.
Click the link and check her out (you don’t have to subscribe, click and the part that says to check her out), she has both free and paid subscriptions. (everything in quotes is from her article and reading her article inspired me to write this one).
“Failure is not the outcome – failure is not trying. Don’t be afraid to fail.” – Sara Blakely
Sara Blakely says that she is no stranger to failure. She failed her LSAT tests ending her dream career as a trial attorney. She had an interesting dad, who taught his children to celebrate failure.
When she was growing up, each person at the dining room table had to share their biggest failure for the week while they were eating dinner. If they didn’t have one, her father would be disappointed, because that meant they hadn’t put themselves out there to do something impossible. She learned from this that the only true failure is when you don’t try.
One night getting ready for a party she stumbled onto an idea for a gap in the fashion industry, and that began the creation process for Spanx. She stated that she kept the idea to herself for a whole year while she worked behind the scenes, before she sought validation from friends and family. By the time she told them about it;
She knew that all of the negative comments about her idea would have killed it if she had talked about it immediately. How many ideas have you had, where that happened to you? Her advice? Don’t seek validation from others until you’re ready with proof of concept.
It is common when an idea pops into your head to discount it. Today while writing this blog, a neighbor was mowing his lawn, and the noise of the lawnmower was irritating me. I said to my office partner that someone should invent a solar powered electric lawn mower. It could be that someone has. I don’t know.
I thought about it for a moment and said. “it could have a rechargeable battery that sits in the sun all week just waiting to be popped into the machine. It would be quiet like an electric car, as well as being better for the environment.’ My car is a hybrid and when it is in full electric mode you can’t hear the engine.
Just think that both the lawn mower and the leaf blower could be quiet – I swear that there isn’t a zoom meeting that happened in the past year where someone wasn’t apologizing for the yard maintenance people and the noise in the background.
Now like Sara –
The only difference between Sara (with her initial lack of business, manufacturing, and fashion industry knowledge) and myself is the level of passion she had for it. For me, this is just a wonderful idea that I am happy to give to someone else. For her, it was an idea she was in love with.
“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.” – Sara Blakely
When you take fear out of the equation, it becomes easy to embrace the unknown. One of the keys to her success, is that she was a fashion outsider, and didn’t know how it was supposed to be done. Her ignorance became her greatest asset.
“I had no idea how things were supposed to be done, and if you have no idea how something’s supposed to be done, I guarantee that you’ll end up being disruptive,” she said. When you are an outsider you see things in a different way, because you don’t know how it’s supposed to go. Beginners mind always starts by asking the question “why” over and over again.
In 2000, Blakely used her $5,000 in savings to start her company, and by 2012, she was named the youngest self-made female billionaire. Sara still owns 100% of Spanx because she never took on outside investors. She sees an opportunity in every failure or disappointment. “Spanx wouldn’t exist if I had aced the LSAT,” she says.
Take control of your mindset by immersing yourself with great books that teach you how to life a positive life. Sara tells how her dad bought her the Wayne Dyer program called “How to Be a No-Limit Person” when she was having a hard time with personal and financial issues.
Most of higher education teaches you what to think, Wayne Dyer taught her how to think. A critical part of using failure to be successful, is that you have the ability to control your own thoughts and confront your self-doubt. “Now more than ever, your greatest weapon is your mindset,” says Sara.
I have followed Wayne Dyer for years. I was privileged to see him at a conference. The world lost a great wisdom teacher when he passed away.
“Success, to me, is finding the courage to live your fullest and biggest life.” – Sara Blakely
How about you? Are you living life to your fullest potential?
As always, we are here to support you – to whisper words of encouragement – to celebrate each and every failure and success!