Do you hold yourself back?
I've been fighting with myself. I recently made a huge leap of faith that only a small group of friends knew about, but I didn't feel it necessary to announce to the world yet. Even though what I did fills me with optimism and excitement and logistically should be promoted… I decided it best not to share this information right away. I should wait. Wait for what? Wait for a grand event. Wait for validation. Wait for perfection. Geez, perfection is such a killjoy.
And all the while I'm playing tug-o-war with shouting my elation versus staying chill to not scare off the tiny magical fairies that bring us these occasional gifts of our desires (insert sarcastic raised eyebrow and smirk) and those close to me who seem to have a LOT of trouble accepting that positivity goes a LONG way when striving for a goal, I can barely sit still in my little home office today. I've been staring at a foot-long "to-do" list since 7am this morning – unable to hold a productive thought in my head for more than a few seconds. I'm horribly distracted, and just a moment ago, I recognized that the reason is because of the thick cloud of gloomy energy swirling around me. To be clear – I can joyfully say that the cloud hasn't claimed me as its source for quite some time now. Huzzah!!! But this sonuvagun plops down next to me lately when I'm talking to someone, butts in on phone conversations, follows me, jumps out at me, yells at me for attention… reeking of worry, anxiety, defeat, pity, pressure, and hopelessness.
I've had enough.
I don't need to fight with myself. I already spend so much energy fighting the Cloud of Misery, trying, and yep, sure, sometimes failing, to keep it from infecting my good vibrations, but there is only one way to combat the Cloud. That way is not to go live alone on a deserted island. It's not change your phone number and address and excommunicate yourself from all your friends and family. It's not even winning the lottery. Wanna know what "it" is? You already know. The problem is, so few of us are genuinely able to do it consistently.
We've been thoroughly educated on it. We've heard all the TED talks on it. We've read all the books about it. We even recommend the books to others. We share them with people close to us, and apologize (sorry, not sorry) for the ratty edges and multicolored highlights and illegible scribbles in the margins. We've gone to group discussions and meet-ups and had countless cocktail dates with our gal pals to talk about it and make accountability partner promises to start fresh on following through with it.
The truth is: all these reminders to do "it" are absolutely helpful. One thing I've learned about forming new habits (and keeping up with good habits) is that we need constant reminding. That's what mediation and prayer and journaling and daily readings and walks by water or under trees do for us – they keep those good thoughts and habits at the forefront of our actions. The "it" takes an incredible amount of good energy. It has a lot of trouble surviving or even being present when any symptoms of the Misery Cloud come around.
The "it"… is DETERMINATION. Ah. Yes. Of course. We've all heard about that before. We know that word. Most of us can spell it. Why are we being reminded of this again? Because determination is that mighty driving force that makes goals happen. It's important to know that determination needs other positive vibes to feed and accompany it, like gratitude… aspiration… love… and a friggin' plan to name a few. But think about it – even though so many people argue that economics, breeding, geography, and wealth are some undeniable major factors in cultivating our ideas of "success", I refuse to believe that not possessing that list of "ideal" circumstances negates or voids any goals we "humble" set for ourselves. I won't even bother to bring up the usual iconic stories of rags-to-riches. Google them yourself. Hint: I used to work for one. What I'm coming to realize is that none of them asked specifically for the status of which they ultimately personified. Every single one of them only wanted to be recognized as a person of skill or having a good idea. Their determination made a do-it-or-die source of energy that surpassed their wildest dreams.
Why doesn't that happen to more of us?
We quit before we're ahead.
I find myself in a space lately where I'm tired of waiting for my goals to make themselves happen. I'm tired of only reading about random people's success stories. And while, yes, I do find plenty of them inspirational, therein lies the fork in the road where so many of us pull out a picnic blanket and a gigantic hand-woven basket full of excuses and denial. Chomp. Chomp. Nom Nom. Crunch! We put that wailing basket and wet blanket right in between that fork – that decision, that call to action – and we let it grow into a road block! We let the inspiration fizzle out. We let the Cloud of Misery infect us. We fill ourselves up with that satisfying meal of moaning and turn around to go back to our same routines where life may not be our glossy versions of ideal, but at least its a safe comfort zone.
Which brings me full circle to what I was holding myself back from…
A couple of weeks ago, I got a huge pile of work done. So huge, that I actually surprised myself. Finishing project after project felt odd but incredible. And the shock and productivity didn't stop there. I also acquired a new studio space. At last! Huzzah!!! This goal topped the list of things I wanted to do/have for 2018. Major first quarter goal: done. I made the decision to sign the lease on the space I now have only after I had another internal battle with myself on the subject of: safety.
I'd looked at a different space prior to seeing the one that is now mine… and I almost said yes to that one, even though it didn't have a big chunk of the things I'd listed as desires for a new space to call my own. What it did have – and oh how appealing – was "safety." It would've been very safe to say yes. I smiled and shook hands with the owner of the space, but didn't have time to settle back into the seat of my car again before I knew that I could not – will not – be satisfied with "safe" anymore. YOLO! Life is a friggin' whirlwind, yes, but there HAS to be a thing or two or MORE that we actually DO have some power over! My business – me! – has a desire to build and serve my clients in a particular way. "Safe" is not leveling up. I knew I needed a space that would be more compatible with my goals and desires of what I want to have and provide.
And now I have that.
A few of the people who were told about my new space earlier said things like, "Oh, it's so scary," or "There's going to be a lot of pressure now to make your rent," or straight out asked me, "How are you going to pay for that?" I love my friends, but responses and questions like these? They drip straight from the Cloud of Misery.
"It's scary." Nope. It's exciting. Scary means that I'm harboring fear. Fear of failure. Fear of making mistakes. Fear of not being able to sustain the space, or clients, or responsibilities of a new lease. I'm saying it out loud – THERE IS NO ROOM FOR THAT FEAR IN MY BUSINESS PLAN. Mistakes and failure help us learn. If we don't learn, we're not trying.
And spoiler alert: Not harboring a failure mentality is probably a huge boon to not actually failing.
Pressure to make rent? How am I going to pay for that?! I didn't start a business to place myself in a queue of hardship and struggle. I'm not going to continue making excuses that building a business is hard or slow or such a learning curve. The wisest of business owners know these notions are often true, but knowing that there will be challenges is not the same as letting those challenges generate fear. Determination is key. Holding back from what we are, what belongs to us, what we can accomplish if we stop worrying where things are coming from only halts the practice and EVIDENCE of simply knowing that they will come.
Say this with me:
I am talented.
I provide value.
I am not afraid to ask for what I want.
I am determined to reach my goals.
Everything I wish I had, I already have.
Everything I want to be, I already am.
Having been reminded that faltering in determination is what causes my dreams to flail gives me renewed empowering to not let the Cloud of Misery win over my gratitude for what is mine and love for what I do. So many of my business journals are filled with ideas and plans. So much of my life has been filled with learning opportunities and desire. I do not want to hold myself back any longer.
Who's with me?