Have you ever set a goal, got butterflies in your stomach at the thought of getting it done and with electrifying energy set out to make it happen? It could be anything: changing careers, starting a business, meeting new people, traveling to new places, moving, exploring new parts of your neighborhood, starting or ending a relationship. All are life shifting because they present new perspectives and additional wisdom, right? So, what happens when you are presented with the opportunity to shake things up? Are you stopped in your tracks before you start or are you all over the opportunity to create change and accomplish your goals? For instance, do you start something and when it gets uncomfortable or too challenging you retreat and fall back into what feels comfortable? Do you not start because you create a tremendous list of reasons why it’s impossible and focus on how it is never going to happen? And since you have convinced yourself it is never going to happen you become very comfortable with never taking action. Or maybe you start and along the way you are overcome by the inner dialogue that tells you, “you are not good enough” or asks, “who do you think you are?” The message is loud and clear, stay in your assigned lane, don’t dream and please don’t want more or better. If you are familiar with this pattern of stuck please give yourself a moment, take a deep breath and know you are not alone.
Safety shapes, the inner dialogue, or saboteur as we call it in coaching are part of the human experience. They are the byproducts of living and confronting trauma and fear. Our behavioral patterns, triggers to stress and anxiety and our inner dialogue are shaped from the messaging we start receiving as very young children and continue to receive as adults. As we breathe and move, we gather information that informs our behaviors. Sometimes this information is positive and leaves us feeling like we can accomplish the grandest goals and other times it is defeating and has us believing we are useless. I believe we need all of the information in order to have a clear perspective and live a fulfilled life. All of it makes us who we are and guides us as we move through the world. The hard and messy often provide undeniable learning and a greater opportunity to grow into our true selves. Adversity provides us with the grit and resilience to confidently get through challenges and come out better.
This brings me to the inspiration behind my words this month. A few days ago, my twin sister called me to share she is considering going back to school for a degree in veterinary medicine. My sister at 49 is not fazed by her age or any limiting beliefs that would prevent her from accomplishing her goal. At this point in her life, she has come pretty close to mastering the science of blocking out the outside noise. When we gain the wisdom and stillness to listen to our hearts and block out the noise it brings us closer to our true selves. This is practice and is not easy. I know first-hand from growing up alongside my twin a significant amount of noise was directed at her. I think it is what makes her such a rock star today, she didn’t fold and if you are blessed to know her, you know she does things the way she wants, when she wants and how she wants in true rock star fashion. My sister LOVES animals, especially dogs. They make her happy and if she had her choice she would live solely surrounded by dogs and maybe one or two humans. So, when she shared her thoughts on going back to school it made sense to me. She is focused on what is going to make her happy and all the reasons why it can and how it will happen rather than succumbing to an exhausted list of why nots which could potentially keep her stuck and in a lane headed away from her joy.
If you take anything from my words this month, please know we all have fears. Our fears can intuitively inform us as we move through the world and we can utilize them to keep us safe and guide us on our journey. For example, we know if confronted by a hungry tiger acknowledging the fear and the reality of potentially being eaten by the tiger will hopefully keep us safe and alive. This is real. The fear engaged in order to form a list of why nots is not based in the same reality. The source is not science based and typically is based on the fears and expectations placed on us by others. This type of fear is make believe. Yes, make believe in the same manner as fairies and flying dragons. We produce the fear in our minds and believe in it so much that we grant it a tremendous amount of power over our thoughts and actions. The power to stop us from living full out, to prevent us from actualizing our dreams, to block us from true love and limitless joy. All those limitations and excuses we surrender to are not real. They are the mind’s interpretation of life experiences based on how we have been told to feel and think. Yes, the outside noise generates the fear which in turn generates self-inflicted limitations which generate inaction and leaves us stuck in a lane that might not be the one to lead us to fulfilling our dreams. I say limitations are make believe because they are not based in what we know to be true, rather they are based in what we believe to true and sometimes what we believe is make believe.
Knowing my sister, she will definitely follow her heart and discover a way to surround herself with more dogs. It may or may not be veterinary school. The choice will be hers and based on what she knows to be true. When we are able to listen to our wisdom, follow our truths and whole heartedly believe in ourselves and our ability to make shit happen the lane belongs to us. Fear is not a factor, limitations don’t exist and no matter how old or young we are, there is full out living to do. Not the kind of living where we wake in the morning, go about our business to eventually get to the end of the day. I am describing a life lived by each moment according to you, your values, your goals and with limitations identified for what they are- make believe. Go get uncomfortable, accelerate out of the misguided lane, and start listening to the voice inside you that is telling you are good enough, deserving enough and a legit rock star. You have the energy, the resourcefulness and the creativity to accomplish your dreams. Don’t get stuck in a lane heading to a land full of make believe.