"The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself." -- Anna Quindlen
Welcome to my blog. I am quite new to this and thank you in advance for bearing with me as I find my way. This first post is something I wrote last year in January as part of an application process. I thought it would be a good place to begin our conversation.
The question … What have you learned about yourself in the past three years?
New Years Day, 2010. I sat at the table with my closest friends and nieces enjoying a traditional southern New Years feast. I believe that you end and begin a year doing something you love with the people you love. For me, it’s cooking and entertaining. I start cooking on New Year’s Eve and host the feast New Year’s Day. This year, I was particularly happy for the company of friends as just the day before I had come to a significant, life changing realization. It became clear to me that the business I founded nine years before and relationship with my business partner was over. At that table, I had not the first clue how or when, or what would ultimately happen. I was only confident that a significant change was upon me. I was terrified.
That change was impacting the very center of my “self”, my ego. A small business owner, all I did was work. Most every conversation had a work element, most moments of any day were focused on business and most of my relationships had a business connection. My entire life was consumed with how I grow, provide, and thrive through the business. It was the core of my identity and esteem. I was driven not so much to succeed, but because I was more afraid at failing at the one thing I could always do, work. How would I live, who would I be, what would I become if I didn’t have this business?
Fast-forward three years to New Years Day, 2013. I again sat at the table with my closest friends enjoying another feast. I was happy for their company, as this New Year there was cause for great celebration. I completed a successful negotiation and exit from my business. I toasted a newfound peace, a sense of pure freedom, and a confidence in new direction and opportunity for the unlimited possibility that life presents. I toasted the gifts of friendship, faith, forgiveness, and love.
What happened? Well, after that first New Year, I started the work on becoming myself, my true self, the self that was hiding behind the masks and walls of work, the “outer ego”. I took the fear of ending something that was centric to my esteem and morphed it into an opportunity to learn, grow, and begin anew. I got out of my own way and started a journey of self-discovery.
As a professional, I helped transform organizations. Specifically, I would advise and design work processes enabling effective use of data, information and technology to become better, profitable, and sustainable. I wondered… if I knew how to create tools and processes to help these businesses, why couldn’t I do this for me, personally? Could I take what I knew about business transformation and learn how to become a stronger, capable, and sustainable person?
So… I gave it a shot. With the help of some amazing, gifted coaches and guides, I created a process to reveal, resolve, and release inner conflict and the bully of ego. I let my inner heart emerge in its place. A cornerstone to this process is a focus on three core aspects of yourself – mind, body, and spirit. You must invite opportunities to challenge yourself across these three dimensions as they interact and interrelate to bring you energy, perspective, direction, insight, healing, and happiness.
Life is about choices. We string choices together and these form the tenets of life, our circle of friends, our romantic partners, our career paths, and our wellness. If you don’t like something, stop. Figure out what’s wrong with your choice and then change it. You change your choices you change your life.
What do you need? Honesty, commitment, belief, and forgiveness. Honesty keeps it real. You need to be brutally honest. Stare directly into the mirror and see you, the real you, the whole you. The naked truth about your talents, gifts, faults, choices, and experiences and what led you to have these. Commitment tests your character and proves your will. The desire for change must outweigh the fear. You must accept and understand that you are the only one who can bring change. It doesn’t happen overnight and there are moments that will be exhausting, you will want to quit, you will be convinced it’s impossible. Only you can find the air and strength to move ahead. You have to believe in yourself and your ability to do it, because you can. Forgiveness allows you to move forward. You will need to forgive everyone from your heart and soul. You need to mean it, know what you are forgiving, and why you are forgiving. And then you need to forgive yourself. With all your heart and soul.
And, you need to laugh, no matter what. If you can find humor in the darkest moments, toughest battles and biggest adversities, it will make the bad, dark and ugly less bad, dark and ugly. Humor is a savior and laughter through tears is one of the most powerful emotions available to us. There is no ego in laughter. You see true self when someone laughs, you feel their heart, you see their soul. Laughter reminds us that no matter what, it will be all right.