I'm Calling Bullshit on the No Pain, No Gain Philosophy
This fall, I'm taking a giant step outside of my comfort zone with speaking gigs at two events this month (Creatives Meet Business Experience in Austin, TX and VenturePOP in New Orleans, LA). I'm excited, and nervous, of course. And this led me to take a step back and really question what it is that I need right now to support myself during this time.
Because let's face it: I'm staring directly at some very universal, human fears. It will be my first time to speak publicly about the work I've been doing and believe in. Will I choke on my words? What if what I have to say has been said before/isn't useful/doesn't resonate and everyone hates it, or thinks it was a waste of their time? And the big kahuna - what if I'm found out to be a total farce, a fake business owner with no real ideas to contribute? Oh hey, Imposter Syndrome, I see you rearing your nasty head.
So as I was heading into this month, I do what I have been doing for the past six months and looked at the card I pulled for my year ahead spread.
My card for September: Ten of Swords
This card is typically perceived to be one of the more negative cards within the entire Tarot deck, so you can imagine my horror to be reminded that this card fell on this month where I feel like so much is riding on it for my personal and professional growth. But then, I read more about it, and came around to the understanding that this card is more about a final release. It's about letting go of an idea or a conversation that has been playing over and over again, but has gotten me nowhere, and truly serves no purpose. Ultimately, it's about me recognizing that I have been playing the role of victim, and it's time for me to surrender this limiting belief, this past self, so that I can create space for something new.
As I sat with this over a few days, I finally succumbed to the notion that maybe what I need most right now is to release the idea that success can only come from strife.
We all love a good rags to riches story, but we can't all be Sara Blakely's starting out selling fax machines door-to-door and then creating a behemoth company like Spanx. Most of us will face fairly moderate setbacks as we build our businesses, but nothing that is truly insurmountable. I think what gets in our way more than anything are our own limiting beliefs, worry, and self-doubt. And to overcompensate for these very real, yet very invisible struggles, is that we glorify the hustle and the stress.
We consistently respond, "I'm busy" when friends ask how we're doing, as if sharing that we're busy somehow justifies our worth, or maybe we think the busy struggle will create a more compelling story whenever we "make it". And I've seen it all too often (and I am certainly guilty of it, too) when we try to one-up one another with horror stories of what we've had to survive to get to where we are now. But to what end? What purpose is this really serving? I know that we have all faced our own set of challenges to get to where we are now, and I am in no way aiming to diminish or ignore that. What I'm hoping to call out here is the ceaseless and mindless busy excuse. I believe that something deeper lies beneath that response, and if we give ourselves the permission to explore what it may be, we can free ourselves from the repressive busyness that confines us.
I don't want that frenetic, busy energy infusing my work and words, as I prepare for these two events. I don't want worry, self-doubt and fear running my life leading up to these two great experiences. I want to give myself ample time to radiantly create for these two events, and show up with an unyielding gratitude for even having the chance to be on stage.
So that's why I'm heading into September calling bullshit on this tactic that I must struggle before I reach success. I'm ready to rid myself of playing the victim role that I am undeserving and unknowing.
I'm taking some drastic steps this month to ensure that I have ample white space and am taking every precaution to infuse as much joy into my process as possible. My hope is that by facing these fears head on, I'll be able to come out the other side a renewed person who is one step closer to vanquishing self-doubt and incessant worrying. One step closer to revealing my full potential. One step closer to acting from a place of self-love, rather than self-doubt.
Where I choose to focus my time and energy this month:
- Getting back into my morning routine, which I have regrettably fallen out of recently. I know that starting my day with gratitude has always helped to keep me grounded, and I want to introduce meditation now that I really need to work on banishing years of limiting beliefs.
- YOGA! For me, it's the perfect combination of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual work. I feel so lucky to have found an incredible yoga home at SUKHA where the teachers are true spiritual guides.
- Creating lots of white space in my calendar so that I have significant time to prepare for both presentations. Practically, this means that I will not be accepting any new clients for the entire month of September. I plan to extend that into October, too, so that I may spend that month revamping my offerings so that I can continue to provide my clients with the best possible service I can.
- Spending a lot of time alone. While I do enjoy being around people, I am a true introvert in that I am rejuvenated by being alone, and I know that I need to honor this as much as possible to be as energetically resilient leading into the two presentation days. This means that I plan to keep my schedule open and not overcommit to too many social engagements outside of working hours.
What I choose to release:
- Worry for all of the possible negative scenarios. Historically, I have spent countless hours and expended too much energy on worrying about all of the what-ifs. I choose to release that negative energy and self-doubt. My hope is that releasing worry creates space for a newfound confidence and boundless gratitude.
- The debilitating fear that not accepting any new clients for two months means that my business is doomed to stall and fail. My hope is that giving myself this space means that I can tap into my intuition to help me create the best possible services for myself and my clients, coming from a place of honesty and truth versus reaction and comparison to others.
- The guilt that comes from saying no to friends. As someone with people-pleasing tendencies, saying no feels especially hard, and it's something that I am not accustomed to. My hope is that my true friends will understand and respect this time in my life and will be ready to catch up later this fall when I'm able to show up fully and give them the space and attention they deserve.
- Caring about people's reactions to my decisions and actions. I have to accept that not everyone will understand my viewpoint, and not everyone will agree with me. But if my words, decisions, and actions come from a place of my own truth, then I know I'm on the right path, and that is what matters most. My hope with releasing myself from other's expectations is that I can work towards making better decisions when I know they are coming from a place of integrity.
So here we go! September is going to be a really big month for me, and I'm determined to do the hard work of going against the grain, slowing down, and taking the time for myself. I'm determined to walk a joyful path and flip the script that building a business has to be one struggle after another. We can change our viewpoint, and find the beauty in every step along the way.
I'd love to hear from you, what are you looking forward to this month? What can you release in order to make space for something far greater?