Forever and ever I’ve wanted to be an author. And forever and ever I thought that was impossible. See, I’ve got this eye thing from childhood seizures (long story, I’m fine now) that makes it really hard for my eyes to see typos (I also CANNOT find Waldo, but that’s a story for another day). And to me, that felt like an insurmountable problem!
It’s not like people didn’t like my writing… they would read my blogs, and told me they enjoyed my emails… but I assumed they liked it because I have a quirky sense of humor, not because it was GOOD or anything like that.
Or at least that’s what I told myself because:
When we returned from vacation last month, my family arrived home late and went straight to bed only to wake up and realize that there was NO COFFEE ANYWHERE IN MY HOUSE. My husband’s position was that it was “fine, I’ll survive.” I was… less like that.
I get up at 5:30AM and was cranky and off my game for an hour and a half before it occurred to me… “Two weeks ago when we left for vacation we took our coffee grinder with us, and some of the those beans fell out. I think they are still in the way back of the pilot.”
COFFEE BEANS. Just outside!
I ran outside in my pajamas and dug around on the floor my car for coffee beans. I collected them in my shirt the way you do when you are foraging for berries in the woods. I got just enough and headed to the stairs to grind my way to the nectar of the gods. I reached for the banister to climb the stairs and CRASH! Coffee beans dropped out of my shirt and onto the ground.
I stood looking at them for a full minute.
Well, when you are all in on something you get down on your hands and knees and pick up those coffee beans. One at a time. In your pajamas. In full view of your neighbors. With zero shame because COFFEE.
What will you drop everything for, embarrass yourself for, and risk communicable diseases for? It’s helpful to know the answer to that question.
Have you ever noticed that the thing that other people admire about you is the same thing that gets you into trouble? Me too. People ask me all the time “How do you do so much?” And I come up with some kind of mindset related truth, “Get your head clear and begin to take steps!” Which is true… but another equally true statement is, “Be a pathological finisher who overworks until you run yourself into the ground!” So, can we shortcut the growing pains for a minute- think about your greatest strength and just admit that you are going to overdo it and start working on getting that extremism under control. Driven to climb the big mountains…and sometimes you sulk about a board game so much that no one in your family wants to play with you? So generous and caring with your friends and family that they wouldn’t know what to do without you… but you never make enough time for YOU to finish your novel? So creative that you write poems and paint pictures that bend our perception of time and space but you just cannot focus enough get the bills paid? I feel you, friend. Now you know… how will you control your biggest strength when it starts wreaking havoc?
Sarah LaFleur the lovely creator of MM LaFleur was speaking at a Change-makers chat last year and she describes what it takes to succeed (and I would say that it’s what is required to be live your best life) this way:
Imagine that you are stranded on a deserted island and you want to swim to an island that docks cruise ships that you are pretty sure is “over there-ish”. Too far to see it exactly but you have a good feeling. You joyfully throw off your shoes, get down to your bathing suit and wade out into the warm water close to shore. “This isn’t too bad!” You say, with the naïvetée of the uninitiated. “It’s a good thing I took those swim lessons in 4th grade.”
And you start to swim.
“Am I still swimming? I’m getting kind of tired.” You stop, and doggie paddle for a while to look around and see how far you’ve come.
You can very clearly see the island you just left. There’s your palm tree with the delicious coconuts. And the hammock you made out of palm leaves. And your little rain catcher made out of an animal skin (that was gross, but needed) propped up on sticks. Looking in the other direction you see… nothing. No island, no cruise ship, no dolphins ready to carry you to safety on their backs. You look back at your little island.
“Some fresh water would be pretty good right now,” you think. “Maybe I should go back?”
It’s entirely rational to go back. Back to the coconut tree and the rainwater and guaranteed (loneliness but) survival. And you can always hope someone will come and save you, right? And that’s what almost everyone does. Who can blame them?
But what do YOU do?
You keep swimming. Because the waves and chill and the muscle spasms and jellyfish are the opportunities you needed to practice believing in yourself. To get deep into the mental game of being in action without guarantees, to practice not giving up on your creations, to claw your way one exhausted stroke at a time, into the belief that you are good enough, right now. You’ve got what it takes, no matter where you are, no matter how you got here, and no matter whether you land on the island with the cruise ships.
And so, here’s to you, fellow swimmers!
What are you waiting for? For it to be easy? For it to be clear? For it to be fun all the time? For it to be streamlined? For it to be a guaranteed success? For it to be someone else’s idea?For it to be a new/unique/mind blowing idea?
Sign up for the hard, the fragile and the murky. Be cool with the tears and the mess. Go ahead and be cookie cutter or totally weird. Go with the grain or go against it. It doesn’t matter!
What does matter is that you live and speak and BE what you believe. To do that, will you please stop waiting and start already?!?!
One of my clients said last week, “If my profile doesn’t resonate with them, then I’m happy to provide a referral.” BAM. That’s the sound of someone stepping into their power, leaving fear and scarcity behind. “I have something to offer. It’s this, it’s not that, and when you recognize it as what you want then I’ll be here.” This is the kind of confidence and clarity that turns you into a magnet, drawing clients toward you. They want to be seen by you, helped by you, and spend time more in the world you create where they can feel better. And it’s hard, you can’t fake it, and it’s usually on the other side of struggle. This is something to be proud of.
You have likely experienced both personally and professionally that our mental health world is a world of word of mouth.
One of the biggest myths I hear constantly is that word of mouth is something that happens by chance. Luck. It’s out of our control, or the universe is (or isn’t) on our side. Sound familiar?Continue reading
My imagination had been captured by TedX many years ago, when I saw Shawn Achor talk about his sister Amy. He convinced her she was a Unicorn and stumbled upon the power of happiness to shape a life (and evade consequences). I’ve talked about Amy the Unicorn many times since then in my classes, coaching sessions, and in conversations. Ted’s mission is to promote ideas worth spreading, and I’m doing my part! Then it occurred to me… do I have an idea worth spreading?
Thus inspired, I set out to discover how I might also give a Ted Talk. What I learned is that there are many, many independently organized Ted events– referred to as TedX events. In fact, in the last known accounting of TedX events (July 2015) there had been 13,522 TedX Events, in 3174 cities, in 143 countries. (By the way, featured TedX talks had received almost 600 million views on youtube, during that same time period. That’s a LOT.)
Each of these independently organized events accept applications, conduct interviews and choose 9-12 speakers… which, If I could apply to enough of them, felt like good odds!
As you may know, I am holding a one-day conference here in New York City on September 29th called Build Your Practice-2018. It’s on a Saturday from 9:00-3:30 and will weave together simple, actionable strategies with a chance to create a strong referral network of other professionals looking to support your growth. Add to that an internationally renowned speaker, relaxing and rejuvenating breaks, and the best cupcakes I’ve ever had in my whole life. . . I have no doubt that it’s going to be AMAZING.
But I get that another way to look at it is that you’ll spend a Saturday in September with strangers. It’s reasonable that you might be hesitating. In this post, I’m hoping to put those hesitations to rest so that you’ll want to go ahead and register before the early bird tickets end, then spend the rest of September getting excited about everything you’ll learn.
If you’re a therapist, there’s a good chance you are. I mean, studying psychology, counseling, and therapy basically requires an obsession with all the messy internal stuff. Who finds all of that fascinating? We introverts do!
So when it’s time for us to grow our practice, we are often uncomfortable with the social aspects: networking, creating partnerships, running events and speaking can feel downright daunting.
In fact, these things may feel like they goes against your very nature. And who wants to do that? No one… unless they can be done authentically, in a way that feels aligned with your values and infused with integrity. And, as a fellow introvert I’m here to tell you: when you find the right partners, the community you create is the golden ticket to the growth you’re looking for.
So, how can we create a powerful, fun-loving network that will turbocharge our growth?