Becoming a conscious, passionate human who helps other humans find passion and consciousness has been a constant exercise in peeling, peeling, peeling back the layers of the proverbial “Onion That Is Me.”
You get to a point where you’re like, “Ha! This is it! I’ve finally figured out the key to being myself!” … Only to be met 20 minutes later with a whole new set of issues that lived down deeper, at a layer you could only be aware of now that you’ve come this far.
Sometimes I imagine the Universe (in all its glorious sarcasm) is like, “Lol, this is never over. Keep on peeling, honey.”
So, when I say right now that, “This is it! I’ve finally figured out the deepest fear that most people have,” there’s a good chance that I’m wrong.
But for right now, this is what I think is at the root of most human fear. This is what I think causes most existential crises.
I USED TO BELIEVE I COULDN’T BE MYSELF, AND GET WHAT I WANTED AT THE SAME TIME
When I was stuck in my series of unfulfilling, boring, soul-sucking jobs, everything about them felt draining: the bosses, the co-workers, the piddly little problems, the commute, the unimportance of it all in the big picture.
Yeah, the draining stuff was bad. But it wasn’t what weighed on my shoulders. It wasn’t what caused the constricting panic that I felt in my chest every single day.
It was the fact that I didn’t believe I could be myself and be happy at the same time.
God, that’s dramatic isn’t it?
But I mean it! My life felt like a series of compromises where, in one way or another, I ended up losing:
I couldn’t possibly quit the 9-5 life and make money. Nope, I’d have to settle for not being myself (AKA, working a 9-5 for the rest of my life) so that I could at least make money.
I couldn’t go down a decidedly untraditional path (like coaching) and keep the same circle of friends. No, I’d have to stay traditional (definitely not very “me”) and remain well-liked.
And on a very personal note, I couldn’t be an introverted homebody and find someone who wanted to date (or even marry!) me. Nope, I’d have to put on a very different role than the one I’d prefer and make a forced effort to be “out” and “seen” so that I wouldn’t be alone for the rest of my life.
EVERYONE IS MAKING THESE KINDS OF COMPROMISES, EVERY DAY
Do I want to be myself, or do I want to be forever alone?
Do I want passion, or do I want to make money?
Do I want to be myself, or do I want to have a good relationship with my family?
If you’re having an existential crisis, or even just flirting with the idea of having one, you probably believe in some way that you’ve got to make an “either/or” choice about how to live your life.
And that choice, my friends, is freakin’ depressing because no matter how you look at it, you lose.
Having to make an either/or choice between being yourself OR getting something that’s a basic human necessity (love, respect, money, etc.) means that you’re almost always going to choose the basic need.
At least if you deny who you are, you’ll keep surviving, right? (However blandly or depressingly.)
But you can’t turn down money or love and still survive, can you? Is being yourself really worth ostracism? Or being chronically misunderstood or perpetually broke?
So, most people settle for the version of unhappiness they can tolerate most: surviving (but at the cost of not fully being themselves).
THAT PRETTY MUCH BLOWS, DON’T YOU THINK?
It’s taken me a long time to stop thinking, “I can be myself or …” and start believing, “I can by myself and …”
I’m honestly not sure that there’s an elegant, neat, step-by-step solution I can give you for transitioning from “… or be myself” to “… and by myself.”
What I know has worked for me, and what I now recommend heartily to you, is this: Adopt a firm, stubborn refusal to see the world as a limited place.
And question everything.
Question the archaic notion that “This Is How It Is.” Question why you believe you can’t be passionate and make money. Question the people who doubt your abilities.
Instead of questioning, “Why would that work for me?” question, “Why wouldn’t that work for me?”
Truly, the people who never surpass the idea that “I can either be myself or …” couldn’t get past it because they failed to question whether that needed to be true for them.
THE MOST IRONIC THING OF ALL IS …
It’s only when you start believing that you can be yourself and … be happy, get what you want, be prosperous, be loved … whatever … that magic starts to happen.
Personally, it’s only when I started to believe that I could be passionate and make money that I actually started to make money.
It’s only when I believed that I could be myself and be liked and respected that I’ve felt the most liked and respected.
I could go on and on, but instead I’ll admit that it’s still not 100% easy. Like everyone else, I fall back into being afraid that “I can’t be myself and …” all the time!
It takes courage, commitment, and sweat to continue questioning my self-doubt … but I’d rather be toughing it out as me than settling as … someone else.
THIS IS WHY WE CREATED THE PASSION PLAN VIRTUAL EXPERIENCE
Sooo many people have a hard time believing that they can be themselves and have a career that feels fulfilling and passionate.
That’s why creating our much-loved online program the Passion Plan Virtual Experience has been a consummate act of rebellion and revolution … we want everyone to believe they can be themselves and be fulfilled (and we can prove that it’s possible).
So, if you want to figure out how you can be yourself and be passionate, then you’ve got exactly 1 week to join us (and the big group of other people who’ve already joined us!). Enrollment for the PPVE closes on January 27th. We hope you’ll take the leap!
Rachel (+ Kristen)