Kristen and I just got back from an awesome experience volunteering at iPEC’s Life and Leadership Potentials Training. A word to the wise — if you’re at all interested in becoming a coach or just sampling the field, this organization is one you have to check out.
Even though I completed this training over a year ago, being around other people starting out on their own journey into self-awareness got my creative juices flowing.
So, over the weekend I realized…
The Universe is really, really good at sending you opportunities to learn lessons. And until you master whatever lesson it is you’re supposed to be learning here and now, you will continue to receive chance after chance to learn it.
Have you ever been in a situation where you feel like the same crap keeps happening to you? Or do you feel chronically stuck and unable to figure something out or move from one place to another? Are you maybe in a rut or a pattern that you know isn’t serving you, but you don’t know how to break it?
Well, I totally was. Like … for years. I can point out countless times in the past few years, especially, where I felt scared to take action. There was something big I had to do, or just wanted to do, but my fear of taking action sent me straight into avoidance-mode.
And it makes sense … if there’s something big, risky or uncomfortable you need to do, the default reaction is usually to hide from it. Because if we confront it, if we take it on, then things are going to change. We’re going to develop a whole new set of unknowns. And to most humans, the unknown is really scary.
I’ve had the habit of avoiding big, uncomfortable, risky stuff for a loooong time. Every time, I’d either work up the nerve to do it after weeks or even months of stressing over it, or something would come along that would force me to do deal with it face-to-face. But even though I’d ultimately face the fear, a few weeks later I’d repeat the same exact avoidance pattern with something else that was big and scary and risky and uncomfortable.
Lather, rinse, repeat … for the past couple of years.
And then, I’d get angry about my results. I’d complain about not getting what I wanted, or get annoyed that things weren’t working as quickly as I had hoped, or be upset that people would flake out on me.
It should probably go without saying that my results were nothing more than a direct reflection of my inability to master the lesson.
I finally realized that the specific lesson I’ve been given the chance to learn (over and over) was: Feel the fear, and do it anyway.
Specifically: “I’m sending you these big, scary, uncomfortable things so that you can learn what it feels like to do something even though you’re afraid. Because guess what? You’re never, ever going to completely release all of your fear. But you’re never going to get what you want unless you can power through the fear. Waiting until you don’t feel afraid at all? You’ll die an old lady first. Feel the fear, and do it anyway.”
It’s almost funny, in hindsight, to think about how annoyed I was with my results. I was getting flaked on because I was being a flake. Things weren’t working out the way I wanted because I refused to stretch myself and do things that I knew were good for me and my business (but that also terrified me). I hid from the fear, I rationalized it, and I got really good at blaming my results on the world around me. But this was definitely, uncomfortably, inescapably about me and my decision to avoid the lesson.
You could spend years getting frustrated with the same results and patterns. Or you could tune in to your intuition and ask “What’s the lesson I haven’t mastered yet?”
There’s something you’re supposed to be learning … so are you learning it, or avoiding it?
Feel the fear. Do it anyway. What you want is always on the other side of your fear.
Rachel (& Kristen)
Rachel! That is so me right now (& since we spoke months ago). It’s good to hear that even the successful have fears & have to plow through. I think we play a continuous running game of “what if?” & “it’s not quite perfect yet so I’ll just wait.” What if I fail? Fail sooner & it won’t cost as much, in time or money. It’s not perfect & I will look like an idiot! No one is awesome at anything at first & there’s always a learning curve. Do it, fail, learn from it, and do better the next time. Experts have practiced outside what is publicly seen for 1000s of hours. It’s how we get good, how we get great!
Those fears are SO normal, but you’re right, Emilie – if you “just do it” (thanks Nike) and you fail, then you’ll do better next time! It’s all about keeping your eye on the big picture. Great insight!