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Ready or Not: Expansion, eclipses, and throwing your limitations into the volcano of your desires.

"'Come to the edge,' he said.
They said, 'We are afraid.'
'Come to the edge,' he said.
They came.
He pushed them.

And they flew."

- Apollinaire

My father loved to tell the story of how he learned to swim.

 

Long ago in Karlsruhe, Germany, my dad was a 6-year old tagging along with his big brother on a date. They had ridden their bikes to the Rhine River and my uncle was big-talking to his sweetheart about his swimming prowess. (Neither my father nor my uncle knew how to swim at this point, though my father really wanted to learn).

My dad called him out on it, to which my embarrassed uncle responded with brute big brother energy. He ripped the tire off of his bike, wound it around my father a couple of times, blew the air back into it with his hand pump, and chucked him into the river.

(Sidebar: I ought to be horrified by this, but I’ve known this story my whole life and can only ever see it through the animated filter of Bugs Bunny.)

He floated, of course. Bobbing alongside my uncle and his nonplussed girlfriend. And pretty soon his arms and legs caught on.

Ready or not, he learned to swim that day.

One event that had the same effect on me was watching a full lunar eclipse. I felt like I was walking along and someone hurled me into frigid waters.

I bobbed along in shocked disorientation for a while, then my arms and legs caught on and I began to swim.

Maybe you feel it too. Have any world-changing epiphanies doused your reality? Do you feel the rug coming out from under you? Are you rethinking EVERYTHING you’re doing in a current venture? Are your rethinking EVERYTHING period?

Yes, yes. You’re in excellent company. And now that the dust has settled (for now), you may be grappling with what's next. Like, what to actually DO about it.

I have seen what is next for me in my business. And it is huge and bright. And try as I might, I cannot unsee it.

(And why might I try to unsee it? Because the brilliance is blinding. Same reason we always try to dim the light.)

But it’s here. Because although I feel like I got chucked into the Rhine unexpectedly, I’ve been yearning for this expansion - dreaming of it, praying for it, conjuring it.

And, ready or not, it’s here. And it’s hungry.

So this past week I’ve been feeding it a steady diet of my limitations. For every “I can’t” and “I don’t know how” that has shown up (and there have been plenty), I’ve been hurling them into the gaping mouth of the volcano of my desires. (The ensuing lava flares and fire fountain I envision are Bugs Bunny calibre.) In with the limitations go old habits, beliefs, and stories.

It’s not always this easy. Except when it is.

And then I breathe into the space that just created.

If you’re on the precipice of your desires, whether you’ve thoughtfully and carefully navigated your way there, or you’ve been thrust into them by cosmic intervention, trust that your legs and arms will carry you. You will learn to swim. But to actualize your expansion, you will need to lighten your load.

Ready or not, there are many more eclipses on the horizon.


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Give it Time

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When we decide we want to do something BIG - build a business, write a book, launch a program, make the move - we deliberate and deliberate and then we deliberate some more. And then one day, we decide. After the due diligence, the dotting of the i’s and the crossing of the t’s (and the re-dotting and re-crossing), after the advice, the hand-wringing, we finally wind up here:

Work finally begins when the fear of doing nothing exceeds the fear of doing it badly. - Alain de Botton

And so we begin.

But then our relationship with time does this crazy back flip. We imagine that all of those hours of chronic fretting and crossing and dotting and asking and worrying and imagining somehow counted as putting in the time for the work because we expect instant results.

The tiger in our tanks is hungry and wants to be fed NOW. Big, meaty morsels of success.

One catch: the work wasn’t in the fretting and obsessing and stressing. The work is in doing the work.

Which - bear with me - just takes time.

Yes. It just takes time.

It takes time to find your voice. It takes time to build your authority. It takes time to hone your mastery. It takes time. It just takes time.


Instead of looking at time as the burly doorman that stands between you and your success, consider this:

Time is a gift you offer your loves, your friends, your family, your community.

Offer it generously to your business, book, program, or move. Lay it reverently on the altar of your desires.

How much time?

That’s a fine question.

Is it 10,000 hours spent on the road to mastery? Maybe. Is it the magical and mythical 5 years you’ve been prescribed to allow your business to "make it (whatever that may mean to you)?" Possibly.

It depends on your willingness to see it through.

Will it be worth it? Another fine question.

My vote is YES.

That the THERE you envision is everything you’ve ever hoped for. And more.

That the flaccid results and crickets that can show up early in the process are simply here to help you hone in, discern, and finesse.

Doing the work is unsexy business. It requires patience, perseverance, and focus.

It requires tenacity.

Give it time to mature, to expand, to grow, to reach, to soar.

The steady results you seek require your steadiness.

Now’s not the time to rock the boat. Now’s the time to give it time.


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What happens when you decide you’re writing a book about the Impostor Complex?

What happens when you decide you’re writing a book about the Impostor Complex?

Well... let’s go back a ways.

What happens when you decide you’re writing a book? Any book?

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Your inner critics go ballistic. After raving inarticulately for awhile, they start to list off all the reasons you can’t (and probably won’t and definitely shouldn’t) write the book with startling conviction. Like they’ve been waiting their whole existence to filibuster “Project Don’t Write The Book”.

What happens when you decide you’re writing a book about the Impostor Complex?

Well, you’re met with the same (somewhat generic) inner critics to be sure. You can’t. You won’t. You shouldn’t. Blah, blah, blah. But you’ve been doing the work of inner critic management for awhile, so you’re able to step in and say, “Oh, no, you don’t. I am totally going to write a book."

 

But then it gets even more specific and personal when the second line of offense shows up. These guys have placards directed at you that may not be catchy, but they are clear: “Don’t Write That Book About Overcoming Feeling Like a Fraud Because You Actually ARE a Fraud, You Fraud.”

Their case is really compelling. You don’t have the clinical background. You don’t have the degrees. You may not even have the writing chops. And while your stories are good, they're not the really fascinating backstory to end all backstories. You just have this little thing called a burning desire that feels like a second beating heart. (You can’t recall which clever writer - far more clever than you - came up with that metaphor, but you know it feels true. So, so true.)

So, you hide out. Behind your vocation. Behind your beloved clients. Behind writing and speaking and family and obligations and house maintenance and friends and more family and you feel lucky and privileged and really well graced. And a touch... incomplete. And then decide you should feel guilty about that. Because everything else has been tended to and you still need to hide out some more. And, truly, guilt is a fabulous way to kill time. And, of course, you have nothing but time, right?

Ba-BUMP.

Ba-BUMP.

Ba-BUMP.

Ba-BUMP.

Ba-BUMP.

Ba-BUMP.

But you’re serious about this. You’ve been talking about it with your small corner of the world because accountability is key. Also key? Doing what you say you’re going to do. So you send your family away for a long weekend and try to write through pangs of missing them and longing for wide open lakes for stand-up paddle boarding and campfires and s’mores, but you know it’s for the best. But then you’ll drink smoothies for breakfast and eat popcorn for dinner and then start to realize within three short hours of your solitude that the infuriating cursor on your screen is not actually blinking, but rather beating.

You can’t.

You won’t.

You shouldn’t.

You can’t.

You won’t.

You shouldn’t.

And it’s like the tell-tale heart beating under the floorboard so maddeningly that you can’t take it any longer and want to shout your confessions to the Fraud Police who will invariably show up at your door.

(You, of course, stop trying to write and go read Poe’s work instead because... procrastination. The calling card of the Impostor Complex. Along with leaky boundaries, perfectionism, people pleasing, and comparison.)

And then you start to finally see in the fourth hour of staring at the page that your own Impostor Complex is so far up your grill you don’t even know where it ends and your grill begins.

(And then you start to wonder what a grill is, so you go off to research that because... procrastination round two.)

At this point, you start to empathize with poor Jack Torrance going nuts up there in the Overlook, only to realize that he’d been writing for months and you’ve only been at your computer for five hours now.

And then you start an email to your writing group who invited you to go into the belly of the beast of your Impostor Complex this weekend to tell them to go to hell, but stop because you love them and know why they have asked you to dig deeper. They want this book in the world. The border guard wants this book in the world. And you want this book in the world. You NEED this book in the world. And besides - you know that email would be round three of procrastination (and you’ve learned better by now) so you simply email them, “Sending you love from the belly of the beast”.

And as you press send on that email you realize, "Holy shit."

You KNOW how to do this thing because you live and breathe the Impostor Complex and know it inside and out and see it’s silly tricks and games and, in fact, you don’t just know it, but know it better than anyone. And that’s a fact. You are the world-class expert on this very thing and you have actually already written the manual on how to overcome it. And that you have plenty more wisdom to share. More than plenty.

So you re-blend the breakfast batch of smoothies that’s been on the counter since this morning and get back to writing and write and write and write and eventually look up to see it’s been seven hours and you’ve written thousands of words. Good, smart, and true words that tell the stories that need to be told because your secondary heart said so.

And you realize as you shut down the computer to go to fire up the popcorn popper, that all along that blinking cursor’s actually been saying:

Write on.

Write on.

Write on.

Write on.

Write on.

Write on.

 

Hearing crickets (or, maybe you’re not going crazy)

About two years ago, I went into a pet shop to grab cat litter and heard a cricket chirping away. Without giving it too much thought, I made up the story that the little critter snuck his way in via a bag of feed and was holed up in the ceiling rafters, singing his song ‘til his death.

(I also imagined that the cashier couldn’t wait for it to die. It’s a sound that would most certainly get annoying anywhere but in a garden on a summer’s evening with a chilled glass of sangria.)

Every time I’ve passed the pet shop since, a vision of a little cricket carcass up in the ceiling tiles has flashed before my eyes.

And then this silent question:

Did I REALLY hear that cricket?

And then this narrative:

Huh. Maybe I didn’t. Maybe I imagined it, or it was part of one of those waking dreams. Odd, but not the oddest one I’ve had. I mean, it was the dead of winter. How impossible that a cricket would find it’s way into a store and survive in the rafters for like, three months? Unlikely, to be sure.

Every.single.time. And I pass that pet shop a LOT.

Passed it again yesterday.

And saw this.

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Aha. I finally have my answer.

I’ve spent the last two years passing that sign, not actually SEEING it and continuing to give time and space to that nonsensical narrative. 

Sometimes we doubt what we know to be true. And we even ignore the signs that are right there.

Stop doing that. (I will too.)

Or more helpfully:

Pay attention to the divine winks that remind you what you already know, even when you’ve chosen to forget.(Tweet this)

Hold space for the possibility that you were right all along. Chances are, you were.

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Okay. Now.

Maybe you think you’re hearing metaphorical crickets in your business. (See how I did that?)

No one seems to be showing up.

I’m not going to lie...You might well be.

But that doesn’t mean that your offering is wrong.

Or that your marketing it wrong.

Or that anything is wrong.

Take the time in the relative silence and root back into the why of your offering. Back to when you loved it and trusted it and it loved and trusted you. Pay attention to those divine winks who’ll lead you home. Back to that loving feeling.

In that feeling lies the truth.

And from there, show up.

And they will too.

(No more crickets…except, apparently at the pet food store.)

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Beyond Compare: It's ready for you.

If you allow it to, Beyond Compare will help you to see where comparison: may be stopping you from creating what you want; may be preventing you from activating your calling; may be making you feel (and play) small for fear of projections; may be keeping you from expressing yourself fully; and, may be allowing you to disown your power (and hand it over to others).