I had dinner with a newish friend tonight, with the intention to also give her a tarot reading as she navigates some really big changes (end of major relationship, beginning of master’s program and a new job). I showed up in my comfortable, well-worn role as the “helper,” but my friend in her wisdom wasn’t going to let me off the hook that easily. She has attorney training and she’s a very skilled coach, a delightfully lethal combination, it turns out.
She said a couple of things to me during dinner that left me feeling like I’d been sprinkled with stupid dust. You know the feeling? Like Wile E. Coyote just over the lip of the canyon holding completely still before the fall.
Not a common feeling for an extroverted know-it-all, but one I’ve come to recognize as pay dirt for major leaps in my personal and professional life:
1. If you want something you’ve never had, you have to be willing to do things you’ve never done
After the stupid dust settled, it struck me as obvious. Well of course! You actually have to learn how to do it by trying to do it. If I wanted to be a professional bowler, would I read all the bowling books, join bowling groups, read bowling blogs, talk about bowling all the time, but not ever actually roll the ball down the aisle? Risk that I might actually suck at bowling? Why would I want to do that?!? I LOVE bowling!
Loving the idea of something is not the same as actually doing it. I realized this about 20 years ago when I heard a successful novelist say that being a writer meant spending 8-12 hours a day in a room by yourself focused on one thing. Yeah, I’m never going to do that. I like the idea of it, but it stops there.
What do I have to be willing to do to have what I really want? What about you?
2. “How much longer do you have?”
I’ve been having essentially the same conversation with my friends, colleagues and coach for the last 3 years. With more or less swearing, some iteration of “I want to completely focus my business on coaching people to discover and fulfill their calling but I’m scared to put myself out there.”
My friend asked me how much longer I was willing to play small. 3 years? A year? Six months? How did I feel when I thought about doing exactly what I’m doing now for another 3 years?
What’s that? You say it makes you feel sick?
Well, yes. Sick. The way many of my clients feel when they finally decide to call for help. Heavy, overwhelmed, exhausted.
So at my friend’s urging I gave myself the rest of this year to really focus on my own calling, to be curious about it, embrace it, embody it in the spirit it was given to me. Be willing to do things for it that I’ve never done before. Being married is good practice for this.
Stay tuned. Maybe Wile e Coyote might fly this time. And let me know what cliffs you’re hovering off the edge of.