"Hi Trish! A friend of mine shared your article with me knowing that I would resonate. Thank you for writing it, I am in the same process right now. Jumping full-time as a life coach and writer, dreaming of my getting my writing published. I'd love for you to talk about the process you went through to surrender and trust regardless of the Ego/head would say. What did you do keep yourself grounded in the know :) xx"
I am so glad you asked this as well as incredibly apologetic for how heinously long it has taken me to make good on my word of a response.
Clearly, K, I have it all together.
I've picked the perfect time in life to no longer have a bi-weekly steady paycheck; to pay for insurance out of pocket for the first time ever, and to keep living in this country's most expensive city just the same. You can probably tell by my sporadic posting here that I am really regimented in my writing and have no insecurities whatsoever in this next chapter of life...
Right. Well then.
Listen, K --
I wanted to write you an actionable advice piece, I really did. I wanted to neatly list out things for you to do to stay in the confidence zone, and provide tips on groundedness as if I had personally studied with grounded gurus like Pema or Sylvia. I wanted to help you surrender like Glennon or Liz, and to make your days feel connected, in the flow, and beautiful.
But it just wasn't working for me.
Because honestly? When it comes to living a creative, self made life such as the one I hear you speak of, there is only one thing I know for sure:
You feel into it, as only you can, every single day. You just feel your way through it -- awkwardly, gracefully, painfully, triumphantly.
Surrendering & groundedness, for me, most often feel a lot like plain ol' remembering.
Some days grounded looks like several hours spent in a coffee shop writing until your brain mixes up your unique thoughts with the lyrics to the Taylor Swift song playing in your headphones. Some days surrender might look like staying in your apartment, eating peanut butter from the jar, leaving only once to pick up an avocado because you suddenly realize that it's guacamole you need, not peanut butter. Guacamole, immediately.
You'll learn to give yourself mental rewards for small things. Maybe your last piece of writing did not get picked up, but you cooked such a bad-ass corned beef and cabbage St. Patty's day dinner that your boyfriend went back for thirds, so you've got that going for you.
(It isn't silly to be proud of the small things, K.)
You ask your people to support you. You send them links to anything you've written and have been able to get published (free or paid...probably free, for now) and say MY DEAR PEOPLE -- SHARE WITH YOUR PEOPLE, I BEG. And then you ask them again a few weeks later, and a few weeks after that with additional smiley emoticons, even though you're beginning to feel like a "bother" and guiltily log on to social media to specifically "like" a few more of their posts as an attempt to even the playing field in your mind.
You set hard deadlines for things like business cards and websites and client counts. Then, when you do not meet them, you let yourself feel like a failure for only a few minutes because you remember that deadlines are made up, and not a thing to disappoint.
You remember to focus on only the next right thing, even if that next right thing means guacamole, immediately.
You live, honey. You keep adventuring, and activating every cell of curiosity and gratitude in your being because that's what inevitably gives life to the best stories -- you, living yours.
The Ego never fully shuts the hell up. That is hard thing to hear, I'm sure. It's a hard thing for me to type. But when we can take this truth and simply observe it, labeling it as just another piece of "thinking", it loses so much of its power. It is possible for it to become a part of our being to stay curious about. Working with your ego is an act of remembering the role of its voice, and deciding time and again to forgive its little, insecure messages like you would a small child. When your ego is in overdrive, it must mean you are fearful of something. And if you are feeling even a bit fearful in regard to your life purpose, it must mean you are really going for something good -- pushing your vulnerability speeds to high, and really going for it.
That, I feel, makes you a bad-ass.
Rest. Play. Create. It's been studied, said, written about for generations now and has yet to change: No one ever goes to their grave wishing they'd spent more time at work. Remembering to enjoy the process of our particular kind of work will make it feel a hell of a lot less like a job to pay the bills, and more like a blessing we live each day.
Read. They say if you want to become a better writer, to read more. While I can't speak to how this has specifically influenced my own writing, it is by far my most favorite way to "practice" my craft.
Maybe your work doesn't quite feel meaningful, yet. Maybe your work has yet to reach its earning potential or site traffic goals or affirmations of approval, so it doesn't feel meaningful.
Consider this: Maybe what you're doing is meaningful simply because it is what your soul requires of you.
Because then (and this is the really good part, so I hope you've stayed with me this far) -- someone like you, K, will read a piece you've written and have the courage and kindness to say nice things and to engage with you. They'll ask you a question encouraging you to go deeper, surprising you to know someone might want more. Who, me?, you'll think.
And this makes it all feel worthwhile.
This helps you remember.
At least, that is, until tomorrow :)
Keep living into your life, K. Work hard at this work worth doing.
Do this meaningful work because you can. And know that it is...and you are...enough.
Starting a business is...whoa. It's humbling, exciting, fulfilling. It's also crazy-making, scary as hell and involves a lot of Paula Abdul style two steps forward, two steps back dance moves, only without "MC SKat Kat" helping you look cooler.
Starting a business in which you are the #ladyboss AND the product especially demands 50 shades of Brene Brown - esque vulnerability, and I've been working on the balance of it all.
How much do I continue to post? Should I be changing the content here? Would it be best to close TGL's chapter? Should I only be writing for external publications now? Is continuing to share my stories a pro or a con for current and future clients?
But you know, as a client myself, some of the best sessions I've had with coaches or therapists over the years have involved a degree of deep truth telling from their end. Some of my biggest Oprah "A-HA!" moments have occurred from hearing their own stories -- from unexpectedly learning something personal about them, and being able to hear my spirit say, with great relief, me too. And some of the worst sessions I've had with other coaches have stemmed from a total lack of just that -- from an overly strong sense of separateness, vs. everybody's in.
So this is the balance I'm learning right now: honoring what feels right and appropriate to share, vs. sticking to fundamental (and often crucial) boundaries of personal & professional as I grow my business like a true #ladyboss.
On Friday, I finished up a mid-morning client session and decided to throw in the towel on trying to work on my new business website (coming soon! I hope! Dear God just let it be done already!). My energy required me to get outside, so I quickly changed into summer attire and took a short stroll down to the beach near our apartment. Despite my positive coaching work just minutes before, my spirit began to lag a bit as I mulled over varying degrees of the same questions I mentioned above.
I looked back expecting to see a heart shaped hole carved within the tree responsible for this shadow, only to be quite surprised at the actual shape of it's origin....
Somehow, this knotty, oval hole in a skinny, city-sidewalk tree, together with the help of the sun and my stumbling upon it at this exact time of day, projected a small, international symbol of love to the ground. Magic!, I thought, my own heart leaping at the discovery. I instantly made a connection to a dear friend, and reached for my phone.
One of the very first things I learned about my college roommate and sister, AAB, was her great love for the children’s classic The Giving Tree. We had a huge poster hanging in our dormitory of it's beloved cover, and often referred to it's text during our numerous exchanges. A sappy text or two later, AAB and I made a FaceTime date for the following evening. Per usual, she was just what the doctor ordered. We laughed (mostly at our faces freezing on the screen in holy unflattering ways), reconnected and reminded each other of things like you can do this, I'm proud of you, and you've got me, always. We continued to be honored keepers of each other's precious stories, which is basically at the heart of all things sisters are meant to be for one another. And, I feel it's worth mentioning, one of the many reasons why sisters will heal the world one day if we can continue on this glorious trajectory of celebrating one another's success.
I'm what you might call a sometimes believer in "signs". I think, mainly, their perceived power has great worth only when they serve to shake you into new perspectives. I don't rely on them, or petition the Universe for many, but appreciate most when they appear in moments of my needing to remember.
In that sense, here's what my very own Giving Tree gifted me:
Even within our deepest troubles; within the biggest, knottiest holes carved in our souls from a lifetime's worth of fear, regret, shame or good ol' fashioned hurt, there, always, remains our hearts. Broken but beating just the same, waiting for a bit of light to be shone on them as a reminder to us that they persist -- as a reminder to generously share their true, unfailing beauty with the world.
As a friend, and also as a coach, it's my great honor to be a keeper of your precious stories. It's a joy to help you remember. To me, this is the heartbeat of my coaching practice: helping you remember your strength and loveliness through whatever means I have at my disposal. My deep desire to shine a light on your best selves might sometimes involve the practice of exposing all sides of mine, and I believe this tactic will serve any relationships (professional & personal) forged in the future.
This is how I write. This is how I coach.
And the tree was happy, indeed.
I'm happy to report that two pieces of writing from yours truly have been picked up by awesome online magazines -- one on the concept of "Never Coasting" in your relationship, and another on the Art of Receiving.
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share my humble thoughts with these audiences, and would be even more stoked if you could spare a moment to check them out. Your continued support of all things TGL means the world to me. I don't think I would have the courage to keep submitting writing if it weren't for your kind words of encouragement. This has been an extreme exercise in stretching my vulnerability comfort zone (and re-framing failure time and time again). So, thank you for making the process so much sweeter!
Never Coasting in Your Relationship via The Sweat Life