2016, hey? Wow. The first week of a new year is a popular time to think about resolutions and what you want to achieve in the coming year. There's been a whole lot of ‘doing’ and ‘accomplishing’ in my life over the past two years. What I’ve learned is that nothing makes time go by faster than crossing off lists and crushing goals. After I received my certificate and school had officially officially officially come to an end, I found myself, and others, asking the question: "So, now what?" And I was continually surprised at the shoulder-shrugging immediate answer that kept coming up: "Nothing". Wait, what?! So I've spent some solid hours over the last couple of months reflecting on the source of this ambivalence. Am I afraid to take a leap? Am I afraid of failure? Am I no longer inspired? And the answer to all of these questions kept coming up as a solid "No." Rather, what keeps coming up is a very pure and honest desire to allow myself the space to be open to receive opportunity. I've planted the seeds, and it's time to let them grow. Of course there will be some 'doing' along the way; the seeds have to be watered, the garden has to be weeded. So it's not really "nothing"; it's simply a different part of the process.
My Type A self 10 or maybe even five years ago would have read this and scoffed: Opportunity doesn't just come to you! You have to go after it 150%! Maybe true. And maybe, just maybe, there's another way. Bear with me here.
In her book “Rising Strong”, author and researcher Brene Brown talks about the ego as the “inner hustler”. She says our inner hustler avoids truth and vulnerability and tells us to compete, compare, please, perfect. It has little tolerance for discomfort or self-reflection; instead, the inner hustler is a huge fan of avoidance. Personally, my inner hustler has done a great job at different times distracting me from aspects of my self and my life that I didn’t necessarily like all that much, and/or that I was too afraid to look at. Hustling meant I was too busy to look at any of it: out of sight, out of mind. Right? Not quite. What it really meant is that I was preventing my true self from shining through the hustler's armor. What I needed was to s-l-o-w down. And since life will always show you what you need to learn, my lesson showed up as a car accident. Today, I wear a lot less armor, and I am a lot more clear on who I truly am and how I want to show up in this life. Yes, the hustler lives on, she's just a heck of a lot quieter.
Okay, but but but if we're not busy doing and accomplishing 150 million things, then what are we doing?! What happens when that inner hustler gets to be a noisy distraction again? In her book on the creative process "Big Magic”, author Elizabeth Gilbert talks about staying open to opportunity. Ideas are energy swirling around searching for an available and willing human partner. And, if you're too distracted to notice the idea trying to get your attention, it will move on and find someone else. I love this! It feels like the complete opposite of hustling. Gilbert says we have to start forgetting about being perfect, step off the hamster wheel, and "learn how to become a deeply disciplined half-ass." Talk about a marked departure from my usual line of thinking! And, I'm 150 million percent buying it.
So, this year, out of curiosity and in the words of Danielle Doby, I'm cultivating my inner half-ass and giving myself permission to: “Ditch the resolutions" and I'm inviting you to consider doing the same. Consider measuring success by your dedication to your path, rather than your list of accomplishments. Life will happen around you, regardless of your best laid plans. Let yourself off the hook when you need to. Stay open to the creative process. Find the lessons in the let downs. Be kind to yourself. Ease up on the distractions. And celebrate often. You have the ability to be your own worst enemy or your own best cheerleader.