Today I was speaking with a friend of mine from out of town who is struggling.
Business development is not going as well as they would like and she is considering reverting to a 'fall back' plan. She recognizes that there is a finite amount of time for which the financial numbers of the business need to be in order and is concerned they may not come to fruition. We had a great conversation, well at least that was my take. She may have felt differently because, for the most part, I sat back and listened.
Now I know this person to be extremely talented at what they do so when I listened to them doubting their ability to "make it" in the business that they love I was at a bit of a loss for words. I have seen authentic and I have seen charlatan. I can assure you that she is the former not the latter.
The most courageous thing in the world is to follow your heart. Be assured this is no easy task. It is, however, what we prepare for our entire lives. Some of us see it readily and move boldly forward. Others see it and shrink back, letting fear and self doubt envelop them, eventually stifling, crushing and ultimately destroying, the person they are meant to become.
Sadly, most are never fortunate enough to see it at all and remain mired in the minutia of carving out a living that they call a life. Do we acquiesce to our fears and adopt a "Can't win, don't try" safety mechanism or do we believe in our heart of hearts, regardless of what's realistic and pragmatic, that we will live in care-free pursuit of our higher purpose and trust the process?
It is so much easier when we have someone beside us who sees us through the eyes of Love. Someone who has an unshakable faith in our competence, talents, gifts, and the value that we bring to this world. When you stare that kind of Love in the face, when you look it in the eye you can't help but see it. Your very greatness in their eyes, the windows to their soul reflecting back to you your true self. You have no choice but to see yourself as they see you. Their smile, the lilt of their voice, the cock of their head, the shine in their eyes and the tender touch of their hand caressing your earlobe. It would be disrespectful and ignorant for you to see anything less than that perfect version of you that they see.
The question is "Why is it that when we look in the mirror we do not see the same version of ourselves that they see?" Granted, it is a rare type of Love that radiates that ray of virtuosity on those it shines upon. The Love of a friend, a spouse or, if you are lucky enough to have found them, your soul mate. It is a type of Love that we tend to reserve for someone else. However it is this ardent fervor we most need to command for ourselves. It is only when we see ourselves in that light that we can move toward our true calling. It is only then that we can serve the world in a manor befit the impeccable being that we were born as.
One of the things that I do when having an important conversation is take notes. It forces me to be a better listener and identify patterns when someone is having a dilemma. This time was no different. I first wrote down the phrase "it's hard" which they had used, i think, more than once. All the while thinking "Well of course it's fucking hard. Life is hard." That is why we call it work. That is why we practice. We both know all the truisms that float around out there. I mean, come on, Facebook is rife with motivational memes and unsolicited advice in this regard. "If it were easy everyone would do it".
I continued to listen and ask questions and again it came up. "You know my last client was a referral and basically asked to buy my service. I didn't have to do anything. I love that. They're easy." There it was again. The fear of 'hard'. If only. If only all of the business were that easy. Well it's not. Neither is life generally speaking. The reality is that it really does not matter what path we take, life will always lay challenges at our feet. We will always have self doubts. We will always question whether we are good enough. We will always question if we can do it. We will always question whether we want to work as hard as is required to live the kind of life that we want.
These are valid questions. Self-doubt is not necessarily a bad thing as long as it does not become crippling. Self doubt keeps us striving for growth. It keeps us humble and it makes us human. Only the most arrogant, narcissistic, egotistically delusional individuals move through life without any self-doubt. Belief is a powerful tool. It can work for us or it can work against us. We need to find a way to leverage our talents and build our beliefs so that we can boldly move forward to build the kind of life that we want.
Life is hard. There is no question about that.
We also get to build the life we live. This is also an inexorable truth.
If we agree that life is hard and that we get to shape our life then question then becomes this...
What kind of hard do you prefer? The kind that gets you closer to the life you want or the kind that gets you to the life you'll settle for?
You get to decide. Now go make beautiful shit happen.
*Shout out to my friend Dani for the photo. www.daniparks.com