I woke the beast

Well, the last 48 hours have been an interesting ride, to put it both gently and optimistically. Here’s what happened:

On Saturday morning, I did the Q&A call for The Shero’s Way — Starting on the Shero’s Path. It was bumpy, in my opinion: disjointed, less than articulate, awkward. I was surprised by that… Speaking in nearly every form is squarely in my “zone of genius,” if you’ve heard that term. Many things vex me but representing myself, my beliefs, and my work aren’t among them.

Still, there it was.

I heard from some on the line that the call was good so, yes, of course, there is evidence of perfectionism and being one’s own worst critic…. But that’s hardly the point, which you’ll see in a moment. There was something more.

Because even more surprising than a weak call was the spiraling hole I slid into afterwards. By evening, I’d been visited by Defeatism in a surprisingly strong show. I rallied a bit the next day, only to be taken down again this morning. And then, a few hours ago, I had the profound and utterly shocking thought that I simply can’t do this. I can’t keep making myself available for this work.

For so damn long, I had been sneaking it in, this work. Sneaking it into every story I told while I was being a performing artist; sneaking it into all the lectures I gave, the workshops I taught; sneaking it into my early coaching experience training entrepreneurs to light up the stage with confidence.

And the longer I snuck, the more quietly unhappy I became. I felt “off,” uneasy. I felt restless and frustrated. And guilty for the lot. I worried about wasting my life, my precious survival from that 25 foot fall. But the thought of going whole hog, of really putting both my feet into the work I survived to do, filled me with such terror, such crippling doubt, I found it hard to move.

Of course, I rarely experienced it as terror or “crippling.” Far more often, it felt like “not the right time,” or “I’m not quite ready,” or  “eventually/some day” or “it doesn’t make sense to do that because (fill in the blank with any number of perfectly reasonable justifications and excuses, most of which were affirmed and supported by those around me because they were so reasonable); or “it’s happening… it just takes time” or “I don’t know how”; or “I’m not sure what”; or any other mild mannered, wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing feeling that could do the job. The job of stopping me in my tracks.

And then it changed, two years ago, when I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. Sometimes, I am a profoundly slow learner so, apparently, I needed yet another slam to jolt me out of all that avoiding and resisting, that reasonableness.

And so I made a commitment then, to myself and to God, to do EXACTLY the work I came here to do: I would help people turn their adversity into lives of purpose. I would help them to make the same commitment I myself was making, to see their avoidance, resistance and reasonableness as the fear and doubt they were. And to rise. Finally, to rise, into the humans they were meant to be, the unique manifestation of God their own souls longed to experience.

And that’s when I began preaching — unabashedly, directly, up front and without sneaking — The Shero’s Way. And my coaching practice shifted and I started serving clients directly in this way, rather than folding it into something else I was doing.

And now I feel alive and relieved and so honored…. And also really, really scared.

And that brings us back to this weekend and that Q&A call and the emergence of a fact far more important than perfectionism or self-reproach: Simply, I woke the beast.

We have in us, all of us, this force. It strives to protect us from failure, from discord, from shame and humiliation, pain and loss. It is fierce in its efforts. Often, its job is not difficult. We are easily swayed by any of the thoughts I listed above. And when we are swayed, the beast is at rest, for we are not risking any of the things the beast seeks to avoid.

But when we forge ahead, when we take a stand for our evolution and stick out our necks in service to our purpose (as I did with that call), the beast is activated and gets busy trying to quash the uprising, to make us “safe” again.

This is what it’s like to stand in our purpose. To take a stand for our soul’s deepest desires.

I want to tell you that it is golden, elevating, deeply fulfilling — and it is! It is also terrifying, triggering, and challenging.

That’s why we don’t do it.

That’s why we tolerate the dim and dull light I spoke of last week.

It’s why we resonate to the center of our core with words such as mine, and then don’t take action: don’t listen to a call, don’t join a group, don’t invest the time or money or effort it takes to move forward. Because we sense in our hearts the stirring beast and we are afraid that we will suffer or fail or be hurt.

We are, in fact, so afraid that we don’t notice just how much we are suffering, failing, and hurting RIGHT NOW.

The most powerful place for our fear is buried underneath its many disguises. Because there, we don’t even notice how terrified we are. We are lulled by our excuses, our justifications, our reasonableness into staying “safely” right where we are.

If we could at least see our fear for what it is, recognize the beast both at rest and when active, at least then we could make a conscious choice. We could still choose not to move forward, but we would know that’s what we were doing.

I think that’s maybe why we don’t do it. We don’t want to own such a choice. The burden feels too heavy. It’s no mistake that the first step in The Shero’s Way is Radical Responsibility, which we have so much to learn about, most noteably how to do it without judgment toward ourselves, and with compassion instead.

But today… I am not walking away from this work. Beast or no, I will preach The Shero’s Way until I am blue in the face because I believe our souls are calling us forward and I CANNOT say no again. Not for my own sake… and not for yours.

For most of my life, paralysis was my biggest fear. Now that that’s happened, my biggest fear has become regret. I do not want to reach the end of my life and feel regret that I haven’t done what I’ve most wanted to do, that I haven’t fulfilled the purpose I feel bobbing at the boundaries of my life. I do not want to lament that I allowed fear to rule my choices. I can live with failure…. I cannot live with regret.

And so… truth be told, I am terrified and I feel exposed and vulnerable, because what I believe is on full display without any masks and I am putting a huge stake in the ground. Saturday’s call, whether good or bad, was only a trigger of fear living much deeper, much closer to the heart. But I’ve found again, at least for the next moments, my courage.

And really, it’s for you.

The truth is this: If stepping into a life of purpose was easy, we’d have already done it. We’d all have already done it long ago. It’s not easy. It’s actually quite challenging, and our human psyches are designed to keep us from taking the risks involved.

It’s also totally worth it and totally doable. Despite the challenges, despite our prehistoric wiring.

But we require support. We all do. And we deserve support. We all do. For people like you, I can be that support. And if I do not stand in these truths and do not take that stand for you, I will be filled with regret when I reach my life’s end. And that, I cannot abide.

So… We’re doing another Q&A call, this Wednesday, December 17 at 6:00pm Pacific. It’s another chance for both of us to do what we came here to do. Let’s not miss it.

With so much love in my heart.

The Shero’s Way – Starting on the Shero’s Path Q&A
Wednesday, December 17th at 6:00pm Pacific
Attend by Phone: (425) 440-5100
Guest pin code: 264451#
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