Few people would put the words "give up" next to me. Probably because I'm not a quitter. But that doesn't mean that sometimes I don't have the urge to just give up.
Whether it's relationships, a project, a job, or a city where I lived, I've wanted to walk away and give up many times. To let go of dreams I had. To let go of principals I care about. And 2016 is no exception.
Amazing things have been happening this year, but so have trials that I didn't expect. Financial challenges visited my doorstep when one client didn't pay and another's roof collapsed and put her into financial strife. Dating proved to be both more fascinating and more challenging that I could have ever expected. And in the heat of the moment, there have been times I've thought about walking away from coaching and teaching. It's hard to see myself write this or even hear myself say it out loud. But it is the truth.
Going after your dreams takes constant commitment. When we take the invitation to share the gift we were meant to share, the Universe invites us into the most exciting, fullfilling, scary, and uncomfortable ground we've experienced. And while I knew all of this, it's another thing to live it. Theory is great, practice is priceless.
It is said that Oprah, a woman I admire so, so much, was turned down by TV executives over and over again. How many great people were turned away and they kept going regardless? Like my freshman year English teacher who gave me the first and last "F" of my life after I wrote a paper. I'll never forget getting the paper back smothered with red markings. I had put so much heart and soul into it and I remember staring at it dazed and confused. When my parents met with her for conferences to find out why on Earth a straight A student was suddenly struggling in her strongest subject, my teacher told them that creative writers get no where. Creative writing is not actual writing. And that it wouldn't serve me in college. I needed to learn how to write without fluff. This promptly killed the creative writer in me for years. In truth, my blog writing is an attempt to reclaim that spirit back some 20 years later. As I went on to master truth writing, buried myself in non-fiction reading, and learned the art of concise writing I let go of the free spirit that expressed her deepest longings, wonders, and the entire sense experience of life. The vast imagination of metaphors and analogies. Mythology.
Now each week I sit down to write this blog, I reconnect with that freedom. As I pour out my soul in a space of pure expression. I never gave up on the creative writer inside of me. I just stepped away from her for a while. The dedication I had to write and to return to my work has born such beautiful fruit in conversations I've had with others who read my writings, and in serving as one of the biggest spiritual practices I have. When I write, Spirit speaks to me. Clarity comes. Inspiration pours. I feel alive. And I meet my greatest insights.
You know what it is about giving up? When we see other people's successes, especially these days on social media, we don't know their giving up story or even stories. The number of times a married couple of 40 years almost reached for divorce. The number of times a mentor in your field was rejected by colleagues, co-workers, organizations, the world. Misunderstood. The number of times someone couldn't pay their bills. Felt alone.
I was reminded of this recently when I was having dinner with a friend. As a fellow entrepreneur I asked her how she developed such a rich life of abundant travel and her answer surprised me. She had a side consulting job. Three days a week she worked in an office doing something she didn't love. Sacrifice. The other days of the week she did the work she loved. And in-between she traveled. It was her right combination of what worked to keep her going. It was her right combination of not giving up on the life she dreams of living and is waking up to each day.
Maybe I'm one of those people you look at and think, wow...what a perfect life. How could I have that life? First off, it is perfect. Even when it's not. And second, I'm here to tell you that as much as my life is magic (and it is) it also has it's challenges. There have been moments where I've barely scraped by to pay my bills. Weeks where I worked more than 24 hours in just two days. Moments I've had to ask for help for financial, emotional, and spiritual support. But regardless of all the struggle, I wouldn't change a thing. It just motivates me to be even more committed to my work. To my desire to channel a more human narrative of spirituality and awakening because I've lived it.
The moment I started sharing my gifts and stepping into living my dream, something inside me changed forever. I smiled more. I glowed more. I danced more. I reflected more. I sighed more. I said thank you more. And even the day that I stared at my bank account with a balance that was the lowest it has been since I was age 15 and started working, there was something deep inside that no one could take away from me. And that was the joy that I finally discovered when I took the Universe's invitation to live my dream.
For this week, I want to cheerlead us into not giving up. I've been there. I will be there. It's part of the deal. Do you want it enough? Are you patient enough? And most of all, do you trust enough to know that in the end everything will work out? Here are some ideas of how not to give up when you absolutely feel you must:
- Choose to not give up. Yep. It's a choice. And starting with the intention of not giving up is the foundation for it all. Make that powerful choice to stand in your full power, knowing, and trust, that you got this. And there is a reason you're working towards whatever you're working towards.
- Humble yourself. This is a tough one. When you go for your dreams big, small and in-between whether it is in your career, in a partnership, or otherwise, you have to humble yourself. You have to bow your head to the unfolding process. You have to ask for help when you need it. You have to let yourself cry when you feel it.
- Lean on others. This goes hand in hand with humbling yourself. But you have got to lean on others. Nothing is meant to be done alone. Whether you say so or not. It's just not. You have to lean on others for support. For encouragement. For shoulders to cry on. For bodies to hug. Soften your heart and allow yourself to lean. One of the most powerful things I have done that was the scariest, was to open up my feeling of wanting to give up to others. To be vulnerable enough to risk being seen as "weak" when I seemed so strong. Ironically, it made me stronger.
- Check your mindset. Mindset is everything. When you want to give up, you gotta take every ounce you got to bring your mind to somewhere else than giving up. I love mantras. So when I catch myself into falling into wanting to give up, I write affirmations on notecards, place them on my alter, and every morning after meditation I read and reflect on them.
- Take breaks. In moments when my business isn't going how I want it to, rather than powering through the day or the work week, I grant myself grace and step away. I take a walk around the block. I go sit by a fountain, listen to the water and let the sun shine on my face. I sing and dance with my parrot Odi. I listen to a good song. I plan time physically away on retreat and vacation.
- Look for your success story. The moments where you almost gave up on something else. Or maybe even whatever you're struggling with right now. Remember how you felt when you wanted to give up and when you choose something different. Look at the awesome evidence of what is possible when you know you're meant to do something, be in something, go somewhere, and you don't give up. No matter what.
- Celebrate the keep going. Acknowledge the fact that you didn't give up! Go you! Dance in delight that even though the going got rough, you kept going anyways.
You want to know what you are made of? Then don't give up. You want to know what surprises the Universe has in store for you? Don't give up. You want to be like your super star heroes and mentors? Don't give up. In the meantime, here's some more inspiration for you...