I used to be someone who was constantly, chronically even, in her own way.
For years, I dreamed about painting, writing, being my own boss and building my own successful business, traveling, adventuring, helping other people get out of their own way and live a life that exceeds their most beautiful and bold dreams, and working with amazing, inspiring, world-class, FUN colleagues, mentors, and clients.
I used to dream of these things but they seemed so far off and, frankly, often times pie-in-the-sky impossible. Every now and then I’d get fleeting feelings and visions of what I was capable of and who I really was, and I’d be encouraged and inspired and work with renewed enthusiasm to create my dreams….but eventually and invariably I’d get in my own way.
It began to make life feel less like life and more like a life sentence, one where I was to have these desires in my heart and sight and, most painfully, I had a very clear understanding that I was the one who had erected these prison walls yet I had no idea how to break free.
Fast forward to today. I am free and most definitely living a life that previously I only dreamt of living. It’s not that I never get in my own way anymore. Yes, I might get derailed now and then, but never for long because I trust myself to know how to get back on track. After more than a decade now of studying and practicing what works and what doesn’t, there is a world of difference in my life. I no longer feel trapped and confused, nor am I weighed down by self-doubt – and if I am, I know what to do.
Most days these days, I feel free, clear, focused and confident that if I can dream of something, then I will do it.
For example, this morning, I’m writing this blog post. When I’m done, and I’ve had some sweet morning time with my family, I have a session with a world-class client. Every time I leave working with this client, I pinch myself. Dream job!
After that, I’m finishing up a couple paintings that I’ve already sold so I can have them complete before I leave tomorrow for Paris – for fun, for adventure, for meeting up with world-class clients, colleagues, mentors, and friends.
More pinching, more dreams come true.
On top of that, in the past year I’ve tripled my painting sales, my coaching business has quadrupled, I feel my ability to tap the kind of Creativity I know is available to me is only just beginning and getting stronger, and in the last several months I’ve been to Napa twice, Colorado twice, and, again, am headed to PARIS tomorrow.
I tell you all of this because if you are someone who currently gets in your own way, I want to do more for you then to state the frustrating obvious – GET OUT of your own way. You know that. If you knew how, you would have done it already, right? (At least, that’s how I always used to feel!).
I wanted to write this in case anyone out there reading is feeling frustrated, stuck, confused, or despairing because they can’t figure out how to get out of their own way. I wanted to offer you today three of my favorite ways for getting out of your own way. And I wanted to tell you what the results have been for me because I know what it’s like to receive advice and yet you’re wary of trusting it because you don’t want to try one more thing that’s just left you disappointed.
I’ve shared with you the results I am experiencing and now here are a few of the things I have done that have not only worked, but have been the most impactful. Some of the effects are immediate and I can promise that the positive effects will just continue to snowball if you continue to practice them faithfully.
Don’t give up on yourself or your dreams but wholeheartedly give these three things a try. They’ve worked miracles in my own life:
1. Learn to embody ease while doing hard things.
Become a student of doing challenging things with a spirit of ease. Your dreams will always require that you do hard things, but if you can learn to do hard things with ease in your mind and spirit, you will be amazed at the results.
An easy (sorry, couldn’t help myself!) way I practice this when feeling challenged and frustrated is to ask myself these kind of questions:
Where is the ease here? What would ease do? How could I make this easier?
2. Ask for help
This seems obvious, but it was one that kept me stuck for years. I didn’t like asking for help even when it was offered and free (especially if it was free as I hated to inconvenience anyone).
For example, I didn’t want to invest in coaching, mentors, or a mastermind community because I didn’t think I was “there” yet – as in, hadn’t earned it, wasn’t successful enough yet, wasn’t making enough money yet, etc. Long story short, I finally got over this…and wondered why I had waited so long.
Enlisting the help of those who are the best at what they do who can help me become the best I am capable of becoming has been some of the best money I have ever spent. Hands down.
Every single part of my life has improved tremendously since hiring a coach, investing in trainings, and joining masterminds. Beyond the improvements, I also feel that I’ve grown in ways – and with a speed- that I’m not sure I would’ve experienced otherwise. Yes, there were some duds in those experiences, but what investment doesn’t have risk? Furthermore, every experience that wasn’t so good made me a more savvy and selective investor. And the cumulative return has been so, so worth it.
Spend time researching coaches and programs to find a good fit for what it is you are trying to accomplish- but be onto yourself if you find yourself in a long, holding pattern, “just waiting” for exactly the right time and exactly the right coach or program. If you’ve been wanting to do it for over six months and haven’t pulled the trigger yet, I’d say chances are you are just making excuses. In the words of Karen Lamb,
“A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today.”
I still find myself experiencing major fear every time I invest in a coach or something similar. If I would’ve listened to it, I would’ve missed out on three life-changing experiences this year, not to mention countless other extraordinary and beautiful experiences and accomplishments. There’s always going to be fear – expect it and trust yourself. (A great coach can help with that, by the way).
I also wanted to share the example of hiring help for household chores and childcare because I know many of my readers are working to raise families and dreams side-by-side. Although I had to work through feelings of guilt and wondering what other people would think, eventually I came to the realization that everyone must find their own way. For me this meant owning that in order for me to feel healthy, happy, and at peace with myself, I needed a certain amount of time to paint, to write, to coach, and work on my business. And to do this, I needed help.
Now I am so grateful to the sitters who have so lovingly helped our family and the part-time nanny I currently have is a God-send. Literally. The harmonious and loving energy she brings to our children and our home has helped all of us is something I am deeply grateful for…and now it’s hilarious to me that it was something I ever felt guilty about and waited for so long to do!
3. Give up perfection and give yourself permission to suck at it.
I know this dream in your heart seems way too precious to let your work toward it, on it, in it, your creation of it be anything less than perfect, but consider this:
Perfect is impossible. Therefore, aim for perfection and you have just set yourself up for inevitable failure. Interestingly, a part of you knows this and that’s precisely why it’s insisting, “Oh no! I have much too high of standards and this is way too important for anything to be less than perfect!” Don’t be fooled.
Your dream is way too precious, way too important, for it to have to be perfect. Perfectionism will kill your dream and your spirit.
You can do better than perfection. Your dreams can do better than perfection.
I am constantly challenging myself and my clients to find what is better than perfect.
Here are a couple things to think about:
Done is better than perfect.
(that one is allegedly a mantra at Facebook – seems to be working out okay for them…)
And, for those of you whose egos get sneaky and sophisticated and who claim you know perfection is impossible, but you just really want to be excellent — beware!
If aspiring to “excellence” has helped you make a TON of progress and you are honestly sitting in your dream life right now because “excellence” has guided you there – wonderful. Keep doing what you’re doing. This next part doesn’t apply to you.
If, on the other hand, you are someone who has been aspiring to excellence, and yet you are making little to no progress, you’re feeling very frustrated with what you’ve been able to create, and you’ve got miles and years to go before you get the results you want, this next piece is for you. It’s something I picked up years ago from an article or blog post by Bungay Stanier and I have it written down in my journals and sometimes even write it on the wall of my studio to help me get unstuck:
Forget about being excellent. I just want wanting to be f*&!ing amazing.
You can substitute whatever two words you like for the ones I’ve underlined. These are the two that often work for me because I don’t ordinarily cuss, but when I do, I know I mean business. This puts me in a space where I know I’m no longer messing around with my little excuses about wanting to be create something that is perfect/excellent/quality, etc. I see right through those and just get to work doing the best I can with the best energy I have to offer.
Again, these three things, undertaken with a fierce, deep commitment to honoring myself and my dreams and my desire to live the life I know I am capable of living and to become the person I know I am capable of becoming, have honestly helped dreams come true for me. It’s felt nothing short of miraculous.
And I’m still practicing them and putting them to use every single day (as I have a lot of life and dreams left!).
It is my deep, deep wish and my prayer that you take them and work miracles with your own dreams and life.
If you have questions or comments about anything I’ve shared, or if you have your own insights about what’s helped you get out of your own way and unleash your potential, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
Here’s to getting out of your own way and getting on with the real work of your life!
PS- If you have a dream that you want to bring to life – but haven’t yet – my next round of private coaching (beginning in late October) may be for you. It’s called EPIC and it’s specifically for people who have a vision for what their life could be and they are ready to ditch the waiting and commit to making this next year the year it happens. It’s not just about the one career/relationship/financial/health goal or achievement either – this is a holistic program. I want you not only to write your book, land the dream job, fall in love, get in the best shape of your life, travel the world….I want you to fall in love with the world and your entire life and have it be the most remarkable year of your life.
And that is why I’m calling it EPIC. ;)
Because of the nature of the program and the intensive way we’ll be working together, I’m keeping the number of clients I’m taking for this work small, so if you’re interested, be sure to sign up for my newsletter to stay in the loop or send me an email with EPIC in the subject line to be added to the first-to-know wait list. I’d love to help you create a year that, when it’s all done and you’re celebrating, you can look back on and say,
“YES. That. Was. EPIC.”