What if the thing holding you back from doing your best work is actually you?
Today I had a difficult conversation with a dear friend. We were talking about business and how we’re both stuck in the exact same place. The funny thing is that we’ve taken the exact opposite paths to get where we are.
When I met Peter after a yoga class in Costa Rica he introduced himself as an ashram kid who grew up in Massachusetts. As a teenager, Peter pushed his spiritual beginnings aside to go to college, eventually pursuing an MBA at George Town. He became a successful VC backed entrepreneur in his 20s, eventually becoming a VC himself. At 47 he’s turned back to his soulful roots and as a passion driven entrepreneur created a new company built on purpose and service.
I grew up in a middle class east coast home. My dad was a high school principle and my life was mapped out for me early on. I was to finish high school with good grades, shoot for a scholarship, go to university, get a good education, find a job and build a career (preferably as a biologist). What really happened is I graduated from high school, lost my scholarship opportunity, pushed back against the institution of university until I finally dropped out, went tree planting, travelled the world and finally found a creative passion as a ceramics designer which then turned into a love for business and marketing. That lead me to where I am now as a brand strategy and content marketing expert.
In our conversation we discovered we’re in the exact same place trying to create a meaningful extension of ourselves that contributes to humanity. But we’re stuck, because ultimately it requires us to be vulnerable and lay ourselves on the line in a bigger, more personal, more public way. There’s more than ever at stake and it’s not about money.
And when it comes time to put pen to paper and tell the stories, create the content and share the wisdom that we have, we both choke! It’s preventing us from being able to fully step into our passions, lives and careers, aligned with who we are and in service to the people we want to help most.
Our phone call made me think about all the criticism I lay on myself and all the things that I do and don’t do because of resistance and fear. Which leads me to the sharing of this photo of my desk and the shit show I go to work in every day. I’m a mom, a business woman, a wife, a lifestyle junkie and a friend and I don’t have time to make sure my desk is in perfect order before I sit down to work every day. I’ve given up trying to create the perfect space or vessel in order to allow myself to emerge.
I’ve got a host of reasons why I can’t do the work right now, but instead I push the Tempera paints and crayons out of the way. I push the congratulations on your baby cards from two years ago aside. I stack the bills and the bank statements up in a pile and I flip open my nearly archaic Macbook and I get to work.
Chances are the thing you resist most is the thing that lights you up most and will make the biggest impact on the people around you. You’ve probably got 1000 reasons why it’s not the right time to do it. If this sounds like you, then lean into that resistance, DO THAT thing. It won’t be easy and it may not even turn out like you envisioned, but not doing it will keep you stuck in a place where you’ll never quite feel like you’re living at your very best.
I’m sharing this because if you ever feel like you can’t do the work, that there’s things stopping you, know this: there is so much to get hung up on and stop us and trip us up. I’m a junior entrepreneur, and Peter is a a successful and seasoned entrepreneur but we still encounter things that trip us up, things we have to simply override in order to do the work. If you want to talk about it, I can help.
Would love to hear about what keeps you stuck.