Well that was fast, wasn’t it? I blinked and landed in 2013. It goes by far too fast for me, but then, it always does. The magic of the holidays replaced by a new, subtler magic – the space and possibility only a new year can bring. Relief that comes from a new chance to choose… everything. Do we do things exactly the same, or entirely differently? How do you want to feel, and why? What needs to change so you can feel this way? Life exists in the space between these questions, but the din of our days drowns out the answers.
This year, I want to feel strong, capable, satisfied. Useful, above all. You may want the same- to know yourself, so you can show up as your most helpful and be relevant to others. You want to become wiser, spend your life well, and present a clear version of yourself to the world. Uncover everything there is to uncover about yourself, and you become useful. My work, my business, every feeling I have is anchored in how to do this.
It starts with a question.
Conventional wisdom rarely works for me, so my life is a continuous experiment. 2012 epitomized self-experimentation and when something worked, I paid attention. Below are the nuggets that stuck and lessons I’ll bring into 2013. Nuggets work. They’re all I can remember and sometimes all I need.
Without our permission, a new year landed on our shoulders and with it the questions of what to keep and what to change. Approach these questions like an opportunity. A new year has arrived untainted. There is space again to make yourself and your life what you want it to be. It is here. It is yours. It is mine.
Perhaps one nugget is all you need…
Self-experiment. In 2012, I momentarily suspended beliefs I’ve had about myself for years. Instead of assuming I was not good enough, not experienced enough, not “that type of person” I asked what I liked and didn’t like and remained open to the answers. I soon saw new aspects of my personality and I started to like them. I was 100% happier. Why? Because believing something about yourself, annihilating it and then proving yourself wrong is the best feeling in the world. You are responsible, strong, sexy, flexible! You do like sushi! You can be a night owl! But you won’t know until you experiment. Rigid beliefs lead to confusion because wrapped deeply in belief, you suffocate the clearer, wiser part of yourself trying to rise up. Being curious, testing different aspects of my personality, trying on different business models and teaching styles, doing the hard work of not reliving old patterns, this is where our freedom resides. Things you never thought you’d say or do you may say and do this year.
Sustainability over lightning-fast. I started in the online world five years ago and cringed at who I thought I’d have to become – constantly engaged, with roadrunner stamina. I wanted to keep up, but I didn’t think I could. In trying to exist here however, I saw I had a combination of presence and quiet that actually worked for my audience. I sustained and did so successfully. I realized I didn’t want speed, after all. What I really wanted was sustainability – to set my own pace, live with ease, and lay a solid foundation. This desire outgrew all the rest and I started to see myself as a craftsman, wanting to build with timelessness, quality. Systems became beautiful, not tedious. An architect knows each stone contributes to the masterpiece as much as the final stone. His work stands on years of toil. He has respect for the process, for the time it takes to build something magnificent. I architect my life and since I’m building something magnificent, I respect the process. This is the first time I’ve felt this way.
Confusion is as important as clarity. I spent the summer of 2011 confused and scared to launch my business. After reeling in confusion, I emailed my friends to ask: What would they do if they were me? That entire week, answers rolled in. I felt immense gratitude. My mentors are gifted, talented, generous people. But even as I took in their words, I couldn’t act right away. More confusing – I didn’t know why. Why wasn’t I taking advice from some of the smartest people in my world? I wasn’t taking it because it wasn’t about the advice; it was about my readiness to take it. I wasn’t ready. I needed time to be confused, time where nothing made sense but where I didn’t panic. I needed to exist in my churn. Like frozen yogurt. Frozen yogurt turns into a swirl only at the very end. Every second it exists before that beautiful swirl, it exists as gravy, churning in the mixer where it gets thick and gritty enough for a swirl. I needed to alchemize my confusion – churn it and mix it and not skip the important step of being confused. But such is life, right? You don’t realize the swirl is right around the corner.
Seriously. In order to meet your full potential you need to learn this because real leaders do it well. And since you lead your life, this is a must. I’ve seen it time and again when successful people ask for help from the right people, and I see it in myself. I can ask for help without fear and thus get exactly what I need. People respond in rich and deep ways when you do this, and it is a hallmark of success to be able to.
Self-belief is the highest priority. Even in the midst of confusion and overwhelm, the space to believe in yourself totally exists. Perhaps here more than anywhere. When the world’s back is to you, when the ground feels like the only safe space to curl up, when every friend in sight knows less about you than the next, to believe in yourself is truly life or death. But you must believe. To know that you are good enough no matter what, that you’ll achieve what you’re here to do despite obstacle and monsters and failure after failure, is magic. It is magnetic. And when you have nowhere to turn it’s okay, because then you will turn to yourself. Though a mighty effort, you will somehow help yourself. This will make you strong. And when you start believing the right story about what you’re here to do, the right people will start believing it too. They’ll see you. They’ll get in line and join you. And then you’ll have friends and mentors and resources to make you feel like you won’t need self-belief, which is good for a while. Before you realize you do need it, as much as before, and in fact, it’s the only thing you’ll ever need. Believe in yourself in 2013 and watch your life unfold in ways you didn’t know were possible.
Please take a nugget, share a nugget, and most importantly, create your own. This is going to be your year. Can’t you feel it?