Why on Earth should I?
Great question! And its been rattling round in my mind for a solid four months now. Along with other insomnia-inducing questions like “Why on Earth should I get serious about my new business?”, “Why should I put so much energy into this?” and “I deserve to do nothing for a while, don’t I”. I can easily answer that last one. I do deserve a break! I’ve been super busy spending amazing quality time with family, caring for my animals, and getting my Martha Stewart on by making a stack of home-made products to brush your teeth with and stick under your arms. Its been exhausting but exhilarating. I’ve loved it. Its been like a mini-sabbatical. The calm before the storm. The rest before the big game. And now…its game time.
Anyone who truly knows me knows that I live with passion and a clear purpose. So I recently made the big call to leave my other work to do what I’ve been wanting to do for over a decade. I want to write my “life balance” and other self-help programs to bring more joy into people’s lives. Easy right?
Wrong! Even though I love my mission (bringing more inside out smiles to the world) and I live with vitality and verve everyday – there’s a problem. Now that I’ve “cast off the bowlines” as Mark Twain encouraged, in comes rushing those rarely felt “I’m not worthy” or “I’m not good enough” thoughts. It doesn’t matter that you have the most loving partner or family around you for inspiration and support. Their words of encouragement fall on deaf ears. Because, you know, they ‘have’ to say that. That’s their job. I was finding it difficult to embrace their loving kindness and finding it all too easy to fall into the snare of self-sabotage.
It’s not easy working for yourself (again!). Sometimes it feels like plain sailing. But a lot of the time it feels like you’re swimming against the tide, with lead boots, in the dark, alone. It’s not easy to get off your lazy behind every single day to create something new and inspiring. Especially if there’s really no expectation for it and you could “get away” with spending a day on the couch with a block of chocolate and a glass of red wine. Or two. Oh, lets be honest – four! But seriously, its hard to generate energy if no-one is asking for your help. Feeling like a useless commodity in the career stakes is like trying to swim with a stitch. Its exhausting!
It’s not easy working for yourself (again!). Sometimes it feels like plain sailing. But a lot of the time it feels like you’re swimming against the tide, with lead boots, in the dark, alone.
Ok. So after indulging in one particularly epic pity party, including a movie marathon and dark chocolate with goji berries (healthy right!), I decided to leave couch city and get some fresh air, and hopefully a fresh perspective. I take Nahla (my dog, who also feeds you ‘you can do anything’ silent mantras) for a walk in the park. While Nahla says “hello” via appropriate bum sniffing and face licking with two other doggie friends, I say “hi” to their human. Unusually, I asked her name (as we all know it’s the dogs we’re mostly interested in)! EJ and I chat about our forever fur friends and the weather. As I say goodbye EJ asks me if I’ve seen it. “No”, I replied. Not only hadn’t I seen what she was so terribly excited about but I didn’t even know it was there. “Oh, you have to leave the path to find it” she says casually. I looked down at Nahla and could tell she was ready for a little adventure.
With Nahla by my side I walked off the track keeping my eyes open for the thing EJ was raving about. Its strange but I’ve walked this path over 150 times yet never wandered off it. But as soon as I stepped off the path I had an epiphany. I suddenly realised that I’ve been in a rut! Thoughts were bouncing round my mind like a pinball as I stepped further and further off the path I’d been treading for the last 3 years. Each step I took I feel lighter. I felt the little girl in me rising to the surface. It was a small random decision but it meant so much. And there it was. My treat for blazing my own trail. A beautiful boulevard of old mango trees, meandering for over 100 metres, hugging the river. I was shocked I’d never noticed this before on any of my long walks out here with Nahla.
The further I wandered off course the more I noticed those zillion ideas starting to bind together. They started to transform from a cloud of ideas into a singular message from the universe: “Hey You! You’re writing a life program designed to help people feel more genuinely happy with their life…right? Well, what do you expect! That you’ve done the hard yards so we’ll make it easy for you now? A blissfully relaxed, come-to-me success, chocolate cake without the guilts…just because you’ve worked so hard all your life? Yeah right. Life doesn’t work that way. You know this!”
Don’t you just love when the universe sends you a message? Its like that scene in “Finding Nemo” when the school of tiny silver fish answer Dory’s questions like an aquatic version of charades or pictionary. At one stage they make a massive arrow pointing the way. My time wandering through the mango tree boulevard was like a giant sign from the universe saying “Wake Up! There’s no ‘suddenly you’ve arrived’ and now…tadaa…you’re your best self and that’s enough. You’ll be working on you, every day of your life, so get used to it”
Tony Robbins encourages people to embrace an attitude of “constant and never-ending improvement”. He was inspired by the Japanese concept of “Kaizen.” Kaizen is from the Japanese words Kai and Zen where “kai” means change and “zen” means good. And that’s Life isn’t it? Constantly changing. In flux 24/7. In Life there is no apprenticeship that ends up in a degree. It never stops. In nature you are either growing or you are dying. For humans, the only time you don’t need to strive and learn and grow is when they plot you in a cemetery! Time to leave the rut, get yourself together and go be epic!
I got a present that day. I was reminded that being my best self is a daily habit. There is no arrival date, not until I’m dancing into my coffin. I am so grateful that this time, it was given to me in the most natural, grounded way (thank you Mango Boulevard).
Bye bye rut. Hello change.
May you colour outside the lines more!
PS. I went back there a week later and took a quick video trip to remind you (and me!) that to get back on track, sometimes you need to literally get off the track!
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