Embracing Commitment

I want to share with you why I blog.

It’s a way to express my struggles and try to make sense of it all. I believe that as spiritual beings having a human experience, we’re all in the same boat to some extent. We all dream. We all have an imagination (whether we use it or not is a different story). We all struggle to learn the lessons and make sense of it all, forever in the onward and upward expansion of our lives. And hopefully, by sharing my journey, you understand that you are not alone in yours.

I also want to acknowledge it’s been some time since I’ve blogged. And to be honest, this post, I originally wrote almost a month ago. I’ve kept visiting, updating and editing. So much has happened in the past month and for some reason this post didn’t seem quite ready. Now, I understand it was me that wasn’t quite ready.

Up until last weekend this post was all about trust. Trust in myself and in the universe. It was going to be about my struggles to fund my dream (education in particular, and the huge expenses that seemingly come out of nowhere just to “test”). I was going to share some practices that helped increase the trust and tune into the right success frequency. Don’t get me wrong, this is still very important and I will still share in another post, but it I’ve come to realize it actually wasn’t what I was struggling with. The trust was part of a much, much bigger thing.

It was commitment.

I took a course last weekend that was all about exploring the different perspectives we hold and what can come available to us if we consciously choose a different perspective than the one that’s limiting us.

There were pieces of tape on the floor dividing the room into small segments and there was a sentence (perspective) in each of these segments. They said things like “limiting like a straightjacket”, “creates powerful intention” “a way to live my purpose” and “overwhelming”. The word commitment was put in the centre and we were asked to stand in the perspective that felt the truest to us.

Prior to this, I hadn’t consciously thought about my feelings around commitment and how they could be limiting me. I chose to stand in “other”. Commitment to me was elusive.

Elusive: (thank you Dictionary.com)

  1. Difficult to catch
  2. Preferring or living in solitude or anonymity
  3. Difficult to remember

I offer the definition because the word actually came to me before I had a good handle on what it meant. To me elusive was something you intend to incorporate into your life but it’s sneaky and always finds a way to evade capture. I liked the idea of commitment, but was it really for me? Because if it was, why did I have such a hard time following through?

By holding the perspective that commitment was elusive it made it someone/something else’s fault when I couldn’t follow through. By choosing to live this way I didn’t have to let anyone down (in theory), especially myself. What if I try to go for my dream and fail? What if I fall flat on my face? Well, what would happen if I didn’t go for it at all?

We were then asked to stand in the perspective that’s the least true for us. I chose “exciting and juicy”. Commitment to me was anything but exciting and juicy. It was filled with have tos and obligations. Missing out on y because I already committed to x. There was no spontaneity, no aliveness. I was then asked “what would be available to you if you took on this perspective?” For lack of a better word, I had an “awakening” (aka breakdown).

All I could feel was a tightness in my chest, in fact, I continue to feel it as I write this post. Over the past week that feeling and I are starting to come to terms with each other, it’s vulnerability.

All I could think of when they asked what’s available in the exciting and juicy perspective was intimacy (Dad if you’re reading this you may want to skip to the next paragraph FYI). Laying in bed with a partner, nothing to protect you, nothing to hide behind; only your soul and theirs. I get a knot in my stomach just thinking about it! That to me, is vulnerability.

Then I thought, what’s available to me when I’m vulnerable? What kind of relationship is available when I’m willing to be this way? What kind of life is available when I’m willing to be this way?

It’s scary shit. But it’s also beautiful. And powerful.

As you can sense, commitment now to me means something very different. Commitment to me is vulnerability. Its saying “I commit wholeheartedly to living the life I want to live, my dream”, which makes me intensely vulnerable. And finally, I’m okay with it.

Vulnerability to me means letting someone/something see all of the parts of you, not just the ones you allow them to see. It’s giving up control. It’s an exposure of the heart. It opens you up for hurt, pain, betrayal, and the sting of not getting what you want. But it also opens you up to a deeper love, joy, and sense of gratitude; and I choose the ladder. 2013-03-22-vulnerability

Leaving Your Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone We’ve all been there. Wake up in the morning, commute, work, commute again, dinner, tv, sleep, repeat. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with routine, we actually need it. Our brain goes on autopilot so we can accomplish more, using less mental capacity. But what if you want more?

I stumbled upon this picture a few years ago and immediately it resonated with me. It has such a beautiful way of putting things in perspective. Since that time I have referenced it when coaching staff, pushing them a little, and urging them to see the bigger picture. Obviously it had some impact because when a cake was brought out at my going away dinner, this picture was on it. I gulped, got more than a little emotional, and thought, “shit, time to walk the talk”.

Last weekend was the end of my ten year restaurant management career. Why did I stay so long? Honestly, I was afraid to leave my comfort zone. I knew the company, it’s culture, and what they expected from me. I was (sort of) working towards a big promotion. But when I was honest with myself, it wasn’t what I wanted; and my performance showed it.

There are two feelings, or clues, your body gives when it desires something more; longing and discontent.

Discontent comes when things don’t quite fit, when you’re unhappy and not quite sure why. Your body is saying there’s something more out there for you, you just need to figure out what that is. With longing, you daydream how your life could be different, yet haven’t taken any of the necessary steps in that direction. They key to both, is being aware and honest enough with yourself to admit you’re feeling this way. And that, can take some time.

It was almost two years before I could be honest (with myself) enough to admit that I didn’t want that promotion.  Even longer before I had the courage to have the conversation with my boss. With time it gets easier, and start small, baby steps.

When I first started meeting with a coach my first challenge was listening. For a whole week I did nothing but listen and get curious. In that week I learned more about my friends, family and myself than I had in the last year combined. The next week we moved on to truth. I was challenged on telling the truth with everyone in my life, including myself. All of a sudden I had to come clean with my feelings, not an easy thing to do. It also started conversations that had been put off for a long time. On the third week we moved on to openness, which again was an amazing (and scary!) experience. All the things I was afraid of being judged for (like the fact I wanted to leave my very safe salaried job and start my own business) were now out in the open. And guess what, the people I thought would be my biggest critics, actually turned out to be the biggest supporters. Through these three weeks the coolest thing started to happen. My “stuckness”, showed the first few signs of movement.

What are your thoughts around listening, truth, and openness? I challenge you to pick even one and practice it for the week. It will feel uncomfortable at first, but that’s exactly where you should be. Discomfort signals growth.

When you have longing or discontent to get out of your comfort zone, start with your thoughts, as small as they may be. Not only is this less scary, it’s amazing how the rest seems to fall into place. When we change our thoughts, feelings change, and finally, behavior changes. Baby steps. The first thing a turtle does before he moves anywhere is stick his neck out. Be like a turtle; take the (baby) step of sticking your neck out. If it’s scary you can always hide back in your shell. But I promise you, once you’ve seen how magical the world is outside your shell, you won’t want back in.

And so it begins…

It all started with a feeling of being ‘stuck’ in October 2011. My job as a restaurant manager was paying the bills but was giving me little fulfillment. I was working nights and barely saw my friends. I was three years into a relationship with a man I loved, but knew in my soul he wasn’t the one. One day I noticed my usual positive personality hit the gutter, along with my sense of humor and ability to have fun. Something had to change, but what? And how?

As anyone who has found themselves in this position can probably identify with, the question, “What do I want?” is the hardest part. We live in an age and society with so many options. For some of us, we were lucky to figure out our talents at a young age. But for most of us, myself included, we wind up in our mid twenties  having little insight into this question and even less about who we are and what our strengths are.

Thankfully, we also live in an age with many resources. I decided to do a little research and hire myself a coach to help me with this question.

I learned through my journey that the answer isn’t external, or out in the universe somewhere. Yes, there is definitely a trial and error method, try door number one, doesn’t work, on to door number two and so on. And speaking from personal experience, this method does work… eventually. But what if I told you there was a better way?

The answer to this question is always inside ourselves, which is actually kind of funny, because it’s usually the last place we look. It involves getting to know yourself at a very deep level, exposing the blind spots and challenging limiting beliefs (yup, we all have them!). It’s like peeling back the layers on an onion. Finally you expose the core (heart) and from this place we can define our purpose and create a mission statement.

My purpose and my dream is to help others live the life they were meant to live. It was only a year and a half ago I was stuck. Now I am living my life on purpose and starting my coaching and consulting business. This blog is designed to inspire and encourage those on their own journey. If I can go from being stuck to my own business in less than two years, there’s no limits to what you are capable of.