Three tales. Tale three: Failure wins the battle...
Two weeks ago I failed. Miserably. I say miserably because I cried. I never cry. I hate crying. In fact I hate sadness. But not too much, because I avoid anger too. (Whether that strategy has been working well for me or not will have to wait for another post.)
I thought I had won the war - and by war I mean the battle I have been fighting with goal setting for about a month now. I had found that something that allowed me to see things from a new lens. I had found strength.
I began asking myself whenever I felt caught up what would I do or choose from strength. And it got me back in touch with the world of possibility.
Everything was still as it was. My project design (goal setting workbook) was unfinished. I was still busy at work and leaving for Peru for a month in a few short weeks. I still had alot of unfinished (ahem, unstarted) homework for my life coaching course. And I still wasn't getting the perfect amount of sleep. But there was now space for stepping into possibility. My glasses weren't quite the same shade of green.
I had room for new connections. I had room for amazing conversations. And I finally made peace (or at least compromise) with goal setting. I sat down and wrote out my projects, set myself some milestones and rewards, and sent it all off to my life coach. I was feeling pretty good.
But as much as I wanted the war to be over, the truce was only temporary. The biggest battle was yet to come.
After proudly submitting my project design to my life coach and chatting with her for a few minutes, she reflected something to me that created new awareness and changed the course of the war. My project design was surgical. There was little heart to be found in my goals. It appeared I was unattached, perhaps even disinterested, in what I was up to.
I looked them over. It was true. My projects were a little cold and calculated. When I read them I felt very little. Aren't these the things I am most excited about creating? How could they evoke so little emotion in me?
I sat with that for a few minutes and suddenly it crushed me.
I had been telling myself that my issue with goal setting was that goals had a negative effect on my motivation. I recognized that this was really just a story. I was choosing to let goals affect me in this way. I knew deep down I could choose motivation from someplace different. I had done it many, many times before, and as recently as my run the weekend prior. It hit me that the thing underlying all of this story was fear. I was afraid of putting too much of me in my projects. Afraid of declaring what it is that I wanted with too much clarity and passion. I had put back up some of my walls. I was only allowing the world to see so much.
I was choosing to react to fear, instead of choosing to be vulnerable despite my fear. And the worst part of it was I had tricked myself. I had done such a good job of it that I believed my own story about the problem with goals.
I felt extreme frustration with myself. And a lot of sadness and anger. I knew the war that I'd waged was over. And I had failed. I had been defeated at my own game that I didn't even know I was playing.
But as much as it hurt to admit I'd been tricked by my own fear, I also felt relieved. I was back in control.
Over the next few days I talked through my new awareness with a few close friends and family. The anger and sadness passed. The frustration passed. And the opening that had been created through choosing from strength, widened into a huge clearing for possibility.
I had done a lot of work to put down my walls. I had practiced stepping into the discomfort of vulnerability. I had made a commitment to vulnerability and seen the possibility it could create in my life. And then I had taken it for granted. Assumed it was a given. I allowed myself to get comfortable in this life I am creating. (That in and of itself is pretty cool because I am up to a whole lot of things that would have sent me running for the covers only a year ago.) But what losing my war against goals made me see is that I have simply been allowing myself to get a little too comfortable.
After a few more good conversations I realized that this did not mean the work I had done was undone. I did not have to give up or start over. Instead I could simply choose to renew my commitment to vulnerability. I could choose to break my walls down a little further. Maybe I was ready for my walls to be completely smashed right down to the ground. Maybe I could even step out from behind the rubble. All I knew is it was time for me to get a little uncomfortable.
I have renewed my commitment to vulnerability. I am choosing with intention to be vulnerable in one way each day. Even here from where I am writing in beautiful Peru. I am embracing where I am at and taking a baby step towards the light.
Sharing this journey is me looking out at all of you from behind the rubble that was my walls. Putting all of me into my projects, my relationships, myself, and my life is where I am headed. Through my ring of rubble. Into my greatness. Into my light.
Here's to each of us stepping into our light.
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