As a single cog, the mandate is clear: follow the objectives, leadership, and direction of the machine. Work hard to do your job well. Your job is a small part of the overall machine’s work, but every cog counts. Don’t worry, little cog, the machine will take care of you: just keep turning. You can slip into auto-pilot, little cog, and everything will be fine. You don’t need to think about it: the machine will tell you what you need to do. And it will remind you and evaluate you on that too!
Not a bad gig, little cog. Not bad at all.
But…what if you stopped turning with the gear?
If you jumped off and out. Stood in your shoes. Decided what is important. Thought about your visions for your life and your work. Saw the opportunities all around you, even the ones that have been drowned out by the soundtrack of the machine. What if you really made choices and took action?
Your relationship to the machine changes.
It is so easy, to slip on a little cog-hat and disappear: head down, eyes averted, drifting along. But you have already felt the rumblings, haven’t you? The little-cog-that-could has questions percolating and aches for a deep stretch of long-forgotten muscles.
Today, will you open up to those questions? Will you create a space where the answers can form?
Will you choose to hold yourself as separate from the machine?
One of my favourite quotes is from a song by the cooler-than-cool Ben Harper (the new album is fantastico, btw) and I carry a little note with me as a reminder: “I would rather find out who you are than who you’re not.”
For me and for you, I want to take a stand: to choose to love the hell out of who we are, and to drop-kick the notions of who we should be.
Yes, this has to do with radical self-acceptance, but it also has to do with the lie of small, of not being x or y enough, of using comparisons as an excuse to not go out and get yours.
i was talking with a passionate and inspiring man about taking the next steps in his business (he knew what they were and why the steps were important) but he got hung up on what he wasn’t. Specifically: he wasn’t formally educated, a shark, and calculated and unemotional. The things that he saw as lack compared to his competition were so much of the magic he brought to the business:
– years of experience and practice fuelled by passion.
– a heart-based business that speaks to his community.
– open ears and discussion with his customers about their needs.
– and I could go on.
I wanted to jump up and down hearing this man explain to me (a convert, a client, a fan of his art) the reasons why he felt small. He feels small, but he is changing people’s lives, creating a thriving tribe-based business, and having an impact on the world that many dream of.
So, let’s roll around in our collective and individual awesome. Why are people, projects, clients, small children and animals drawn to you? What do you really care about? What are you great at? What do you love to do?
These are the things that will define your personal and professional success. Who cares that you didn’t do laundry this week. Forget that you are not a doctor. That sometimes you need a break from your kids. Oh, and that you are not a waif.
We get it. You are human. Pssst…the rest of us might be too.
Please know this: it is not about fitting in. It is about standing up and for the big, beautiful, weird, wonderful, freak-of-nature that you are. We like that person a lot and can’t wait to see more of them.
When we were kids, my siblings and I would have races to see who was the fastest. My sister, being of the compact and strong variety, inevitably kicked my scrawny, awkward ass, every time. (Unless I cheated and kicked or otherwise distracted her to get a jump start.)
That country-kid sibling rivalry training served me well this week as I spent a lot of time outrunning and outgunning my gremlins.
Gremlins, (or saboteurs) are concepts which embody a group of thought processes and feelings which maintains the status quo in our lives. It often appears to be a structure that protects us, but in fact, it prevents us from moving forward.
I have spent a lot of time trying to get to know my gremlins, understand what they think is important, and trying to separate the gremlin voice from my own. In Creating Spaces, we go through the exercise of putting the saboteur in a jar to both recognize those voices and to buy time and space to let our own voice speak. But the things that I needed to do, absolutely must do, get-to-it-gunsinger things, had my saboteurs rattling their jars, rising up and making a whole lot of noise.
Tea time was over. My gremlins had turned into zombies. I could tell because there was a lot of them, and they were blindly coming for me, grappling, and chanting the same messages (think: “brains, braaaaaains” but more “suuuck. faaaaail. feeeeear.”).
No time to live in the gremlin swamp, it was quite clear that the grem-zombs were after my brain and I had other plans. Thank goodness my love of zombie movies prepared me for such an event and I knew I had to:
1. Be fast or be eaten.
Run. Run faster than the zombies: set up the list of must-dos and start knocking them down. Don’t stop to see if, maybe, the zombies want to chat about their feelings because they will EAT YOUR BRAINS. Keep moving or you are done.
2. Load up on ammo.
Typically, shotguns, chainsaws, even garden shears are pretty effective in zombie attacks. Blam! Shoot the zombies in the face with truths and stories that are the opposite of their main messaging. (Aaaand run.) *Chainsaw noises* (no idea.) Cut zombies down to size by repeating YOUR messaging. (Messaging of my week: Just Keep Opening Doors)
3. Find shelter and zombie-killing teammates.
Where can you go, who can you turn to, when zombies attack? Bar the door to the office, stay away from zombie-filled neighborhoods (virtual or real), and call reinforcements. My coach, best-friend, zias, and mentors all got calls this week and helped hold back the brain-eating monsters.
From the lack of moaning and scraping at the windows, it appears the zombies have found other things to feast on for now. I am celebrating survival by taking in some sun, opening a bottle of wine and trying to get zombie-goo out of my hair.