Owning who I am has always been a continuous uphill battle. We live in a culture where people value who you are by the job you have. The first thing everyone asks when they meet you is “What do you do?” This is the question I dread and instead of seeing it as an opportunity to declare who I am (not what I “do”) I usually shrink away and tell them “nothing.” Since I’ve made the bold stroke to turn my life upside down a few months ago, my identity was tossed upside down with it. Who the heck am I and what the heck do I do? Deep down inside I know the answer to both. The hard part is publicly owning and embracing these things. Like if I declare them out loud I’m somehow giving away too much or I will jinx the good thing I have going in my mind. And I know I’m not alone in this. A few weeks ago I asked my housemate what her passion in life is. After she stammered a bit she weaseled her way out of the question. The next day–a full 24 hours later–she was finally able to move it from her mind to her mouth and set it free by telling me (with great discomfort, I might add). I think there is some sort of unwritten obligation that once you’ve declared something, you must then set it in motion immediately–even if you aren’t ready to do so. But that’s silly and isn’t the case at all. That work comes later. The first thing you need to do is own it. Get comfortable with it. Be able to declare what you do when someone asks you. Don’t tell them what you do for a living if it has nothing to do with who you really are. Create a title for what you do and a little description about it. Practice it in front of your pets. Then practice in front of your friends. Then let it rip the next time a new acquaintance asks.
Where is this coming from you may ask? Why this post now? Well, if you follow this blog you already know that I’m working on a series of online classes. Well I was speaking with a lawyer–the same one that works with Jennifer Lee on the Right-Brain Business Plan book and all the wonderful stuff that has come after it–about my classes. Just speaking about these classes to him was a uncomfortable. I stammered a lot and couldn’t find the right words for what I know is supposed to be my life’s work. How can this be? How am I not able to describe what I want to do with my life to someone else? I realized that it’s because I’m not fully invested in my dream. I’m treating it like I’ve treated everything else in the past. Well…I’ll just dip a toe in to see if the water is fine and if it isn’t to my liking I’ll just walk away. No harm, no foul. It’s taken me countless years of painfully and expensively trying to figure out what I’ve been put on this earth to do and now that I’m 100% sure, I’m doing that lame-ass fear of failure dance! During that phone call I decided to stop the madness and just own it–with every fiber of my being. There is no half-assing my dreams anymore. I’m not going to be afraid of failing. That fear is what keeps people from doing what they love. But you can’t fail if you embody and own what you love. You can’t fail at it because you already are it.
The lesson in all of this is to ask yourself if what you are doing with your life is really what you are meant to be doing. If not, figure out your life’s work and own the heck out of it!
Now on a lighter note….enjoy these photos of the beautiful Hudson River. Petunia and I were standing almost in the middle of it during low tide.