Some time ago I embarked upon a rash of 30 minute Skype calls with those subscribed to my list, as a way of catching up with them and taking the temperature of British enterprise. The challenges were many and varied, as ever, with creative types growing and morphing and stepping up to new versions of themselves.
I talked with clients leaving their day jobs and re-training, taking redundancy and reinventing themselves. There’s so much to learn when starting out in self-employment, staffing, systems, marketing, getting into new routines, being answerable to yourself only and not your boss. You’re the boss now.
Money concerns people. How to charge for what we do is a perpetual challenge of self-worth and self-esteem, quite apart from market forces. The excitement of (yet another) new idea for an existing business and how to reduce debt and increase income, these show up over and over and that’s just how it is; financial blocks of all different shapes and sizes and fear of failure.
But my favourite recurring theme is hiding our light under a bushel. I know you’ll forgive me if I share this again from Marianne Williamson’s A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course In Miracles:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves: who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
I know I cried the first time I read that in the late Nineties and over the years I’ve come to sigh when I see it trotted out again and again, but it is very relevant to what I was hearing from my clients, people who know they should be standing on stages and drawing attention to their business in that way so that they can charge more for what they are really, really good at. And people who are hiding in the office rather than getting out and about and pressing the flesh and networking and meeting people and growing their clientele that way.
Why are you hiding your magnificence?
Why do you fear being successful?
What would happen if you stepped into your own light and stopped playing small?
We are meant to shine. What if you knew you could liberate others from their darkness as you start to shine? That’s not what you fear will happen, is it? Your nameless dreads, your hallucinations are that people won’t like it, you’ll get too big for your boots, you’ll outgrow your peer group, you’ll show others up. We are making this stuff up, you know. Add yours here, now.
There’s a possibility that we only get one go-round at this life. I don’t subscribe to that theory myself but let’s say you do. You owe it to yourself to give it your best shot, 110% as they say on reality TV. Live your best life ‘cos no-one else is going to. Live your own life, not someone else’s.
Do you remember watching those 2012 Olympic athletes with their strategies for how they are going to win the race?
- “I do the first lap like this, then this second lap like that, and I keep something in reserve and bring it all out of the bag in the final sprint and go for Gold”.
- “I’ve been visualising this race all my life.”
- “I never stopped believing.”
- “Anyone can do it if they put their mind to it.”
I believe everything they say, not least because they were demonstrating daily that it works, live on my TV.
So, you’re no spring chicken any more. How long are you going to leave it before you put in your sprint? There’s no time like the present to draw inspiration from people, such as sportsmen and women, who have overcome some sort of handicap but have dared to dream their dream in front of all of us. They’re not hiding their light, they are doing it all in the full glare of the world’s media.
Relatively speaking, no-one’s watching you and today is your big chance. And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. But please – let it be soon, because now you’ve told me and now I’m watching and now your own medal ceremony awaits.