Wow, how things have changed. Last year at this time, I stepped away from my business to because of severe burn out so that I could re-think things. You all read about it HERE. I let everything go so that I could rest and started from zero in September 2014. In July of this year, I celebrated a financial milestone I never thought I would hit and had my biggest month ever in my business.
What a difference a year makes.
When I think about what enabled me to go from total burn out to the biggest success I’ve ever had–there are a number of things. Some of them had to do with strategy but I think the most important thing was getting rid of what was in my way emotionally and energetically. And that basically came down to one thing:
the thought that I should be further along than I was in my business.
I stopped fighting the way things were and allowed them to be what they are. I stopped condemning where I was in my life and in business and that freed up a lot of energy—energy that I used to take the actions that got me to where I am now.
I came into acceptance.
While I knew I wanted more for myself and my business, I came to the place where I could bless where I was and be grateful for my circumstances at the time. Instead of having my gaze fixed on how far is still had to go, I focused on how far I had come. And I stopped thinking that if I just kept bitching about it, things would magically change.
In fact it was just the opposite. The negativity only made everything more difficult and painful.
As I’ve said many times before acceptance isn’t the same as resignation. Acceptance is allowance and as Carl Rogers said in relation to human beings:
“A person won’t change until they feel accepted for who they are.”
The same is true with life circumstances.
My teacher, the brilliant Mark silver used to say: “you can’t change something if you refuse to accept it, you can’t move from where you’re not.”
In the process of changing my thoughts about my business, I saw that the same pattern—harping on what I didn’t like was also operating in other areas of my life.
I was never too busy to complain about my living situation.
In the course of working with a healer over the winter, I wrote this piece about wanting to be other than where you are.
Maybe you can relate:
I have an incredible unobstructed view of the Hudson River from my bedroom window.
A view that is pretty spectacular..
It recently it occurred to me that I have very little appreciation for my location or this amazing view. As a matter of fact there are days where I don’t even see the river even though it’s right outside my window.
And that’s because I’m busy being somewhere else.
Instead of gazing out my bedroom window and enjoying what’s right in front of my face, I’m looking at a different water view. I’m in the other bedroom which is my office staring out a window that looks out onto a busy street with my eyes closed breathing deeply and trying to visualize my happy place.
Here’s what I see in my visualization:
It’s a bright sunny, 80 degree day and I’m driving north on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu and right outside the car window is the Pacific Ocean—beautiful… blue.. shimmering…
Every once in a while I can hear a wave crash which is music to my ears. I take a deep breath to get a whiff of the seaspray—I want all of my senses to experience this place.
You see I’ve always felt my true home was California even though I was born in New York and have lived here my entire life. For most of the time living in California was a distant dream that I chose to fantasize about instead of trying to make it a reality. but lately, I’m really feeling the pull toward California.
And so you’ll find me at least a couple of times a day in my office with my eyes closed visualizing this drive down the PCH. And to make the whole experience more concrete and specific, I’ve started seeing myself going to this deli called the Malibu Kitchen and Market–I was there once and I know Id be frequenting it if did in fact live in Malibu. It would be my place and so therefore has become part of the fantasy because going there says to me:
I live here now.
I play and replay the same scene: We just moved to California, I drive over to Malibu Kitchen to get my morning coffee and take a seat at one of the tables out side. I take a deep breath and as I exhale, every shard of unhappiness, tension and fear in my body dissolves and evaporates and I feel myself really land and I think:
I am finally home.
The wanting to be other than where i am—over
The feeling that I’m not in my right place— over
And I tell myself so that every cell of being hears it: I can be happy now.
I’m flooded with joy—it just feels too much almost. Because after all that fantasizing—to actually be here—it’s just incredible!
And I say again to myself–I live here now.
Recently, there’s an alternate scene that’s started to play out inside my head once I arrive at the Malibu Kitchen
It’s 3 months after we’ve moved there and I’m sitting at Malibu Kitchen and the magic has worn off. And it just feels like another place. and lo and behold, I’m still the same person I was when I left NY with the same issues I had when I lived there. and instead of feeling elated that I’m where I’ve always dreamed of being, all I can think about is :
the 25 pounds I gained when I started my business and what will I do about it .
My business not being where I want it to be, and on top of it, I don’t really know many people here so I’m lonely.
In *this* visualization I’m wearing the same ugly sweatpants/dirty t-shirt/ no make up/ hair in a ponytail look I’ve been wearing in NY since I started my business.
So now my fear is: What happens if I do finally get to live in Malibu and nothing changes and I don’t feel any different?
As it turns our I’ve already been down that road.
I had a similar situation before I started my business when I was working at my full time job.
The way I like to tell it was that I didn’t take that job of my own free will. I had to take it because of our financial situation at the time.
I thought I’d be at this job for 6 months and then be able to go back to living my life. Instead, I ended up being there almost 5 years. By the 4th year, when I had become a life coach and started my business on the side—I was counting the minutes until I could get out of there even though I had no set date or even any idea when it would happen.
I was so sure that once I quit my job and could work on my business full time it would be the end of the suffering and I would finally be FREE!!!!!
I really wanted to do something that mattered, and I wanted to change people’s lives for the better.
I wanted my work to be meaningful—not just to me but to others.
And like my visualizations with Malibu, I’d envision myself with my business, having the freedom to make my own schedule—having plenty of “me” time to meditate, exercise and do the things I enjoyed all while doing the work I wanted to do and making a big difference in people’s lives.
I could not wait to get out of that job and start my new life.
When I finally quit my job in December 2009 it was like being sprung. Finally Free.
I’d say I was about 1 1/2 years into my business when it hit me. “This is NOT what I signed on for.” This is way harder than I ever imagined.
At least at my job my nights and weekends were my own.
At least at my job I got to the gym every day on my lunch break.
I used to leave work at 5:30- 6:00 at the latest. In my business at 7:00, I was just starting what I used to refer to as the night shift.
Once I started my business I was lucky if I made it to the gym twice a week.
Because I was working from home, I used to try and save time by not taking a shower and just wearing the same ugly sweatpants and t-shirt every day.
As a matter of fact, I used to sleep in the t-shirt that way, all I had to do was put on the sweat pants when I got up.
I certainly didn’t feel free and I was suffering in a totally different way which felt a lot worse than how I was suffering when I was at my job.
So much for freedom.
I felt like a sweat shop factory worker.
There’s nothing worse than wanting something so badly and finally having it happen only to realize that you’re still miserable.
Boy does that suck…
But it made me realize, like the book title: wherever you go, there you are.
Because when you’re waiting to be rescued, when you’ve got all your eggs in one basket, when you’re sure there’s a paradise waiting for you somewhere else other than where you are in the moment, you’re not present in your life and most importantly,
You’re missing the NOW.
And sometimes now, this moment right here, is EVERYTHING.
But you can’t have that everything when you’re sure that whatever your soul is craving comes from outside of you or someone else.
Or like me and California, thinking that if you’re just in the right surrounding, life will magically change.
Have you ever heard the saying, “You can put whipped cream on a mud pie but it’s still mud underneath?”
I actually worked with a healer around the issue of moving and she asked me a very powerful question: what is it that you think you’ll have in California that you don’t have here?
Besides never having to wear a down coat again (which does count for a lot since I despise winter and love warm weather) I didn’t really have an answer for her.
And she, being the brilliant person she is then said: “Build the life that you think you will have in Malibu and then take it with you.”
I’d love to give you my easy five step program to being present and living in the now only I don’t have one.
The only thing I can tell you is if there is a situation or circumstance or thing or person that you believe deep down will completely change your life —I would ask you to answer for yourself: Once I have X, then I’ll have( fill in the blank).
Because it’s never about the circumstance/situation/relationship we’re chasing.
It’s what we think that thing will give us—or as I like to say, the thing under the thing.
I needed to answer this for myself in regard to Malibu–what do I think will happen in my life once i am living in California?
Well, I will be very happy that I’m living near the beach.
I experience a certain ease and happiness in beautiful weather.
And, very important: the thought of never having to wear a down coat again makes me want to jump for joy.
But the big thing that lures me is it’s a chance to start over and leave the past behind.
And that newness, that possibility feels so delicious to me.
It’s a chance to reinvent myself.
A chance for me to bring my best self into my life
And the truth that I don’t want to see is that I don’t need to be living in California to start over, to reinvent myself, or to live in possibility.
I can do that right here and now.
I have a favorite saying: “Every moment is a fresh start, including this one.”
There have been days when I clung to that statement for dear life.
And I’m ready to live it.
And while it will always be my dream to live in Malibu, it doesn’t mean that being there is an answer to anything.
The amazing life that I think exists there I can start building here, now.
I don’t have to wait to get to California to live the life I want.
In fact, it’s wherever I am because I am the magic.
Not the place, not the weather, not the people.
And the same goes for you.