For years I managed a billion-dollar portfolio, built facilities and programs used by millions, stood in front of media, board members, leaders and teams to deliver messages of varying degrees of importance. I almost always wore black—suit, skirt, top—or something dark in nature, because it represented power, influence, and all business. It was a perfect colour to also not let others see you sweat.
Operating in such darkness was challenging.
I’m a dynamic, empathetic, passionate, playful soul with a quirky (and sometimes unhinged) sense of humour. When I was blind in acknowledging my true self, I tuned out my personality and all the rich, bold colour that naturally came with it.
I didn’t bring my full spectrum. I only brought my skills.
I now get to bring all of my magic.
You do too.
The following 4 important learned behaviours create the magic:
I was an unconscious bolter. I lived in situations of comfort, places with scripted responses, where expectations were managed, outcomes calculated. Anytime things strayed from this, panic, anxiety, stress and judgment would set in. It was suffocating.
The skill to bolt is quite easy to learn—it can feel pretty natural. Get triggered, feel something uncomfortable, maybe not have the words or insight to explain, rationalize, or justify the emotion, turn off all creativity access points, shut down and react. Oh, and don’t forget—literally and physically—exit from the situation. My philosophy at the time wasn’t to stay, it was to numb—physically, emotionally and spiritually.
I learned to stop this behaviour and learned to take responsibility for my role and presence in my world. I’ve learned to accept my vulnerabilities—not as weaknesses, but as the courageous fierce passionate soul that I am. And in doing so, learned to stop blaming others for what I ultimately created around me.
I learned to stay.
Staying can be more confronting and challenging than bolting, triggering you differently and perhaps more deeply. Yet it can also leave you filled with gratitude and a life that’s more rewarding.
Staying can be something different for each of us. It can simply be applying Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements of be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions and always do your best to what you’ve gathered from your personal inventory list, energy understanding, or story accomplices mentioned in the previous two articles. How, of what you have uncovered about yourself can any one of these agreements support you in staying?
It could even be cultivating awareness of what shuts you down. What closes your metaphorical lid from fully being present to a situation? Home expectations? Work pressures? Financial securities? How might greater awareness of such a lid impact how you choose to stay?
It’s your choice. Breaking the mould, of what is expected of you, of how you’re typically received, of how people “know” you; it’s about beginning again.
During a retreat recently, a group of us were challenged to participate in a collective activity. In the beginning, we all approached it in our comfortable ways—taking the lead, using logic, being practical, taking a supportive role, etc.—the list was as long as the number of us participating. How we showed up in life is how we approached the challenge.
It wasn’t about completing the activity, accomplishing a goal or getting to the end of it in record time. It was about letting go of our stories, expectations, judgments and perception (among other things). It was about knowing that regardless of our learned skills and capabilities, we were willing to begin again (and again) by being who we most naturally are in any given moment and letting others witness us and our experience.
Each moment is different and each one of us is unique. Overcoming our blind spots, stories, insecurities and comfort zones takes effort, needs repeating, and must be done in front of and with others in order to build up courage reserves and confidence. Eventually, beginning again won’t feel as foreign as it might have previously.
Own your power
Stop putting your energy into should, could, would, kind of or maybe’s. Others can’t connect with you when they don’t know the true you and when you deny the same for yourself.
Your magic is everything about you. You’re allowed to look, taste, feel, or be whatever you need to be in any given situation. Blazingly powerful in one moment, soft, gentle the next. The purposeful voice up front, or the quiet presence simply holding the space in the back. Passionate fierce strength or neighbourly collaborative conversationalist. It’s all colourful and it’s all you. And it’s all OK.
In the past few weeks, you’ve been encouraged to inventory your strengths and natural talents, to gain insight into how your energy impacts others, whether with intention or not, to identify themes or moments in your life when the experiences created stories and developed your belief systems, and to call out that little critter who sits on your one shoulder, guiding you to stay in status quo.
The hardest part to remember is to let go and live new.
Trust that you overcomplicate matters by putting unnecessary pressure on yourself.
Trust that you have the power, strength, courage, will, compassion and love to let things go.
Trust your intuition.
Trust your natural energy, talents, skills, learned competencies and life experiences to support you.
Trust you are exactly where you’re meant to be
Trust that it’s not always going to be easy, for if it is, you haven’t let go of false beliefs
Trust yourself as you become more intentional and mindful of your thoughts, actions and beliefs
Trust yourself to be magical.
Trust yourself period.