Sometimes the best medicine is a moment of truth.
Several years ago I did a mentorship with artist Shiloh Sophia. She’s an exquisite painter, an inspiring writer and teacher, and a powerful woman who sees deeply and has worked hard to get where she is.
I told you one of the theories she shared with me about how the muse and the critic are the same voice. But another theory she shared with me that I’ve gotten tons from is this:
People who have gifts – such as beauty, intelligence, or financial means – can fall in the trap of becoming lazy because they don’t have to work quite as hard to make doors open.
Life is about work. Not drive-yourself-into-the-ground work. But get (and stay) on the dance floor and engage sort of work. It isn’t always fun. It may not always feel fair. But if you want the garden of your life to yield sweet, abundant results, you have to roll your sleeves up and engage.
Having a gift such as beauty, intelligence, or financial means, can act like WD-40 because our culture has taught us to value these things. As such, their effect on others, and thus your life, is that they open doors. How? Beauty attracts. Intelligence inspires and impresses. Financial means can make choices and things available.
But attracting, inspiring, impressing, and having an availability of goods and choices isn’t the same as actually creating and building something.
It just means you’ve walked into the lobby of the ballpark you want to be in. But you’re not on the playing field or experiencing the true confidence that comes from seeing the fruits of your efforts over time. You’re simply near where you want to be.
The bridge to “getting there” – to the great health, soaring artistic expression, a successful business, meaningful relationships, spiritual or psychological awareness – is through showing up and doing the work. There is no other way.
So take a deep sip of non-judgmental truth tea and ask yourself:
Am I being lazy and letting my gifts, charm, connections, or a sense of entitlement fool me into thinking I’m truly showing up for what I want in my life when I’m not actually doing the work? If so, in what ways am I doing this? And what steps can I take to change this?
Shiloh shared this point with me because I was being lazy. I was engaged in my business and art, but not fully. I did most of my work, but not all of it. I showed up for my goals, but not with consistency or fire. Yet, ironically, I wanted the results of someone who was fully engaged and I felt a sense of insecurity that I wasn’t living that way or getting those results. Aren’t we funny, self-sabotaging creatures?
The first question here is: Why did I, and why do do so many of us, do this?
It’s not complicated and I think we both know the answer.
We lean upon the gifts that come easily to us and don’t engage further because we’re scared of what we’ll have to face within ourselves if our efforts take us beyond our comfort zone.
Perhaps we’re not as mature or ready as we believe we are and we need to do some soul-searching inner-work before we can step into what we want to create. Perhaps we have energy, time, or relationship addictions we need to let go of. Perhaps we’re used to perpetually living with a hand on an exit and really committing will ask us to step in in a way we literally never have before. Eek!
These are possibilities. What’s true for you?
I deeply invite you to again take a sip of non-judgmental truth tea, close your eyes (or free-write if you’d rather), and ask yourself why you’re (possibly) being lazy, relying on your gifts to open doors, and avoiding truly engaging in your life?
Ok. Why can provide illuminating insights. But that only goes so far. The better question, if you see this happening in your life, is:
What are you going to do about it?
FIRST – You’re not going to beat yourself up. If you’ve been being lazy, if you’ve been using your gifts as crutches… Own it. Accept it. And stop doing it. End of story.
SECOND – Start engaging. Do you need to create an experiment to show up more fully? I did a few years ago and it changed everything. Do you need to take steps to structure your day in a more efficient and focused way? Do it. Do you have a list of the meaty things you’ve been avoiding doing because they freak you out? Make one and start ticking items off of it. You don’t have to overwhelm yourself. But if you take deliberate steps every day to engage more fully, you’re going to see positive results very quickly.
Confidence does not come from avoiding our lives,
but from doing things that make us feel vulnerable.
THIRD – Get support. We’re not islands. Coaches, such as myself, therapists, mentors, etc. are all here to give you greater accountability, inspire you to move beyond what’s familiar, and be allies in your journey of self-inquiry and evolution. Business groups, exercise groups, and women’s circles exist for similar purposes as well. If you want to break through laziness and avoidance habits, be kind to yourself and get the support you need to make the shift as ease-ful as possible.
I can’t say this will be easy and without humbling “I can’t believe I’ve been doing this!” moments. But when I created The Show Up Experiment I found a way to make working more quite fun. And the results have been amazing. I literally engaged to the point that the muse guided me into a new career (photography). And unlike before, I was able to actually show up to make it happen. Boom! Just imagine the possibilities…
Want more fuel for your fire?
• If You Want It, You’ve Got to Earn It
• Tips for Bringing Your Intentions to Life When What You Want Seems Beyond Your Current Realm of Possibility
• Reality Check: The Grass is Greener Where You Water It