I’ve struggled a bit lately. I’ve been far too busy doing too many different projects with no time to sit still, relax and work on my dreams.
I found myself replying yes to every request that came in and my need to reply before the sender had even finished their question saw me stop half way through important tasks to respond to what’s in front of me.
Literally, I’d be half way through building a new web page for a client and an email would pop up ‘quick question…’. Or I’d be writing an important blog (yes, blogs are important!) and my phone would buzz with a WhatsApp message ‘Hey Lisa, do you know where…’
And I couldn’t stop myself.
I’d be falling over myself to read the email or open the text message certain that if I didn’t the world would definitely implode or that person’s business would go under…IT’S ALL ON ME…I MUST SAVE EVERYONE!!!
Erm, hello Lisa, I found myself saying in my head as my eyes widened in realisation of how ridiculous that idea was. No one is going to die if you ignore that email for an hour or if you call them back tomorrow.
I actually had a full on argument with myself, in my head, eyes darting left to right as if there were two people in my head batting their arguments over the net, Wimbledon style. It went something like this:
Voice of ego: Oh my god, Ian just emailed me, quick it’s probably urgent see what he needs and reply NOW so he knows you’re on the case and you have his best interests in sharp focus. Quick, do it now. He’ll call if you don’t.
Voice of reason: Oh don’t worry Lisa. It can wait, you just emailed him a two-page update this morning. Finish your blog, it’s important.
Voice of ego: Lisa are you for real? It could be urgent. If you don’t reply RIGHT NOW he’ll go elsewhere and, and, and…you’ll probably lose the contract and then you won’t be able to pay your bills and then, and then, and then…you’ll never be able to afford that Mercedes in your vision book! And that’s all that matters remember?
Voice of reason: Shhh, take a deep breath. Everything is happening for you and everything is always working out. Finish your blog. It’s the key to everything…happiness, growth, your dream life…and the Mercedes if you really must.
Voice of ego: Aren’t you just a little bit curious about what’s in that email??
Okay I’ve dramatised it just a little but you get the point! Of course, I opened the email, replied, did the work and then phone back the person who’d messaged me on WhatsApp…or was it Linked In? Or Facebook?
Then I did the laundry, hoovered, tidied up and by 8pm I was too tired to finish the blog.
Enough is enough! I said out loud to Alice by the time Sunday afternoon had crept up on me. I don’t want to live like that: controlled by emails, on edge, under instruction from the outside world. I want to do what lights me up and find a way to make a living doing it. It has always been my quest. It is my purpose and it’s my destiny.
By the end of my monologue I was standing up with my shoulders back and head thrust forward as if making a profound proclamation about life.
Alice smiled and took us out for a walk to the reservoir – me, her and Betsy (the cocker spaniel in the picture) and it wasn’t long before I’d calmed down, find some space in my mind and recognised what was happening.
As I bubbled to Alice: I’ve been down that road before you know – putting everyone’s needs before my own, working more and more hours to get on top of my work and get that illusive ‘you’re a star, thank you!’. That is how I ended up building two six figure companies when all I ever wanted was a coaching business. And that’s how I ended up with depression when all I ever wanted was happiness. That’s how I ended up crashing out aged 29, with £100k in loans to pay in order to clear the slate and start again doing what I loved. The thing I wanted to do right from the start.
I’d reached a fork in the road: that moment when we wake up from routine and face a choice: go one way and pursue praise, recognition, fame, fortune and honour or go the other way and pursue joy, happiness, presence and fulfilment. The first option is clear, somewhat easier and ‘expected’ – it’s been paved time and time again by the people who’ve gone before you. The second path is unknown, unusual and very much untrodden: it’s your own unique track.
I’d faced this break in the path once before. Aged 29. I gave up my reputation, turned away from the expectations of others and put my hand on my heart to ask ‘where next’. One step at a time, came the answer.
I started a blog, I began speaking about purpose and I shared my story. It brought me back into alignment with my true self, it got me out of depression and it helped me find peace, happiness and fulfilment in every moment.
I thought it was all plain sailing from that point of decision and I admin that I was surprised and confused to find myself as this very same fork again. I guess I hadn’t realised that I’d been lured from my path by the gratification that comes from saving people in need, from solving problems I knew I could solve, from putting my skillset to good use.
Thank goodness I recognised it in time.
ALICE, I had shouted downstairs earlier that afternoon…I got lost!
We switched off our lap tops, put down our shiny magazines and put on flight mode. We went on that walk, came back and got cups of tea to drink in bed as we laughed, rapped (yep, true story) and made plans for living out our purpose. We agreed to go away in October, somewhere hot by the ocean to work on our dreams. We agreed to make time to play – I’m buying a lego set next week (yes, lego and yes I’m 31!) and Alice is at her weekly pole dancing class right now. And we agreed that we’d rather have less money and be happy and aligned than have money and be unhappy and busy.
This morning, I turned down an offer of new web work, I said no to a request to work on a marketing project because my skillset was a match and I blocked out Friday for me; for my blog, for my book; for my dreams.
The point of this post? If you find yourself struggling in life, I want you to consider that it might in fact be a good thing. The ‘contrast’ as Abraham, channeled through Esther Hicks, would say helps us realise what we don’t want in life. The struggle is a sign: it’s time to question how you spend your time and it’s time to make some new decisions. It’s the fork in the road.
You see, living a life of purpose isn’t just about asking the question ‘what I am here to do’; it’s much more about creating the space you need to live your purpose and taking the steps you must take in order live it fully. Your life doesn’t change by accident and you don’t stay on the path of your calling by default. You’ve got to do the work, you’ve got to check in with your own internal guidance system regularly and every so often you’ve got to look up and shout into the darkness ‘I’m lost’…so where to next?