This post is the beginning of a series of blogs in which I will examine the transitions of the last 18 months – from administrator to writer, coach and speaker. They are longer than my posts to date. I hope you will enjoy the journey with me.
I am not what I once was, nor am I what I will become. This process of becoming, this transformation, is a messy, uncomfortable business. I am not the catepillar nor the butterfly, but the fluid, imaginal goo in-between. Who am I becoming?
I make the decision to look back to try and figure out the way forward.
I’m not sure where to begin – it feels like randomly starting at a chapter somewhere in the middle of a book, but I’m not wanting to examine the whole story, just a part of it. The part where I become something more than I think I can be, the part where my life takes an unexpected turn, where I decide that fear will no longer rule me, choose for me, limit me. I imagine myself commanding an ancient and evil monster, like Gandalf in Lord of the Rings when he fiercely faced the Balroc, “Go back to the shadows! YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” There are times I feel that my own fear, insecurity and self-doubts are as monstrous as that Balroc, and require the same amount of ferocity to banish. Only in my story, there are many battles, not just one. I’m getting ahead of myself as that is not where it began.
It starts with me doing a favour for a friend – at least that’s what it felt like at the time. It turned out that it was she that was doing a favour for me. Strange how we can’t see things clearly at the time. I was invited to a workshop for women – mostly women entrepreneurs. My friend, Susan Jacobs, was the organizer and a participant. I was not an entrepreneur, nor could I ever see myself being one. I felt I was not made of the right stuff for that. Sometimes it’s our thoughts, not our capacity, that keep us where we are. As I saw myself then, I was better at a supporting role, working within something that was already created and carrying out someone else’s vision rather than making my own. I knew that I functioned better within a routine or set structure and thought that meant I needed a job not to own a business. I was fiercely convinced that sales were not my thing. As I said, I did not consider myself entrepreneur material, but I went to the workshop anyway. I told myself it was worth it to support my friend and possibly meet some new ones, have a day doing something different and perhaps learn something new. I was not aware that I was about to open the door and find significant change standing outside.
There are two things that stand out for me about that day. The first was the thought that if you want to influence people, they must be able to see you. I’m paraphrasing Joie Garrity who talks about visibility among other things. Perhaps it was my long-standing aversion to being seen – something I had been working on for many years by that point – that had me paying close attention. Perhaps it was the flickering of a new desire to inspire others and contribute something. The second stand out for the day was an experience I had during one of the breaks. I went outside to get some air – a mental break before going back into the next session. What happened next was unexpected. I had a series of thoughts in such quick succession, so neatly wrapped together, that it almost felt like a spiritual download. I know that sounds strange, but I don’t know how else to describe it. I wasn’t looking for it, it felt like it (whatever it was) came looking for me. As I stood on the wide stone stairs breathing in the crisp Spring air, these thoughts came to me:
Write a blog… call it Beyond the Shadow. Write about your experiences of fear, insecurity and self doubt … how those things created a shadow in life… write about a small, constricting life … being invisible … being afraid … about courage and boldness and the power of knowing your dark places. Use images with shadow and light. This is your contribution.
It was such a powerful experience, that I recall wanting to look around to see if anyone else had “heard” it. I was alone but for the fleeting glimpse of possibility present in my thoughts. I was intrigued and felt the flickering of hope that there might be something unique and valuable I could share with others – a contribution I could make.
To be continued …
Next week, Part 2 – The idea hinged on being able to write and I had no idea if I could put something together that others would want to read.
I work with women to awaken the courage to find their version of extraordinary and live it! I’d love to put my honours degree in social work and my expertise in coaching to work for you. Connect with me here.