My daughter and I are having lots of conversations about how we learn and the motivations that inspire us to pursue certain knowledge, experiences or skills.
There is an ongoing theme in my answer to her.
When I learned to play the guitar, when I learned to dance pointe, when I became a competitive swimmer, when I began my business, when I paid off $50,000 in debt in 5 months, there were two critical factors:
- Commitment: I was completely excited about the learning, with mastering the skill, and I was in love with the outcome I wanted.
- Practice: the failure, the discomfort, the victories and the incremental steps of progress were (mostly) fun - or at least acceptable - because of number one.
I remember my fingers bleeding because I practiced guitar so much. I recall the delicious exhaustion of training for hours a day to be the fastest girl on the swim team in my age division. Then there were the hours of learning new (and often frustrating) skills while I was figuring out how to run a business online and make it profitable.
The (not so) secret sauce is simply showing up.
Clara was lamenting the fact that I seem to be "getting" French so much more easily than she is. My secret is no secret and I'm not "getting" it any faster than she would: I spend 30 minutes a day (at a minimum) listening to French language instruction. I don't just listen (and I really don't tune it out), I participate fully.
Learning French is painfully slow and often annoying - but I have a fire in my belly to be able to communicate with the people we will meet in Burundi and to feel at home. I embody my desire the whole time that I'm practicing - I remind myself of this when I DON'T want to practice. I imagine the cocktail dress I might wear when I greet people at my door. I feel the sensations in my body. I imagine the sense of mastery I will feel being able to understand what people are saying and being able to actually have a conversation! I also envision continuing to get better while we are there.
Excuses are easy, but truth is the better option.
I know I'm not naturally gifted at learning language. I am American to the extreme. I didn't hear another language uttered until I was a teenager.
I let this story of my background be an excuse in Italy. I avoided speaking Italian and could barely eek my way through a trip to the market. I felt isolated and frustrated and victim-y most of the time we were there. Poor me and my shitty American language skills.
I kept being pissed that I was getting the same results. In retrospect, I was making lots of excuses and not taking a whole lot of responsibility which really left me feeling like a victim, without the ability to choose a different way forward.
I wanted to feel connected and confident out in Italy and within our heavy social calendar. There was a fundamental disconnect between my lack of action and my desire. I kept wanting things to be different, kept wanting to communicate with folks (who didn't speak English) but I didn't want to learn Italian. I didn't think I could and I just stuck with that story and reaped the (uncomfortable) rewards.
Choices are easier when we tell ourselves the truth.
This is where we usually start the conversation with ourselves, which shuts down any real possibility of showing up for yourself as powerful, showing up stating your truth and looking it in the eye:
- I can't save money because....
- I can't lose weight because...
- I can't learn a new language because...
- I can't pay off my debt because...
"I can't" statements are nearly always disempowering. They suck the life out of our ability to show up for ourselves and what we really want.
A more empowered and truth-filled place to begin the conversation with yourself about what you want to show up for is here:
- I don't want to save money because...
- I don't want to lose weight because...
- I don't want to learn a new language because...
- I don't want to pay off my debt because...
Only when you get to the ground truth can you examine your motives and evaluate what is REALLY standing between you and what you really want. Only then can you see if you are letting fear and excuses run the show. Only then can you clear the way and make a stand for yourself and what you really want.
It may be that you really don't WANT x, y or z. AWESOME! That is FREEDOM right there. More energy to spend on what you really want.
HOWEVER if you are unhappy with the outcome of your choice, it may be an invitation to dig deeper - because if you don't like the outcome of your action, then you either need to make peace with the outcome and fully own it's truth for you or you will want to dig in and find the inspiration and motivation to show up for yourself and the outcomes you really want.
Showing up is love in action
Showing up for yourself requires deep tending of your innermost desires - what I consider true love in action. Clearing away the debris of excuses and disempowered beliefs so you can get to the inspired action. A clear sight picture of what you want on the horizon and a commitment to diligently show up for yourself and make it happen day by day, practice by practice.
You are Invited
It is time to tend your desires. Is there some aspect of your life or your business or your relationship with money that has plagued you? Something you keep saying you want, but your actions just aren't getting you there?
- Get truthful with yourself. Why DON'T you want what you keep saying you want? Does this give you greater insight into why you don't seem to be moving forward? Ways you may be disempowering yourself? Clear the decks by claiming your truth or releasing any beliefs or positions that are standing between you and what you really want.
- Find the deep, juicy why. Once you know what you really want and you have dumped all unhelpful victimy mindsets, what story do you want to tell about this particular desire? How do you want to feel? What will it look like when you get there? HANG ONTO THIS FOR DEAR LIFE!!!
- Use the (not so) secret sauce liberally. Make practice a form of play. And don't forget, practice, practice, practice. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Show up for yourself as often as it takes (reminding yourself often of your deep, juicy why) and watch miracles unfold.
You have totally, 100% got this.