Choices starts today. 80 people will walk into a room at noon today, strangers, unknown to one another, wanting to hold their space, keep their distance. They’ll feel scared, timid, worried, curious, angry, hopeful, hopeless, confused, a whole host of emotions.
They’ll sit. Crossed arms against chest, scrunched down in their chairs, legs crossed, eyes looking down, in the back row.
I have been in that room many, many times on a Wednesday afternoon when the trainees walked in and I have commiserated with their feelings of fear, concern, curiosity, anger… I was there too. Seven and a half years ago. Sitting in the circle, wondering why I was there. Wondering if anyone would notice I was there. Would anyone see me? Know me? Would anyone find the key to help me let down my guard, take off my mask, step in front of my wall?
I hid it well. My fear of being ‘seen’. I hid them well my feelings of being separate from, other than, not part of the group. Of being an observer, outside looking in, not included, not part of, not welcome.
I hid it there too.
I was a master at disguise. An expert at hiding out in the open without anyone realizing I was hiding out behind my perfect smile. Behind my big brown eyes. Behind my fears of being seen.
I thought I was different. I thought everyone else knew the truth, everyone else fit in and I was the one missing the pieces that made it possible for me to be part of the group, a part of the crowd, standing on the inside looking around instead of on the outside looking in wanting to be picked as one of the team.
It wasn’t that I felt like I was ‘just a face in the crowd’. It was more that I felt like I was always one step out of step with what the world was doing. It was as if I felt like I was missing the secret code that would turn the key to my being real, visible, complete.
I didn’t understand that day in April 2006 when I first walked into the Choices room that self-discovery is a personal journey. It’s not a place in time. It’s not a one step fits all.
It is a personal journey.
It takes years to build the walls that keep us locked up, shut out, closed in.
And while in the five days of Choices I learned to identify and know my fears of being real, of being visible, of being unmasked, it takes practice, patience and persistence to continue to live out loud. It takes love to hold myself on the outside of my walls looking and living and being real in whatever space I exist.
80+ people will walk into a seminar room today to be greeted by 30+ coaches who have all experienced the very same emotions of walking into that room not knowing what to expect. The difference today is they have chosen to volunteer their time for the next five days to be part of the journey of self-discovery that Choices represents.
I have a friend in the room today. I don’t know him well but when I suggested this might be a good starting point for him to unravel the key to his living the life he’s always dreamed of — even if he doesn’t know what he wants — he said yes, I’ll go. What have I got to lose?
I am grateful.
As we chatted about what he could expect in the room today, he asked, “Is it a cult?”
I smiled. “If a cult is a place where you find your own answers, if it’s a place where you discover what it is YOU want in life and determine for yourself how YOU are going to get it, then sure, call it whatever you want. But don’t go into that room expecting someone to give you the secret to living your life. No one in that room has your answers. No one in that room will tell you what to do with your life. No one can. That’s your journey. Your discovery.”
Seven and a half years ago I discovered I truly was 100% accountable for my own happiness. I discovered to live the life of my dreams it was up to me to get clear on what my dreams are — and then to paint them every colour of the rainbow I choose.
I’m still discovering. Still exploring. Still living my life beyond my comfort zone, challenging myself every day to get up, get out there and SHINE!
No one tells me how to do it, when to do it, what to say or where to go.
No one can.
That’s my journey. My discovery. My path.
What are you willing to create, give, take, build to live the life of your dreams? What are you willing to give up? Let go? Hold onto? Release?
I have a friend who is going deep diving into his dreams today. I am excited because I know that on the other side of his fear is the WOW! he’s been looking for. I know that beyond his limited beliefs of who he is and what he can do in the world is the truth he has been seeking about who he truly is and what he is capable of in this world. It’s all there within him, waiting for him to discover it for himself.
Choices starts today. I’m not coaching this month until the weekend when C.C. and I will volunteer our time because — once upon a time, other’s volunteered theirs so that we could discover for ourselves what we want more of in our lives.