Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

I did it my way — and my way wasn’t working


One of the things I love about coaching at Choices is that, even after 8 years of being in the room fairly often, I still get ‘AHA!’ moments. Those moments of brilliant clarity that let me see deep into myself. Moments that illuminate how I am, and what I do in the world the things that aren’t working for me.

Coaching as much as I do has helped me to align my thinking with my doing. It has also helped me see where I am out of alignment.

On Thursday, there is a process that teaches the lesson of taking care of yourself first, of giving yourself what you need to be able to be of service to the world.

I have been in the room as that game was played many times, yet this time, something hit me that I hadn’t realized before.

When I played the game as a trainee, I played it my way. Sure, I’d made a commitment to myself on the first day that I would play at 100%. That I would do what was asked, and give it my all. Thelma Box, who was facilitating when I was there, had said she would not ask anyone to trust her, because she recognized that we didn’t know her, and had no reason to trust her. “We won’t ask you to do anything you can’t do, and definitely not anything that is immoral or illegal. Trust the person who asked you to come,” she said. “Trust that they love you and wouldn’t want to see you hurt.”

I knew my girlfriend who had sponsored me would never do anything to hurt me. She’d helped save my life when I was in that dark and painful relationship that almost killed me. I knew she loved me. And I trusted her. I had promised her that I would give the program my ‘all’. I would play hard, participate, and dive in.

What I realized last week was that I had lied to myself all the way through.

I didn’t play the game as asked. I played it my way. And while it didn’t hurt anyone other than myself, the fact I had weaseled out of a commitment I’d made to myself, was a reflection of how I was doing other things in my life, and still sometimes do.

When I was a little girl it was one of my mother’s constant complaints about me. “Why do you have to do it your way?” “Why can’t you just do what I tell you?”

I am, at heart, a rebel. It is my nature. I like to find my own path. I like to create my own waves.

Problem is, I have sometimes let my rebel nature undermine my word.

And that doesn’t work for me.

Eight years ago, when I played the game, I chose to ignore what the rules were and did it my way.

It worked. Well… kinda, sorta. I got what the game represented for me at the time.

That wasn’t the issue.

The issue was — I did it my way and ignored my commitment to participate at 100% — which meant playing the game as asked.

How many times in my life do I do that? Listen to what someone is asking me to do, and then, circumvent the rules, twist their meaning and do it my way anyway? — even after I’ve made the commitment to do it in another way.

Doing it my way is good — as long as I’m honest with my word.

What struck home this past week was how I said one thing — and did another.

And that doesn’t work for me.

It creates less of what I want in my life, because when I commit to doing it one way, and then, do it my way anyway, I am letting go of my commitment. I am not being true with my word.

The important thing is to be honest with my word. To stand up to my commitments — starting with the ones I make to myself. If I started out with being clear with my intention that I would do it my way, it’s not an issue.

It’s the making the commitment and doing it my way anyway that doesn’t work.

Don’t get me wrong. I like being a rebel. I think the world needs more rebels. We need people willing to break out of ‘the box’ to find new paths to create a loving and kind and compassionate world. I think we need to step out of the worn and tired path of conventionality to spark our imaginations and creative expression. For me, that’s important.

What I realized last week though was that my habit of trying to ‘fit in’ while judging what was going on and then, ignoring my promise to participate fully and doing it my way anyway, is what wasn’t working for me.

Be true with my word. Speak up. Speak the truth. Always.

I don’t know what I would have gotten out of the process when I originally did it if I’d done it the way I was asked. I do know today that it wasn’t about the process, it was all about the judgements I carried as I did them. I thought I knew better. In my smug arrogance, I let myself down. I didn’t keep my commitment. I didn’t keep my word.

I am grateful, and filled with joy. I saw something about myself I’d missed. I learned something about my way of doing that I can see today, doesn’t always work for me. In the light of knowing, I get to let go of what doesn’t work in my life and recommit to myself to turn up, pay attention, speak the truth and stay unattached to the outcome.

I get to begin again.

Always begin again.

To be open. Honest. True and Loving.

Always begin again.


Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe in wonder. I believe we are all magnificent beings of divine beauty. I believe we can make a difference in this world, through every act, word, thought. I believe we create ripples with everything we do and say and want to inspire everyone to use their ripple to create a better world for everyone. I'm grateful you're here.

17 thoughts on “I did it my way — and my way wasn’t working

  1. Louise…isn’t it a beautiful thing that when the time is right, everything is revealed! I am amazed at how much we have to learn. Blessitude – Lorrie


  2. LG

    once again ….. and old experience of mine comes to mind immediately upon reading your posting

    mine, day 1 on a board I sat on about 20 yrs ago

    it was first meeting of a new board – there had never been on in place before; our chairman was leading us through a process that took three days . . . one where we wrestled with Carver concepts .. mission, vision, values …

    and this guy keep saying … trust the process

    I found it hard – not because I was a skeptic (I was) but because I didn’t trust him

    years later … we did so much good work because we did TRUST THE PROCESS

    he’s long long, but the work we all did lives on and was worth every agonizing moment

    so, my advice, next time someone reminds us to trust the process – do that

    it has nothing to do with trusting people ….

    my two cents




  3. Very interesting post Louise. It has me thinking. About both keeping my word and rebelling.

    I think the 1st one is easier. Say what you mean. Do what you say. And if either turns out not to be true own up to it.

    The 2nd one seems a bit trickier. Rebelling against established norms has risk, but I agree the world needs rebels. That’s how change happens.

    What I’m wondering about is the need to rebel against oneself. When we say what we mean to ourselves (and subsequently do what we say) are we paying attention to which internal voice is speaking? Is it our essential voice that guides us from the heart which deserves our faith? Or is it our adapted (that which you refer to as the critter voice) voice that tries to tie us to our past, keep the status quo? That voice is often worthy of internal rebellion!


  4. The medicine game. I remember you well. I remember I could not stand up after; that game rocked me to my core.

    It’s like you are putting words to my feelings and describing my unconscious thoughts, Louise. Now I’m reflecting on our Vancouver January training. I wAs “the pharmacist/medicine dispenser”. Off goes my first tape (I’m not worthy, oh, look I am, I am deserving, I’m a “back table” person now). And then,like you, I had to do it my way. Mostly by the rules but fuelled by another cunning tape: I have to do it, I know what’s best, I have to save them.

    I don’t know why it is that after 15 years I am able to dig deeper than ever before. I don’t have to know. I just have to be grateful and trust the process.

    Thank you for helping me fill my cup this morning. Happy new day!


    • I love how it affects everyone differently Colleen — like all the processes do. I think the digging deeper after so many years comes from knowing — no matter what, we are loved, and we know right down to our core, we are Love.

      Hugs dear one! may you continue to have Happy days with cups running over!


  5. I have had a lot of those aha moments lately. What I see is the ugly things in me that I want to change and I get overwhelmed.

    I don’t know where to start. I wish I could be as open as you, like the guy in the lobby of the hotel said. But I find myself reverting back to my old habits, the old me.

    A voice inside me says work the tools and another voice says why bother. I know, I know it’s tapes, ants. but it the moment its damn difficult to stop the voices and make things work, sometimes.

    Some days I just want to run and say forget it, it’s not worth it. Some days I wish I didn’t know this stuff because knowing it and not living it is worse than not knowing it in the first place. Sometimes I wish that I was the WBD. It was easier somehow.

    Sorry just sayin…


    • Dear, dear Royce, you are such a beautiful heart and thoughtful man.
      I believe that when we get to those moments of wanting to give up, to collapse into old behaviours it is simply our habitual, adapted self trying to trip us up and pull us under.

      For me, it isn’t about changing me, it’s about accepting and loving myself, exactly the way I am, exactly where I’m at and then loving myself enough to know that to have ‘the more’ I must do ‘the better’.

      And yes, there are some days I’d love to forget all that I know and revert back — but…. I know deep within me that I would not be happy.

      You are such a passionate man Royce, and so full of integrity that even though the critter wants you to slip back, your heart keeps calling you to keep moving forward — and no matter how awkward or uncomfortable each step feels, your heart is strong and your spirit calls you to shine. So, you do.

      Shine on my friend! You are brilliant in the light.



  6. I get this why because I have felt like this at times myself


  7. In any teaching, you learn as you go, from your students! May the “aha” moments continue.


  8. I can so relate to being the rebel and having to learn something (anything) the way of hard knocks
    because I always, ALWAYs try to feel my way through it first. In creative pursuits, it often brings happy surprises. In other areas, not so much. In fact, I really want to become more teachable. I love those
    aha moments. Thanks for sharing….it helps to hear someone I respect say it:)


  9. Pingback: In love, the light shines through every crack | Dare boldly

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