A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting with a close friend of mine about the perceptions and projections we face as ambitious women creating impact in the world through our work.
With greater visibility and a willingness to “put ourselves out there”, we also open ourselves up- whether we realize it or not- to the opinions and projections of others.
This came as a bit of a shock to me when I started my business over 7 years ago and began receiving feedback from others about my work. Most often, I was met with encouragement and support, however, I certainly have received my share of haters over the years.
As my mentor, Nisha Moodley. said to me after the first incident of this, “Not everyone will like you or understand, you just have to know in your heart what feels true for you. ”
It’s really easy to look at someone from the outside and make assumptions about their level of success, support, or how they got to where they are.
In the world of curated social media feeds, everyone may look perfectly polished and successful, however we rarely, if ever, are privy to the grit, tenacity, life challenges, or resilience required to rise in a single person’s life, relationships, or career.
Big Dreams Require Big Devotion.
Creating things exactly as you would love them – or even better, beyond your wildest dreams – is joyful and exciting, yes, but it also requires a devotion to move beyond fear and limitation all the time.
Freedom, playfulness and unbridled creativity are the result of showing up day in and day out. It is not enough to simply “do the work”, one must commit to rising beyond what they thought possible every single day.
This can be so much more challenging than we realize when setting off on a journey to create the life / business / career / dream you envision, but it is so worth it.
Years ago, when I was pursuing my career in ballet, I was met with a lot of naysayers – my parents and grandparents, my teachers and high school counselors. No one considered a dance-based career in performance a “real job”, nor did they want me to attempt to go for it.
After over a decade of dancing professionally across the US and Europe, they eventually came around. And to this day, it is still one of my proudest, most revered accomplishments. I do not regret a single moment of it, but had I outsourced my intuition to their fear and uncertainty, I would’ve never created that amazing chapter of my life.
Growing a business over the last 7 years has also tested all of my beliefs and resolve time and time again. 𝐅𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐦𝐲 𝟑𝟎𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚 𝐬𝐨𝐮𝐥-𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐧𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐜𝐡 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐧𝐨 𝐢𝐧𝐯𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐬, 𝐧𝐨 𝐬𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐨𝐫 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲 𝐬𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐧𝐨 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐚 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐨 𝐫𝐮𝐧 𝐚 𝐛𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐟𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐝𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞, 𝐈 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐝 𝐚 𝐥𝐨𝐭.
When everything and everyone outside of you doubts your capability (or sanity) when you set off to pursue big dreams, in my experience, the one and only thing that matters most is your devotion to Who You Are Becoming.
Your belief in yourself may waiver at times, but your devotion must be strengthened and recommitted to time and time again.
The greatest things I’ve learned about rising to meet my desires are as follows:
I would not have the specific dreams and desires I do, if they weren’t meant for me. If I can see it, I can create it. These desires are a part of my unique creative imprint therefore, I get to choose what I would most love to focus my creative energy on.
Who I must become in order to accomplish these dreams requires a lot of surrender, trust, devotion and up-leveling. In other words, I have to constantly work through the limitations I have placed on myself that tell me I can’t, that I am not worthy of my desires, or that it’s possible for others but not me.
Trusting the universe and surrendering to the Now is the hardest work I’ve ever done, until it isn’t. In a world built upon effort and striving. Trust and surrender feel hard because they’re actually so easy.
Taking a risk – leaping off a perceived “cliff” -requires courage and strength and more importantly, it takes a hell of a lot of resourcefulness on the way down. It can be terrifying to take a leap of faith towards what you want, but it’s also absolutely exhilarating as a Soul having a human experience. People are so creative, so brilliant, and yet we rarely give ourselves credit for our ability to figure things out. If we never jump, we may never see just how capable and innovative we truly are.
Slow sustained growth is true success. Sometimes smaller progress is a better indicator of success than overnight big-boom growth. Slow sustained success prepares our nervous systems to hold a greater capacity. It is not only trauma-informed to move more slowly, it is a rebellion against capitalist ways which are inherently traumatic and supply the illusion that overnight success is possible without a foundation of intentional, aligned actions.
My body knows. My body is my guide. My body always communicates the things my mind either misses, or ignores. She is my best ally in creating my dreams and when I’m caught up in my head or confused, I simply need to find quiet space to drop in and listen to her cues.
Unplugging from work, spending time in silence, and listening within offers a greater depth of wisdom than pushing forward when things just aren’t working. In order to find the truth, I have to soften the constructs of my mind and connect to the part of me that already knows and has everything I need.
Surrender, surrender, surrender. Once I’ve envisioned where I’m headed, I have to let go and trust I will reach my destination even though it may not go exactly as planned. Especially when things feel hard or uncertain, or like I’m pushing too hard to control the outcome, I constantly remind myself that I am willing to release control and accept what is unfolding in the present moment. It is often leading me to something far greater than my controlled attempt could ever achieve.
Support, support, support. I am not meant to go it alone. Neither are you. We need community gathered around us to encourage, uplift and support us to keep going. I also need dedicated hours and practitioners devoted solely to my self-care. Without support, I have no foundation which to build upon. Receiving various forms of support is a necessity for breaking barriers and limitations that would otherwise hold me back.
As many of us are emerging from ongoing periods of reflection and the imminent transformation that follows, I’ve been reflecting upon these lessons and thought they might support you too.
Perhaps the most important thing I’ve come to embrace during this wild ride we call 2020, is that there is no guaranteed tomorrow, so the only way to truly see what lies ahead is to give myself full permission to go for exactly what I want with as little interference and self-doubt from my ego as possible.
What about you, love? What are you learning about your dreams and desires this year? Are you devoted to who you’re becoming or feeling challenged by your current circumstances?
Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.
*Photos of Stephanie Burg on Folly Beach, SC by Richard Calmes