This is week twelve of living as the girl who quit her job. This ride hasn’t been easy. A lot that was once buried has come up throughout this time. I’ve dealt with a lot of loneliness, a lot of self-doubt, a lot of lack of motivation. I’ve had multiple domains/blogs/websites for weeks now; some I’ve had for months, and I haven’t published a single thing in any of them (not even this one). Why is that?
Many days I’ve thought about going back to the corporate world and getting a nice cushy job again because that routine sounds amazing right now, but a huge part of me knows that if I do that, I’ll never confront and properly deal with whatever has been blocking me my entire life from pursuing my dreams. With most every inch of my being, I know that this time is meant to completely detox me from all the beliefs I’ve had about myself and about the world since childhood. I spent my entire life learning and becoming the girl I was right before I finally quit the corporate world, and so it will take some real, honest, hard time to unlearn all of the negative limiting beliefs too. Annie, be gentle with yourself here. It will take time to unlearn it all. But you will – you will unlearn it all – one layer at a time.
This week wasn’t entirely dark and unproductive. I did go to a coffee shop with a fantastic ex-coworker and I got so much done there for myself. It’s small and really seems like nothing to pat myself on the back for, but it felt so nice to finally do it. One of those things was: I started a recipe notebook. For as long as I’ve been cooking, I scattered recipes throughout various other journals. So, there are journals that have random musings, prayers, and then smack dab in the middle of one of them, there is a recipe for “The Best Chili of Life” (that is a very real recipe title lol). I had this looooong to-do list of recipes to add to my new recipe notebook, but I just never did it. So, I finally started that.
I also emailed a life coach to get some perspective on his working life. What was his transition like from corporate world to life coaching (aka technically-not the corporate world)? Where did he get his certification from? What does he love about it? What is hardest? What could my life look like as a coach and how could I realistically get there? I loved writing this email because in general, I love writing emails. See, I think there is this common misconception that corporate folk (or ex-corporate folk even) are robots in their emails, but my voice and authenticity has always come through in my emails. I felt so accomplished at the end of writing that email because whenever I’m reminded of my light-hearted authenticity, it feels just… kind of wonderful, really.
Also, I had a standing work session with my friend, Jan – short for Janet. An absolutely amazing friend, Jan is many other things too – a therapist, a dancer, President of the non-profit I’m on the board for, and so much more. She is seriously such an accomplished person and such a great human being – I aspire to be like her some day, for real! Anyway, I digress. Jan and I scheduled this time to work on our own things together simply because the wholeheartedly good company, even in silence, makes such a difference for productivity.
At the beginning of our session, we were catching up and I told her about this new idea I had that I think would be so useful to so many creative, entrepreneurship-minded folks, but I also told her about the tightness in my chest that came as a result of it. She immediately, so kindly and so thoughtfully, asked if she could help me work through those feelings with an NLP technique she knows.
Truth Nugget: Writing this post now, I am so grateful that The Universe has always given me exactly what I need – in this case, a soul-friend like Jan.
The Working-Through-My-Feelings Session
Jan: What are you feeling?
Me: I’m feeling very overwhelmed and afraid of this idea that I have.
Jan: Why is that?
Me: What if I fail? I don’t even know where to start.
Jan: Can we take a step back? Can you tell me who inside your being that is coming from? Who is saying that from inside of you?
Me: I don’t know, actually. That’s a good question. Maybe my inner critic?
Jan: Can we try an exercise? Can you put your inner critic in your right hand?
*I put my right hand out and imagine an actual ball of inner critic-ness sitting in it. This feels heavy in my right hand.
Jan: But there’s this other side of you too, right? The more excited, optimistic side of you? What does she say?
Me: She is so excited about this possibility. She knows that people could use this. Even I could use this, actually. It would help all of us creative individuals pursuing their dreams become more productive despite not having a constant team holding us accountable.
Jan: She sounds pretty awesome. Can you put her in your left hand?
*I put my left hand out and imagine an actual ball of awesome in it. This feels very light and airy in my left hand.
What happens next is going to sound totally crazy and out-there… but we started a conversation between awesomeness and inner critic. It felt like a snippet out of the movie Inside Out.
What we learned was that Inner Critic doesn’t want me to fail. Inner critic doesn’t want to let me put myself out there because it doesn’t want me, Annie, to get hurt. We realized, Inner Critic has been trying to protect me. Jan and I are now talking directly to my right and left hands as if they are real people. For the record, because we have given each entity vivid descriptions, it’s actually pretty easy to not feel like we’re talking to completely imaginary things.
Jan (to Inner Critic, in my right hand): Inner Critic, it sounds like you have been trying to protect Annie from getting hurt, which is so kind of you. But in doing so, you have been hurting Annie in the most recent years. What used to help her years ago, is causing her pain now. Would you be open to learning a way from Awesomeness so that you can protect Annie while not hurting her?
Inner Critic (answering from my mind, remember because that’s where it exists): Yes.
Jan (to Awesomeness, in my left hand): Awesomeness, do you have any suggestions for Inner Critic, who let’s call The Protector now onwards, to help Annie be successful but also in a way where Annie can still feel protected?
Awesomeness (channeling from my mind): Remind Annie that Rome wasn’t built in a day and that if we don’t know to do something, it’s ok. We will figure it out. Baby steps. Small steps. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Going down a new path in life will require us to do a lot we’ve never done before, and that’s okay. Rome wasn’t built in a day and we’ll take it one step at a time. Remind Annie of that. That will prevent Annie from freaking out and also help her to be successful in this new endeavor, honestly!
And the conversation continued. Ultimately, Awesomeness and The Protector agreed to work together on this going forward, as a team. And they all lived happily ever after, the end! (Well for now…. Ha)
This exercise helped me so much to envision the two sides of me that exist and to also help resolve their differences. You guys, this truly did feel like such a breakthrough. I was so productive during the rest of our work session! Let’s not discuss the fact that I haven’t yet published any of my writing… we’ll tackle that another day, won’t we, Annie?
Way to go, Annie. Way to go.
Ever since this day, this experience has come in handy during my meditations. At the end of one of my morning meditations, the guide asks that we put our hands on our heart. Whenever I do, my right hand falls over my left hand… or, as we now know, Awesomeness falls over The Protector.
With so much good energy floating through my Being from the meditation, as I breathe in and breathe out, hands clasped over my heart for the last few minutes, Awesomeness kind of hugs The Protector – reminding it that they’re both working and looking out for me together.
So, that’s kind of nice. Isn’t it?
With Love, Annie