Here are three true short stories. About Tammy, Anna, and Joe.
(All names and any identifying details have been changed to protect identity.)
Last week, a woman (who I will call Tammy) sent me a 1,000+ word email telling me about how she wanted to build a business in the likeness of mine. She said she wanted to be a professional writer, and help people to step into their potential.
Something stood out to me about Tammy’s email. I mean, there was nothing particularly unusual about her email, as I get several similar overtures every week from people professing their secret desires to strike out on their own and start their own business.
So I decided to copy and paste her email address into my inbox’s search function to see if we had corresponded before. To my surprise, the search brought up four rounds of correspondence.
Turns out that Tammy had sent me a nearly identical email three times over the previous six years, and I had encouraged her into her passions each time (roughly every 1.5 years).
I immediately felt anger rise in my body.
How much pain was this woman going to have to experience before she took the leap in her life?
Judging by the length of her emails and her word choices, she clearly had passion for the subject matter… how long was she going to let her potential-future-clients struggle without her help and guidance?
What the fuck would it take for her to get off the fence and make something of herself that she was more aligned with, instead of toiling away at her self-proclaimed “soul-sucking” day job?
Anna was a 36 year old woman who was on a multi-year streak of only dating married men.
She came to me in a moment of desperation (or so she said) looking for a way out of her dissatisfying relationship pattern.
She was aware that she had issues with men because her father had abandoned her family when she was young. She was aware that she was at least partially at fault for continuing to pursue married men. And yet every time we went to 1) talk about her issues with her father, or 2) have her do the behavioural work of cutting ties from the married men she was currently seeing, she would shut down and wouldn’t want to discuss either. She would endlessly attempt to steer the conversation in a different direction, to some politicized drama that she perceived in her life.
By our fifth session, I told Anna that she either needed to be willing to discuss her emotional residue regarding her father, or do something in her life about not continuing to pursue married men, and (to her credit) she plainly stated that she wasn’t willing to do either.
Habits can take years to overcome. I have compassion for the fact that some changes can’t be rushed.
But being adamant that you’re ready for change is completely different than actually being ready to change.
Joe was a high-flying executive who earned in the high 8-figure range, and had the ego to match his lifestyle.
To numb some of the stress that came with his profession, he smoked and drank heavily. He also popped Viagra and Cialis (without telling his wife) in order to combat erectile dysfunction that he believed to be 100% stress induced from his career.
On our first call together, he claimed that his intimate relationship was the #1 priority in his life. Upon me pushing into that claim, he confirmed that yes, he valued his relationship with his wife more than his money, more than his career, and more than his hobbies.
But again, his weekly calendar told another tale.
He spent the majority of his days flying around the world to speak with investors… he regularly let messages from his wife go unanswered for days… and he was lying to her (through omission) by taking boner pills and pretending everything was alright.
The solution was simple: work less, connect to your body more, and spend more time with your wife.
And, surprise surprise, his story was a ‘same song second verse’ type situation.
We parted ways, and he continued on like this for a couple of years, not changing much of anything.
(The, I guess you could call it, “happy” ending of this story is that Joe reached out to me two years after we parted ways professionally, telling me that he had a heart attack that didn’t kill him, he seriously slowed down (letting go of 80+% of his work responsibilities), took up painting, and his relationship with his wife has never been better.)
The Common Denominator Of All Fence Sitters
If there’s something you wish to change, and you have yet to change it, it’s because you are letting fear win.
Whether it’s fear of being rejected, fear of poverty, fear of ‘what will they think of me?’… the specific manifestation is quite irrelevant.
What matters is bridging the gap between your stated desires and your actions.
Here’s how I would suggest doing that.
1. Get honest with yourself about what you want
2. Get honest with yourself about what is holding you back
3. Get clear on all of the consequences that are a result of you not doing the right thing
Do these three things, deploy courage in the right direction, and you’ll be off to the races.
Get Off The Fence
I’m not here to judge or condemn people. That isn’t the point of this article.
The point I’m trying to make is that eventually, everyone needs to get sick and tired enough of their long-standing limiting habits and beliefs that they decide to make a change.
If you aren’t ready, be honest with yourself about it. If you are ready, then commit fully and don’t look back.
Change can happen in an instant.
All it takes is getting bored, frustrated, or tired enough of your old ways, and deciding on a new path.
To pick up the proverbial ax, hack your way through your bullshit stories, and charter off into the unknown. Into the new. Into the more aligned. Into better.
Until you become potently aware of the negative consequences that are coming out of remaining on the fence, I can’t help you. No one can. It has to come from within.
What in your life are you tired of tolerating?
What have you had enough of?
What new way are you ready to commit to?
You are the spark of inspiration and courage that you have been waiting for. There is no magical sign from the universe that is coming, outside of you. There is only you making a decision, and committing deeply, with all that you are.
I believe in you. Now it’s your turn.
Dedicated to your success,
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