There is so much ground to cover and only so much time. Ah, but for the first time, at least I find myself at a point where I am enjoying the process. Life is not supposed to be a chore, at least it’s not intended to be.
I find myself in a fortunate space where I am no longer conflicted but instead, I am focused on the direction that I have chosen for myself. It was once said to me that we move in two ways. We are either moving away from something or moving towards a goal. Moving away is not focused on direction. In this case, it can be any port in the storm, which is something that we will touch upon in a few short paragraphs from now. Moving towards something means we have a plan, a focus, and more importantly, we have a strategy and a destination in mind.
I see myself now, as I am. I am moving in a way that both my mind and my body can understand. I have surpassed the areas of my crossroads and come to a new mindset, which I attribute to a very simple lesson.
There is a saying that I heard a long time ago; however, in a moment of clarity, the truth shone above my head and the lights turned on. Somehow, I heard this differently, as if I had never heard this before.
I was on a call with a friend after struggling with a personal downfall. I fell victim to the damages of my own thinking; and quite literally, I painted myself into a corner to achieve a self-fulfilled prophecy. Hence, enter the lesson here:
I was told, “We are in the effort business. Not the result business”
I can attest to this. I can say that I spent far too much time distracted by elements that were beyond my control. I worried. I jumped to conclusions. I assumed and eventually, I fulfilled the destiny of my predicted fears. Meanwhile, I missed out on the benefits of my ability. Put simply, I lost sight of my efforts because I was blinded by my anxiety. I was thrown off by the possible outcomes that were beyond my control.
Understanding my place in the effort business has helped me create a safe and healthy boundary. This allows me to understand my personal relationships, my love life, my family relationships, my acquaintances, and of course, this has allowed me to improve my business relationships as well.
I have learned that outcomes are out of my control. I cannot change people, places or things. Everything about us and everything about what we say or do is an actual investment. Now that I understand this, I have learned where to invest my energy.
This doesn’t mean everything works in my favor. This doesn’t mean that downfalls and pushback leave me alone. There will always be critics and there will always be someone in the world, looking to trip me as if this was their job. There will be disappointments. There will be near misses that leave me heartbroken. There will be falls. There will be times when doors slam in my face. I know this because I have lived through this. And my living isn’t over yet, which means there will be bumps in the road. However, now that I understand my place in this, I have earned the right to discover new ways to navigate through my journey. I can weather the storms without fear.
Something that I know to be true is that success is an attitude. Success is a feeling. This has less to do with the amount of our business or a portfolio and more to do with an inner-sense of understanding and balance. I have met people whose income is low and their homes are modest; yet, their heart is full and their happiness is unmatchable. At the same time, I have met with people whose bank accounts are bottomless and nothing could fill the hole of their emptiness.
I know what it’s like to believe that I was empty and void.
I know what it felt like to be lost.
My decision to switch the direction of accountability is the exact nature of my change. I didn’t want to give into my fears anymore. I was tired of my relationship with anticipation and anxiety. I was tired of the impending doom. I was tired of seeing myself as less-than or feeling the constant state of competition or comparison. I was fed up with my ideas of intellectual, emotional and financial inferiority. I didn’t want to be that person anymore.
I wanted to stop the need for acceptance. But more, I wanted to detach myself from the thoughts of insecurity.
And insecurity is huge.
There were times in my life when I found myself talking or saying things purely out of discomfort. I would talk just to talk and try to dig my way out. There were times when this was crippling. I recall moments when my social discomfort became so awkward, it was as if the last few words repeated in my head and sounded so terrible that I had to say something, almost immediately to fix them. But the next words only sounded worse. And the hole only grew deeper.
There were times when I found myself stuck in emotional quicksand and the harder I’d try to get out, the deeper I’d sink.
See what I mean?
I am a very real person.
I am neither proud nor ashamed.
I am honest because if nothing else, my honesty has the ability to help me improve.
I have fears. I have moments when I am unsure and so afraid of disappointment that my anxiety takes hold. The ability of my efforts becomes muted by the voice of my fears.
It’s hard to think clearly.
The fear receptors in my mind overreact to an irrational idea. And whether I understand this from an intellectual perspective or not, emotionally, I am caught in my fears and drowning in my concerns. This is anxiety.
As a matter of fact, someone asked me what anxiety is the other day.
I will describe with an analogy to the best of my ability:
Imagine walking in a strange place. There is a storm coming but there is no shelter that would accept me. So, I have to keep moving until I find somewhere safe to go.
I have to move quickly because the sky is growing dark and the storm clouds are moving in.
I run as fast as I can but it seems as if my feet are sinking into the ground. I look for a place to go but none of the doors will open for me. I anticipate the storm and the deluge of rain. I can sense the impending doom. I can feel the storm in my bones and hear the crackling thunder coming up behind me. I know it’s coming. I know I have to get inside and find safety.
It’s all coming at me now. The walls of the world are closing in on me.
I run and I move. I negotiate and I try to find safety but the drizzle has just begun. The rain is on my tail. I just want to find safety. I want shelter but the fear of being left out in the storm is building. The drizzle is picking up now.
The rainfall is getting heavier and there is no shelter for me. I am more frantic now and no matter where I turn or what door I try, no one is letting me in. Finally, the storm hits. And it’s angry. It’s mean. The attack is in full swing and me, all I want to do is feel peace, find some shelter and be safe.
Now, if we compound this into a feeling and absorb this as a visual and translate this vision into life’s statement, I can say that I consider this to be an accurate version of anxiety. I call this a mixture of fears and the anticipation of shame, humiliation, exposure and pain.
It’s a machine. And if you don’t know then I guess it might be hard to relate.
But if you do know then I’m guessing that you understand all too well.
I am in the effort business these days, which means this was my yesterday. It is fortunate for me that I do not live there anymore. I have come to the understanding that there is so much that is out of my control. So, in a matter of good business sense, I focus on my efforts before I focus on anything else.
The storm, the raindrops and all that comes with them are not going to stop. However, I have learned to change my association with things that are out of my control. Rather than run from anything, I switched my focus and headed towards my goals. I switched my attention because outcomes are out of my control.
Above all things, I am least in control whenever I try to handle something that is not in my control. At last, I learned to let go.
Am I afraid?
Yes, I am afraid.
I have fears that I might fail.
I have fears that I’ll never have the chance to pull off my trick.
I work hard and give my efforts every possible opportunity to make my outcomes as attractive as possible.
This way, even in the worst case scenario, I can still be happy.
I understand rain will come. But I also understand that it won’t rain forever. Setbacks are not endings. Change is not a curse. And I have the right to continue, to keep going, to work, live, love, laugh and learn to the best of my ability, for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health until death do us part.