I am bringing love to a situation that I had deemed loveless many years ago.
I can, on occasion, recall expressing gratitude for the situation because it brought money into my bank account. But love? I don’t think so. I hated the guy’s guts.
Honestly, I don’t know whether love has a chance in this scenario. I have remained repressed and largely unexpressed in this client relationship, and that’s something I can take responsibility for. I have expressed my needs when it was urgent that I do so, but I have largely remained agreeable to any requests that have come across my desk, even if they were completely unreasonable. At this juncture, they are only becoming more unreasonable and even incoherent.
I can’t do that anymore. My finances have suffered. Last year, I filed for a consumer proposal. My health has suffered. Just this year, mid-October to mid-November was specifically tough, and I am still on the tail end of recovery.
Being fully self-expressed in this client relationship could mean arguments. It could mean setting boundaries. It could mean the end of a workable working arrangement. I have already put my notice in for the end of December.
But that’s what bringing love to the situation looks like right now. Being honest and truthful about my needs. Being clear about what I’m willing to do and what I’m unwilling to tolerate.
I have enjoyed helping many people build their careers and businesses to this point. But many times, I have sacrificed myself to do that. And it’s not fair to me. Love has been missing there too. I have failed to recognize myself.
For the first time in a long time, I can see the insanity cycle at work, and love was the missing piece. And I’m tired of banging my head against the wall, trying to make a dent in the Universe where I am not appreciated, respected, or valued.
But I am not just bringing love to myself. I am bringing love to my client also. Because sometimes love is letting people know when they’re egomaniacal and bat-shit insane (in the kindest manner possible).
I love you.
Please forgive me.
So, you want a successful music career. Or you want to build a business. Or you want to earn your financial freedom.
These are worthy and commendable goals and there’s a reason why we want them.
But it’s easy to make bad assumptions about what things will be like when you finally attain your goals.
Your assumption might be that things will get a lot easier when you finally reach your goals. You might think that income will be generated on autopilot, dog trainers will look after your dogs, and maids will ensure your house is always clean and pristine.
You may even get all those things.
But will it be easier when you get there?
If you have a larger bank account, you’ve got to learn to be more responsible with your financial resources, not less. Otherwise, your elevated lifestyle will catch up with you.
If you build a successful business, even if you manage to make yourself mostly irrelevant in the operations, you will still have executives, managers, and employees to oversee. You will need to keep an eye on your team to ensure things are done to specification and with integrity, for the company to maintain and grow (if that’s the goal).
If you have investments, you will need to check in with them periodically. If you have a successful artistic career, you will need to release new material and tour it. No matter the success, you will likely need to operate with increased vigilance and discipline, and on balance, you won’t be much happier than you are today, if at all.
A safer assumption, then, is that things won’t be any easier than they are today. If anything, you will have greater responsibility. You probably won’t be much happier. And you will still be busy, just with other things.
If you’re going to start with the end in mind, then become the kind of person that can take on and handle more today. Because there is a version of you that accomplished all the loftiest goals. That version of you, though, is an expanded version of you, not a diminished version.
What happened to you is not your fault. But what you do with it is your responsibility.
People have trouble taking responsibility. They don’t want to believe that they played any part in what has happened to them.
This resistance is understandable.
Who wants to believe that they had anything to do with getting sick, losing their dog, or their parent dying?
I certainly didn’t!
But I wanted to feel empowered, and my mentor was telling me that I needed to take responsibility for everything that had ever happened in my life. So, I tried it on.
Do you know what I discovered?
First, when I took responsibility for my life, I felt a sense of empowerment I never had before. Because now I could see that even if I didn’t have total control over life, I did have a say in it.
Human beings like to make everything mean something, even when there is no definitive, objective meaning behind it.
I realized that I could make things mean what I wanted them to mean. I didn’t need to insert myself as a victim into every picture. I could choose the picture and the framing!
Second, taking responsibility gave me access. I saw that I could do something about my circumstances.
Again, what happened wasn’t my fault. But I had to take responsibility for what I did with it.
Miraculously, actions took the place of helplessness and victimhood.
If I wanted to learn something, I could read a book. If I wanted to work through a difficult time in my life, I could see a counselor. If I wanted to feel better about myself, I could get a haircut, drink smoothies, and work out.
Importantly, taking responsibility should give you new access. It should give way to vantage points you’ve never visited before, and actions you’ve never taken before. That is the value of taking responsibility.
“I’m not good at managing my time.”
“I don’t know how to handle my money.”
“I’m bad at relationships.”
We tell ourselves many stories about life. These stories rule us.
Stories can be difficult to overcome. But typically, there’s only one thing standing in the way of overcoming them – a complete and thorough examination of our time, money, relationships, whatever subject we’re stuck on.
We stay in our stories because we’re too scared to look. We don’t want to look at our calendars because we don’t want to own up to double-booking constantly. We don’t want to look at our bills because we’re scared of how much we owe and have in our bank accounts. We don’t want to assess our own behaviors in relationships because we’d rather not be responsible for what didn’t work.
But clarity on where you stand now empowers you to make new decisions that could transform your life incrementally.
Are you stuck?
What are you not facing up to?
If you’re going to talk about a problem, the responsible thing to do is to bring a solution to the table.
Throughout human history, we’ve succeeded at replacing or augmenting old technologies, not by rehashing the problem, but by focusing on the solution.
Horse buggies were replaced by cars, which are more efficient at taking us from one place to another. A power grid that was predominantly reliant on coal power was augmented by nuclear, wind, hydro, and solar power solutions. These are not perfect solutions, but modern society as we know it would not exist without them.
Today, we seem to be going about it all backwards. “We need to replace plastic,” we say. But we don’t have any meaningful solutions. We say, “let’s use paper instead.” But paper is only marginally more replenishable than plastic, and we’re repeatedly hearing issues of rainforests going extinct.
We end up wasting precious energy creating new solutions when energy is apparently already a concern. New solutions often come with enormous costs that end up negating their much-touted benefits.
You can’t just stop doing something because it was deemed bad. You need a workable replacement and a strategy for implementation. Ironically, replacements always come with their own issues too. It’s never “the best.” It’s always “the best we have right now.”
What problems are you seeing? Have you identified a meaningful solution? Do you have an implementation strategy? Are you too quick to throw out the best you have right now to expend energy you don’t have creating new solutions that may have their own drawbacks?