When I first began to develop the idea for unum, it was after some serious reflection and soul searching and literally months of journaling. As the concept evolved, I kept coming back to the same place I began. I kept coming back to the simplicity of a clearly articulated sense of self and of my purpose. While the ideas flowed and the concept grew, the core stayed the same. This development of the concept in it’s truest form was merely an exercise in making a commitment to myself. And, that is what unum initially grew from… an expression of my true self, my identity, my light, and my purpose. Launching unum was a declaration of not just who I am, but of equal importance, who I am NOT.
However, I have to say that during the weeks leading up to launch day, I became increasing anxious. The big “F” word was beginning to take over. FEAR! Now, I had journaled about fear before. On one of my many cathartic journeys of placing my thoughts on paper to ease the voices in my head, I expressed my own fears related to my life and some challenging decisions I had to make. And, as I reflected on my thoughts related to fear, I went back to my notes. Back to the therapy the pages provided during some pretty dark times. Reading about my own journey, of how I dealt with my own fears, eased the anxiety and renewed my focus and sense of purpose.
When I think about fear, it usually comes back to the same things. Fear of the unknown. Fear of rejection. And, fear of failure. And when we begin to feel the fear, we usually have those dark thoughts run through our head and we ask ourselves those “what if” questions. What if they don’t like my blog? What if it’s a big failure? What if people think I’m crazy? What if no one reads it and follows it and I don’t see those little red notification dots and my friends think I’m weird and my kids think I’m weirder and I start losing my hair due to the stress and…. Exactly. Those “what if” questions we typically ask ourselves are usually negative and undermine our energy and intention, and shake our confidence. They cloud our ability to see clearly and trust ourselves. So, as an exercise, I began to ask myself the exact opposite questions. What if people love the concept? What if people do follow the blog? What if it does make a difference? If you’ve ever been fearful of a situation, try this and you’ll be amazed at how it makes you feel. More importantly, amazed at how it can change your perspective and boost your confidence.
Launching this blog was as much about overcoming my fears as it was a declaration of who I am and what my purpose is. So, I ask you, what are your fears? Do you ask yourself those negative “what if” questions that drive you into a cycle of self-doubt? And, do those questions cripple your ability to be yourself and act with clarity and confidence? So, the next time your fearful of something, walk through these fours steps.
- Identity the core element of what your fear is based on. It’s usually not as scary as you think.
- Ask yourself those “what if” questions? Both the good and the bad.
- Be honest with yourself and the situation. Focus on the process and break it down.
- Make a personal declaration, trust yourself, but most importantly take action!
I’m sure my fears and anxieties will resurface, as will yours. And, when they do, I’m going to go back to my journals, back to my core, and walk through the steps that got me here. And, if that doesn’t work, I’ll just go back to the sage advice of my mother… “what’s the worst that can happen!”
In a world that is seemingly more complex, chaotic, and cynical by the day, those beams of light that struggle for their place are getting harder and harder to shine through. Images on our social media channels and through the main stream media can be confusing, disturbing, ridiculous, but at times inspirational and even humorous. With this sensory overload bombarding us on a consistent basis, it’s sometimes hard to sift through the chaos and find that beam of light we all need and are searching for. This light can come in so many forms and fashions, but if we aren’t totally aware and awake, we can miss it. It can come in the form of a smile, a gesture, a hug or simply a kind word. These beams of light also fight for your attention as they compete with the chaos and the negative elements aimed at influencing you and confusing you and leaving you feeling like there is little or no hope. Living life consciously can have its challenges. Being awake and aware can sometimes seem like a curse. But it also leads to moments of great clarity and hope and faith and peace and wonder… But where does this clarity come from and how do we find it. I truly believe clarity starts from within, as we seek to define ourselves with a clearly articulated sense of self and purpose. Things we are consistently searching for and struggle to find. But, when we step back, take a deep breath and honestly reflect on our life, we need to ask ourselves some very simple questions. What defines me? Who defines? What motivates me? What are my passions? What is my purpose? Questions many of us have been asking ourselves for a very long time. A great quote I like to go back to when I am struggling is… “be worthy of your gifts.” Simply put, don’t dump on yourself and compromise who you are and stifle your true self for the sake of others. Find your light… whatever and wherever it might be, keep seeking and keep searching, because its right there. In front of you… inside of you. The things we are seeking, the external influences and our experiences, are merely facilitators or stimuli that help us uncover what already exists within all of us.
So, when you think of finding the light amongst the chaos and the darkness, maybe YOU are the light. We all possess some form of “light” that we can share. And, the more we share this light, the brighter our day, our community, our world just might become. Focusing on the light doesn’t mean we are oblivious to the suffering, the wrong-doings, the chaos of our world. Quite the opposite in fact. Focusing on the light gives us the strength, the energy, and the wherewithal to deal with the challenges of the day. The light gives us some clarity and helps us navigate our way, maintaining that sense of self, sense of purpose, and sense of direction. It keeps us grounded and focused. Yes, it’s a daily challenge. It’s hard at times. But if we have that one thing we can go back to, the real challenge is no longer finding it. The real challenge is holding on to it and nurturing it, and ensuring it’s always along for the ride.
So, step back and ask yourself those simple yet tough questions… seek out your truth… seek out your light, your gifts, your passions, your “thing,” your purpose, or whatever it that you resonate with. Find it, grab on to it, nurture it, but most importantly, share it with others. The journey we are all on doesn’t end when we begin to identify our sense of self, our purpose, or our light. It’s an evolution that continues down a path that becomes much more fulfilling and enriching through the sharing of our gifts with others.
When I was in El Salvador years ago on an experiential learning trip, I met an older gentleman named Don Seferino Mendez, or “Pops” as we called him. He was a very wise old guy who had seen a great deal during his time on this planet. He had survived a bloody civil war, witnessed extreme poverty, and lived through some catastrophic natural disasters. His stories were captivating. In a discussion one night around the campfire we were sharing stories and discussing our own personal journeys. We talked about the idea of sharing this experience alongside our new friends and how this made our time in their community even more important and impactful. Essentially, the essence of our trip and our experience was really about sharing our love with this community and these people. The project we were working on together was merely a vehicle. A vehicle for us to express our love for humanity. At this point, there was a pause in the conversation as we stared into the flames, each of us reflecting on the depth of our talk when Pops hit us with this… “love is a gift from God and we have a responsibility to share it with others.”
If that doesn’t shake you up, I’m not sure what will. We have a RESPONSIBILITY to share our light, our love, our purpose with others. It doesn’t matter whether you believe in God or not. Just think about this in terms of our responsibility as Human Beings to make this world a better place. Our responsibility to not only find our light, but more importantly, to share it with others. And, right here right now, during this period of time in our history, what could be more important?