You have to do the work.
I don’t know where these words came from, but they appeared in my meditation, shining in my mind like a glistening Christmas sign.
I’m an introspective and curious person. I triggered by anything that engages my imagination. I hear or see something, and my mind immediately begins making connections and creating stories.
Most of these stories never leave that space. They begin and end within my mind.
Though, I’m well aware that it is only when I transform my thoughts into actions that things really happen.
As Stephen Covey said, “to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.“
To do the work means to manifest my potential.
Maybe, those blinking words emerged to remind me to be more intentional in transforming my thoughts in actions.
As Steven Pressfield wrote in his book “Do the Work”, “We can always revise and revisit once we’ve acted. But we can accomplish nothing until we act.”
This morning I was reflecting on Self-leadership. Lately, this word has been the topic of a few conversations, in particular within the context of organizations. It looks like there is a demand for more self-leadership, but what that does really mean? How do people with a high level of self-leadership show up in their private and professional lives? Am I expressing my self-leadership?
Bryant and Kazan, in their book titled “Self-Leadership: How to Become a More Successful, Efficient, and Effective Leader from the Inside Out” provides the following definition.
Self-leadership is having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do, where you are going coupled with the ability to influence your communication, emotions and behaviours on the way to getting there.
To me, self-leadership is about alignment. I feel I am a leader of myself when I am fully in tune with my essence. When my actions, my words, my thoughts are coherent with who I am. And while I’m writing this, I realize that this alignment is also what I recognize in the great leaders that I admire.
So know, Lao-Tsu words sound more potent than ever.
“Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”
P.S. Quite a fascinating number for today’s post. The (in)famous Number of the Beast, also known as The devil’s number. Out of curiosity, I did a quick search and discover that there are people who are so fearful of this number that they created a word for this phobia; hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia. If you read up to here, I guess you don’t have that!
Where are you now?
How do you feel where you are?
Who are you where you are?
Have you ever paid attention to how places affect how you show up, on your identity?
Think about the places where you live and work. Are there places where it’s easy to get things done and others where you struggle? Places when you are smart and others where your brain is sluggish?
Is there a place where you feel energized while others drag every drop of energy out of you?
A place is more than what you see.
A place has its own stories. It has its own energy. Its own consciousness.
A consciousness shaped, little by little, by the lives and stories that happened in and through it.
That makes the energy of the place where you are stronger than yours.
You should never underestimate the power and influence that the environment has over you.
In 1936, psychologist Kurt Lewin wrote that “Behavior is a function of the Person in their Environment“. We may resist for a while, but over time the environment will shape our behaviours.
So, if you don’t feel energized where you are. If you feel you’re not the real you. Then maybe, you need to tune in and get out to clear your energy.
The drawing on this post is part of the BeTheChange project, a magical set of cards sourced by my dear friend Vanessa of Crafting Connection. These cards are a wellspring of inspiration for my personal reflections and for my work as a coach and facilitator. Check out her work and discover their power.
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I love aphorisms. They carry so much meaning and power in just a few words.
This one from Antoine de Saint-Exupery is probably my favourite one.
I have a tendency to fill up my life. To fall into the collecting mindset.
Once it was with things.
I remember a period in my life when I was going around with my wallet full of old receipts and bills. It was so thick I couldn’t carry it in my pocket. Obviously, for no reason at all. Some of them were so old that they were faded entirely away.
And it was the same with all sorts of stuff.
Until I throw everything away and I started living with just what I need.
What a liberation it has been.
But the collecting mindset is still there. Not as strong as before, but sometimes it shows up. In this case, with ideas and projects. Something less visible but that can quickly fill up life.
This morning I couldn’t find an idea for my writing. The clock was ticking, and I was ready to give up this morning apple. I have so many things to do that I can spend too much time seeking an idea.
I started reading some quotes seeking inspiration.
Then this one by Antoine de Saint-Exupery called me, from the bottom of an email I sent. And I realise that I’ve been filling up my life with ideas an projects and there is little space left to wander there where ideas grow.
Maybe it’s time to pay more attention to what I say yes to.
Awakening creativity is a subtraction process.
“What is there to learn for me from this?”
Where “this” can be any experiences or situations, either positive or negative.
This is an important question that I’ve learned to ask myself as much as I can. In particular, when I go through something adverse or painful.
“What is there to learn for me from this?”
When I find something, even the tiniest lesson, to learn from an experience I live, then that experience becomes meaningful.
I know, it can be damn hard.
However, I always found something to learn from everything that happened in my life. Sometimes, it took me literally years to discover what was my learning. Though, once I had that. Once I had uncovered my own lesson, all the suffering faded away, leaving space for new energy to come in.
“Coming up from a wellspring inside.”
I didn’t pick the card this morning. It felt on the floor while I was shuffling the deck.
For a while now, I have been thinking about the potential the lies within us. I’ve been pondering on the need for external help to express that potential as if we don’t trust enough our own potential.
And then, this morning, I picked this drawing, these colours and these words and I sat to meditate. And I struggled. I wasn’t able to focus, my greedy mind was all over the place mixing past, present and future.
I realised that the sturdier walls holding back my extraordinary potential are within me. In my case, it’s my overactive mind and its need to prove its capabilities. Whenever I try to access my other intelligences, to connect with that wellspring inside, my mind gets excited and creates resistance.
That is why we need, or at least I need, help from the outside. Something or someone I trust enough to let go of my inner resistance so I can connect with the wellspring of creativity and beauty I hold inside.
I honestly think that we all need that kind of support. The good news is that there is plenty available around us, we just need to reach out.
The BeTheChange cards are such a creativity opener for me. They help me confront my inner walls from their more fragile side, the outside one. So that I can source my inspiration from my wellspring inside.
Your beliefs drive your behaviours. And your behaviours determine the outcome you achieve.
Stronger beliefs make you act smarter, better, and with greater resilience and determination.
Beliefs are so powerful that they shape your identity and life.
When you believe in something, you just filter reality accordingly. I would say that you model your reality around your beliefs. That’s how powerful beliefs are.
When you truly believe in something or someone you overcome fear, doubts and anything that stands in the way of your action.
Yet, you should never forget that your beliefs are not the truth.
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” — Marcus Aurelius
You create your beliefs over the years, mostly unconsciously. They can make you incredibly powerful and effective, they can help you focus. But they can also limit you, making you blind to the infinite possibilities of the world.
I’m not sure about what I wanted to share this morning. Beliefs are a vast topic.
My reflections have been kindled by some conversations but mostly by witnessing the power of believing in something greater. And I’m wondering. Does that power come from the object of that belief or from the act of believing itself, from within?
We all live on different planes or realities at the same time.
We all share the physical and material one, where our body moves and things happen. But at every moment, a lot is going on at the emotional, rational and spiritual planes.
Very often, those different planes are misaligned, if not completely disconnected. Our body is in the present while our emotions are still trapped in the past. We walk in nature, but our mind is still in the office.
Do you ever experience that?
I do. And I also experience the magic unleashed when all those planes collapse into one. When my soul, heart and mind melt and sink into my body. When it happens, I feel a sense of connection and strength as if my energy gets multiplied.
Maybe you’ve experienced that too. When you do something that you’re so passionate about that everything else disappears. When you’re playing with your kids, and the world goes silent. When you’re with someone that you’ve fallen in love.
When all those planes collapse, it is as if your self expands beyond you.
But can we do that? How do we create that alignment?
One thing that is helping me is to have a grounding rhythm in my life. A set of rituals that I choose with the sole purpose to help all the layers collapse into one.
Photo by Matúš Kovačovský on Unsplash
Some people I love, they find peace and relief in visiting holy places. Others experience unity with humanity and nature only when they step into a sacred space of like-hearted people. Some have experienced the absolute freedom of their mind inherent nature, thanks to substances. Others feel powerful only when they are within a relationship.
It looks like we need some external help to step into our full potential.
I understand that. I am no different.
To unlock my potential, I need enough trust to tear down the walls I built to protect it. And that means to become vulnerable.
It is often easier to trust an external entity, being it a place, a person, a substance or a symbol, than ourselves.
But we should never forget that the real power, the energy is already there. It is within us.
Whatever external help we needed to overcome our limitations, we must always remember that it is not the source of our energy. It is just an instrument, a door opener.
You already have all the power within you.
I had a few experiences so powerful that they cracked the surface of my life. Some were tough and painful, others exciting and blissful.
All of them gave me the possibility to glimpse at my infinite potential opening up slits through the layers I’ve built around my essence.
However, those layers that I’ve built are not rigid and sturdy, like walls. Oh no, instead they are made of thick, viscous and sticky material.
So, creating an opening is not enough. Once the energy that opened the gap is released, those layers immediately begin to close on it. They slowly back to the old and well-known form. And the light gleaming from within begin to fade until it is all gone, and I am back where I started.
This is why what we do after a transformative experience is as vital as the experience itself.
The first days we must focus on integration. Using the strength pouring out from the newly opened gap, we must integrate into our lives what we’ve learned and discovered. We must take the time to reconnect with that energy and expand it from day one.
So the layers won’t go back to the old form, and maybe a crack, even if a tiny one, will remain on the surface.
And crack by crack, gap by gap we will be able to liberate our infinite potential.
Photo by Ben Klea on Unsplash