Contribut Emily Glidden of The Feeling Rider
I was lost. Sometime in mid-December, I awoke to the realization that after schlepping myself and my horse across the country, co-adopting a mule and a mini-donkey as companions and nurturers for my healing center, launching a new website and a new series of programs in 2017, I actually, truly, had no idea what I wanted to create for 2018. I was still enjoying my teaching and coaching, but I wanted to expand my work to a larger audience. Yet all my ideas for this expansion had lost their juiciness. I brainstormed new ideas but they too felt flat and unmotivating. Ouch. [Use your imagination to insert stronger expletives here – many of them were uttered in the unquiet confines of my home.]
After purging my frustration from my body, I went to work. I knew this was the sort of block that I wasn’t going to be able to work through on my own. I needed to look to mentors, to experts in spirituality, entrepreneurship, marketing, messaging, writing, art and leadership. I needed experts on goal-setting and visioning and listening to my intuition. I needed to attack and soothe my uncertainty from every angle until I knew the shape of it with precision and could mold it into something of my own.
I entered the world of the podcast. We are so unbelievably fortunate that we live in a world where thousands of experts give out millions of hours of free, high quality advice that is instantly accessed over the internet. The content that is out there is nothing short of astounding. I also availed myself of online videos and audio books through my library (shout out to the library app Hoopla for being another fantastic resource for borrowing e-media).
I cleaned my horses’ stalls listening to Oprah, cleaned my house to Tim Ferriss, watered my plants with Martha Beck and ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner with Marie Forleo every chance I got. Every day for two months I fed my mind and spirit with these thought leaders while I did my chores.
All this inspiration and direction moved me to new actions. The gist of it was: I needed to feed my spirit to get into the flow of inspiration. I started with making my bed every day. Next was reaching out to new people in my community for friendship and networking. I sought closer connections with friends and family, opening myself to greater vulnerability to give my soul the true heartfelt connections it needed to feel inspired again. I listened to my body – what sensations were whispering to me to give me direction? Under the guidance of a new doctor, I made a major change to my diet. I started going to a women’s boxing gym and pounding out my feelings. I lay down on the ground in my backyard and did nothing but watch birds and clouds. I journaled like a madwoman, pouring my thoughts and feelings onto the page. I started a new meditation practice, then gave it up, hired a business coach and started meditating again.
And while many of these changes weren’t directly connected with the creative aspects of my work, they have all contributed something key to the elixir of my resilience.
Here’s the biggest thing I’ve learned: if you want to grow, get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Take action before you feel confident or clear. If you spend too much time visioning and imagining what you want and wait for the alignment to feel just right (my old way), you’ll waste a lot of time perfecting a vision that can just as easily be tweaked on the go. Because here’s the thing – your first steps towards a big vision aren’t going to be giant leaps. They’re going to be little action steps. Getting out there and meeting like-minded people who can support you. Talking to potential clients to learn more about their wants and needs. And as you take little action steps, possible paths will begin to unfold and then, and only then, will it be clear to you which path you want to take, because you’re already in action.
In retrospect, my “lack of clarity” was actually just a very clever way that my inner critic was blocking me from moving forward with my life’s work. Once I got into action and started expanding my comfort zone, my confidence grew, my critic quieted down and inspiration started flowing. Having great self-care practices in place has helped me to pace the inspiration and move forward while caring for my skittish inner critic. I’m finding that if I meditate and take action on my goals every day, my inner critic has less chance of tricking me into playing small.
What key insight or action has helped you to stay inspired? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.