Finding Clarity & Charting the Course
When we choose to embark upon the journey of living a life of passion, the initial step is intently listening to the small, quiet voice pulling us in the direction of our deeper purpose. We watch the images flashing across our mind, or listen to the messages pulsing through our veins. The words may be hard to capture, but the truth-story lingers just the same.
We hunger for the clarity which only comes from knowing. And although, knowing comes in many, often fleeting forms, it is usually an element we crave to feel justified before taking any leap of faith. By paying close attention to what calls us towards the greatness we seek, and visualizing elements of the life we intend to create, we then challenge ourselves to continue making strides along the trail.
In the beginning, the biggest obstacle is merely wrapping our heads and hearts around what the direction consists of. We’ll ask ourselves, “What am I here for? Why me? How can even I get to where I want to go? Am I worthy of this?” We ponder in the shower, in the car, while lying in bed…all with the aim of finally understanding the reason behind everything. We search until we uncover the answers, until they uncover us, or a simple treaty of acceptance is established between both parties. Knowing in general is a tricky goal, but at some point, we find some truth which feels right.
Once we figure out some semblance of answers, although the answers may change from day to day, we then enter the phase which comes after Clarity; Charting the Course. With some awareness of what we want, then we ask ourselves to figure out how to get there, which can ironically be more difficult than understanding the path. Many people spend a decade stalling in the “how,” allowing themselves to continually be pulled off the path by distractions and missteps….or as some call it, “analysis paralysis.”
My bumpy road
This is where I too can speak from experience. When I finally decided to wholeheartedly work to support women leaders, it had followed ten years of hesitation. It took me listening quietly to recognize the deep, unrelenting call that I had to serve my sisters. But the call, frankly, scared me out of my mind.
I would stand at the edge of knowing and stall from fear. “I’m not ready yet,” I would tell myself. My message was still unclear. My journey was clouded and unstable. There was still something….something….but I wasn’t sure exactly what that something could be.
As I moved cautiously along the path, I would uncover other opportunities which had elements that I craved to build in the Women’s Leadership work. My excitement around speaking, teaching, and leading would often pull me towards ‘friendly distractions’ that helped me to jump ahead of the journey. When I would struggle to build up the courage to step-out as an advocate for women entrepreneurs, projects in the local economies movement or with non-profit development (my other business focuses) would present themselves, and I’d too eagerly jump at the chance.
After several times of losing momentum and expending energies on tasks which had no ties to women’s leadership, I started to notice how easily I would let myself get distracted. Even though the speaking, teaching, and leading were elements tied to my passion (they felt really good), the arena was wrong.
It was easy for me to step-out in spaces like economic development, I know that world inside and out. I can give killer presentations and grow programs in a safe circle, all while avoiding my more intimidating journey of building my platform for female empowerment. It was also easy for me to get confused by following my “passion compass,” since speaking and teaching are authentically part of my larger calling. But I had to discover a deeper clarity around whether the work which felt comfortable, yet still compelling, was still tied to my purpose of serving women?
When listening to my spirit and the emotional responses, it can be simple to get pulled off course and instead cater to the fears which hold me back. I could justify tackling projects which still felt in alignment with my purpose, since it included the kind of service that I loved, but I was ultimately using ancillary tasks to shield myself from the work that scared/called me.
I had to take an honest assessment of the reasoning behind the work I pursued. Was I tackling the tasks because they were bringing me closer to the goal of serving women? Or were they merely helping to fill the time with projects that were fun and easy? Was I letting my love of the delivery cloud my judgement around the arena?
I then realized something powerful: Just because you love something, doesn’t mean it’s meant for you. My work in economic development, and my love of speaking, helped to justify the distractions. I discovered that you must commit to your greatness with everything that you have, even if it asks you to let go of past loves and to ignore friendly distractions. Change and challenge will in turn become your allies, and overcoming the fears you harbor will eventually be possible.
When I learned to let go of the projects, people, and thought processes which no longer brought me closer to my goals, I was then able to focus more clearly on the task at hand. Conquering my fears around crafting a clear message for Women’s Leadership needed to always be my primary goal. I had to consciously decipher between the triggers which brought me passion (speaking, teaching, leading), the triggers which brought me fear (taking a stand on women’s issues), and the triggers which brought be a feeling a false accomplishment (economic development and non-profit work).
Find clarity, chart your course, listen to your heart, but don’t let your fears pull you too far off the path to Greatness.