What would you do if you knew you would not fail?
I think this goes to the heart of what interferes with success.
There’s a lot of focus on doing what is expected, a tendency of avoiding being different or avoiding failure. I think this limits a person. It keeps them smaller than they really are.
A sociologist or anthropologist might say it’s part of the social mores to keep the group in-line. This may be true; there needs to be some rule and order in social groups but as with many things too much can create a problem. Maintaining a group sense is good to a point. If we don’t make room for unique responses to problems then we don’t allow for creativity, ingenuity, and invention.
Some of the best lessons and most rewarding gifts come from mistakes or failures. I’m not advocating trying to fail but rather a view of seeing what the lesson of the failure is so that the next step will be a beautiful success.
Any successful businessperson will tell you they had some big failures before they hit it big, It’s not just part of the mythology of success it’s a part of the way we develop.
I see this avoidance of vulnerability in relationship too. It may be how the divorce rate could be interpreted. A lack of honesty in relationship leads to being in a relationship that is unhappy and unfulfilling.
In my work with couples I encourage them to make sure their real self is in the relationship. Because then when they feel love they can feel it to their core.
It’s a calculated risk.
We want to be loved. So we try to be what we think the other wants. The problem with that strategy is that when we succeed in being loved it’s not us, it’s a less real us that is loved.
For some they can spend the rest of the relationship trying to get their full self into the relationship, renegotiating their agreements and their core ideals. This can work when both parties are able to tolerate vulnerability.
The payoff is big if you risk vulnerability and win; but the cost can be dear if you lose. When we express what we really want and it doesn’t occur it seems to hurt more than if we don’t actually try to create what we want. In the latter case the loss is more the loss of a possibility.
Spending a lot of time and energy avoiding risky situations because we want a sure thing can be a smart strategy. But it can backfire – forcing us into lives where we don’t have passion, or ambition, or feel alive.
I think it forces us to live a life that isn’t ours, not the one we were born to live.
And then there is the concept of risking vulnerability or being seen more on a spiritual level. This is an aspect of being or doing that to which we are drawn but feel it isn’t smart, or responsible, or practical. This is the area in which we have talent but it may pull on us spiritually in a way that connects directly to our core.
Think about how to bring in more of the aspect in which you feel most vulnerable but you feel you lack skills – it’s probably the area that will ultimately bring you the most joy or success because it’s probably the area you felt you needed to keep under wraps because it meant so much to you.
When I was 25 years old, I felt I had to make a choice between my artistic creations and my art/work of therapy. The former felt a part of me, a deep aspect that defined me in an undeniable way. The latter also felt connected to me but it had a more cognitive and external aspect that identified how well I could interact in the world. The former I viewed as a talent the latter a skill – or rather a refined talent.
Although I had a great deal of my heart in my therapy, it was distanced from my central self – it was something I did – a doing; my artwork was all heart and directly connected to my core – it was more of a being – something I was.
At 25 years old, I chose to make my profession the therapy because of its distance from my heart and my sense of vulnerability there, but I wonder if I had chosen my art/writing if I would have found a deeper, more profound joy and satisfaction in my living.
My psychotherapy and integrative medicine practice has been that with which I negotiate the world. The distance has allowed me to feel less vulnerable. And I have found a modicum of success in that venture.
In this last year I have allowed my self to re-incorporate my artistic and writing adventures into the whole of who I am. Risking vulnerability by writing.
In doing this I have felt an expansion in my personal being. Incorporating both my therapeutic skills and my artistic talents to provide a wholistic approach to health and well-being that can positively affect a greater audience of people than those whom show up at my practice door.
May you find amazing ways to integrate that which you love and that in which you are skilled, and discover an expanded sense of self and purpose.
In order to do so think about the things that you are drawn to do but feel are impractical like being an artist rather than an engineer, and see if you can discover ways to incorporate that aspect of yourself into your work or way of being in the world. You may find there is something just waiting for you to accomplish.
What would you do if you knew you would not fail?
See you tomorrow.