Getting the Life I Want: ii. Patience
I’m finally putting time into this blog post: Patience.
Some things I’m noticing as I write these blogs. Automatic negative thinking (or saboteurs) ARE LITTLE SHITS:
- "I’m not a writer."
- "People don’t want to read what I have to say."
- IMPOSTER SYNDROME
- "Your ego is exploding."
NOTE: These noticings are opportunities to take a step back and learn a little more about myself and how I think about myself. And these statements aren’t completely false.
I’m not a writer. In primary school I scored low in writing. In college, I always waited to the last minute to write my papers, because I dreaded having to put something on paper that sounded good. It takes me longer than I would like to put my words together. These blog posts are a great example.
Imposter Syndrome. The phrase ‘fake it til you make it’ stands out to me. This illness has plagued me for years and has been the crutch to me flaking on my commitments. I’ve never stuck anything out to see if it would work. I’ve always taken small risks, but I’ve always ran away from it feeling like I’m not that person or I’m not good enough to be that person. I’m learning that my identity is whatever I make it out to be. I just need to own it. And so telling people that I’m a personal development and career coach has felt awkward for me in the past. And it feels like I’m an imposter.
My EGO is exploding. There’s a voice in my head that tells me to stop talking about my experience and my life. And it confronts me with, “Who are you to talk about personal development? You’re just jerking yourself off.”
What I know is that these are just different perspectives I have of myself. And my perspective is real for me until I tell myself it isn’t. So I’m not a writer, and I’m not trying to be a writer. However, writing has always been a great outlet for me, so I’m going to continue to express my thoughts in writing. And maybe in a year from now, I can confidently call myself a writer. I’ve been coaching adults for a year now and I’m seeing transformation happen in my clients. I’m seeing them live more fulfilled lives connected to their values and purpose. And every day I coach, I become better at my craft. People are hiring me, which is clear validation that I’m pretty good at what I do and I’m on my way to embracing the personal development and career coach identity. My ego is a little shit and wants to protect me, especially to save face. The reality is, I don’t know all that I want to know about personal development(..or myself)—I do know enough to help with my journey and the journey of others. What I do know is that personal development is a life long journey. I won’t ever reach complete enlightenment. And I will always be learning.
Henry J Ford said, “Whether you say you can or can’t, you’re right.”
Now that I’ve cleared all that, I can say that the reason I’ve put off this blog post for so long is because I was met with some of saboteurs. And it took me a few weeks to confront them. But what a great lesson in patience.
I’ve had a hard time putting words together about patience. I tried a few times to sit down and write, but have always left the computer in defeat. I’ve been working on trying not to force anything and accepting the outcome—and that mindset has been working for these last few years. And it seems to be working for this blog post, too.
"Anytime you encounter resistance, recognize that if you force the situation, the resistance will only increase." -Deepok Chopra
In 2014 and 2015, I was in survival mode. I didn’t want to do what I was doing anymore. I was unhappy at work and I wanted to get out. I even told my boss that I would be leaving after summer. But I didn’t have the awareness about what I wanted to do. So I started to apply for jobs that weren’t in alignment with my values. I applied in tech sales, recruitment, project management, product management, and education. I felt like I was all over the place and nothing was resonating. One of my best friends stopped me and put my life into perspective. He essentially told me that I lacked focused and I needed to first figure out what I truly wanted to do. I didn’t know what that was. And I didn’t have the patience to figure it out. I just wanted to get the hell out of the company I was in. I decided to take a break from job applications and return to the job I had wanted to leave.
I talked a little in my last blog post about how my personal development journey started. Self-awareness started with meditation and mindfulness. I started to become aware of my breath and what it felt like to just sit and listen.
I’ve always been an impatient person. When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to get to my cousin’s house. He lived on the other side of town, which was only about a 15 minute drive. I remember always feeling antsy to get there. And the drive felt like eternity. In the 1st grade, a friend and I decided to participate in the science fair. We were doing an experiment with fresh cut white flowers and blue food dye. The idea behind the experiment was to see if white flower petals could turn blue from being in water that had been dyed. Being the impatient young boy I was, I decided I needed to speed up the process. So instead of waiting for the petal to naturally absorb the blue food dye, I decided to drip the food dye directly onto the flower petal. We didn’t get any ribbons for that.
In 2015, I picked up Deepok Chopra’s book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and he writes about the Law of Least Effort.
“Grass doesn’t try to grow, it just grows. Fish don’t try to swim, they just swim. Flowers don’t try to bloom, they bloom. Birds don’t try to fly, they fly. This is their intrinsic nature.”
The Law of Least Effort is a lesson in acceptance. Patience is developed when we learn to accept things the way they are. It is a lesson in just ‘being’.
I started to adopt this mindset. I’ve always believed that fortune isn’t gonna come and place itself on my doorstep. I’ve also always believed that there are opportunities everywhere—I just need to see them. In August 2015 on my way to Spain on a layover in Germany I made beautiful connection with a woman in passing. She was an American and she was stunning. I knew I needed to talk to her. She and I quickly hit it off and ‘coincidently’ learned that we lived blocks away from each other in Oakland. We exchanged our stories and found many commonalities. I found out she was a coach leading people through personal transformations and personal development. She related her work to the after effects of using hallucinogens. Her mission was to get people to that state of enlightenment without the drugs. In getting to know her and her mission, I started to feel the same kind of drive. I wanted to help people. I returned to work from a few weeks off in the summer with a new outlook. At work, I was placed in a program about conflict resolution, empathy & compassion, and violence prevention—and I immediately started to see what I wanted to do. We were given the opportunity to create curriculum for a workshop and that work started to light me up. I started to feel like, “what else can I do with this new-found passion?”
And the awareness and focus started to develop.
In 2016, I was accepted into a training program for a company called Challenge Day. It was a 6-month training program with little pay. I was so passionate about their work, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I, again, told my boss that I was going to leave when I graduated from the training program. 3 months into the program, I was let go. I was devastated. Heart broken, really. I felt like I had devoted my life and time to those 3 months and I felt robbed. This put me in a place of grief and I felt lost. I was so confident that I was going to graduate. I again found myself in survivor mode. But this time I decided not to react impulsively and just wait. I didn’t want to try and force my next career. And I started to accept.
A few months later I found myself talking to an old high school friend about her life in Bali. She had been let go from her corporate desk job and found herself in a similar place that I was in. She knew she wanted to serve people AND surf all day. She also knew she didn’t want to sit at a desk the rest of her life. I was so curious. She told me about coaching and the program that she had gone through… And 2 months later I was taking the first class to that program.
After taking that first class, I knew that this was in complete alignment with my values and my purpose. I knew that this was what I truly wanted. And I knew that giving space, time, and practicing patience allowed me to see clearly what I wanted in my life. This journey started with feeling stuck and unhappy. And my transformation didn’t happen overnight—it took 3 years to realize that I was unhappy and another 2 years to figure out what my next steps were. The journey to becoming my best self is still in the works. And I still find myself wondering when the hell am I going to be successful. And I’m also realizing that I’m already successful. I’m doing what I love to do. And that’s success.
Accepting the outcome of all my actions is practicing patience. And when I practice patience, huge rewards come my way.
Inquiry: Where in your life do you need a little more patience and acceptance?