When I walked out of the office on the last day of  being a receptionist I thought I was stepping into a new life which would surely be filled with travel, fabulous-ness, and mega fame.  After all, I was making a choice to affirm my calling! Surely the universe would support me. To believe otherwise would invite disaster. Little did I know that what I needed and what I thought I wanted were not at all the same thing. What I needed was to have all of my illusions about success  systematically ripped away so that I could get honest with myself about what success actually looked like and how I would know when I was there.  That lesson didn't come with a tropical vacation.

In this internet era , when life coach is the go to career for most psychology majors, there are probably millions of articles about the benefits of "going for it".  You'll be happier, they say. Freer. Your life will be filled with meaning and drinks with little umbrellas in them

Sure, all of that may happen. Eventually. More likely, though, there will be a period of sustained hell when life starts purging all of the illusions you've built up until now.  It's tempting to see this catastrophic period as a sign that you just aren't meant to do whatever the heck it is, but it's actually all about preparing you.   

If it hadn't been for that hell period, I would never have learned the true meaning of commitment to myself, to my music, and to my audience.  Dedication is just words until it's tested.  When the metaphorical shit hits the proverbial fan and you continue to do your best even though some days even the barest of bare minimums feels excruciating, that is when you know you have arrived. Real commitment is humbling. It will beat the crap out of your ego. It will make you real honest real fast about what you want and why you're here. 

I could have tried out for a singing competition if I wanted fame. I could have chosen to have a lucrative day job. There is always an easier way to get your material wants. The only reason to stick it out is ultimately because what matters to you more than anything is to get your art out there.  

Pursuing your passion will teach you how to graciously accept help and how to know when to decline it. When someone genuinely wants to help it feels like your heart could explode with joy. It's almost overwhelming how grateful you can be for the smallest gifts.

Your bullshit meter also gets finely tuned after not too long. Just as there are helpers that will come seemingly out of no where to assist you, there are also wolves in sheep's clothing who would love nothing more than to tear you apart. It's like Danielle LaPorte once wrote, you learn to keep an open, gentle heart with a big fucking fence.  

What has changed the most drastically is how I think about opportunity.  Scarcity thinking is poison to the big dreamer. It will ask you who you think you are to want "this".   It will breed resentment and taint what you love. Abundance thinking seems magical since it's so counter to the way most of us have been raised, but it's much closer to logic than it's given credit for.  There may no be unlimited resources, but there is a lot more room than we seem to think.  I'm not saying stick your fingers in your ears and hum your way through life, but at least be open to the possibility that people want you to be successful at whatever the hell it is you do.    

As much as we dread those hard dark nights of the soul, they are the times when we are truly formed. It's not as sexy or fun as mega-success, but if fear of failure is holding you back then knowing even when you belly flop instead of fly you are still heading in the right direction. It takes all seasons of life, the times when things come easily and joyfully and the times when it's a real fight just to get through the day.

Be Brave. Who you become on the other side is the real masterpiece.  

 

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