Every day is a chance to reclaim your life from whatever you’ve givem it to. It might be the daily grind, the just getting by, the distraction of your choice, addictions; however seemingly harmless and benign to the most destructive.
Whatever we choose, it all gets used to push away the opportunity to connect with ourselves in a deeper way, where we know who we truly are and what we really need.
We can do menial deeply boring jobs and be happy in ourselves and we can have highly praised, gifted, creative work and be miserable and disconnected.
Its truly not about what we do, its how we do it because of who we are as we do it.
I remember as a little girl wanting nothing more than to be a successful businesswoman. I had no idea what that even meant. I wasn’t even sure what ‘business’ was but the idea of it represented escape, a chance to get away. I couldn’t be that successful person and stay in my home town with my family.
Its only in years since, reflecting back, do I see just how much that vision spurred me on, kept me going until I reached its pinnacle, traveling the world doing multi million dollar deals, working with a hugely influential American brand, collaborating with French designers at the top of the industry.
I’d made it. I was the successful businesswoman that little girl had thought would be the answer to all her problems. And it wasn’t.
Nor was the alcohol I was drinking too much of, not the food I ate too much of, not the clothes I kept buying, now in a smaller size than I could wear.
I was empty inside and I didn’t understand why. And apart from a few friends and my work, my life was empty on the outside too.
How did I get it so wrong? This is what was going to make me happy and keep me safe and it wasn’t.
I was living that little girl’s dream, wearing nice clothes and fabulous shoes, always traveling to new destinations, exotic, iconic, glamorous and interesting, working with beautiful people, with gorgeous clothes I helped to create.
Why was it not working? Why was I not happy?
Why was I drinking too much, eating too much, spending too much?
Why was I working so hard and yet getting no further?
I blamed everyone and everything else, my childhood – of course, my boss – for sure, the difficult members of my team – definitely.
There was no peace and every day felt like a drudge. Sure, there were some great moments, but there was so much that wasn’t and I was constant battling and nothing felt good for long. Nothing was truly satisfying, nothing fed my soul.
And so started the slowest nervous breakdown in the history of the world. I walked away from my ideal job but it took another five years before I fell apart. Five long hard years where I could get nothing right, nothing worked for me.
I started three different businesses and each one failed, taking more of my money. I went back to working for other people and got job after job, and instead of the success I’d always found in my work, able to push forward, I found I kept getting rejected, rebuffed, rebuked, fired. What the f*ck was happening?
Before, personally my life might have been sh!t, but professionally it shone. Now? Nothing worked out for me, not in my personal life not my professional life. Not one damn thing worked out for me anymore.
At the worst stage, I even feared becoming homeless, wondering where I would store all my clothes and shoes. Because even though I had no occasion to wear them anymore, I still had them with me.
I honestly didn’t know what to do, where to turn, Life was empty, purposeless, devoid of any kind of meaning and hope was non existent. I finally fell into the depression that had been stalking me for at least five years but really I’d been outrunning what was chasing me since I was that little girl dreaming of success and travel. I couldn’t run anymore. I couldn’t pretend to be someone else anymore.
I’d had everything I’d thought I’d ever wanted and it wasn’t enough. Actually that’s not true, its not that it wasn’t enough, I thought I wasn’t enough. And more than that, that thing I thought I wanted wasn’t the escape I’d thought it would be.
The little girl inside of me had wanted to be an important adult, but once there she realised that wasn’t what she thought it was. Because being important wasn’t what she really wanted and needed. And I’d just brought all the sh!t I was trying to outrun with me.
Its not being happy with what you’ve got. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to do well for yourself, I love ambition, I love people who strive to be more, do more, have more in life. Its about what’s fueling that ambition, its about whether you’re going in the true direction for who you are and what you want and need.
What I wanted and needed and never found, as a little girl, or as an unaware adult was safety and freedom. That was always what I needed but I forgot about my need to also feel free as I chased my desperate desire to be safe. And I built walls that kept people out and I did my job like my life depended on it.
And when I stopped running, I didn’t know who the hell I was.
I fell apart just as my life had fallen apart. And then I had to start putting things back together, and I tried to put it all back together in the way that I thought had worked before. Putting everything into my work. So I had to fall apart a bit more.
Until I gave up pretending I knew what I was doing and asked for help.
Help to recover, help to rebuild a life that worked for me. Help to understand why I went so far for so long to fall so spectacularly.
And I’ve realised something in the long years its taken to get here, to where I still every day get to figure out who I am and what works for me.
We’re all doing the best we can. Sure, sometimes, some people’s best is really not up to much, and honestly they shouldn’t even try, but letting go of my judgement, if they’re doing the best they can, then they have more pain inside than I faced and I need to cut them some slack.
Every day, I make peace with myself and I do the work that fills me up and connects with my soul. I can’t remember the last time I had to fly for work, and honestly, I don’t enjoy airports at all and barely miss travel most days. I know myself better than I have ever done and I keep learning, keep healing, keep sharing.
Its our personal responsibility to heal, and its up to us to ask for help and guidance.
Instead of building walls that keep people out, we have to find a way to accept the need to show our vulnerability and admit we’re scared, that we’ve been hurt and don’t want it to happen again. We need to find the courage to love and let people in. More than that, we need to find compassion for ourselves, the child, the adult and all stages in between.
Today, when the urge to groan about your day comes up, or the nudge to take something that takes the edge off rises, stop and ask, ‘Baby, what do you really need?’
And listen, because in that quiet moment, you’ll be told what you need too.
PS. Think what would life be like if your thought processes were upgraded so you became unstoppable. What would life be like if you were able to step up and show up as that best ever version of you that you know you’re capable of?
Picture yourself thriving in life, developing an instinct for making the right choices, knowing in your gut you’re always choosing the correct thing for you.
Imagine any addictions, old anxiety and fear melting away, no longer influencing your thinking, your behaviour, your decisions. You are free to make better choices.
Think how it would feel achieving your goals with far less resistance, whether it’s earning an extraordinary income, being a rockstar in your business or career, or excelling in your personal relationships. You can do it, you have no fears about any of it anymore.
See yourself fully present and grounded, living with total fulfillment and satisfaction with how life is unfolding for you, with zero regrets, as you fearlessly carve your own path forward.
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