There are five lies that stand between you and the life you deserve. They block your view, stall your progress and steal your resolve. Don’t bother looking for anyone else to blame. You are their author, their advocate, and their most loyal defender. You need them. They help you stay stuck in the familiar world of incompletion, frustration, and unrealized dreams – the only world you’ve ever known. It’s hard to leave home. But it’s time.
Lie # 1: I’m not ready.
You’re not a kid anymore. You’ve been around the block. You have a dream and a clue. You’ve written lists, searched the web and talked to people – lots of people. You’ve even paid for a few workshops and have pages and pages of notes to show for it. Yet you’re stuck. It’s so difficult to know when the groundwork is laid and it’s time to fly. It’s so easy to imagine that you’re not ready yet, that you can’t possibly begin until everything’s perfect – whatever that is. This is when a trusted friend or life coach can be invaluable. By bringing a fresh pair of eyes and an objective perspective a mentor can help free you from this paralyzing lie. The truth is you are ready, and you’ve been ready for a while. What you need now is trust. You’ve mistaken fear for caution. As Emerson said, “Once you make a decision the universe conspires to make it happen.” In your bones you know this is true – you’ve felt it many times before. It’s imbedded in your own experience and verified by your own authority. Make a decision – say, I’m ready – and it will be true. Then watch everything fall into place.
Lie # 2: I’m just not good enough to compete at the highest levels.
Our heroes inspire us. They also scare the crap out of us. When you finally meet your hero at a conference or a book signing or backstage or in a crowded elevator you hardly know what to say even though you’ve rehearsed this moment for years. You babble incoherently, painfully aware that ten minutes from now, long after they’re gone, the perfect words will appear. We mistakenly believe that our heroes are higher order beings, mystically endowed with superpowers that will forever elude us. Not true. When they started out they felt exactly like you feel right now – full of doubt and scared to death. But they took one step, and then another, and soon, with the passage of time, they were well on their way. The trick is to stop comparing yourself to anyone else, especially your heroes. You’re right – you could never do what they do. And they could never do what you do either. And that’s that. Stop thinking about them. Take in the inspiration but leave behind the intimidation. The reason they became so great and powerful is because they were fierce and uncompromising in the pursuit of their own personal greatness. They stopped comparing themselves to anyone else. They didn’t say, Where’s the path so that I may follow. They said, The only path is the one behind me, formed by the footsteps of my own artful meandering.
Lie # 3: If I fail, it means I’m a worthless fraud.
The ego mind has a curious knack for exaggerating our weaknesses and overlooking our strengths. This is easily remedied. Come out of your ego mind and see with the unbiased eyes of pure awareness. In this light our so-called failures are simply missteps corrected long ago and eclipsed by all the right moves we’ve made since then. It’s really true that there are no mistakes – every turn in the road revealed new wonders and cultivated new strengths and connections that are now indispensable – we can’t imagine our lives without them. Why will your next so-called mistake be any different? Gifts come in many forms. Accept them all.
Perfectionism is ego attachment plain and simple. Learn to play the fool. When you’re laughing, you’re learning. Mistakes are what growth looks like. Don’t be defined by your mistakes – define them.
Lie # 4: There’s no more room at the top.
The world is full of self-appointed prophets of doom, with bulging briefcases and flashy websites full of evidence that your plan isn’t going to work. And you believe them. In fact, you’ve internalized and blended their voices into one – your very own inner prophet of doom – the master of excuses, the prince of procrastination, and the minister of fear. But the truth is far simpler than all of that. The truth is that this thing called the future is unformed, fluid and highly malleable, forged by the mettle of intention and action, shaped by the vision of visionaries and dreamers who have the guts to love what they love and detractors be damned. Henry David Thoreau said it best. “If one advances confidently in the direction of their dreams, and endeavors to live the life they have imagined, they will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Leave the common hours to the prophets of doom. Dare to speak a deeper truth. Of course there is room at the top. But it’s even crazier than that. There’s no such thing as “the top.” There are just excellent people doing masterful work all over the place, and being rewarded for it. Bring your gifts, without fear and without apology. Never doubt that they will be willingly received by a world hungry for what is brought forth in love.
Lie # 5: Success isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
This is perhaps the most insidious lie of all. We delight in the foibles of the rich and famous. We mock the successful and ascribe nefarious motives to the most gifted and generous of change-agents. We fear wealth because we crave it so pathologically and unconsciously. Our animosity toward the rich is little more than a childish projection of our own self-loathing. We misread and misunderstand success. Success has nothing to do with wealth and power. Success is mastery in our given craft and the well-being that arises when we learn to live authentically. When we follow our bliss, hone our skills and perfect our capacity to give the world what it needs, when we become a powerful agent of the healing of the world, the world will in turn fulfill our every need. Giving and receiving are two names for one circle. When you chase money from the consciousness of scarcity, wealth eludes you. When in your humility you learn how to serve, abundance rains down. This is an unimpeachable law. Stop thinking of success or wealth as a goal, a salve for your self-inflicted wounds. Instead, realize that abundance is the natural state of the universe, and by opening up the circuits you become a conduit for the circulation of love-energy. That’s how we keep what we give away. The fearful never understand this paradox. But you do.
The five lies stand between you and your fullest realization. The longing you feel is the longing of the universe to manifest itself in you, through you and as you. It’s not personal, it’s universal. The universe is trying to do something amazing. Let it. Stop believing in these five lies. They have no power over you anymore. You’re free to be who you really are. That’s what your soul is asking for. Get out of your own way.
Peter Bolland is a writer, speaker, singer-songwriter, and professor at Southwestern College where he teaches comparative religion, Asian philosophy, ethics, and world mythology. You can find him on Facebook (www.facebook.com/peter.bolland.page), follow him on Twitter (www.twitter.com/peterhbolland), or write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org