At the beginning of this year I was at the nadir of my existence. I woke up one morning and realized that the experience of life was that there was no one I could trust to stand for me.
I was working insane hours, making commitments I wasn't enrolled into out of fear and then losing power when held accountable for them and making more commitments to fix the loss of power. My only commitment in life was to look good while talking and get away with it. If I did, great! If I didn't, I'd put in more effort and make up the difference somehow.
Having tried every strategy I could think of to make myself more lovable, likeable and successful I realized that I suck at that kind of strategy. It does nothing for me, it leaves me untouched, unmoved and uninspired. There is a temporary experience of having "achieved" something, but having no clue how I really got there, I have no access to recreating it on a continued, sustained basis. I didn't know where to go from here. All I knew was that this life was not worth living.
Suicide was not an option. I wondered why it wasn't. I realized that the first thought that came to my head was that there are people counting on me. Rather, all I knew was that some people claimed they counted on me. That was it. I knew nothing else. I decided to find out if they really did, or whether they were just faffing. I wanted to know if this "being liked" business was actually worth it. Could I count on the people I was trying to be liked by so hard. Because if I couldn't then the effort was just not worth it and I should go look someplace else for a different set of people to create a fresh set of relationships with. The first people I wanted to know about were my parents. I started sharing cautiously at first and then more and more. I realized that I could actually count on them! WOW! Turn's out I'm not actually alone! That was something I made up. Knowing that my parents love me and will stand by me NO MATTER WHAT, I suddenly had the power to take on the world!
The next person on my list was my coach and friend, someone who gave me my first professional break. I realized I'd never had the power to hold him to account and make a request, because I'd always considered myself too small and insignificant to ask. With this newfound power, I was actually able to ask him to meet me and share. Before I met him that morning, I spent the night strategizing with my parents on what I would say. We were all worried as hell, because if he didnt take well to being held to account, I would need to move back to India. I kept thinking of ways to present things, reasons to provide and ways to manipulate, until the moment I actually met him. He said he was there as my friend and not as my boss. AHA! Here's something I can work with. The only thing I have the power to hold him to account on, is who he says he is to me.
And that I CAN hold him to account for, always! Ok, time to test this theory out!
I told him I missed that guy, the one who was able to drop being my boss and be just my friend.
By this time I was crying. Couldn't hold it back. But that's immaterial. This seemed to be working though. He was actually listening! I told him exactly what I was experiencing, the lack of partnership, connectedness and love. He got it! He shared what he had been dealing with that allowed that to happen and I got connected back to who he is. No more need be said. The world shifted in that moment. There's nothing like a validated theory to give you power!
That it! That IS it! From this moment on, I am on a rampage to validate every theory that calls me into action.
So far it's going great! Clearly the people in my life rock a lot more than I thought!
The truth of the matter is that I always knew this is the way I wanted to live, I just didn't have the balls to test it out.
My father asked me this week, what I wanted to have on my tombstone. I'm still exploring ideas, here's what it looks like so far:
"Here lies a man who actually got away with keeping his word"
This requires some promises:
1. I promise to give my word only when I'm touched, moved and inspired
2. I promise to play with everything I've got
3. I promise to stay in communication and never hold back from fear
4. I promise to always operate from love
This is who I am and this is what the world can count on.
I invite the world to brainstorm with me on this. Worst case scenario, I'll learn something!
Bonus discovery of the week:
Here's what I discovered gives me power to make unreasonable requests:
1. Saying exactly what's so and what's not
2. Being willing to take the consequences of (1) NO MATTER WHAT!