Own it already!

Owning who I am has always been a continuous uphill battle. We live in a culture where people value who you are by the job you have. The first thing everyone asks when they meet you is “What do you do?” This is the question I dread and instead of seeing it as an opportunity to declare who I am (not what I “do”) I usually shrink away and tell them “nothing.” Since I’ve made the bold stroke to turn my life upside down a few months ago, my identity was tossed upside down with it. Who the heck am I and what the heck do I do? Deep down inside I know the answer to both. The hard part is publicly owning and embracing these things. Like if I declare them out loud I’m somehow giving away too much or I will jinx the good thing I have going in my mind. And I know I’m not alone in this. A few weeks ago I asked my housemate what her passion in life is. After she stammered a bit she weaseled her way out of the question. The next day–a full 24 hours later–she was finally able to move it from her mind to her mouth and set it free by telling me (with great discomfort, I might add). I think there is some sort of unwritten obligation that once you’ve declared something, you must then set it in motion immediately–even if you aren’t ready to do so. But that’s silly and isn’t the case at all. That work comes later. The first thing you need to do is own it. Get comfortable with it. Be able to declare what you do when someone asks you. Don’t tell them what you do for a living if it has nothing to do with who you really are. Create a title for what you do and a little description about it. Practice it in front of your pets. Then practice in front of your friends. Then let it rip the next time a new acquaintance asks.

Where is this coming from you may ask? Why this post now? Well, if you follow this blog you already know that I’m working on a series of online classes. Well I was speaking with a lawyer–the same one that works with Jennifer Lee on the Right-Brain Business Plan book and all the wonderful stuff that has come after it–about my classes. Just speaking about these classes to him was a uncomfortable. I stammered a lot and couldn’t find the right words for what I know is supposed to be my life’s work. How can this be? How am I not able to describe what I want to do with my life to someone else? I realized that it’s because I’m not fully invested in my dream. I’m treating it like I’ve treated everything else in the past. Well…I’ll just dip a toe in to see if the water is fine and if it isn’t to my liking I’ll just walk away. No harm, no foul. It’s taken me countless years of painfully and expensively trying to figure out what I’ve been put on this earth to do and now that I’m 100% sure, I’m doing that lame-ass fear of failure dance! During that phone call I decided to stop the madness and just own it–with every fiber of my being. There is no half-assing my dreams anymore. I’m not going to be afraid of failing. That fear is what keeps people from doing what they love. But you can’t fail if you embody and own what you love. You can’t fail at it because you already are it.

The lesson in all of this is to ask yourself if what you are doing with your life is really what you are meant to be doing. If not, figure out your life’s work and own the heck out of it!

Now on a lighter note….enjoy these photos of the beautiful Hudson River. Petunia and I were standing almost in the middle of it during low tide.





Bold strokes

drawingI’m increasingly convinced that life rewards those who make bold strokes. Those who grab fear by the ears and headbutt it will be rewarded for their brazen attitude in the end. I’ve always believed this to be true but it’s one thing to believe it and one thing to actually test it. It’s been a few months since I quit my job and moved away from home. I wish I could say that these months have been hard but honestly they haven’t. I have no money and no steady income to speak of but honestly I’ve never felt more content. Sure, I have my moments of panic but they are often overshadowed by a peace that only freedom can provide. My time is my own. No 9 to 5 owns me. I can’t even begin to tell you how that feels. There may be a time in the future where I have to return to the traditional working world, but as of right now, it’s not in the cards for me. I have other plans and even bolder strokes to make.

I want to give some love to a friend, Jess, back in Ithaca who recently made a bold stroke and has already been rewarded for it. A few weeks ago, Jess made the decision to leave a job that makes her absolutely miserable so she can move back to a place she loves.  When she decided to quit she didn’t have a full time job lined up, just the possibility of a part time one. She took a huge chance–and to repeat the same cliche I’ve been hearing over and over “especially in this economy”–but she did it anyways! I told her to just plow ahead and don’t stop moving forward. Don’t stop to think about what you’ve done, just keep on going. And you know what? She hasn’t even fully left her old job yet and she’s already found a new one that sounds absolutely fantastic! And it’s right where she wants to live. I wish you the best Jess and your courage to do something scary to improve your life inspires me.

I don’t think it’s selfish to want to improve your life and to make bold choices in order to do so. (Just know the difference between a bold choice and a stupid one.) I feel like I’m in a place where I can actually give more of myself to others now since I’ve decided to follow my own path. I’m happier and it shows in the way I treat others. I can now spend time with people and not worry about where I have to be next. I always felt like other people owned my time and my talents. I was never using my gifts to improve myself, instead I was using them to improve the status of those I worked for. I want others to join me in making bold strokes. I want people to feel like they truly own the small amount of time they are given, because it is limited. I’m talking about a movement here people. We all have talents and we all have a calling. We each need to realize what those talents are and stop ignoring them. Can’t you hear that muffled little voice deep down inside that wants to be free? Don’t ignore that voice. That’s you in there. Once we each do what we are here to do, we’ll enjoy and value each other and the world around us a whole lot more.

James Brown once said that it’s a mans world. Well I say go out there and show them that you’ve got balls!