10. Failure to Launch
(i.e. waiting for your life to start)
Before I could act, I had to understand that the play had already begun. Yes, my lonely, binge-watching, anxious, migraine-ridden, boyfriend-less life WAS my real life. Oh…..NOOOOOOO! The problem was that I was waiting. And I didn’t know it.
t was one of those weird subconscious beliefs that we love to blame on old Disney movies (because it IS Belle’s fault! I mean, come on – the Beast is a whiny a-hole. Get some self respect!)
I thought if I just keep holding on, something would change. Divine intervention. A rich millionaire would fall in love with me with a single glance across a crowded room. I’d have a brilliant idea and invent the next Velcro. I had about a million daydreams a day. Unfortunately, none of that time was spent trying to MAKE anything happen.
So nothing did.
Just in case no one has said this to you clearly, your life has already begun.
Your life doesn’t start when you graduate. It doesn’t start when you find your first love. Or finally get married. Or make sweet babies. It doesn’t start when you get your dream job. Or when you incorporate your first company. Or get your first coaching client. Or make money entirely by your artistic endeavors.
This is it. You’re already living it. This is what you have been waiting for right now. If you don’t like it, you are the only one that can change it. And it sucks, because most of our lives, SOMEONE had been telling us what to do. But, no one is coming. That someone has to be you.
9 – GOING AT BIG CHANGE WITH baby-sized IDEAS
Just wanting to change won’t get you there. Otherwise we’d all be 10 lbs. lighter and meditate 3 times a day. But change is more than possible, if you know where to apply the grease. There are THREE realms of change that are necessary to make a big shift:
1. Your inner world which is made up of your thoughts, emotions, mindset, and beliefs (whether you know you have them or not).
2. Your outer actions which are made up of all of the things you DO. Not the things you think about doing or wish you had done or put in your day planner. Just the things you do.
3. Your environment. Your physical surroundings, yes. But more than that. Your environment includes the IDEA space you put yourself in – the people you are with most often and the attitudes + beliefs that come with them.
If you want to make a big change, look at where you are in all three areas and compare that to where the people are who you want to be like. When you get stuck (and you will – everyone does now and then) you will use the other two areas like a lever and wedge yourself out of the sticky spot and into movement again.
8 – Mistaking Passion for Purpose. And BOTH for Planning.
Passion is the amazing alive FEELING you get when you are excited about something, when you find a thing that lights you up on all levels. Passion is a keystone piece of your inner compass. It points to the things that make you big, bold, and willing. But it isn’t the main thing. Passion waxes and wanes. You need something solid to build success.
That brings us to purpose. People have a lot of ideas of what purpose is. I’ll get into this in the next section more deeply, but the biggest problem I see here is that people
- Try to FIND their own purpose instead of creating it here and now and
- Think there is just ONE purpose and if they just figure it out, everything will fall into place.
These are both incomplete and can keep you stuck. Purpose is a sense, a drive, an unshakable knowing that your life has meaning and that you are living it in the world. This arises from the interplay of our vision, strengths, values, sources, and sinks. We will get into each of these in detail later. But the important point is that you live your purpose every day – whether you have the job or the partner, or whatever it is that your vision entails. And by living that purpose you will feel the passion arise, know that your life has meaning, and see the vision coming into being.
The Missing P – You won’t get to where you want to go if you don’t have this P. Planning. None of this happens without a plan (and then the action to make it real.)
7 – Choosing the Wrong Path Entirely
This is the most tempting since you will have PLENTY of people patting your back along the way for being a ‘good girl’.
Let’s say that you’ve been told since you were a little pup that doctors are respectable and you’d make a great doctor. All the women in your family are doctors. You’ve been preparing for med school since you were 12. So you pour your whole heart and soul into it. You commit completely. You give up vacations and maybe even dating. You study day and night. You get great grades. You’re on track.
For the right person, it’s the perfect fit. But, let’s also say the actual day-to-day of being a doctor? You hate it. Your strengths and creativity are languishing. You feel constantly overwhelmed. And you just never seem to enjoy the skills you depend on. The life that you want to live, the life that’s best for you, the one where you play from your strengths…well, it’s not this life. You chose the wrong road from the beginning.
Why? Because you didn’t know the kind of end that would provide YOU with meaning and a way to shine.
Another way to think of it – halfway down this road, you realize, “You can’t get there from here.”
6 – The Myth of the Sole Achiever
You can’t do it alone. You probably feel like you should be able to. That you want to, even. There’s this weird myth floating around in our culture that we all have to be absolutely everything to everyone, while never disappointing anyone. Maybe there is someone out there who can pull in six figures while rocking 8 hours of sleep, manage a healthy dinner every night, constantly impress her boss, be down to earth but also sex goddess, housekeep like its the 50’s, exercise every morning at 6am, raise perfect kids (or pets) that all end up at Harvard (or a really exclusive doggy training program), be a size 2 and look 10 years younger than she is. Maybe.
But it’s not you. Or me. Or anyone I’ve ever met. You are not alone and you can’t do it alone. Whatever your mission is, you can’t be successful by yourself. We are constantly surrounded by hero stories. People held up and praised as if they single-handedly created their success. But ask anyone who has made it, and they will sing a long list of praises to the people that helped them get and stay there.
5 – Misunderstanding What SUCCESS is to You
If you haven’t taken the time to understand what makes you happy, gives you power, serves as your strength, then you’re working off of someone else’s blueprint. You have been handed down countless (and contradictory) blueprints for this – go into finance, get a job with benefits, don’t rely on being an artist, take any job you can get, you’re lazy if you don’t. Any can serve as a jumping-off point. But only once you really understand your end point. Some of us need a life with plenty of down time, creative quiet, and contemplation. Others thrive on the pressure cooker and need a bit of chaos to feel at home. Some of us want predictability while that just takes the life out of some of us.
I may need $100,000 a year to be happy and make the impact I want to make. You man need $25,000. Or $1,000,000.
And just imagining a list of what you think you want isn’t gonna cut it. Find a way to experience what that kind of success looks like from the inside – even if it is just vicariously. Take the time to find real world examples of the success you want and see how it lives – what the day to day actually requires. How much pressure is involved? How much down time? Can you take time off? Are the skills you will need ones you want to learn? Take the time to get the clarity, understand the resources, and secure the support it takes to make that kind of success real.
4 – Not Knowing Your Own Damn Strengths
I bet if I asked you what you were bad at, you could give me a list a mile long. But your strengths? This doesn’t come so, ah, naturally.
But your strengths are the tools you are going to absolutely rely on to get you your freedom. Your natural strengths are the KEY to sustaining what you want over the long term. Most of us were taught a bunch of skills and expected to learn them, whether we were good at them or not, in order to pass the right test or keep up with our peers. That is NOT what I”m talking about. I’m talking about the strengths that are all your own. The ones you would have whether you were born now or 1000 years ago. They are part of who you are. Using them makes you stronger, energizes you, and increases your confidence. Don’t know them yet? Don’t worry. You will get to know them very well.
3 – Letting Your Fears Speak More Loudly Than Your Desires
But fears are SO LOUD! I know. It’s hard to have a voice in the back of your head asking if its the right thing, if you really have what it takes, what happens if you fail, are you really ready yet. But listening to this means cutting your own feet out from under you before you even begin. You let your head loop on what could happen instead of what you want to happen. And then you get a whole lot of nothing happening. Or nothing good, anyway.
You are not alone. EVERYONE eventually hits a fear they have trouble getting past. The goal isn’t to be fearless. It’s to get to know these guys well enough to ignore them when they’re not on your team.
You know that saying, right? Feel the fear, and do it anyway.
But the trick is to address the ones you need to and tune out the rest. By tuning IN to what you want. For some of you, this will be the first time you have asked yourself the questions, “What do I really love? What brings me joy? What expands and excites me? What do I want to bring into being? Where can I schedule that in, today?”
2 – Wasting a Bunch of Time Looking for Your Path.
Some of you are looking for the right thing. That might be why you picked up this Guide. The first big mindset shift you will make is to flip that question on its head. The right life for you is not hiding under a rock somewhere.
Oh man, am I guilty of believing that one. I could analyze 1,000,000 paths and I probably did before I had the courage to just start something and see what happened. The big secret is that you are NOT going to find your path. By following your vision, using your strengths, abiding by your values, paying attention to what fills you up, and staying connected to your peeps, your path will emerge before you. It’s an interactive experience. You must act to see it. You take a scary step and then look around. Then you take another. Then another, and adjust as that inner compass kicks in. Commit to something. If it feels right, keep going. If not, alter your course, with your vision in mind.
Repeat after me: I will FORGE my path. Not find my path. I will FORGE my path. Not find my path.
Like Dorothy and her Red Slippers, the power is in you and has been all along.
1 – But the very BIGGEST reason I see people try and fail, or fail to try?
The Wrong Story
The number one reason is that people don’t have the right STORY. The right mindset. This means that the major block they face always comes back to #1 – Your Inner World. The thoughts and feelings and beliefs that run non-stop, on autopilot in your head. You can cut out everyone else, but you can’t cut out yourself.
It can be difficult to go against the grain. You won’t always have a supportive community at your side. And even when you do, the voice you hear 24-7 is YOURS.
Finding success on your terms depends fundamentally on what you say to yourself along the journey.
When an opportunity comes up, what do you hear? “They’ll never choose me. Why don’t I get what I want?” or “The universe timed this perfectly. I’m going all in!” When you fail, what do you hear? “You should have never tried that! What’s wrong with you!” or “Well, I’ll step it up next time. I hadn’t considered that happening before.” When someone criticizes your work? When you lose out in a big way? When you get really sick? When you fall down hard?
When it comes down to it, most people who quit their day job don’t make it to their end goal. And after you’ve listened to enough people tell their stories, you realize that at some point, that inner drive just gave out to that inner drag. That is a tragedy.
I have a LOT of experience with the whole inner critic stopping me in my tracks thing. Starting off with pretty severe anxiety and depression left me confronting my inner worst enemy pretty much ALL of the time. I was so freaking sick of myself. It was like that Jon Kabat-Zinn book – “Wherever you go, there you are.”
I could switch jobs, or relationships, or go on vacation and, damn it! There I was again. And I was BAD company. Luckily, I’m preternaturally stubborn when I want to be. And I wanted to be able to stand my own damn company. Maybe even like it. So the work began.
I got handed an accidentally brilliant tool for introspection from a startup buddy in Cambridge. We both knew exactly nothing about business, but our enthusiasm was at 1000%. He’d hung up signs all around his house with this one question:
“What is your Limiting Step? What one action, piece of information, or person do you need to get to the next step?“
I taped this above my desk and asked this every single day, 100 times a day, whenever I would stop or feel cloudy. It helped me clarify exactly what was in my way at that very moment. I think maybe ONCE it was a piece of information or a task I needed to do. But 99% of the time, it was my inner critic, my inner scaredy cat, my inner fuck-things-up-er. Saying I didn’t have anything of value to share. Saying I was a fraud. Saying I’d never make anything out of myself.
What a wake-up call.
There are 10,000 programs out there that will teach you high level strategy to start your own social enterprise or make money off of your art or leverage your contacts to get a new career. There are 10,000 tactics that will teach you how to create an audience with Instagram or launch a product on your website in an afternoon or get 100 Pinterest Followers a day. And those things are important. You need to be a part of the world, visible and effective. You need strategies that work. You need tactics that you can implement to make your impact.
Those are NOT the things that will ultimately stop you from getting what you want. What will stop you is a lack of clarity. What will stop you is living someone else’s blueprint. It’s having no idea what you want in your gut and being too afraid to look. It’s not having the right people on your team (including your inner team). It’s the shame that freezes you and makes you want to give up and hide instead. It’s the crystal clarity you have around what you think are your faults and the absolute fog around your real strength and power.
Those things don’t have to stop you. They won’t if you take the time to create a solid INNER foundation in tandem with your amazing outer foundation – and you base it authentically on your vision, strengths, and needs.
That’s Why The Escape Plan Exists
To help you activate the very strongest parts of you and turn down the volume on the other parts. To catapult you past these areas into building a foundation that allows for your success in the LONG term – even if passions fade and doubt sets in – so you can follow through on your intention, find your freedom, and create what you know you have the potential to create.
I truly believe we are in the middle of a revolution in our world. For the first time in history, each of us can join in to combine our impact and amplify our message on a truly GLOBAL scale. Heart-centered people are stepping up in every way, from starting impact driven businesses to just saying to use their influence to create a kinder, freer, and better world. There is no problem too big or too small. That is a vision I believe in with my whole being. And living out my purpose means supporting the inner ass-kickers, world changers, conscious visionaries, whole-hearted lovers and practical idealists that live in each of us, in all of us.
Answer the question, “What should I do with my life?” once and for all.
P.S. Don’t forget to check out our new e-course. This motherlode of awesomeness will get you in gear for the new year!