Look, I’m going to give it to you straight. Any time you attempt something new, doesn’t matter what it is, it will suck. At least in the beginning, and probably for most of the way through.
But it does get better. There will be a moment when you feel triumph, success, confidence, heroism, relief. You know, the juice you’re looking for – the experience behind whatever it is you’re taking on. (But be careful about this part, I’ll explain more later…) It’s just that it comes at the end. And there’s a whole lot of suck that happens in the middle.
So as you step out onto the road of your life and contemplate this next step in your journey you have to ask yourself: “Am I willing to suffer? Am I willing to suffer the suck, the uncertainty, the temporary defeats in order to bring this vision into reality?”
In our 21st Century entitlement set of expectations we want the juice at the beginning. Or near the beginning. We don’t want the suck. But trust me, my friend, the suck is crucial.
Hear me out.
This is by grand design. It is intentional. Please hear me when I say this…it’s supposed to be that way.
I know what you’re thinking. “But how can someone relatively smart, capable, inspired, driven, passionate, passionate, did I mention passionate? have such a difficult time? Am I stupid or something? What am I doing wrong? Why isn’t God helping me out or something?” Or maybe “if this is so hard, then maybe it’s the wrong thing. Maybe I’ve made a mistake and chosen the wrong path, the wrong purpose, the wrong audience, the wrong influencer, the wrong side hustle, the wrong…”.
Woah there, grasshopper. It’s nothing like that. It isn’t you. Well it is, but it isn’t.
Let me explain.
First of all, passion is no protection from challenge. There ’s this whole way of thinking out there right now about passion, finding one’s passion, and it’s pursued as if it’s the panacea of all new endeavours. It’s not. That pursuit should tell you one thing for sure…people are running from something. And that something is the suck. The struggle.
Passion won’t save you from what’s to come.
Western society really doesn’t teach us wisdom. From an early age we enter school and start learning that we are what we do. There are measurements we strive for, good grades, belonging to groups, etc etc that all seem to hinge on our performance. And that assessment, when we get the grades, we make the team, whatever (or more painfully we don’t), ends up telling us something about ourselves. We matter. We have worth. We’re lovable. We make an incredibly significant decision about ourselves, more like a series of ongoing micro-decisions, based on what is happening outside of ourselves.
The renowned mystic OSHO wrote a powerful yet simple explanation in his article, The False Center. When we’re born, we have no idea who we are. There is no concept of good, bad, lovable or unlovable. We are, in a way, a blank slate. We begin to learn about who we are in the world by what happens around us. Our parents show us by the way they care for us. Our grandparents, older siblings, teachers, coaches, and other people whose opinions we believe begin to reflect back to us ‘who we are’. We learn who we are from what we see reflected back to us.
Those decisions we make when we’re young form our blueprint, or narrative, for the story we tell ourselves about ‘who I am in the world’. An art teacher tells us we lack creativity, an older sibling tells us we’re slow and clumsy, a parent tells us we’re lazy. These seeds go in and begin to take root in our tender souls and we live out the fruits of those stories.
We become someone fictional. Someone based on the people around us and their hang-ups, unresolved issues, fear, pain, hopes, etc. etc. and our mistaken decisions about what that means about us. We start to live our lives from a false center.
We become someone we think we are. And leave behind who we really are.
And who we think we are is the one who secretly wants this new project, business, course, relationship, whatevs, to finally show us beyond a doubt that we are talented, fabulous, gorgeous, lovable. The experience part I warned you about earlier.
But who we really are doesn’t need external validation. Who we really are is incredible. Who we really are shares lineage with stardust, supernovas, thunderstorms, hurricanes. We come from the same intelligence that created all of that. We are a part of this great unfolding and we play a part. You play a part in the unfolding of all that is. Just the way you are.
And this is where the suck comes in. Its purpose is to crack you open. To bring those beliefs you have about yourself, the ones that are only trying to cover up a painful decision you made about yourself, into your awareness. When you become aware, you can exercise the most powerful human ability on the planet - the power of choice.
And that something happens to be the real purpose you’re here. That purpose explains why whenever you follow a dream, and begin to take action, the suck shows up.
When I first began to notice this pattern I began drawing it out on whiteboards during coaching sessions and it looked like this:
Then I came across this brilliant piece of work. I’m not sure whose it is, but it showed me the pattern was real, especially if other people were out there thinking and writing about it.
I’ve seen this pattern show up again and again in my own life for sure. Heck, it is the exact pattern my own journey into coaching took when I first began.
When I first realized I was made to be a coach I was grabbed by a huge excitement and enthusiasm. I finally had my purpose, my passion! A few months later, coaching training started to get tough. Classes were late at night, I had two young boys at home, sleep was something I vaguely remembered from my past. The suck had arrived. I’d like to say I handled it like a champ, but I didn’t. I started surfing while my classes were happening. I started falling behind on my assignments. It took me right up until the very last day to get my assignments in and graduate. And this was coaching - something I loved and was so grateful to have in my life.
So what was happening? What powerful forces were at work that could overcome even my most treasured and passionate vocation?
The false center. The false center produces shadows. Shadows are where our real power and passions are. Our shadows are what we must draw on when we answer the question “Are you willing to suffer?” with a resounding “Yes!”. It is the repressed power in our shadows that we must draw on to get us through.
Be sure to read the next post where we examine the emotional journey of living our greatness - and we’ll go down into the swamp of despair where the shadows lie.
For now, contemplate the following questions regarding this new step you are planning to take…
1) Why do I want to do this? What will it get me?
2 )Why do I want that?
3) What story am I telling myself about how this journey will go?
4) If I had to evaluate that story, what age would the person who wrote it be?
5) What is the lie I am telling myself about this journey I am about to take?
6) What is really true about what I am about to do?
7) Am I willing to suffer for this? Am I willing to suffer through the challenges that will come in order to make this vision real? Why or why not?
Join us for Updates and News by leaving your email below. No spam, we promise!
Recent Blog Posts