Aren’t formulas great? There’s so much pressure to get it right, and there are so many different ways we’re told to do it, it’s hard to know what to do. And if you’re like me, you’re spending a lot of time just kind of wandering (sometimes flailing) around, not really sure what you’re doing, so the temptation to follow someone who seems sure of the way is strong.
It’s worth checking out what people have to say about what has worked for them — either in parenting, sales, spirituality, health, whatever. But none of it is going to work for you unless…..you understand who you are, and don’t try to do something that doesn’t feel easy and natural for you.
This is harder than it sounds. We’re raised by parents who worked to convey what they felt was the way to be successful in life, because it worked for them, or because they believed it was the right way, or the culture dictated it was the right way. But it might not have had anything to do with our specific way of being in the world.
Our culture loves “self-starters” – pull yourself up by your boot straps! Go out and make it happen! But literally 90% of the population is wired to go about things differently. Most people need something to respond to. Others need to be asked. The idea of “going out and making it happen” feels exhausting and defeating before you even get started. And then you berate yourself for being so “lazy.”
But how are you supposed to know what’s right for you? Well, there is an easy way, and a harder way. I like the easy way, personally. The easy way is to get your Human Design chart, and get to know yourself. (Email me if you’d like to do this!) Feel the energy of it as you learn what it all means, either through a reading from me or through your own research.
The harder way – though it’s what we all come back to anyway – is to pay attention to how you feel. The way to be successful is to go with what feels easy and natural for you. Our society and religions over-value suffering and struggle. The harder the struggle and bigger the sacrifice the more noble the effort and the more deserving you apparently are for the reward you are due at the end.
This is total bullshit.
All of us need to put out effort, and overcoming fear and frustration is part of the effort needed to learn something new and overcome obstacles. But it feels different when it’s in your wheelhouse than when it’s just you, muscling it. If you’re honoring your particular way of being in the world, it feels great.
I had a client tell me, “I can’t believe I get to do something that feels so easy for me and get paid so much money to do it.” But that’s the way it’s supposed to work. What feels easy to him is him using the gifts he’s here to bring to the world. They are his super-powers, and most people don’t have them. Nobody has them the same way he does.
We somehow are persuaded that what comes easily to us isn’t really important or valuable, instead of recognizing that it’s those very things that are our gifts to the world. This is not to say we don’t need to cultivate those gifts, develop them, stretch them, see how far we can take them.
And for some people, “struggle” is actually part of what they love to do. But not everyone. I had a client who loved, loved, loved being in a courtroom, challenging the arguments of the opposing attorney in a case, arguing in front of everyone. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect description of my personal hell.
But think about it – what if my parents had pressured me to become an attorney, because that was what they had done? I could have studied hard, done the law school thing, dealt with relentless anxiety about not being good enough, and felt miserable every day. I might have found some way to “make it work,” but because it wasn’t really my thing, my heart would not have been in it, and I wouldn’t have been very good at it. My mind would not have been flowing creatively, because so much energy would be diverted to just dealing with the struggle of it. If I didn’t totally crash and burn I would not have been very good at my job, I would have felt like I was wasting my life, I would have seen other people around me thrive and wondered what was wrong with me, I might have gotten sick as my body gave out from all the stress.
I was talking to a client the other day who was feeling bad about not finding “the one thing” she should be doing in her life. She had had a varied work history, doing lots of different things over the years, but felt she should be “settling down” – like a grown-up, I guess. In her design, it was clear she was wired to do a wide variety of things in her life, not just one thing. There are gifts to be harvested from a life where you have a wide range of experiences that you collect, integrate, and share; just as there are different gifts to be harvested from going deeply into one thing.
Giving herself permission to be a “jack of all trades” was a huge relief. This is her gift, it feels right and good, and she will do it well, being successful at each new thing she feels drawn to try. Forcing herself to stay in one job past its energetic expiration date is a guarantee that she will ultimately fail at it – the energy for it will be gone, her heart won’t be in it, it just won’t work.
So pay attention to how you feel. If you feel like you’re defeated before you start, you’re heading down a path that isn’t for you and it won’t work well. You might be able to strong-arm it to work for a while, but if it’s not really you, it’s not sustainable. Give yourself permission to do what feels easy and fun. See what happens when you, as Joseph Campbell said, “follow your bliss.”