Life is full of choices. Little choices that steer how your day goes. Big choices that steer how your year goes. And then, there are the ginormous choices–the ones that can literally change your life–for better or worse–in a matter of seconds.
2016 gave me the opportunity to make a lot of choices. The ginormous kind.
Tonight, I spent some time reflecting on what did (and didn’t) go so well in 2016. And as I remembered the happenings of the year, I realized there was one ginormous choice I made in 2016 that changed my business and my overall life…for the better. It seemed befitting that I share this choice with you; after all, while I appreciate all that I’ve learned as a result of it , it would be kind of selfish if I kept this life-changing lesson to myself. That said, allow me to share the 1 choice I made in 2016 that absolutely changed my life.
The Monster In Your Head
Sometimes, your mind is your greatest asset. After all, that’s where all of your genius ideas come from, right? Well, yes. However, if you’re anything like me, your mind can also be your worst enemy. Sometimes, right when you’re on the cusp of a major breakthrough, fear takes over and tells you that you can’t or shouldn’t because this or that could happen. That fear has a way of transforming from a little negative nelly voice in the back of your head to an all-encompassing monster that can stop you dead in your tracks, right when you’re about to do something totally awesome. I know it all too well. And I hate it.
For years, actually make that, decades, I allowed fear to stand in the way of my professional success story. I never called it fear until this year. I called it lack of time, lack of capital and all kinds of other things. But the truth is, those were all excuses. I was afraid. Afraid to fail. And I allowed that all-encompassing monster to take over my mind time and time again and give me a million reasons why moving closer to my professional dream was a very, very bad idea.
The Choice That Changed Everything
In 2016, I made the choice to kill the monster. There were many, many days when that monster crept up on me. And early on in the year, there were many days when I allowed it to stomp all over my dreams and leave me discouraged and good for, well, not much. Yet as the year progressed, I became more and more aware of the way that monster negatively impacted me. And I set out on a mission to learn how to control it with the support of my small but oh-so-mighty monster-bashing team that included:
#1: My friends and mastermind partners, Marti and Patti – Every Thursday morning the three of us connect on the phone for one hour. This is our time to take off our professional superhero capes and get real with our struggles and our pursuit to overcome them. We ask each other the hard questions that most people wouldn’t have the guts to ask. We call each other on our stuff. We hold each other accountable. We laugh (a lot). And sometimes, when the monster’s voice gets especially loud, we cry. And then we go to battle on it. Because our game-changing plans simply don’t include the monster.
#2: My business coaching team, Allison & Giles – Allison was the first person in my professional life to call me out on my monster. I remember the first time she brought it to my attention. I was watching her on stage at an entrepreneurial conference she hosts every January in San Diego (which by the way, you need to attend. Check it out.) Allison talked about the stories we tell and the impact they have on our lives. She didn’t refer to the story as the monster, but I knew it was. At least for me. Giles talked with me frequently throughout the rest of the year and every time he’d hear that nasty monster rise up, he’d shut it down–big time. A very proper Brittish gent, Giles is not the “raw, raw, go team” (puke) type. And that’s one of the reasons he’s such a great coach for me. He says it like it is whether I want to hear it or not. If the monster is messing with my mind, Giles makes me face it head on. And that my friends is invaluable. Especially when you have a little bit of a stubborn side like I do and sometimes a tendency to deny the monster is really there.
#3: My knight in shining armor, Kevin – My husband has been holding my hand through the ups and downs of life for the past 18 years. And if anyone has seen the monster in my life creep up, it’s him. Kevin is a gentle soul with a fierce passion for God and an unwavering commitment to loving me, even in my ugliest moments. I’m a very blessed woman to have a husband that gladly pulls out his sword to slay the monster any time it crawls out of its pathetic pit to discourage me. Since Kevin knows me so well, he can pretty much see right through me. All it takes is a few simple words from his mouth and his big strong hand holding mine to make the monster shrivel up and roll right back into the gutter.
#4: My God – There’s nothing that beats down the monster faster than scripture. Here’s one of my favorite monster-bashing verses:
“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” –Phillipians 4:8
When I started running my monster thoughts past this verse, things really started to change for me. If at any time a thought came up that wasn’t true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy, I learned to put a sock in it. Because that’s what God says to do. And I’m not one to argue with God. I’m pretty sure He knows a heck of a lot more than I do considering He created me and all.
The Big Takeaways
There’s a lot to be said for the way we think and how it impacts our performance professionally and beyond. This is a business blog so I’m not gonna get into how this completely transformed my personal life, but you need to know that it absolutely, positively did. This kind of stuff always does.
Do I still struggle with the monster? Of course, I do. I’m still human. However, my struggle with it looks really different than the way it looked at the beginning of 2016, because I have an army on my side that’s teaching me an awful lot about how to handle monsters. When I did this thing called entrepreneurship without my monster-bashing team, the monster frequently talked me out of everything awesome. But that doesn’t happen so much anymore. Because now, whenever it decides to creep up and tell me all of the reasons I can’t, I think about why I can. When the monster tells me I won’t, I think about how I will. And when it tells me I’m not enough…you know, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not good enough…my monster-bashing team reminds me of one thing: the monster is a liar. And that gets my head back where it needs to be. So I can play big. Because I was born to play big.
So let me tell you about how this has impacted me professionally in some very tangible ways. Now that I’ve killed the monster:
- I’ve started charging what I’m worth. No more trades. No more negotiating. My price is what it is. Take it or leave it. The right clients for me, take it. The wrong clients for me, leave it. And either way, I win. [Fist bump]
- I’ve started accepting assignments that initially feel WAY out of my league. But I say yes anyhow, and I figure it out as I go. And you know what? It’s working out beautifully. My clients are loving the work and they’re even referring their colleagues to me. [SCORE!]
- I’ve started standing up for myself. A lifelong people pleaser, I spent way too many years allowing people to take advantage of me. I don’t do that anymore. And it’s awesome. [Happy dance]
It’s Your Turn
You were born to play big, too. You know that, right? Don’t let the monster tell you otherwise. Remember, the monster is a liar.
Having trouble shutting the monster up? You need to assemble your own monster-bashing team. Because the monster likes to pick on all of us. Now, I’m not a Yenta so I can’t really hook you up with your soul mate. And I’m not God so I can’t do much about where you’re at with Him either. But what I can do, is invite you to meet Allison and Giles this January. They can be part of your monster-bashing team, too. And if they are, they’ll get you hooked up with a mastermind group, pronto. Boom. Half of your monster-bashing team is already in place for you. Ready to meet them? Click here to learn more about how to make it happen. The event is January 20-22, 2016 which means you don’t have time to sit on the fence and think about this. Click here to get a HUGE DISCOUNT on your ticket now and meet me in San Diego, capisce?
Let’s get equipped to slay some monsters together in 2017, shall we?!