This wasn't the post that I had planned for you this week.
You were going to be reading about expertise. Or maybe how to think of a topic to blog about. Or, if I could get my shit together in time, I would have published the article I literally pulled my moving car to the side of the road to write on Friday.
But alas, my intuition is leading me to write this post instead.
On Friday, I woke up grumpy. The Vancouver rain forest was not letting us down. The drizzle was relentless. I could hardly see 3 feet in front of me for all the wet stuff falling from the sky. It was day five of my experiment with Tim Ferriss' Slow Carb Diet, which was bleak for the day before Halloween. Not that I've ever really liked Halloween, but that has no bearing on my affection for Mars bars. Truthfully, I was picking reasons to be grouchy and they weren't very good.
True to every single day of my life, I dressed in my gym clothes,
hooked up the IV of my caffeine drip slammed a cup of coffee, and set out to work on my fitness.
I'm very specific with my morning routine, not only because I know routines lead to excellence but also because decisions in the morning? I can't even.
So, every morning on my drive to the gym I listen to podcasts. And every morning, as soon as my feet step on the treadmill, I swap podcasts for music Taylor Swift on repeat.
But the podcast episode I chose to listen to on Friday provided an inspiring background noise to my thoughts (of taking over the world, naturally), and every time my brain would switch back to focus on the words in my ears, there was pure gold in the episode.
Sometimes, all you need is a mixture of caffeination, sugar deprivation, inspiration and early morning pre-workout aggression to work yourself up into a creative tornado. My thoughts, the circumstances, and the episode helped my brain break through a frustrating creative block I'd been experiencing around a message I'd been wanting to get out for… well, it felt like forever.
See, I knew there was something I wanted to say. It's big, and potentially life changing to a lot of you. And I was marinating on it for months, but my thoughts didn't translate to paper.
Every time I went to write it, I'd type a few sentences not fit for human consumption, stress myself out, and shut my laptop.
But as I sat in the midst of this creative cocktail in my car, it all fell on me like a huge pile of confetti, and I had to write. So not only did I write running on the treadmill at the gym (yes, running), I also pulled over to the side of the rain-slicked road to pound out a few words.
I'd love to say that this happens all the time; that I'm a creative goddess who has inspiration-confetti baths on the regular, but it's simply not true. And if I'm being real, lately I've found writing – my main passion – really damn hard. But… Writing hadn't come that easily to me since I was in Europe. So I couldn't help but think that this was a sign from the universe that something big was coming. The fact that I just wrote that last sentence – and the fact that you're reading this now – proves just how strong this muse was for me.
See, when I started Unsettle, I noticed two things:
- There weren't many women talking about lifestyle design and building online businesses
- Many of the women who were talking about this stuff were also talking about their chakras and following their bliss (and wtf does that even mean?)
My mission with Unsettle was (and is) to be practical, honest, and actionable. I have both of my feet firmly planted on the ground and while I do believe in gratitude and visualization, it's because they have tangible, scientific benefits. And frankly, I think the woo-woo crap makes many of us feel inferior. It used to baffle me – I'd think “wtf is a chakra and why don't I have one?!” before giving up on whatever it was that I'd be trying to accomplish from frustration of lacking this spiritual unicorn that apparently poops glittery packages of creative perfection on a blessed few. But I can't deny the effect that this particular Molotov cocktail had on me, so that sentence remains. Checkmate, universe. So I get to the gym, write half an article while I was running (not jogging, not sprint-walking – running) on the treadmill, and go to the change room to get ready for the day. My gym bag contained a dress I bought while travelling in New Orleans that haven't worn in ages (because I gained a million pounds and couldn't fit into it – hi, donuts!), and a blazer I brought to Europe that I, again, couldn't fit into because gelato. First, I slipped on the dress and it was too big. This is a huge deal. I was in good shape and it fit well when I bought it in New Orleans. Now it's too big – presumably because I'm in even better shape. Thanks, Universe. Then, I slipped on my blazer, which also fit, and had a crinkly surprise in the pocket. I thought it would be a receipt (I'm notorious for poor bookkeeping), but when I pulled out I found 15 Euros I must have pocketed in Rome, or Nice, or maybe Luxembourg. I was actually moved to tears when I pulled those pink and blue notes out of my pocket. What are the chances? This, I took as a sign. And I don't believe in signs. I do my best (and easiest) writing while I'm travelling, and that morning had a breakthrough that I've not had since Europe. This happens the same morning that I pull on a dress I bought while I was travelling and it actually fits for the first time since.. well, I was last travelling. And I pull out Euros from a blazer I brought when I was… well, travelling. I'd have taken this as a strong enough push from the powers that be if it stopped there. But you know it didn't. When I got back to my computer, I pulled up Facebook and the very first thing in my news feed? A post from a group I'm part of for flight deals from Vancouver with an amazing deal to Paris.
How My Sense of Self Almost Turned Into Self Sabotage
With every intuition snowball the universe was throwing at my face on Friday, I had this self-actualization drop-kick to tango with: You're not woo-woo. You're practical, rational, and proof-driven. You're looking for a “sign” where a sign doesn't exist. This is all just a coincidence. Like I said before, I've never really believed in the woo-woo stuff. I'm not the most spiritual of people and aside from Mother Karma, I've always been the rational one. This has led to a belief that I really don't possess intuition. But as I was marinating in these thoughts, I realized I do have intuition. My belief about myself was just yelling louder. It had a lot to prove. On Friday, my intuition got sick of being stood on and drowned out, and in a Carrie-like fashion, took matters into her own hands. My intuition was trying to tell me that the reason I'm having such mental and creative blocks is because I'm not flexing the muscles that support the spine of my creativity: adventure and travel. A lot of us let our beliefs about ourselves sabotage our potential. If you've ever thought that you're “not creative” and stuck to non-creative paths, you are trying to prove to yourself that what you believe about yourself is true. If you've ever thought that you aren't detail oriented, your brain will (subconsciously) skip over detail to level up to your beliefs.
If you believe you're a procrastinator, if you believe you're lazy, if you believe you're fat or skinny or fit or smart or stupid or forgetful or your brain will work on overtime to prove it.
We think that limiting beliefs are just those quiet voices in the back of our heads that whisper “you can't do it”. But limiting beliefs exist within every facet of our personalities – because our personalities, our skills, our quirks and egos are built upon beliefs. Sometimes, the beliefs about ourselves help us. If you've always believed you were the type of person who acts with integrity, that belief serves you well. Hold onto it. But sometimes, they don't show the whole picture – and, like in my case – they can lead you to ignore an important side of yourself and your life that will help you live more authentically. So what have you always thought about yourself that might be putting up blinders to other possibilities?