Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Creepy crawlers and the world of should.

An alternate world exists alongside the one of our desires. Alongside the world that serves our ultimate good and higher purpose, is the world of should. And there it stood in front of me. Behind me. And all around me. In the form of doctors and lawyers and judges and financial consultants. To a passerby, it may have appeared as if I was simply socializing at a bar. But I was at my 25th high school reunion where everyone had followed the path that I “should” have taken. If I wanted to live up to my family’s expectations and everyone else’s definition of success. The one I sort of took for a while. Marriage, children, lucrative career. In the midst of building my new life one step at a time, I must admit that the world of should sent me into a mental tail spin.

And the funny thing is that I watch it all the time. As my clients journey from one world to the next and then back again. They often start off in the world of should, quite convinced that what they should be doing is what they want to be doing. As we work together, they discover that they can create a different world if they open themselves up to new possibilities. If they let themselves look honestly at what isn’t working in their lives and become aware of their true dreams.

Sheila was a yoga teacher who was working at a spa giving massages. When I asked her, during our first session together, if she was happy with giving massages, she said yes. In our second session, Sheila realized that she really resented giving massages as well as her work at the spa. By session three, she not only decided to open up her own yoga studio and to reduce her massage practice significantly, but had found a space for her new business.

As I worked with Sheila on her marketing plan, it was clear when the creepy crawlers came marching back in. Creepy crawlers are messengers from the world of should, testing us, hoping they can take us back with them. The tone in my clients’ voices usually gives me a clue in knowing if they’re speaking their truth or are being taken to the creepy crawler party. All of sudden, they lose energy and their voices become somewhat constricted.

Sheila and I were brainstorming on marketing ideas. She mentioned one that just didn’t seem quite right: offering yoga classes to children. Suggested by a friend, the idea was a throwback to something Sheila should have enjoyed based on her elementary education background. But when I questioned her about it, it neither met with her mission for her business nor excited her. When she started talking about creating community activities in her studio, Sheila’s voice and energy levels went back up. She dropped the children’s class idea.

The creepy crawlers come to visit me all the time. I should get some corporate clients. I should do more workshops. I should forget about my dreams and, like that bar-full of high school acquaintances, go get a high-paying job. But I know that if I greet the creepy crawlers and then let them go on their way, other possibilities will come in to surprise me as they always do. Possibilities that are in line with my intuition and dreams and are right for me at the moment. The key is to keep following our intuition. Trust it even when there is no evidence that it’s the right direction except that feeling in our fingers, stomachs and toes. The universe eventually delivers signposts along the way.

So when you start doubting yourself (as we all do), make sure you have some reminders and supporters you can turn to. A mission statement, an affirmation, someone who truly understands what you’re doing. Constant reminders give us the strength to show those creepy crawlers to the door and turn our backs to the world of should. There’s just no place for them in the life we’re meant to live.

Questions that help bar the creepy crawlers from coming in and throwing a party:

  • Is your idea in line with your mission or your new life?
  • Will it attract your perfect customer? Will it help you create the new life you want?
  • Does it excite you or is it something you think you should or need to do?