Finding The Lesson

sunlight coming in

I really love Mike Dooley’s phrase, “everything makes me more.” I believe it. And that’s exactly why I am actually happy that I did something last week that I am not particularly proud of doing. Seriously. Let me explain…

A dear friend and mentor of mine asked if I would help her out with something while she was on vacation. Because I have nothing but respect and love for this woman, I responded with a quick, big, fat “YES!” I was honored she asked, so the only qualification I put on my “YES!” was that I needed to check my calendar. And even though there was something on my calendar for the exact time she was asking for help, I decided to rearrange it so that I could be there for her. Truth is she had me at the moment I detected the inflection of a request in her voice.

So, off my friend and mentor goes on vacation, and the time comes for me to fulfill her request. And for the first time, I realized that what I had agreed to do was way outside of my comfort zone. Way outside. Not because it was all that hard, it wasn’t. Not because I didn’t possess the basic skills to carry it out, I did.

But I just plain felt weird. And the weird feelings kept growing. I could not figure out for the life of me what was going on! I actually like going out of my comfort zone and asking a lot of myself so I am used to the feelings of discomfort that come with that. But this was a very different kind of discomfort than what I am used to when I’m stretching.

Turns out, my discomfort was because I had agreed to do something for someone else that I would never ask myself to do because it just “isn’t me.” No, I didn’t have to wear six inch heels, a flowing skirt, a deep-plunging neckline, and an up-do to fulfill my friend’s request. That just “isn’t me,” either. But in a way, I showed up to deliver with the same kind of awkwardness I might have felt wearing that outfit. And as you might have guessed, from that place of extreme awkward, my effort did not satisfy me. I did just fine but I wasn’t on fire, I wasn’t totally present, I did not show up 100% myself and offer my unique gifts, talents and sensibilities. And I can never be proud of myself when I don’t show up 100%.

I didn’t serve my friend or myself very well.

Now with a little time and distance away from doing my friend this favor, I see that I could have totally said, “no” and she would have been fine with that. I absolutely had that option as her request came with no pressure. I chose to say “yes” out of my desire to give back, but without one second of consideration for whether or not I could serve my friend and myself well. And while I won’t fault myself for wanting to give back, I will hold myself accountable for being way more careful in the future before I agree to do something, no matter where the request comes from. I know that I’ll honor myself and the other person in a much greater way if I take the time to check-in and stay aligned with my true essence and my purpose. Anything that allows me to show up 100% me, on fire, on purpose, even if it’s outside of my comfort zone, gets a quick, big, fat “YES!” Everything else gets a kind, “no.”

I am so grateful for this experience and so glad for my less-than-proud moment. It held up a mirror for me to look into and gain greater understanding of myself and I am better for it. Now that’s something I can be proud of.

Everything really does make us more.

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