Oprah says, "Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher." And it's so true but it's something I stumble with all of the time. There was a time when I was absolutely everywhere - I was at all the local events and online on every social network all of the time. I accepted every Facebook friend request, followed back on Twitter and took business cards from people whose services I would never need. Why? Actually, I have no idea. I guess it felt good to have large numbers of contacts, like I was validated and popular.
And then one day I realized as I was flipping through my streams that I didn't like most of the posts. There were complaints and political rants, senseless negativity and humor that was not humorous. I don't even want to go into the GIF posters. So I began the process of unravelling all that I had built. 1,000+ connections on LinkedIn and I realized that I hated using the site. It made me tense and felt like a task I 'had' to do. So I deleted my account and it felt so freeing! I had no idea that having my energy was being tied up in something so silly was a giant waste of my resources. It wasn't lifting me up and deleting felt like an anchor being cut off.
What else was dragging me down? I started looking at my stream differently. Every time I saw a post I didn't like or a person pop up that made me feel less than happy I deleted, removed, unfriended or muted. I was a total post Nazi. I started following people who inspire me, not just businesses that wanted me to like them, friends or no. I asked myself if what the person was delivering was something that would lift me up, add value to my life, make me smile just to see their name.
The energy I put into my brain is the energy that can be used to make my life amazing - or it can be the energy that drags me down. It's a choice.
I'm not obligated to be friends with anyone or to read or see anything that doesn't move me. I control my stream - me, it's my stream and I choose to be lifted.
"An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, despite the time, the place, despite the circumstances. The thread can be tightened or tangled, but never be broken." - Chinese Proverb
I had never heard this until this morning when I was sitting down on my patio to write down some of my thoughts from this weekend. I just spent 3 days at a conference facilitated by the beautiful and talented Baeth Davis, and while I'll be sharing quite a few ah-ha moments this week I can say that one of the most wonderful parts of being with 200 hundred other like-minded women is that magic happened during the breaks.
Let me back up, I went to this conference with two goals. The first was to really get clear on my life's work, my purpose and of course how to fully incorporate it into my business and the second, the red string, was to find my people. I have unique ways of thinking - I'm multi-passionate, spiritual, practical, and truly have that entrepreneural spirit that means I love chasing down my new ideas. Most people cannot come to terms with the amount of crazy I have going on in my head some days. They nod and support but they don't go through it themselves. Now I have some great friends so before I start getting texts of disgust from them let me qualify. My friends love and support me, but I wanted to find other women who have a deeply woo-woo side and are still killing it in business. It's a rare breed.
I went alone and knew no one, which suits this introverted only child just fine. I wandered around waiting for the doors to open to claim my spot, the one that gave me the best view. That first morning I would sit next to 2 women that I connected with immediately. We sat at our table talking, not about the weather but about things happening deep inside of us, our dreams and secrets. We connected at a heart level. At lunch I wandered off alone again and sat with two more beautiful women, both wearing purple (doesn't really enhance the story, but it was a great color and I'm going to have to buy me something in it!). Again, we went directly into our hearts and were nodding at everything each other said because we just 'got' it, like the words were ones we were speaking ourselves.
This just kept happening. For three days of breaks and lunches I met new people who were telling versions of what I carried in my head and my heart. It was safe to cry and laugh and to totally be myself. I felt like I had come home, that I had finally met my tribe and they weren't nearly as crazy as I had thought they would be. Those are connections I can't wait to upkeep and nurture, although it would be better if they all just moved here (what? It would be).
So I say thank you to the little red thread for untangling for 3 days, for pulling together a group of women just like me. It's so wonderful to know that I'm not alone. None of us is alone. We all have people and if they aren't right in front of you then I'm going to tell you to follow your heart and find them. Go places you're drawn to. Listen to where your heart wants to sit, act on it when you notice someone and are drawn to them. It fills you up in a great way.
This morning I woke up with an impossibly long list of things to do running through my head. Coming off of a three day weekend and then leaving tomorrow for a conference in Arizona, today is the only day I have to crank out a huge list of work and get packed and buy water and snacks. I even have delusions of checking out a couple of stores for a new pair of shoes (what? I have to look cute right?). So then I start thinking of all the things I'm not going to get to and why. There is even this moment when I think that I've found my 'out' - that I simply don't have enough time to go to this conference and that I can't be away from my son and husband for that long (Wednesday through Sunday) and I won't be able to get everything together in time so I'm just not going.
Don't get me wrong, I want to go to this event. It's for me and my development as a person, a coach and a business woman. There's the excited anticipation of having an adventure. What if I learn so much that my life mystically expands? What if I finally find my people - women with whom I can totally relate to on a spiritual and business level? What if I look so super cute they give me an award for being best dressed? It could happen. What if the sky suddenly opens and my answers all come flooding down from heaven? What if I come home and my business transforms and I have 10 people working for me as I float on the wings of success?
That's about the time that my little critical voice chimes in and starts freaking me out. I feel selfish for spending the money and taking time away from my family. I feel like I probably won't learn anything new and will have wasted a week of my life. Mystical openings? Right... What if I hate everyone there? Or they hate me? I've gone to lots of talks, what is going to make this one any different? What if my car has troubles in the desert heat? What if I get hungry in the afternoon and my stomach starts to growl in the middle of the talking and there's nothing I can do about it? What if I'm wearing the wrong clothes and I'm too cold or too hot? I should have made more time to go buy those new shoes. At the core, I feel guilty for caring for myself when I should be busy caring for my family and my business and for everything else in my life.
So I'm sitting here telling myself the same thing that I tell my clients - take a deep breath and stop running best and worst case scenarios in my head. Those stories are making me feel overwhelmed and are taking me away from the things I need to be focusing on, which is wrapping things up today and getting packed and ready.
There is everything right about doing something for me and my development. I don't run off everyday, it's once in a blue moon that I feel compelled to do something like this. I know deep inside that this is right for me, that I need to be there for some reason that my overly active imagination can't surmise. I don't know the big picture but I know that all of the fears will go away when I sit down and let them go at the opening of the workshop. I'll get done what needs to get done and I'll hop into my car tomorrow after giving my son way too many instructions and driving my husband crazy with details he already knows. And when I get to Phoenix I will take a deep breath and stay present to the experience I am awesome enough to give to myself.
I will continue breathing throughout the day, letting go of the stories and reminding myself that this is a gift, I am giving myself the gift of self care and I won't squander it by getting tied up in my mental clutter. I will say thank you to myself as if someone just handed me a present. My playlist is ready to go and by morning, I will be too!