Our "triggers" are the best teachers.
Monday was one of those days that made my back buckle as I curled up into an emotional ball. I felt paralyzed by sadness.
I wanted to give in to life’s obstacles and cry, “Okay, you win!”, then roll over, relinquish my dreams and settle for what was.
A couple of days earlier, a casual comment from my husband about my recent money management practices had made me face what I didn’t want to see. I was angry, knew his accusation was wrong, and wanted to make sure he knew it too!
Then, after my raw emotion had worn off, my inner voice tiptoed into my head, cautiously approaching my not-so-open mind on the subject. It suggested that I revisit what I had learned: That which triggers us is exactly where we need to look further. Aiy, okay. What was under my powerful emotional response? Why was I triggered?
After 48 hours of pondering, between a BBQ pool party and a 2 am taco run following a night of clubbing (yes, I am a mom of three kids and we still get out once in a while), I was still exploring why I reacted like I did—and still coming up empty.
Monday was also the day I went from defeat to determination.
I had a few meetings that day, and despite wanting to crawl back into bed with Ben & Jerry’s and Netflix, I drove from client to client in a daze.
Why did I feel so defeated? I mean, if what he said wasn’t true, why did it hurt so bad? I was confused. I’ve always had a great relationship with money. I believe it likes me. It seems to show up when I need it. I have experienced incredible financial abundance—I’ve worked hard, been dedicated and seen the reward. I save. Invest. Am clear of debt (mostly—hello, mortgage!). I manage money very well, right?
And then, like a late-afternoon fog, my inner voice blanketed all the chatter in my head with one kind-hearted comment:
“Maybe he’s right—maybe you have some work to do.”
He was right. Something had changed, and I knew it. If you asked me how much was on my credit card last month, I couldn’t tell you. If you asked me how much money I made last month, I couldn’t tell you. If you asked me how my investments were doing last month, I couldn’t tell you. While I was chasing my dreams and making stuff happen, I'd been completely ignoring this part of my life.
Between clients, I incessantly checked my inbox. I was waiting for something to distract me from this realization that part of me wasn’t inline with my vision of myself and my life. The universe had other plans. Somehow, like I’ve never seen before, my inbox lay still. No emails coming in. Nada. Not one.
So I sat with my feelings, almost in a helpless meditation. The dialog in my head was contemplating the worst. The what ifs. The what nows. The how is this happenings. And for the first time in months, I questioned the leap I had decided to take. I wondered if I should run back to a steady, predictable, soulless job because, well, that was “safer” and came with a steady paycheck and put me back in bean-counting mode. I knew how to do that.
You know, this self-help world is funny. You dig deep, make huge strides, feel invincible, and before you know it, you are presented with yet another aha moment that shakes the foundation of who you just figured out you were, or thought you were.
How are you different now than you were then? Have you taken stock and updated your own identity of who you “think” you are based on your behaviors? Are you calling yourself an athlete but you’re 30 lbs overweight and haven’t broken a sweat in years? Get moving if that’s who you are or who you want to be. Are you calling yourself a stay at home mom when you’ve started a business and generating income? No, you’re an entrepreneur and business owner. When we get honest and update our mindset based on our behaviors we start to see where we need to improve and where we need to celebrate ourselves more.
And so I moved from defeat to compassion for myself and gratitude for the lesson. I forgave myself for not being at my best in an area of my life I thought I had in the bag. For not trying harder and taking for granted my abundance.
Once I moved into forgiveness, I immediately became thankful for the aha moment that would motivate me to repair this kink in my awareness.
To heal, learn and decide that I would do better, be better, and live up to my full potential so that when the beautiful storm of success starts to swirl around my new business, I’ll be ready to ride the wave, allowing it to take me to new places I never thought I could go.
By 4 pm, I had a new sense of I CAN. I can rise above, learn and grow from disappointment and failure and actually be thankful for the lessons they bring. I can turn experiences that threaten to stop me into experiences that propel me. Because in the end, to be the best versions of ourselves and unlock our ultimate potential, we first need to see ourselves for exactly who we are in this moment. Only then, with the light shining on exactly what needs our attention, will life give us a good kick in the pants to show up fully so our ultimate dreams can effortlessly unfold in front of us.
Listen, universe. You ain’t seen nothing yet. I CAN. I will. Watch me.