I’ve got this friend – and she is brilliant. Really. She oozes creativity, which you can see even by the way she dresses. And then, when you read her writing, you are transported to another (often hilarious) world altogether.
She is truly an artist.
Recently, when we were parting ways, she asked what advice I had for her to get out of her own way – so that she can explore what’s next without all the pressure, guilt and self-doubt that often accompanies the artist’s journey.
When I had a few quiet minutes to reflect on her question, what came up was this: question authority.
I’m not speaking of the authority of others (although perhaps there’s that, too). I mean the voice of authority in your head.
You know the one.
The one that tells you what you should be doing.
The one that rattles off all of the good reasons why you should take the safer, more secure, more predictable path.
The one that reminds you of all the mistakes you’ve made thus far – and forecasts the likelihood of those same mistakes again in the future.
The one that cracks the whip to keep you in line – to make sure you don’t deviate too far from what-others-expect-of-you.
The one that insists that you must have all of the answers now, or else you have good reason to panic.
The one that reminds you, constantly, of what you have to lose.
The one that often tells you that your accomplishments are far more important than the quality of your days – and life.
This is the voice of your ego, my friend.
And so, you must come to hear it for what it is. Because it will keep on asserting its authority and pushing you back towards the line.
It does not want you to dare, to risk, to step off the beaten path.
And it will employ all kinds of sneaky tactics to try to keep you safe (or so it intends) – and to keep the status quo.
It is not the truth.
The truth resides somewhere within you – and is gentler and kinder. It does not use fear as a tactic, or leave you feeling lesser-than.
But you must create the space to hear its message. It’s been silenced, ignored and beaten down far too many times before now.
Give it time. Give yourself time.
Because if you live by the rules of authority – rather than truth – you will never do anything great.
And I don’t mean great in a the-rest-of-the-world-will-think-I’m-remarkable kind of way. I mean great because of the fulfillment, meaning and aliveness it brings you.
So, my friend, I guess getting out of your own way really means getting your ego out of the way.
And remember that story you shared about walking through an elderly woman’s estate sale and being struck by how meaningless all of the stuff really was?
That’s just it. The ego would line up all that stuff as proof of a life well lived.
But what I want to know is this: was it a good life? Did she take enough chances?
Because we all deserve the chance to manifest the best vision of our lives.
And now is yours.