When I’m asked what I do, I often reply that I help people do the big work they need to do on the inside in order to accomplish big things or serve the world on the outside. Inner fears, doubts, or resistance, often carefully hidden or avoided, are usually at the root of what keeps us from fully stepping up to the life we are called to live. The ego, the part of us that will ultimately take action, needs to feel safe enough to take the risk, to step into the unknown, to live our truth, and to move forward even when we don’t know how.
When we think of safety, many of us immediately think of the people and circumstances around us. We look for “safe” conditions – approval from someone we care about, a sense that the audience likes us, strong confidence that the outcome will be what we want, or, just in case things don’t work out so well, knowing someone will be there to pick us up.
However, if we are going to step into our full potential, ultimately, we must find that safety within ourselves. When we look outside of ourselves for our safety, we give our power away. We wait for permission from someone or something else before we show up as who we really are or fully share our gifts. Our feeling of safety is determined by something outside of us over which we have no control.
In the end, we are only safe when we are grounded in ourselves – our inner truth, our deepest values, and the callings of our hearts and souls. I have learned that I am the most successful when I live by four simple tenets:
1) Go where my heart leads me and stay in integrity with myself
2) Learn forward and develop my skills and talents to the best of my ability
3) Say “yes” to what I sense deep inside is mine to do and let go of everything else
4) Stay rooted within my own energy system, grounded in the experience of the present moment.
In her recent talk at TED2014, author Elizabeth Gilbert spoke about finding safety and inspiration when either success or failure knocks you off your center. In the same way that I speak about finding safety in yourself and being grounded in your personal truth, she speaks about finding your way back “home” again. She defines “home” as whatever you love more than you love yourself – “that thing to which you can dedicate your energies with such singular devotion that the ultimate results become inconsequential.” On the many ups and downs of her writing career, she says, “I will always be safe from the random hurricanes of outcome as long as I never forget where I rightfully live.”
If you are a regular reader of this blog, chances are you feel a calling to give something to the world. You sense that you are here for a reason and are committed to making a contribution. And you have probably experienced both successes and failures along the way.
So how do you find the safety to live your calling? You come home to yourself. You realign with your soul and its mission. Elizabeth Gilbert says it beautifully in the closing words of her talk:
Identify the best, worthiest thing that you love most,
and then build your house right on top of it,
and then don’t budge from it.
And if you should someday, somehow
get vaulted out of your home
by either great failure or great success,
then your job is to fight your way back to that home
the only way that it has ever been done –
by putting your head down and performing
with diligence and devotion and respect and reverence
whatever the task is that love is calling forth from you next.
P.S. To learn more about what is yours to do and to discover your soul mission or life purpose, have a look at my second book, Soul Mission * Life Vision (also available in digital format), or download our four-session audio workshop, “Soul Mission: Your Purpose in Life, Your Gift to the World.”
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