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Give Me the Real Dirt

two hands holding dirt

A guy I know once said, “I don’t want to hear how great your life is. Tell me your shit. I want to know you know where I’ve been. Then I can trust you.”

So, on that note my friends, I’m going to tell you my “shit,” the good stuff and the bad stuff. Last week I wrote about living your practice life vs living your real life.

I wrote this on Monday, keenly aware that I didn’t "get everything done" on Friday. Already that inner critic is piping up: Why didn’t you do that on Friday like you said you would? You know you’re never going to make it. You should be doing so much more. Reaching out. Developing a real marketing strategy. You should be applying for jobs. Why haven’t you been applying for jobs? Lazy. Coward.

And on it goes. It would be comical if it didn’t feel so true in the moment.

So I stopped thinking and pulled out a book called The Spirituality of Imperfection for some real words of wisdom, and I noticed this one sentence:

“Within the long story of spirituality in the Western Christian world, failure to understand that to-be-human is to be both/and rather than either-or led to much confusion.” (62)

That’s it. That’s at the core of why I interpret myself to be either a success OR a failure, and that in itself is a rejection of what’s true: I am both because I’m human.

That idea hit me in a new way today. It helps explain why I label myself and others as good or bad, why it's so hard to admit I've made a mistake (because then I would be "bad"), why I don't want to admit that ugly sides of me exist.

But not admitting it — that can be bad, make mistakes and have an ugly side — and not accepting is what creates suffering. The problem isn't that I'm flawed; the problem is in not accepting myself as flawed.

Because where I am is where I am. It’s insanity to think I should be somewhere other than where I am. Truly insane. (Unless I have a time machine).

So where am I?

I’m worried people will think I’m oversharing, making excuses,

lazy, undisciplined, blah blah blah.

I’m worried I’m bugging people.

I’m wondering if I should get a real job. (UGH)

I’m scared I will let myself down and choose not to show up for my own life in the way that I know I can.

I’m not thinking about all the good I could do if I weren't so self-absorbed.

I turned to my trusty notebook and used the tool I teach all my clients, STEAR, and guess what? It worked. I was able to acknowledge the inner critic and move forward anyway. I realized that I didn’t get to everything on Friday because I decided to do something even riskier and bolder.

I called people instead of emailing. I swam. I planned. I wrote this post. I set up appointments.

I worried about all the stuff I typically worry about, and I kept moving forward. Even though I am flawed, what I do is flawed. Should I even be writing and posting this for the whole world to see? I honestly don't know. But I'm doing it anyway.

That’s what it means to run a business and to confront my fears.

Keep on keeping on.

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